Bulletin 394

August/September, 2015

Hay on Wye tour Sunday 18th July
It was a glorious day for a walk around Hay on Wye. The majority of us stayed for the whole day, taking in a Heritage trail in the morning, sampling one or two of Hay’s eating places and then on a ‘hunt’ for the truth about the Herbert Armstrong murder case, ending up in Cusop Church, where he is buried in an unmarked grave. We learnt a lot of facts about Hay and found the comparison of history very similar to Kington’s. Our tour Guides were very informative and gave a lot of atmosphere to the whole day. Here are just a few facts for those who do not know Hay very well. Hay built its wealth on the wool trade. 90% of Hay is in Wales, 10% in England. In the hey days of Trams, Hay held the record of having the longest Tram line, 35 miles long. In 1957, Hay was renamed Hay-on-Wye to stop the confusion with Hay on Orkney. King Richard (the self-proclaimed Richard Booth) has ruled Hay on Wye from 1977, but this is a long story.

The Cheese market is half timbered and was replaced in 1870 but more recently refurbished in 2014, including a holiday apartment above. Booths is the oldest book shop, most shops and businesses are still family owned. In the late Georgian/early Victorian times Hay had 40 public houses and 11 Chapels (much the same as Kington). Hay has 2 castles, a Motte & Bailey and the ruins that can be seen above the market square, which has an improvement plan in progress by 2020.

Barbara Erskine author of Lady of Hay lives in Hay in the old Police Station where Herbert Armstrong was jailed. Which leads to the dilemma of a story in which a man who was, possibly wrongly, convicted of Murder and hanged in 1922 for the crime.   Our tour guide, David Bennett, has written a book about Major Armstrong’s case and is in no doubt that he is innocent. The trail took us through Hay visiting his offices and the rival Solicitor, Dr Henke, who gave evidence that was against him, the Pharmacy where the arsenic was purchased, the police station where he was held, his house and that of his rival solicitor leading up to the beautiful Cusop church. Here we had tea and biscuits served by the church warden. It was a delightful end to the day …. but we had the walk back, over the fields and river back to Hay on Wye. A day to be remembered? Hope you do. Thank you to all the members who came and supported us.

Review by Nancy Wheatland

Next talk Friday 18th Sept Brian Hatton ‘Changing Landscapes’ by Robin Thorndyke.
Joint meeting with Kington Remembers WW1 7.30pm at Kington Primary School No charge for History Society members.

Brian Hatton is Hereford’s most celebrated artist. He was a child prodigy and a prolific producer of exquisitely drawn and accurately observed studies of country life, agricultural scenes and above all, working horses. This is a talk which concentrates on depicting his relationship with a working farm (Warnham Court) and its active life, horses, gypsies, harvesting, ploughing and the daily toil. At a time when centuries of man power and horse power were being replaced with modern methods on Herefordshire’s farms, he captured the rural folk and horses from his childhood until the outbreak of WW1. Brian died young, killed in action April 1916, aged 28 years old.

The Long-awaited ‘Titley Train Ride’ At last we have a date, so please make it free on your calendar as these rides are quite rare. Friday 28th August 5.30pm at Titley Junction Station cost £5 a head which includes tea & biscuits. Non-members welcome. Contact Nancy or Julia to book your place.

Also, KHS will be having a book stall at the Kington Vintage rally on Sunday 16th AugustPlease come along and support us.


Bulletin 393

June/July, 2015

Visit to Old Impton Farmhouse 21st June

On a delightful Sunday afternoon 21 members congregated at the front of Mr John Wilding`s farmhouse. The views alone were terrific but what we had not anticipated was the warm welcome and superb afternoon tea that awaited us inside the house.   Mr Wilding showed us around the outside of his Grade 2* listed farmhouse, pointing out the original part dating back to the Tudor times and the Georgian additions. The front porch was decorated with carvings from the Tudor period including the Tudor rose and as we entered the smell of wood smoke was quite atmospheric. He pointed out to us that this was a working farm and a family home, it had 6 bedrooms and we were able to wander around quite freely and view all the original features still in place, of which there were plenty. Downstairs was divided into the Tudor and Georgian with beautiful oak panelling in all the rooms and open fireplaces that showed the expanse of heating and cooking facilities. The solid oak staircase again divided the house and we were split into two ways on the landing to observe the bedrooms all of which had may original features and floorboards some at least 13 inches wide. Original beams were of various heights as the floors and walls were not equal in any way, it was true delight to see so much of this ancient house left intact, but still being lived in. The whole group were very impressed with the house and we all spent a long time feeling our way around the house. Mr Wilding was around to answer any of our questions and the members asked many. Tea was served in 2 rooms, the main parlour and the room off the kitchen . We all sat down and had the most sumptuous tea. It felt very much a home as we all chatted at the table and passed the sandwiches and cakes around.

