This year is the centenary of the passing of the Ancient Monuments Act which, "recognised for the first time that there are physical remains of the nation's history which are so special and so significant that the state has a duty to ensure their continued survival." (English Heritage). The story of how that came about was recently told on UK TV in a series of programmes which charted the disasters and delights of the last century of preservation. It's quite a complicated and detailed story and I'm not going to repeat it all here, but I hope to get your interest sufficiently piqued so that you will investigate further. Clips are still available here for those in UK or with a VPNUK.
Sepia Saturday this week has an old photo of Conway Castle as the picture prompt. My family album is stuffed with pictures of us tramping over various ruins and admiring ancient monuments around the British Isles. I'd have a hard time choosing for today's post; so instead I'm going to begin with the one that led to the making of that landmark 1913 Act.
here you will see an interesting little thread about the misspelling of the monument. It's actually Tatershall Castle, Lincolnshire, and is very well known to my family as from Christmas 1984 to July 1987, we lived nearby in Tattershall village, and then in Coningsby, where my husband was serving in the RAF. The story of how the castle was saved in the nick of time from being dismantled and taken to America, is told on the English Heritage website here. It's a story of detective work and determination on behalf of the then Lord Curzon, former Viceroy of India and restorer of the Taj Mahal. It's worth reading just for the description of the castle's fireplaces being restored to their rightful place, in great triumph, on horse-drawn carriages, draped with Union Jacks.
Tattershall Castle has been described as 'the finest piece of Medieval brickwork in England' as the original fortified manor house was rebuilt and expanded with brick by Ralph, Third Lord Cromwell, Treasurer of England, between 1430 and 1450. It is the 130 foot High Tower and moat which still remain and ensure that the building stands out in the flat Lincolnshire landscape. In the picture above you can see the church, also built by Cromwell, which, along with a row of almshouses, still stands today. You can find out more about the castle, which is now maintained by The National Trust, by clicking here. But there are a couple of 'Did You Know?' snippets to share first. Did you know that the current Lord of the Manor of Tattershall and Thorpe is Julian Fellowes, creator and writer of Downton Abbey? Did you know that the church holds the grave of Tom Thumb and his house is in the village?
I'm amazed that I can find no pictures in our family albums of the children running around the castle. Perhaps, as we lived nearby and the children even attended Tattershall Primary School, we took it for granted. We certainly visited but any record of those visits is lost.
There's a slim possibility that there may be some in my parents' albums, which I don't have. My father certainly painted it; perhaps that picture of him in my post, 'We All Shine On' a couple of weeks ago, sitting at his easel with a peacock at his feet, was taken there, as peacocks certainly roam the castle grounds. I'm going to say that it was, so that we can imagine that the view he was painting was Tattershall Castle.
Tattershall Castle is relatively modern when compared with the Neolithic stone circles of 2,600 years B.C. Once again, living near Salisbury for so many years, we were fortunate to be surrounded by landscape and buildings steeped in history. So, in the absence of pictures of castles, here are my children visiting the stone circles of Wiltshire.
My daughter in 1978, being kept on a tight rein by her Dad, when we visited Stonehenge with a group of friends, about ten years before we moved to the area. When we did we had no idea how often we'd be driving past this iconic site. Controversial plans are now afoot to divert roads away from the circle and make it accessible only by a low-key visitor transport system.
Here's my daughter again, in 1989, accompanied by her brother, and perched atop a Neolithic stone which is part of the Avebury Circle. This Neolithic henge contains the largest stone circle in Europe and is situated in the Wiltshire village of Avebury. Owned and maintained by the National Trust, the site is open to the public, as a scheduled Ancient Monument and a World Heritage Site. It has a huge significance for pagan, and in particular Druid groups, as well as New Age believers, who frequent the site with dowsing rods in search of psychic emanations.
So whether you're into reading the runes or researching the ruins, why not visit this week's Sepia Saturday and see what others have made of the picture prompt below. If you join our facebook page
Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."