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Glorious Bath From Roman beginnings to its Georgian heyday
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Princes in the Tower
Was King Richard III framed by Shakespeare?
The Scottish landscape that bewitched Queen Victoria
Gunpowder, treason & plot Guy Fawkes: the man behind the myth
The story of the stately home How Britain’s real-life Downton Abbeys evolved
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OCCASIONALLY A THEME EMERGES,
as we put the finishing touches to Discover Britain, which might occur more as a happy accident than by design. In this issue, the Georgians have it, from Leeds Castle (p18), which was rebuilt, albeit in Tudor style, during the reign of George IV, to the dazzling Georgian architecture of beautiful Bath (p26). We also meet the people who made the era famous – including dandy and trendsetter Beau Nash, architects John Wood the Elder and Younger, beloved novelist Jane Austen, this issue’s English eccentric, Robert “Romeo” Coates (p98), who holds the dubious honour of being the era’s worst actor, or the “mad, bad and dangerous to know” Lord Byron (p70), with whom we explore London. There is so much to love about these pleasure-seekers and the bounties of their age – the clean lines and sweeping crescents of the buildings, the theatre, literature and art. However if your interests are in Britain’s earlier, darker history, and they might be as the evenings draw in and Halloween looms on the horizon, do explore the city of York (p37), which shaped one of Britain’s most famous “villains”, Guy Fawkes. Or revisit the case of the Princes in the Tower, with Philippa Langley, famed for leading the successful search for one of history’s most misunderstood kings, Richard III (p65). And if you’re after more light and shade, do enter our fabulous competition with Leeds Castle (p25), where the winner will live like a queen in the Tudor Maiden’s Tower and then explore life below stairs... NICOLA RAYNER Interim Editor
Page 8 Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire was built in the 16th century for Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Shrewsbury
THE SECRET LIFE OF THE STATELY HOME
GUNPOWDER, TREASON AND YORK
Marianka Swain separates the Guy Fawkes facts from the popular myth
Diana Wright explores how our stately homes developed with such stunning grandeur
THE LADIES’ CASTLE
Leeds Castle’s long history is entwined with the many queens who have lived there
TO MARKET, TO MARKET
Page 18 Lovely Leeds Castle
Win an overnight stay in the Maiden’s Tower and a tour of Leeds Castle
Brenda Cook explores hidden gems and secret traditions, and asks… did you know?
GEORGIAN JEWEL On the cover: Pulteney Bridge, Bath: Robert Harding/Billy Stock
Jemima Coxshaw rounds up the best of Britain’s Christmas markets
Nancy Alsop tells the story of the people behind the splendour of Regency Bath
CASTLE COUNTRY Page 37 Historic York Shambles
We take a tour of the best of Aberdeenshire, much loved by the royal family
Contents DISCOVER LONDON
Discover Britain is published by The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ, UK Tel: 020 7349 3700 Fax: 020 7901 3701 Email: email@example.com Interim Editor Nicola Rayner Art Editor Clare White Deputy Editor Sally Hales
ON THE TOWN
Theatres, museums, shows
Group Advertisement Manager Natasha Syed Senior Sales Executive Terri Weyers Sales Executives James Davis, Daniela Rizzo
We check out the best spots to get a taste of theatrical tradition
MANAGEMENT Managing Director Paul Dobson Deputy Managing Director Steve Ross Finance Director Vicki Gavin Publisher Steve Pill Digital Marketing Manager James Dobson Brand Manager Chatty Dobson Circulation Executive Drew Brown
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN What did happen to the Princes in the Tower?
ONLINE Digital Product Manager Oliver Morley-Norris Digital Campaign Executive Emma Shriwardhankar Digital Marketing Executive Megan Wrafter
We take a look at the infamous poet’s outrageous life in the capital
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A Pearly King gives Marianka Swain an insider’s view of the city
MADE IN BRITAIN
Page 74 Meet the Pearly King of Peckham, George Major
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Page 58 Theatre Royal Drury Lane is London’s oldest theatre
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Discover Britain (ISSN 0950-5245, USPS 000-135; Digital ISSN 2397-7108) is published bi-monthly by The Chelsea Magazine Company, LTD, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ, UK. Distributed in the US by Circulation Specialists LLC, 2 Corporate Drive, Suite 945, Shelton, CT 06484. Periodicals postage paid at Shelton, CT and other offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Discover Britain, PO BOX 37518, Boone, IA 50037-0518. News distribution Australia and New Zealand: Seymour 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT, England, UK Tel: +44 20 7429 4000
© The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd 2016. All rights reserved. Text and pictures are copyright restricted and must not be reproduced without permission of the publishers The information contained in Discover Britain has been published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. However, where appropriate, you are strongly advised to check prices, opening times, dates, etc, before making final arrangements. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or damage caused by reliance on the information contained within this publication is hereby excluded. The opinions expressed by contributors to Discover Britain are not necessarily those of the publisher.