Mr Wilding joined us and answered more questions. He had several books on display about the house, but they did not do the house justice, as the atmosphere could not be captured on the printed page. Memorable parts were the front porch, the flag stones in the kitchen, the half mill-stone door step, the oak staircase and the billiard table on which our tea served on in the front parlour.

Mr Wilding told us stories of the time when the Canadians were billeted at Norton manor and the firing range was behind the farm. When the guns were firing, two of the ceilings fell in upstairs as the house shook so much. The whole afternoon went too quickly and we are very thankful to Mr Wilding and his family for keeping this jewel of a house intact and a quiet secret in the hills above Norton.

Review: Nancy Wheatland

Dates for your Diary

Sunday 19th July Hay on Wye tours. Both tours start at the Cheese Market.

Please note the amended start time for both tours and look out for the green jacketed tour guides.
Heritage tour 11.30 am. Armstrong tour 2.30 pm. Also new time.
Revised start times are owing to the fact we are smaller groups and can be accommodated at a later time, so you get a bit of a lie in on Sunday morning. We are offered free tea & biscuits at Cusop Church after our Armstrong walk before we head back to Hay. Please wear sensible shoes, waterproof coat as we are out in the open countryside, and bring a drink for the afternoon walk. See you all on the day. Nancy Wheatland

If you have visited the library lately, you will notice that laudable members of the committee have managed to squeeze more than a quart into a pint pot. The history society office is now very small, owing to the refurbishments which have been going on of late. However, it is still possible to reach us there most days when the library is open and we look forward, as always, to seeing you.

By the way, there is still time (about another month) for you to let us have some items for the 2013-2014 Papers. Please get yourselves into print.

Editor: Vera Harrison

Bulletin 392

May, 2015

Recent Archaeological Discoveries in Radnorshire’s Walton Basin

by Nigel Jones

The settlement at Walton Cross Roads at the head of the Basin in East Radnorshire, is just down the road from Kington, and by and large is a quiet place, but this has not always been so, as intensive recent aerial surveys, augmented by geophysical examination and selected excavations have revealed that during the Stone Age and later, the whole area was seething with activity, and monuments have been revealed which would have required huge organization and man power to produce. It is apparent, however, that the activities what ever they were, would have been episodic or seasonal, as there is no hard evidence of actual settlement at the period under review, as signs of occupation are restricted to some flints and pottery fragments, but the acidic soil does not allow preservation of bone for possible dating.

To the modern eye, it all looks like these scattered arrangements are the constituents making up some sort of Theme Park!

The earliest structures, of about 3500 B.C., was a “Cursus”, stretching way out from Hindwell to the west, and another, but shorter, at Walton Green. They were curiously aligned to point to the direction of sunrise on May Day! – ? significant,? festive, and were carefully delineated by ditches.

The other structures are palisaded enclosures of varying size. The land, originally densely forested, was cleared, and huge oak tree posts of more than 2 foot across, set up 6 feet deep in the earth, all charred for preservation, a few feet apart all around the perimeter. The largest is at Hindwell at least half a mile across, and includes Hindwell Pool. The smallest and latest enclosure at Walton Court, is a ring ditch, of about 100 yards across, of about 2300 B.C.

The only remaining visible structure, are the Four Stones, right in the centre of the area, but thought to be of Bronze Age origins, and not local but from glacial erratics.

Along came the Romans, and quite early in their occupation @ 50 A.D., planted utilitarian marching camps at an apparent cross roads at Hindwell, overlying some of the earlier structures. At the eastern end of the main fort, was the civilian settlement, obviously best connected with the valley to the east of Burfa.

