Posted in December 2013

Sherborne Lets Its Hair Down

Every town seemed to be plagued by outbreaks of rioting and misbehavior, anecdotes of which can be found in their records: “In spite of its many and solemn responsibilities, Sherborne in the past appears to have had outbreaks of light-heartedness wich almost amounted to riotous living. A deed drawn up “in the XXI yere of … Continue reading

Annoying the Locals

Sir Thomas More is one of the most important figures from Tudor history, but the following makes you wonder about some of his judgements: The mansion at Melplash, although much modernised, is still worthy of the princely days of the squires. It is said that over the chimney-piece in the hall are the arms of … Continue reading

A Hat of Mystery

Descriptions of physical and mental infirmities often translate poorly into modern language. This one is a real puzzle: “Mapperton House lies in a beautiful glen approached by an avenue of trees. It is one of the most famous houses of Dorset, and one of the most charming and picturesque. The building belongs to the time … Continue reading

Cross Hands

Scattered around England are pubs called the Cross Hands, and sometimes Cross Keys,  titles that make no sense whatsoever, though some at least seem to be at crossroads, so partly explains the title. Much of this misinformation is due to the long disruption of the English Civil War, which put an end to much accurate … Continue reading

A Flying Horse

“To those in search of out-of-the-way places where may be found the quiet of the boundless prairie I would recommend Batcombe. Its situation at the foot of a curving line of steep chalk downs is most romantic; its approach from the South by a headlong road which drops over the green cliff is most fearsome. … Continue reading

Telescopic Philanthropy

This is a term apparently coined by Dickens to describe how people donate to causes far afield whilst ignoring problems such as poverty on their doorsteps. It seems to be a practice of long standing: “Evershot, a neat, wholesome, over-grown village, which remains still modest and unassuming, although dignified by a railway station. As in … Continue reading

Plastering the Great Beyond

Plastering the Great Beyond

There is a long tradition of builders of various trades leaving their marks on their work. Masons used to mark their work in order to get paid, but sometimes messages are found from ordinary tradesmen who are aware that they are producing something for the future. This is a note that was found when the … Continue reading

English Fountains in Paris

English Fountains in Paris

The Wallace Collection is one of the finest collections of art in Britain; it is housed in Hertford House, formerly owned by the Hertford family who bequeathed it to the nation at the end of the 19th century. Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquis of Hertford collected most of it, a mix of paintings, porcelain, sculpture and … Continue reading

Commemorating Women

Commemorating Women

Another piece of sculpture in the gardens adjoining the Houses of Parliament is one dedicated to Emmaline Pankhurst, the pioneering suffragette, And to her daughters Sylvia and Christobel Not far away, in the middle of the road outside the old War Office, is this unusual memorial to the women who died in World War II:

Water and Freedom

Water and Freedom

Just outside the houses of Parliament in London is this ornate Gothic drinking fountain for humans and dogs. It was built in 1835 by Charles Buxton, MP in commemoration of the passing of the Emancipation of Slaves in British colonies the previous year. It is also in memory of his father Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, … Continue reading