18 Page 65 We go in search of the missing Princes in the Tower
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Sally Hales tours Britain to bring you the latest travel news
Named Regional Theatre of the Year 2016, Manchester’s unique Royal Exchange Theatre celebrates 40 years of producing unforgettable drama this season. The Royal Exchange, which resembles a lunar spacecraft set down amid the glass domes and towering columns of the Great Hall of the Grade II-listed building, is the biggest in-the-round theatre in the country. Since 1976, it has welcomed the greatest names in British theatre, from Vanessa Redgrave to Maxine Peake, with the latter fronting the birthday season as Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire until 15 October. Other highlights include Hugh Whitemore’s Bletchley Park classic Breaking the Code, with the Broadway musical Sweet Charity set to open on 3 December, as the Christmas show. www.royalexchange.co.uk
HOUSE OF HORRORS
Britain is awash with stunning stately homes that are a delight in the summer sunshine. But, as the nights draw in, these historic buildings take on a more sinister character as some of the country’s most haunted places. National Trust property Ham House in Surrey, as well as being unique in Europe as the most complete survival of 17th-century fashion and power, also has a 300-year history of spooky goings-on. Said to be haunted by the ghost of a malevolent duchess, it is the site of pilgrimage for ghost societies and you can discover those things that go bump in the night, if you dare, on one of the house’s atmospheric after-hours ghost tours, which run from 21 October to 21 December. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house-and-garden
LAND OF LUXURY
Taking in the wild beauty of Snowdonia is high on many visitors’ wishlists and with the opening of the wonderful Palé Hall country house hotel (right), you can now luxuriate in the experience from extremely comfortable surroundings. The 19th-century Grade II-listed manor was built in 1871 by Henry Robertson, a well-known railway engineer, and can claim to have hosted the great and good, from Queen Victoria to Winston Churchill. Perched on the edge of Snowdonia National Park near Bala, the hotel’s 18 sumptuously styled bedrooms and suites all enjoy stunning views of the lovely Welsh landscape. And with popular TV chef Michael Caines helping out with the food, restorative fare is sure to be served up after a day exploring the majestic mountains. www.slh.com/palehall
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News WARRIOR TREASURES One of the most significant archaeological finds ever, the 8thcentury Staffordshire Hoard – the largest ever, consisting of more than 3,500 items – was discovered in a field near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, in 2009. This year, the hoard has been on a nationwide tour for the first time. Some items in the dazzling collection of gold and red garnet ornaments have never been on show before. Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard is at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from 22 October 2016 to 23 April 2017. www.bristolmuseums.org.uk
A SPLASH OF COLOUR
The seaside town of Margate has transformed itself into a haven of the arts in recent years with the opening of several galleries, including Turner Contemporary. This winter, the gallery on Margate seafront – on the site where Turner stayed – is hosting a major exhibition of the artist’s work, which is set to be the fullest survey of his watercolours of the town yet shown at the venue. JMW Turner: Adventures in Colour, from 8 October 2016 to 8 January 2017, looks at the colourful essence of the painter’s work – his distinctive use of vibrant colour was central to his success – with more than 100 works in oil and watercolour on show. www.turnercontemporary.org/exhibitions/ turner-and-colour
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
A restored 13th-century castle on an island where three lochs meet, Eilean Donan castle in the Highlands of Scotland is one of the most beautiful sights in Britain. And, now, taking in the world-famous view doesn’t have to be a fleeting affair with the opening of new loch-side luxury apartments, many of which have breathtaking views across the water to the castle itself. The apartments, in the village of Dornie adjacent to the castle, are a great way to enjoy space, freedom and flexibility to admire the world-famous scenery and also serve as a great base from which to explore the Isle of Skye, Lochalsh, Wester Ross and Loch Ness. www.eileandonanapartments.com
Britain is famous for its dazzling array of stately homes, but why and how did the phenomenon develop? Diana Wright investigates
From military might to stately splendour The story of the English country house grows out of the castles built following the Norman Conquest in 1066. But, as at Penshurst, lesser nobility and men of ambition were soon more concerned with buildings that provided domestic comfort and showed off their status and wealth rather than military might. Great halls and courtyard arrangements led the way and even apparently fortified manors increasingly adopted the picturesque look: see 15th-century Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, built by courtier Sir Edmund Bedingfeld with newly fashionable – and therefore expensive – brick, in a square moat, and with gated entrance tower and drawbridge. ➤
Burghley in Lincolnshire is a leading example of an Elizabethan prodigy house Right: The moated Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk
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The secret life of the stately home
he Baron’s Hall at the heart of Penshurst Place in Kent has been described as “one of the grandest rooms in the world”. Built in 1341 as a country retreat for merchant and four-time mayor of London Sir John de Pulteney, it was a rural des res of its time. Even now, standing beneath the soaring chestnut roof, you can imagine the communal bustle of the household feasting here: servants on the long wooden trestle tables, masters on the dais at one end of the hall. Fashions may have changed since De Pulteney left his mark in the typical medieval manor style of a central hall joining two wings in an “H” plan. But his country pile perfectly sets the scene for a romp through seven centuries showing how England’s stately homes have altered to mirror the dreams and needs of their owners.
Xxx From left to right: Witness the shift from fortified houses, such as the 14th-century Penshurst Place, to the grand classicism of the 1700s in Holkham Hall
Stately homes Below: The Cloisters at Lacock Abbey reveal its monastic roots Bottom: Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, a wonderful example of an Elizabethan prodigy house
The Tudor era unleashed a dazzling burst of building on a grand scale, marking a transition from medieval to modern architecture. The opportunity to curry favour with king or queen on their travels spurred would-be hosts to create lavish country houses demonstrating their cultural good taste, including “antick” Renaissance decoration following French and Italian fashions. Light flooded in through larger windows as glass became cheaper, rooms were better heated (admire those tall, elaborately patterned Tudor chimneys) and furnishings became more luxurious. King Henry VIII helped things along with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, releasing tracts of land to be snatched up by gentry. If religious buildings weren’t swept away, they were incorporated into new estates – see Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, notable also for its Tudor courtyard with brewhouse and bakery: self-sufficiency underpinned the smooth running of households.