Well, they are pretty standard, and don’t need explanation, but what were the earlier structures all about? The blanket archaeological explanation for such arrangements is that they are of “Ritual Significance”, but there could be a better one. My ancient Latin Dictionary defines a ‘Cursus’ as a Race Track and the Romans were probably right here, and also every one who has been to the Races knows that there are various enclosures – for horses, for the ‘nobs’, and for ‘others’, etc. The largest ? animal enclosure has a good and persistent water supply in the Hindwell Pool, and we know that the Celts loved their horses and racing, and that is well shown on their coinage.

See also “Radnorshire from Above by Chris Musson of 2013.

Review: John Rerrie

 

Bulletin 391

April, 2015


The Wye Trow Project

By Commander A. G. Wynn. LVO MA

The Georgian Kings loved waterborne Pageants – the sort for which Handel wrote his “Water Music”, and in 1747, the year after the victory at Culloden, another took place on the Thames, depicted by Canaletto, like much else of London at that time, with a numerous flotilla, and so, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen, a similar event was proposed for 2012, with 1000 boats taking part, and representation from each County requested.

Herefordshire is an inland County, with no particular nautical history (except possibly of the Danes coming up the River Wye), so a trading vessel associated with the River was suggested, as Chepstow had quite extensive overseas connections – with Bristol and beyond, and bulky or expensive merchandise was often consigned by river, for Hereford, but higher up than that was unusual due to the fluctuating depths of water. In addition, there were problems with weirs and mills on the river, and also the interests of fishermen, but few or no bridges below Hereford.

There was a history of trading vessels on the Severn and Wye – barges really – flat bottomed, but although with rigging and sails, had to be able to be towed from the river bank, which limited their size. So the choice had to be between quite a variety of suitable vessels – barges, brigs, hoys, trows, sloops, snows, or even a ‘frigate’, but there was a good history of the use of Trows and so one had to be recreated – first using a museum model for arrangements, and a ship wreck for measurements of structural timbers. Historic ship restorers in Gloucester Docks prepared drawings, cut outs and then templates, and timber from local estates was given, including a nice Douglas fir for the mast.

In addition to this, a crew had to be found – oarsmen, capable of handling 15 foot (carbon Fibre) oars – but help here was at hand, with a small ‘outboard’ secreted for relief of weary limbs. If that was an historic anomaly – then there was even another – a small ‘convenience’ – subsequently much appreciated by many more than its own crew.

The real skill in the recreation, was in uniting a planked flat bottom with a ‘clinker’ framed hull, (as in lifeboats), and of course this boat will have to be in water a lot, and hopefully in use, to prevent the timbers drying out.

As there are lots of bridges to contend with on the route down the Thames, the mast has to be unshipped easily, but its height was always an advantage, otherwise when under tow, the hawsers passed from the towing team to the masthead would foul riverside obstructions.

So, after launching in Gloucester Docks, the Trow was named the “Hereford Bull”, with liberal dispensation of cider in the High Town, and was off to Kew, to prepare for their journey down the Thames, as part of the enormous flotilla headed by the Queen, and watched by THOUSANDS from the river banks, (and of course it rained).

For the Royal Visit to Hereford, the boat was on display in the Riverside playing fields, but has subsequently been available often, at a mooring near the Cathedral, and its use by School parties and Sea Scouts, hopefully will revive interest in the Counties waterborne trade (which includes the Hereford Gloucester Canal – the Leominster Canal, and for us here, the Monmouth Brecon Canal. Which contributed so much to Kington’s story in the 1800s.


Dates for your Diary

Friday 24th April  Nigel Jones on The Radnor Valley (Please note date).

Summer Recess – See Visits.

Sunday May 2015  Train Ride at Titley Junction.

Sunday June 2015  Tour of Old Impton Farmhouse, Presteigne.

Thursday 19th July 2015  David Bennet Hay on Wye Tour, including the Armstrong Walk.

(Further details of these visits in the next Bulletin.)

Editor:  Vera Harrison

Bulletin 390

March, 2015


February Talk. Titley Railway Station by Mrs Lesley Hunt

Kington was once a RAILWAY town – four branch lines converged here, as successors to the horse drawn tramway of the early 1800s.