Decoding the layout
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Soon the magnificent Elizabethan prodigy (meaning exceptional or enormous) houses appeared, including Longleat, Burghley and Hardwick Hall. At Burghley, Lincolnshire, you need only look at the roof to get a measure of its builder, William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I.
A veritable miniature city of turrets, stair-towers, decorative finials and chimneys disguised as Doric columns, it was built to impress onlookers; such roofs were also used for recreation away from vile smells of rudimentary plumbing below and, in the rooftop “banketting house”, one might indulge in a romantic dalliance or political intrigue away from prying eyes. Inside great Tudor houses, a sequence of state rooms was designed for receiving important visitors, moving from Great Chamber, often with Chair of State, to Withdrawing Chamber and State Bedchamber for the use of VIPs, potentially the monarch. You can follow such a route at Derbyshire’s Hardwick Hall: through the Great Hall where servants ate and gossiped – Elizabethan servants did not live “below stairs” but within calling distance, in this case of their formidable mistress Bess of Hardwick. Up the stone stairs, past the everyday living rooms, you come to the High Great Chamber decorated with an extraordinary frieze and Brussels tapestries. Following a sumptuous dinner here you would have enjoyed entertainments in the Withdrawing Chamber or strolled the Long Gallery – the de rigueur feature of Tudor stately homes, long galleries showcased ancestral portraits and art, were used for indoor exercise during inclement weather, and for music and dancing. ➤
VISIT KELMSCOTT MANOR
VISIT THE COTSWOLDS RETREAT OF WILLIAM MORRIS VISITING HOURS (APRIL - OCTOBER) Wednesday and Saturday, 11am to 5pm Explore William Morris’s “Heaven on Earth” and view the iconic collection of artwork and objects owned and designed by the Father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Discover why the Cotswold home became an inspiration for him and his family and explore the riverside gardens, enjoy homemade food from our licensed tearoom and visit our gift shop. International Excellence Award (TravelZoo, 2015) “Secret Britain: 50 Hidden Gems to Seek Out This Summer” (Telegraph, 2015) Best Small Visitor Attraction (Cotswolds Tourism, 2014) Certificate of Excellence (TripAdvisor, 2014)
WWW.KELMSCOTTMANOR.ORG.UK Kelmscott Manor is owned by the Society of Antiquaries of London (registered charity 207237). Address: Kelmscott Manor, Kelmscott, Lechlade GL7 3HJ | Tel: 01367 252486 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.kelmscottmanor.org.uk | Twitter: @KelmscottManor
Stately homes Holkham Hall is an exquisite example of 18th-century Palladianism
Another secret necessity of the era for Roman Catholic families, when practising their faith was forbidden, was a priest hole. Moated redbrick Harvington Hall in Worcestershire had no fewer than seven priest hides which were added during the Reformation, including two reached via a false chimney. The building of prodigy houses continued into the early 17th century, and they were noted for their richly carved interior woodwork and entrance halls dazzling with black-and-white marble chequer-board floors.
Classical style The century also saw Inigo Jones, the first English architect in the modern sense, introduce the classical style from Italy. Now, anyone with good taste embraced Palladianism, following the balanced proportions and symmetry advocated by the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The Inigo Jones/John Webb Single and Double Cube Rooms at Wilton House, Wiltshire, perfectly proportioned, swaggeringly decorated and dripping with Van Dycks are the grandest surviving rooms of the time. There were monumental, theatrical forays into baroque – witness the John Vanbrugh/Nicholas Hawksmoor collaborations at Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace. But Palladianism and neoclassical designs by the likes of Robert Adam prevailed into the 18th century, encouraged by the vogue for the Grand Tour that all self-respecting scions of wealthy families undertook around Europe, particularly Italy, to round off their education. ➤
Self-sufficiency was paramount in the running of country houses, with gardens providing fruit, vegetables and herbs. By Tudor times the decorative possibilities of gardens were also keenly appreciated, and rooms like long galleries were designed to look out on them: knot gardens, in particular, were best viewed from above. Above all, the revolutionary landscape style of the 18th century, championed especially by Lancelot “Capability” Brown (1716-1783), is associated with “the stately home look”: naturalistic parklands of undulating grass, sinuous rivers and lakes, artfully placed clumps of trees and teasing vistas. Brown – the tercentenary of his birth is being celebrated this year – advised clients their estates had “great capabilities” (hence his nickname) at more than 250 landscapes across the country, Longleat (pictured), Burghley and Blenheim Palace among them.
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COME INTO THE GARDEN
Magnificent Ragley Hall dates back to 1680, with spectacular guided tours of the impressive Palladian state rooms and Great Hall throughout the year.
The Hoghton Tower Tea Room A tranquil setting for an Afternoon Tea with friends or simply escape from the city for tea and freshly made scones
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House, tea room and gift shop opens April until October, Sunday to Thursday. %,.-!%+-*. -$,).times ,&.-- Visit our website for opening and events www.hoghtontower.co.uk/events
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The kitchens at Petworth House in West Sussex boast over 1,000 copper pots and pans
Celebrate theXxx best of English style
They returned with vast amounts of treasures – paintings, sculptures, Roman and Greek artefacts – that now adorn so many stately homes such as Palladian Holkham Hall, Thomas Coke’s vision of an Italian villa, albeit on the windswept north Norfolk coast.
Upstairs, downstairs The 19th century gave rise to a bewildering array of nostalgic architectural styles, from Gothic to Old English. Even more fascinating is the heyday of “upstairs, downstairs” life. A far cry from the communal living of medieval halls and servants-on-display in Tudor households, Victorian and Edwardian stately homes prized discreet service and kept lower servants out of sight. House designs reflected this, with “upstairs” life focused on library, dining and drawing rooms, separated from the world of servants by the sound-proofed “green baize door”. Bell systems enabled butler or maid to be summoned as required; otherwise staff laboured below stairs and in service wings, scurrying along hidden corridors or tunnels. Now, of course, we can explore the servants’ secret world: the laundries at Shugborough in Staffordshire; and, in West Sussex, the butler’s pantry and housekeeper’s room at Uppark House, or kitchens at Petworth House boasting over 1,000 copper pots and pans. As fans of Downton Abbey are only too aware, in the 20th century countless great estates went into decline or vanished, their fortunes hit by agricultural depression from the 1870s, swingeing death duties introduced in 1894, social change and requisitioning during two world wars. Nevertheless, many magnificent homes, lots still in private ownership, have found new life by opening their doors to public visitors – allowing us a dazzling tour through 700 years of stately living. n
Each issue celebrates the quintessentially English style of decorating. Its pages are full of elegant interiors, the latest design ideas and the finest British craftsmanship.
“Bell systems enabled butler or maid to be summoned as required; otherwise staff laboured below stairs and in service wings”
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â€œWhen the bracken is golden and there is faint blue mist among the trees â€“ the loveliest castle, as thus beheld, in the whole worldâ€? 18 discoverbritainmag.com
THE LADIESâ€™ CASTLE
From warring medieval queens to the most dazzling parties of the Jazz Age, Leeds Castle has always been at the centre of things. Nicola Rayner pays a visit
Leeds castle In addition to the Gloriette, a bathhouse was commissioned for Eleanor by Edward I between 1280 and 1290. “It’s a really interesting space we recently drained and dug down to find the massive foundation stones,” says Kemkaran-Smith. (Look out for it in the second series of Secrets of Great British Castles which airs in the UK this autumn.)
The She-Wolf of France Another formidable queen who made her mark is Queen Isabella, known as the She-Wolf of France, who made quite an entrance at a time when the castle had passed into private ownership. “In 1321, under the rule of King Edward II, his queen, Isabella, came here to seek shelter for the night,” says Kemkaran-Smith. “At that stage it was owned by the Badlesmeres – Lord Badlesmere was away but Lady Badlesmere was here and she actually refused entry to the queen and had her men fire upon her with arrows. That did not go down well, as you can imagine: the castle was laid siege to and the Badlesmeres came to a sticky end.” Did Lady Badlesmere know it was the queen at the gate? “Yes, absolutely. She said, so the story goes, that her husband had left her with instructions not to let anybody in without his say-so and obviously he hadn’t added the caveat, ‘If the king or queen turns up, you let them in.’”
A second Spanish queen
Top: The moated castle stands on two islands Above: The Queen’s Bathroom Previous page: Leeds is widely regarded as one of the UK’s most lovely castles
Jumping ahead to the Tudor period, King Henry VIII and his first queen, Catherine of Aragon, spent a fair amount of time at Leeds. “And what Henry does between 1517 and 1520 is he refurbishes the Gloriette, specifically for Catherine,” explains Kemkaran-Smith. At this time, the king added a chapel for his religious wife and in today’s chapel, a modern reconstruction, visitors can see the queen’s missal book or perhaps recall her heritage in the Spanish-style Fountain Court, which, though a later addition, takes its influence from the Alhambra in Granada. Another monument to this period is the Maiden’s Tower, a remarkably intact Tudor building that stands separate from both the main castle and the Gloriette and once known, for reasons that become obvious when you see it, as the Square Tower. “There are two different suggestions for it being called the Maiden’s Tower,” says Kemkaran-Smith. “One is that it was to house Queen Catherine’s ladies-in-waiting, ➤
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mong the waters on an autumnal evening when the bracken is golden and there is faint blue mist among the trees – the loveliest castle, as thus beheld, in the whole world.” Lord Conway’s famous description of Leeds Castle perfectly conjures the dreamy vision of the water-enveloped fortress that stands on two islands near Maidstone, Kent. Owing to its riverside location there has been a building on the site in Leeds since Saxon times – the name is said to have come from the Saxon word “Esledes” – but the first stone castle was built by a Norman baron during the reign of William the Conqueror’s son. It is tempting to conclude that the exquisite beauty of the place comes from the feminine touch. Known as the “ladies’ castle”, Leeds is famed for being owned by six medieval queens and the vestiges of these powerful women, as well its final female owner, can be traced throughout the castle today. The first queen of the castle was Queen Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I, who purchased the castle in 1278. “Quite unusually for this period, Eleanor buys the castle herself with her independent wealth,” explains curator Annie Kemkaran-Smith. “She’s not only the first royal to own it, but, as far as we can tell, the first female.” Under her ownership the castle’s famous Gloriette, which occupies a separate island from the main building linked by a bridge, was built on the site of the original Norman keep. “Gloriette is a Spanish word – Eleanor of Castile was of course from Spain – that refers to a building within a garden, a summer house if you like, though that’s a rather crude interpretation of it,” says Kemkaran-Smith. “It’s always been called the Gloriette throughout the records, whenever the castle is bought and sold.”