The first arrival was from Leominster in the 1850s – financed largely by local people, and all the stations were well outside any town or village limits.

Later extensions appeared from Presteigne, and Eardisley, converging towards Kington at Titley, which in the nature of all the best English Railway Junctions, was miles from anywhere, yet served over 30 trains a day, with a staff of at least a dozen. Titley was actually lucky to become a Junction, as the Kington and Eardisley Railway originally toyed with a separate route into Kington, and also in a moment of grandiosity considered becoming part of a scheme linking South Wales with the Midlands via a connection at Craven Arms. In spite of these splendid ideas, it was the first to suffer closure, becoming abandoned during the First War, and again during the Second, after a period of interwar respite.

The one branch that could actually have prospered and survived in more rational times, was the New Radnor extension from Kington, via the quarries at Dolyhir, which had been well served by the original tramway, and the idea was floated that the extension to New Radnor could be the start of something great – eventually fetching up in Aberystwyth (next stop New York?), but Radnor Forest got in the way, so New Radnor Station was a lot further than a bowshot from the little town.

So Titley Station became a busy junction, but the trade that was best served by all this activity was the cattle and sheep sales, which took place in the meadows near Kington Station, and for which the G.W.R. would provide great numbers of cattle and sheep wagons for maybe half a dozen trains per market.

However closure came in the 50s and 60s, and the station buildings were at least subject to re use for other purposes. Titley Station was being ‘restored’ for more than a dozen years before Lesley and her husband acquired it, and since then have re-laid more track towards Bullock’s Mill, with that rescued from Moreton on Lugg sidings, and replaced the signal box, (which had an unusual encounter during its arrival, as the Hunt was out that day, and there was a confrontation, as the horses wouldn’t go backwards, and the box couldn’t go back).

Mobility is provided by a Peckett steam tank loco, accommodation by a diesel Railcar trailer, all in use for Period Reenactments, or open days for Charity Events, and holiday lets in between. The icing on the cake for the owners of the Station, is that the Railway is insured as a ‘Garden Railway’ only – what more could any true enthusiast wish for? JR


Dates for your Diary

Friday 20th March 7.30pm at Kington Primary School

‘The Wye Trow Project’ presented by Commander A G Wynn LVC MA. This talk will describe the Wye Project and explain how Herefordshire was represented in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant by a replica of a Wye Trow carrying the Lord-Lieutenant. It will follow its story from then in 2012 to its present purpose and its future. Commander Wynn has a long Royal Naval record of 18yrs His last sea-going appointment was 1984 on HMS Ark Royal. In 1988 he returned to Eton college as Assistant Bursar till 2011. Upon retirement he became involved in the Wye Trow and has been fully involved in its development since. Hi is a trustee of the Manifold Trust, Secretary of the Little Marcle branch of the Royal British Legion, member of the Hereford Cathedral Perpetual Trust Board of Governors and subscriber to the Founders Fund of the New University of Herefordshire. I think we shall be in for a fascinating evening so hope you can make it along and share the evening with us.

Friday 24th April. Radnorshire’s Walton Basin by Nigel Jones BA MCIfA Senior Project Archaeologist, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust. Since the mid 1990s the Trust has been conducting a programme of evacuation and survey which has gradually revealed one of the most significant complexes of prehistoric monuments anywhere in Britain.   A series of large Neolithic enclosures include some which are amongst the largest of their type in the country. Although there is little visible trace of these sites above ground recent work has uncovered important new evidence demonstrating how and when these monuments were constructed. (The last talk before the Summer recess).

Visits

Sunday May 2015. Train Ride at Titley Junction. Date to be confirmed.

Sunday 21st June at 2 pm. Tour of Impton House, Presteigne Private Elizabethan Farmhouse.   Date now confirmed so names please for the tour and afternoon tea. Cost will be approx £10 inc tea.

Hay On Wye Tours. Sunday 19th July 2015. We are booked to go on two tours of Hay, a Heritage Trail and the Herbert Rowse Armstrong tour. We will need to know numbers as if we are over subscribed we shall have to book another tour guide. A poster explaining the tours will be circulated at each meeting till April 24th. You are invited to put your names down and show your commitment by paying in advance.