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Kent though in my view the ladies would have been with the queen in her private apartments. The second account is that during that period Queen Catherine allowed a female religious hermit to live there, so again the idea of women inhabiting the castle comes up. “The other important thing about Henry and Catherine,” she adds, “is that in 1520, on their way to the meeting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold with Francis I of France, they stayed overnight at Leeds with a retinue of thousands of people who camped out across the estate. We have a painting on loan to us of the embarkation at Dover with Henry in gold on the ship with golden sails. That meeting is one of the greatest political shindigs in history – a complete show of power on both sides.”
A PRIVATE COLLECTION/LEEDS CASTLE FOUNDATION
Below: King Henry VIII embarks on his way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520 Bottom: The Banqueting Hall features three paintings of King Richard II
That chapter in the castle’s history is recalled at Leeds today, where visitors can sleep under canvas at the Knight’s Glamping site from April to September, though those who prefer royal treatment can seek accommodation in the period-style bedrooms of the Maiden’s Tower. The Stable Courtyard accommodation, meanwhile, recalls the castle’s former celebrity guests. Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI, inherited Leeds Castle, “and he is the one that the royal ownership ends with after almost 300 years,” explains Annie. “He, in 1552, gifts it to Anthony St Leger to thank him for his efforts in subduing the Irish, which is when it passes into private hands. From that point there follows a whole host of private owners, so it goes from the St Legers, to the Smythes, to the Culpepers to the Fairfaxes.” That period saw the demolition of the Tudor building and the construction of a Jacobean mansion, built by the Smythe family, in its place, which was later clad, by the 7th Lord Fairfax, in “a very weird Gothic exterior in the style of the Strawberry Hill in Twickenham,” says Kemkaran-Smith. “Fortunately, the descendants of the Fairfax family were the Wykeham Martins, who knocked the building down and built what you can see today – so that very Tudor-looking building with the turrets dates to 1822. It was designed and built by an architect called William Baskett. He had the sensitivity, instead of building some grand late-Georgian pile, to think about what would be right for the look and feel of the castle.”
Xxx The last lady of the castle Around 100 years later, the Wykeham Martins were forced to sell the castle to pay death duties, leading to the final chapter in the 900-year history of the castle’s inhabitants, but no insignificant one. Enter Lady Baillie, as she was known after her third husband, an Anglo-American heiress for whom the castle was her lifelong love – one that outlived her three marriages. “She completely guts everything leaving nothing of the Victorian interiors at all,” says Kemkaran-Smith. “She employs a designer called Armand-Albert Rateau who tries to recreate and reference the medieval history of the castle.” So successful was the project that Rateau’s 16th-century style spiral staircase, crowned by a laughing crusader, is used to film Tudor costume dramas today. In the 1930s, the castle became a famous weekend destination for the great and the good – Anthony Eden, Errol Flynn, Noël Coward, David Niven, Charlie Chaplin and even Edward, Prince of Wales and Mrs Simpson – described by Christopher Ogden as “the most stimulating salon in Britain”. Crossing what was the croquet lawn one can almost hear the tinkle of cocktail glasses or the syncopated rhythms of the Jazz Age. It is said unmarried male guests were allocated rooms in the Maiden’s Tower so no corridor-creeping could go on after bedtime. Lady Baillie, who left the castle to a charitable trust when she died in 1974, is everywhere at Leeds – from the pencil drawing of her beloved dogs to her face looking
Above: Etienne Drian’s painting of Lady Baillie and her daughters Susan and Pauline Below: Lady Baillie’s famous blue bedroom was designed by Stéphane Boudin
out, a touch imperiously, from the Etienne Drian painting of her and her daughters. There’s the strongest sense of her in the lavish Stéphane Boudin interiors down to the smallest detail of a reading light or maid’s bell. But my favourite of the Lady Baillie anecdotes involves a secret staircase in the Gloriette running down to the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall where the shy, but formidable, hostess would wait till the party was in full swing before slipping down to join her illustrious guests. n
DISCOVER MORE Winston Churchill is said to have given Lady Baillie a pair of black swans. The birds can still be spotted at the castle today. Look out for the three paintings of King Richard II in the Henry VIII Banqueting Hall. Exotic birds – beloved by Lady Baillie – abound throughout the castle, but more discreetly placed is a painting of Golden Miller – the racehorse belonging to Lady Baillie’s sister, Dorothy Wyndham Paget, and winner of both the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1934. www.leeds-castle.com
For Britain’s most beautiful moated castles, see www.discoverbritainmag.com/ moats_and_majesty ➤
Sissinghurst Castle Garden
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22 October - 20 November
Every day between 11am - 3:30pm, normal admission applies Relive childhood memories with this exhibition of paper and card toys. The collection in this exhibition demonstrates how popular, versatile and enchanting paper and card toys have been over the years. Be sure to visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sissinghurst to find out more about what’s going on this winter and for access details Sissinghurst Castle Garden TN17 2AB / 01580 710700
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WIN an overnight stay in the Maiden’s Tower Stay in the “loveliest castle in the world” and enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour the 1930s took military precision. Explore restricted areas below stairs to learn how the castle’s servants made this seem effortless. The overnight stay will be on a bed and breakfast basis including a full English or continental breakfast, made with fresh local produce, served in the 17th-century oak-beamed Fairfax Restaurant the following morning. www.leeds-castle.com
How to enter To be in with the chance of winning this special prize go to www.discoverbritainmag. com/leeds-castle-competition or fill in the coupon below with the answer to the question. Question: Which of Henry VIII’s wives is most closely associated with Leeds Castle? a) Catherine of Aragon b) Anne of Cleves c) Catherine Parr
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The closing date for entries is 1 December. Accommodation booking is for Monday to Thursday nights only with a four-week lead time valid until 31 March 2017 excluding school holidays and subject to availability. For full terms and conditions, go to www.discoverbritainmag.com/leeds-castle-competition
ENTRY FORM SEND YOUR COUPON TO: US readers – Leeds Castle Competition, C/O Circulation Specialists, 2 Corporate Drive, Suite 945, Shelton, CT 06484 UK and ROW – Leeds Castle Competition, Discover Britain, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd, Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ, UK My answer: Name: Address: Postcode: Tel no:
LEEDS CASTLE FOUNDATION
ancy living like a queen for a night at Leeds Castle, as well as experiencing an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of life below stairs? It’s possible to do both with our fabulous competition, which offers one lucky reader and a guest an overnight stay in the 16th-century Maiden’s Tower, in a five-star en suite bedroom, and a private guided tour, The Below Stairs – A Servant’s Life. The Maiden’s Tower was built on the order of King Henry VIII for his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and each of the five bedrooms is named after a medieval queen. Later the tower was used as a brewhouse and estate workshop before Lady Baillie returned it to domestic use (it’s said single male guests at her famous parties were lodged there to prevent corridor-creeping!). Until 2001, the tower was the home of Lady Baillie’s daughter Susan, and it has since been restored to its former glory with rooms exquisitely decorated in period style with a contemporary twist, offering breathtaking views and en suite bathrooms. The lucky winner and his or her guest will also have the rare opportunity to enjoy a private tour of the castle. The Below Stairs Tour – A Servant’s Life reveals how the discreet running of a large household in
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MAP ILLUSTRATION: LISA HELLIER
Georgian jewel Today we might take the marvels of Regency Bath for granted, but it didnâ€™t always look so spectacular. Nancy Alsop tells the story of the people who made it what it is now
Pulteney Bridge is a Grade I-listed jewel in the city’s crown Right: Dandy Beau Nash drove Bath’s lively social scene Previous page: The Circus is among the country’s finest Georgian architecture
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ath, the jewel of Somerset set picturesquely in the valley of the River Avon, is a city of such unambiguous beauty it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. The accolade made official what had hitherto been accepted for centuries. But for the origins of the Bath story, we must go back almost three millennia, to one day in 863BC when a certain Prince Bladud happened upon the area’s natural thermal springs. After the prince’s bath, it seemed the restorative waters had cured the skin disease from which he had long suffered. Later, the Romans, always partial to a public bath, laid down roots here in around AD 43 and named it Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”). Today, one million people still come to see the public Bath the ancient settlers built here to partake of the warm spring water. But for most, Bath remains synonymous with the Georgian era, the golden tones of the period’s architecture and the majestic sweep of the Royal Crescent indelibly associated with this most refined of cities. The natural springs proved once more powerfully persuasive for its 18th-century revival; the fashionable set, led by the dandy and trendsetter Richard “Beau” Nash, would come to partake of its curative qualities. And in doing so, they left their indelible stamp on the city; for no other can rival Bath for its surviving Georgian architecture, masterplanned and built in the main by the architect John Wood the Elder and his son John Wood the Younger, and constructed in the unmistakable honeyed hues of local Bath stone. The sensational redevelopment of this formerly sleepy backwater of a market town into a thriving metropolis can be ascribed chiefly to three men: Nash, John Wood ➤
Above: Prior Park’s Palladian bridge offers beautiful views of Bath Below: Jane Austen’s novels brought high society to life
the Elder and finally the entrepreneur and philanthropist, Ralph Allen. The latter was, perhaps, both the most unlikely and yet the most influential of them all. Having come to Bath from his native Cornwall as an unassuming assistant to a postmistress, in a classic rags to riches tale – complete with the moral that enlightenment comes from hard graft – his labours saw him become the youngest postmaster in the land. From there, his horizons only expanded; he won the patronage of General Wade in 1715 and, with it, revolutionised the country’s postal system, saving huge amounts of money annually. But Allen was not satisfied with rebuilding the postal system; having witnessed the beginnings of Bath’s architectural renaissance as conceived by John Wood the Elder, he decided to build a railway to transport huge stone blocks from Combe Down Quarry (now owned by none other than Allen himself), thus revolutionising and enabling the building process. Success, as ever, breeding success. Allen used the fortune acquired from the quarry to build Prior Park, the self-made man’s Palladian mansion, where he would go on to entertain the great and good, and all the foremost poets of the day. Naturally, Allen commissioned John Wood the Elder to design his grand house. But