Editor:   V. Harrison

Bulletin 389

February, 2015


Old Photo Required

Has anyone an old photo of the Vaughan & Davies premises? It has probably been photographed many times, so hope you can help. No harm will come to it.


Audrey Beavan

It is with deep regret that we report the passing away of Audrey in December. She had been ill for many months and had been greatly missed by all for some time. Until her illness, she had been a solid member of our monthly lectures. We extend our condolences to her family and all her many friends.


What the Tourists Missed in Southern Spain

A talk by Alan Stoyel

This is based on an account from working in mining engineering in and around Andalusia during the 1970s, when the Country was about to undergo major changes, and visitors from abroad to the south especially, were becoming more numerous.

Our views of Spain vary, depending on your outlook – if historian, ranging from the Armada to Gibraltar, or if a prospective visitor – concentrating on the Mediterranean seaside, with perhaps visits to Seville and Granada. However this investigation, mainly of industrial archaeology has a much broader remit, and very timely too, as the changes are sweeping much away.

The very earliest legacy from history is of the Carthaginians from across the sea (hence Cartagena), and they were followed by the Romans, mainly interested in precious metals like gold (now exhausted), but even more in useful metals like copper, tin and iron, and the legacy of these are vast mining pits, and huge areas of mining spoil, or deep narrow tunnels towards the centre of the earth, with the products being basketed up. More scenic remains of the period are the huge aqueduct, dams, and bridges, and public buildings – from Salamanca to Segovia, and Merida to Cordoba.

Later, came the Moors from North Africa, whose main legacy, apart from the architecture, is irrigation. They made canals in the fertile flat valleys, with undershot waterwheels which lifted a small proportion of the water which drove them. This was then distributed to crops.

Wind powered mills (from Cervantes) and irrigation were present, but the sails made to rotate in an agreeable anticlockwise direction. These would be either conventional (squarish) sails, or jib (triangular) sails – as on boats, and one wonders if this was a help in promoting navigation, as in 1492, when the Moors left Spain, another nautical expedition left Palos near Cadiz, in the opposite direction.

Throughout this period, a manufacture of European importance was steel from Toledo – used for swords of those who could afford them – but now, no more.

Local products needing preparation, were olives, first broken up, then pressed to release the oil (not unlike cider making) and straw, needed threshing, using a heavy board with inset numerous sharp flints, under animal power, who also provided the transport in ox carts, and also maize (post-Columban) for grinding, and pigments for pottery production, ground by a donkey worked mill.

Huelva was once a busy port exporting metal ores. It also saw the entry of materials and man power, mainly from Northern Europe, in the 1800s – engineers and equipment for the mines coming particularly from Britain. Machinery and locomotives were supplied by various British companies, including cranes from Bath! (Stothert and Pitt). All were put to work using rather poor grade Spanish coal, resulting in huge plumes of black smoke. A few locos survive, but only on plinths somewhere, or heaped together in disused sidings.

On the Atlantic coast there are tide-mills, little noticed nowadays. Tourists are more interested in the products of fermentation and distillation than in historic engineering. Review by JR


Titley Junction Railway Station

Friday 20th February 7.30pm at the Kington Primary School

Lesley Hunt will be giving us an insight into the history and restoration of this delightful iconic railway station which happens to be on our doorstep. We hope to follow this talk up with a “train ride” in May, so watch this space for details to come. Why not come along and be transported back to a steam age of long ago? Some of us will remember them and maybe share some “steam stories”. NW.

Bulletin 388

January, 2015


Emergency AGM

You will all have heard that John Potts has suffered a stroke, which leads us to calling an Emergency AGM at the beginning of the talk on January 16th 2015 , to appoint a temporary Treasurer, as John will be out of action for a considerable amount of time. Dr Rerrie reminded us that we must give at least two weeks notice to hold one, so hope that this January Bulletin will be delivered by that time asking for a volunteer to come forward.

Those members who were at the Social & Quiz sent a Get Well card to John and we all have special thoughts for Thelma at this stressful time.


SUBS.   There are still many members yet to pay their dues.   Please try to remember.   Fees are listed in the above panel.