in yet another masterstroke, the unerring entrepreneur sought the advice of legendary garden designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown as well as, perhaps more unusually, the poet Alexander Pope. The result is a garden that houses a Palladian bridge, from which visitors today can gain the most splendid views across Bath. In the words of Allen, Prior Park was built both, “To see all Bath, and for all Bath to see.” No visit to Bath today is complete without parading along the Royal Crescent, undoubtedly the most impressive set-piece example of Georgian architecture in the country. Its sweeping half-moon of 30 houses was designed by John Wood the Younger in 1767 and built by 1774. Its curved façade of stone overlooking Victoria Park remains as ideal today for a picnic post-perambulation (parasol optional) as it was in the 18th century. A five-minute walk down the road sits the Circus, perhaps the second finest example of Georgian architecture in the kingdom. Conceived by John Wood the Elder and executed by his son, the circular residential design was imagined to conform with classical Palladian architectural ideals. Notable too are its dimensions; Wood the Elder emulated those from nearby Stonehenge, convinced Bath had once been a centre for Druid activity. Also foremost among Bath’s architectural gems is the Grade I-listed, limestone-hewn Pulteney Bridge, designed in 1770 by the neoclassicist architect Robert Adam. Its ➤
NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/JAMES DOBSON/ALAMY/CLASSIC IMAGE
45m width stretches across the River Avon and is based upon an original, but ultimately unused, design for the Rialto Bridge in Venice by Andrea Palladio. It is one of only four bridges in the world to house shops across its entire span (others include the Ponte Vecchio in Florence as well as the Rialto). An unexpected slice of la dolce vita in Bath – albeit one named after Frances Pulteney, the wife of a member of parliament called William Johnstone. Bath’s architectural heyday was, naturally, matched by its simultaneous transformation into the fashionable epicentre of life outside London for the socialites of the day. And chief among them was Beau Nash. Following the lead of Queen Anne, who had taken the waters at Bath in 1702, royalty, aristocracy and those lower down
the social strata too came to bathe in the spa waters (something visitors can do to this day, while enjoying spectacular views of the city, at Thermae Bath Spa). But it wasn’t until 1705, when the gambler, dandy and socialite Richard “Beau” Nash arrived that it could truly be said that the fashion set had arrived. Having dropped out of Oxford University and neglected his legal studies, Nash soon discovered that the life of the idle rich was to his liking. As such, Nash made it his business to become fast friends with and an invaluable aid to Bath’s Master of Ceremonies, Captain Webster. Webster saw to the social calendar in Bath; but when he met his demise in a duel (perhaps, inevitably, an altercation as the result of a card game), Nash crowned
STAY IN BATH
the natural thermal pools. www. thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk
The Gainsborough Bath’s newest hotel is already a member of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World group, and it isn’t hard to see why; the entire experience radiates slick five-star luxury. The rooms (many overlooking Bath Abbey) are immaculately stylish and comfortable, the service is slick without being obsequious and the whole operation is grand and unstuffy. This is a splendidly confident urban hotel with – naturally – one of the finest spas in the country. Worth it just for
The Pig Situated a few miles outside of Bath, the Pig’s third outpost is a perfectly formed country house hotel, albeit with a knowing twist that reflects founder Robin Hutson’s ethos of cultivated country charm. Rooms, as ever, reflect the shabby chic design the hotels are known for (more chic than shabby), and the splendid foraged-for food – predictably heavy on the pork-based dishes – attracts visitors from a considerable distance. Nothing is more
delightful than a walk around its abundant kitchen garden. www.thepighotel.com The Royal Crescent It wouldn’t be a visit to Bath without a trip to its most iconic landmark. And the Royal Crescent Hotel (right), refurbished and updated, sits in the middle of the John Wood the Younger set piece, ready to welcome visitors like a benevolent grande dame. The elegant accommodation often features four-poster beds and antique furnishings, and the three AA Rosette Dower House restaurant has acquired a
reputation for some of the best food in the area. Besides, how often can you say you have spent the night at the Royal Crescent? www.royalcrescent.co.uk Bath Priory A perfect blend of urban and rural, the Bath Priory is a short walk from the centre of town, yet peaceful and secluded enough to feel like a retreat from the madding crowds. Under head chef Sam Moody, the Michelin-starred restaurant is a serious destination, but the atmosphere is one of calm luxury and flawless aesthetic choices. www.thebathpriory.co.uk
himself successor. His self-coronation was such that he even unabashedly declared himself “King of Bath”. A fop and a dandy to his core, Nash brought dash and a hint of danger to the city. He refused to wear the social uniform of the day; in place of the customary white wig, he paraded around the city in a much-adorned black one; instead of a primly buttoned-up coat, his was worn undone to show off the ornate waistcoat and ruffles that lay beneath; he issued a new code of conduct that insisted men wear stockings and shoes instead of the usual knee-length boots. Frivolity, though no inconsequential matter to Nash, was not the only item on his social agenda. To his credit, he also helped the poorer members of society by collecting for worthy causes, as well as – somewhat radically – helping to shake off class divides in the city, encouraging people to mingle outside their immediate
social bubble. He often helped gamblers who found themselves heavily indebted but, in a cruel twist of fate, Nash faced his own financial ruin by 1740 (although he was saved from total destitution by one of his kinder mistresses). His legacy to the city remains enduring however, not least in the building of the Bath Assembly Rooms, where the public would, naturally, come to dance gamble and listen to music. One such reveller was, of course, Jane Austen, who moved to Bath in 1801 and stayed until 1806, and remains the city’s most famous resident. Do visit the Jane Austen Centre, fittingly situated at number 40 Gay Street, where thousands of annual visitors gain a fascinating insight into life as a Regency lady. A hint: there was plenty of gaiety, mainly in the form of the balls and high society events that Miss Austen so perfectly describes in her books. ➤