Brief Notes from Alan Stoyel who will be giving the January talk

What the Tourists Missed in Southern Spain!

This is a series of images of the southern part of old Spain, seen in the Franco regime of 40 years ago. There are no hotels or sandy beaches in sight. Sometimes these images are in remote countryside, at other times in the shadow of major tourist attractions. This talk will seek out evidence of Spain’s rural and industrial past. It shows fascinating contrasts. The 19th century brought industrial prosperity, with machinery and expertise coming from Britain and elsewhere. In the background are the traditional industries which had remained unchanged for centuries. In recent years Spain has seen such a transformation that so many of the scenes in this talk have gone for ever.


Social & Quiz held December 5th

We all had a splendid evening.   There were raffle winners at every table and our good Doctor once again provided the alcoholic stimulation, although it would be true to say that the good cheer needed little stimulation, such was the friendship within the hall.   The quiz was won by a wonderful score of 34 out of a possible 40, the winner being duly rewarded.


Dates for your Diary

As already mentioned in this Bulletin, our January talk will be given by Alan Stoyel on January 16th, 2015.   The talk, What the Tourists missed in Southern Spain, sounds intriguing. The venue, as usual, will be in the Primary School. Try to get along for it and say a prayer for the weather, always unpredictable at this time of year.   The revelations about those Spaniards sounds exciting.

The February meeting, February 20th, 2015 is entitled Titley Railway Station and will be given by Lesley Hunt.   More details in next Bulletin.


PLEASE ADVISE IF YOU ARE ABLE TO RECEIVE YOUR BULLETINS BY EMAIL

Many of our members are having a hard time at the moment. Give them a thought sometime, and a wish for a speedy recovery to those who are ill.

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OUR MEMBERS

Bulletin 387

December, 2014

Christmas Social & Quiz

Please try to get along on Friday 5th December. Say the usual prayer for good weather and in your own inimitable way provide us with some Christmas fare and something for the raffle. I am sure our good Dr. Rerrie will once again supply the wine, although I haven’t seen him to check this. Coffee will be provided. The quiz is not too hard this year, so make a good evening of it. Love to see you there.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION ARE NOW DUE

A gentle reminder that Annual Subscriptions are now due. Please send them to John Potts, Treasurer. Many Thanks.

Kington through the Photographer’s Eye

A talk by David Latham

Dave Latham is a one time resident of Kington – formerly in the recently redundant Station Master’s House in Sunset, but when the area was upgraded to the more sonorous “Hatton Gardens Industrial Estate”, wended his way elsewhere. Needless to say, life thereabouts gravitated around the ‘Tavern in the Field’ under the direction of the omnipresent ‘Miss May’, and pre bypass Kington there was a centre of activity – Butts’ Meadow opposite, prior to the Railway closure being the site of massive sheep sales, 22,000 on one occasion, most subsequently transported elsewhere by the railway. Butts’ Meadow was also the site of a Fair Ground – I suppose the approach via Titley was less hazardous than trying to get that lot through the town, and at the very end of Victoria Road was a well remembered Friar’s Garage, with a motley collection of vehicles on display – and said to be one of the four petrol outlets in the town. We also saw the Foundry, with a section of staff on display, said to be identifiable jobwise, according to their dress code.

Moving nearer town, we saw Morgan’s Building Works, later bought by Deacons – and the Tanyard, with some serious looking pits for preparing oak bark for use on leather. The Police Station provided seven men for their picture (we must all be angels nowadays by comparison). And so into the town centre pre bypass – in grid lock sometimes, but in contrast a happy group of cyclists on tour. A curiosity – the result of individual enterprise – a war-surplus ambulance bought and modified (transmogrified) becoming by necessity either a taxi, a furniture van, a cattle truck, or even providing live-in accommodation on occasion!

And so through the busy streets and shops up to the peace of Hergest – only to see it being ploughed during World War I by a steam traction engine – driven by a lady, (the chaps had all gone off to the war, as we heard in another talk).

The abiding impression was of how nicely most people were dressed, and how interesting all the shops looked (but we didn’t go inside). Review by JR

Dates for your Diary

An early reminder for January, 2015. On January 16th, Alan Stoyel will give a talk with the intriguing title of What the Tourists missed in Southern Spain. In February, Lesley Hunt will give a talk on Titley Railway Station. More details of these talks in following issues of the Bulletin.

A very HAPPY CHRISTMAS to all, Vera Harrison.

Bulletin 386

November 2014

Friday 28th November 7 pm to 9 pm.

A Welcome Evening to the new Herefordshire Record Office. Tours of the new building, displays, photographs, Wine, Cheese etc. The Learning Room at the Herefordshire Archives and Rec­ord Centre, Fir Tree Lane, Dinedor, Hereford H1R2 6LA (off the straight Mile at Rotherwas.). Contact Phil Bufton

AGM 2014

The AGM was held on Friday 17th October 2014. The Officers and Committee were re-elected with the addi­tion of Mrs Grania Roper. The Vice Chairman thanked everyone for their services to Kington History Society.

The AGM was followed by two very interesting and enter­taining talks.

The first was by Gwyneth Guy on the History of Broughton House, Headbrook. Gwyneth had played detective and by searching census returns, old documents and newspapers on line she had built up a fascinating picture of the life and times of Broughton House.

The second talk was by Mick Turner entitled “Fings ain’t what they used to be”. He reminisced about items we used to buy and asked who remembered them, like Omo and Oxydol washing powder, Robin starch, Bronco toilet roll, etc. and Society Members soon joined in with things they remembered. It certainly brought back memories of some things long gone and others that still remain.

The evening finished with tea, coffee and biscuits and many members staying on to have a chat with our two speakers. A good evening was had by all.

 

Visit to the Mappa Mundi and Chained Library at Hereford Cathedral

Saturday 4th October

This visit was to be a follow-up to the fascinating talk by Canon Chris Pullen which had been enjoyed by Society members earlier. The exhibition is housed in a purpose- built building composed of Derbyshire sandstone. The exhibits are kept under controlled environmental conditions. Should a fire occur the air is sucked out of the building to prevent burning. On our arrival, we were met by one of the volun­teers who pointed out some of the very interesting and in­formative exhibits to do with the Mappa. Models, original artefacts and the latest interactive computer technology are used to help tell the story of the Mappa. Apparently, displays are changed occasionally so there is usually something new to see. It was fascinating to see the Mappa itself, for many members had last seen it when it was on the wall inside the cathedral.

We then moved on to look at the Chained Library. There are over 1,500 rare books dating from the 8th to the 19th centuries. It is very well laid out and it is possible to see the titles and ages of the books. Books are shelved with the spines facing away from the reader which allows the book to be taken from the shelf and read without tangling the chain. The collection is seen in its original arrangement as it was from 1611-1841.

Finally, we went up to the top of the building where books from the Lady Hawkins’ School collection had been laid out for us to see. Some of the books were early textbooks com­plete with the borrowers’ names written inside and some had graffiti inside written by schoolboys over 100 years ago. One of the items which attracted the most interest was one of the school registration books dating from the early 19th century. This included well-known Kington names including “Skarratt”!

On the Hereford Cathedral website you can take a virtual tour of the Chained Library and the Mappa Mundi. www. herefordcathedral.org/visit-us/mappa-mundi. Review J & TP.

 

Annual Subscriptions

It is that time of year again. Subscriptions are now due and can be sent to the treasurer. Many thanks.

 

The next meeting to be held on Friday 21st November 2014:

Kington Through the Photographer’s Eye, 1850 to Pres­ent. By David Latham

Local photographer David Latham has an extensive collec­tion of photographs, some he has taken himself and others he has acquired from various sources over the years. This promises to be a most fascinating evening which will show the changes to Kington and the surrounding area over the years.

 

Editor’s Note. An Early Reminder.

Please come along to the Social & Quiz on Friday 5th De­cember. The questions are reasonably easy this year and cover a large spread of knowledge. Party fare and some­thing for the raffle would be greatly appreciated. More in the next issue.

Bulletin 385

October 2014

A Very Urgent Message

Kington Museum may have to close through a lack of sup­port. Run purely by volunteers the museum is struggling to stay alive. Please consider spending just a few hours each week to keep this vital element of the town alive. The comments in the visitors’ book show how much the mu­seum is appreciated. We must keep it going. At present we need a curator, a treasurer and other volunteers. Can you help us? No special knowledge or experience is needed. If you are able to lend a hand, call in and see us, or ring Alan Stoyel.

Mappa Mundi and Chained Library

Talk by Canon Chris Pullin of the Cathedral Chapter

Hereford has an ancient Cathedral, which has undergone a variety of vicissitudes and alterations since its Pre Con­quest foundation, but possibly the most distinctive attrac­tions promoting interest and visits nowadays, are the Chained Library (unique in the Country) and the Mediae­val Mappa Mundi (unique in the World), both recognized by UNESCO.

The Library has mediaeval origins, and for safety, the books were secured by short chains to the cupboards or shelves, but accessible for use on a desk below, and a no­tice at the end identified the position of any particular vol­ume.

Among the large number of venerable and important books, there are ancient manuscript volumes, including a complete set of Anglo Saxon New Testament Gospels, still in use at the Enthronement of a new Bishop, (which surprisingly an early example of recycling, as the vellum used had been previously inscribed, but was scraped clean for reuse).

There are original Editions of printed books by Caxton, a copy of the Nuremberg Chronicles of 1493, illustrated by numerous woodcuts, and quite remarkable for the time, a copy of the “Polyglot Septuagint Bible”, originating in Spain, with versions of the Scriptures in Aramaic, Hebrew, Latin and Greek characters, side by side — imagine trying to ‘set’ that lot by hand — all back to front too!

In spite of the importance, the Library has had a peripa­tetic existence — being upstairs (over the transept or clois­ters) or downstairs, and in My Lady’s Chapel, but now oc­cupies a purpose built edifice, in which every breath is pu­rified.

Of later origins is the Mappa Mundi, a large ‘World Map’ on an animal skin, roughly 5 feet by 4 feet across, mounted on oak boards, shown to originate from the For­est of Dean just before 1300, which suggests it was at Hereford from early on, as details on the map help to date it to the late 1200s — such as the new castles of King Edward in North Wales, and a representation of it appears on the shrine of Bishop Cantiloupe (canonized in 1320).

There are links to Lincoln — a centre of map making, as Cantiloupe’s successor Bishop Swinfield (1283 to 1317) had been Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral, and other East­ern England features are accurate delineation of the River Nene and Ouse (which completely changed after 1600 with drainage in the Fens).

A feature well shown which would have been very obvious to Pilgrims to Pre-Reformation Hereford, is Clee Hill, and of course Snowdon — very visible to visitors to St. Winifred’s Well in North Wales.

This Map is essentially a Compendium of Mediaeval Knowledge, belief, and history, spread out over the Conti­nents then known — Europe, Africa and Asia. The ar­rangement follows that of a Latin map — all inside a cir­cle — signi1~ying perfection, with the continents separated by a large T shaped arrangement of the seas and rivers, and directed so that East is at the top, and Jerusalem at the centre. All cities are shown, more or less in proper rela­tion to each other, but the land is all squeezed a bit to fit the circle. Outside the circle represents Eternity, with Heaven and Hell on either side of the drawing of Christ in Glory.

All this is ultimately descended from a decree by Caesar Augustus, that “all the world should be described”, and of course he has a corner to himself with his document. In the opposite corner, a man on horseback sets out, giving a sly wave to a mermaid dangling a mirror.

There are many other sketches, some mythical — satyrs, unicorns, griffins, some realistic — the Bactrian Camel, the ostrich, and in the frozen North — men walking on planks (perhaps that where they got the idea) and of course the Russia bear — so what’s new?

Considering the present interest in the library and the map, it is a bit surprising to realize that the map was not re­corded as being in the Cathedral for 400 years after its ori­gin, and was hidden under some floor boards during the disturbances of the Civil War, only being rescued around 1800, and that Winlde’s detailed description and history of 1842, mentions neither, but we can make up our own minds with a visit on Saturday October 4th.

The Traherne Association

Traherne Day Celebrations at Hereford Cathedral 10th October, 2014.

 

Friday 17th October 2014

Annual General Meeting Followed by two short talks by local speakers.