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The Assembly Rooms’ Ball Room would have been the scene of much gaiety Left: Get in the Regency spirit at Bath‘s Jane Austen Festival
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merriments enjoyed by, among others, Jane Austen and “Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay,” writes Charles Dickens. Its four rooms – the Great Octagon, Tea Miss Austen in Persuasion, “were the earliest of all their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple Room, Ball Room and Card Room – were eulogised as “the most noble and elegant in the kingdom” when they must be waited for, they took their station by one of opened in 1771. Today, visitors can call in on the Fashion the fires in the Octagon Room.” The Octagon Room to Museum on its ground floor. which she refers is, of course, the very same one that But perhaps the most fitting evocation of life in the city visitors to Bath can still see at the Assembly Rooms, once are to be found in Austen’s own words. In Northanger the epicentre of the Georgian social whirl. Designed by Abbey, she writes: “They arrived in Bath. Catherine was John Wood the Younger in 1769 after a proposal by the all eager delight – her eyes were here, there, architect Robert Adam was thrown out for everywhere, as they approached its fine and being too expensive, it was conceived as a For more on striking environs, and afterwards drove place dedicated to pleasure. Bath’s historic through those streets which conducted them Dancing, music, balls and high tea were treasures, see www. discoverbritainmag.com to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and the primary functions of the Assembly she felt happy already.” n Rooms, which provided the setting for
Above: The magnificent 18th-century Pump Room at the Roman Baths is still the best place to dine in style
Gunpowder, treason and York
MAP ILLUSTRATION: REBECCA LEA WILLIAMS
Marianka Swain explores the birthplace of Guy Fawkes, and separates fact from enduring myth
emember, remember, the fifth of November” rings out across Britain, as notorious plotter Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy on Bonfire Night. His part in the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot still echoes through history, but have we judged him too harshly? Guy Fawkes was born in York in April 1570, on the corner of Stonegate and Petergate, where the Guy Fawkes Inn now stands. He grew up in the shadow of the Gothic cathedral York Minster, boasting the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in Britain, and his grandparents and father were buried in its churchyard. Surprisingly, given his later affiliation, Fawkes’s
immediate family were Protestants: he and his sisters were baptised in the 16th-century St Michael le Belfrey Church, which today features a facsimile of his baptismal entry. His father was a proctor and advocate at the Archbishop’s consistory court, and died when Fawkes when eight. His mother had established Catholic sympathies through her family – which included a Lord Mayor of York and a Jesuit priest – and she subsequently married recusant Catholic Dionis Baynbridgge from nearby Scotton, Harrogate, in 1579. Fawkes converted to Catholicism as a teenager, possibly swayed by his new family or contact with the prominent Catholic
Pulleyn and Percy families in Scotton. From 1582, he attended St Peter’s School in York with brothers John and Christopher “Kit” Wright, who later joined the Gunpowder Plot, and future priests Oswald Tesimond, Edward Oldcorne and Robert Middleton. St Peter’s had strong Catholic leanings, with a school governor sentenced to 20 years in prison for recusancy and John Pulleyn as its headmaster. Today, Fawkes’s school – the third oldest in the UK – loyally refuses to burn a guy on Bonfire Night.
The Pearl of York But Fawkes would not have needed contact with specific individuals to fuel his Catholic
ALAMY/PORTRAIT ESSENTIALS/CW IMAGES/CLEARVIEW/MSP TRAVEL IMAGES/TOMMY (LOUTH)/ HERITAGE IMAGE PARTNERSHIP LTD/VISITBRITAIN/ANDREW PICKETT
Clockwise, from left: The Shambles hide a violent past; All Saints Pavement; the street’s overhanging design protected the meat traded there; the Guy Fawkes Inn; St Michael le Belfry; the plot is discovered Previous page: A 19th-century wood engraving of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators
sympathies: his home city was teeming with gruesome tales. York’s All Saints Pavement church houses the replicas of the helmet, sword and gauntlets of Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, who led the failed 1569 Rising of the North to depose Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Percy was captured and beheaded at a public execution outside All Saints, without trial, making a passionate profession of his faith that was said to have inspired Margaret Clitherow, “the Pearl of York”. She risked her life by harbouring Catholic priests and, though pregnant, was arrested, held in Kidcotes Prison, and then put ➤
“Contrary to popular opinion, the conspiracy was not masterminded by Fawkes, but by the charismatic Robert Catesby”
York Top to bottom: The St Margaret Clitherow Shrine in York’s Shambles; the King’s Manor, now part of the University of York, was home to the Council of the North
to death by pressing on Ouse Bridge on Lady Day, 1586. This brutal treatment of a woman was condemned by Elizabeth I. Margaret was canonised in 1970 by Pope Paul VI, and a relic – said to be her hand – is housed in York’s Bar Convent, the oldest surviving Catholic convent in England. Mary Ward, a relative of future plotters the Wright brothers, inspired its secret founding in 1686 when it was still illegal to practise the religion – the convent featured eight escape routes and a hiding hole in the floor. There is also a shrine to St Margaret on the Shambles, the butchers’ street – her husband was a butcher, and their house contained the priest hole that sealed her fate. The street name derives from the Anglo-Saxon fleshammels (“flesh-shelves”), referring to butchers displaying their meat (the top-heavy architectural design was said to shelter the meat which was displayed on the window sills). Today it is hard to imagine that one of Britain’s quaintest thoroughfares,
which is crammed with tearooms and shops, was the scene of so much bloodshed.
Royalty and religion
“Today, Fawkes’s school – the third oldest in the UK – loyally refuses to burn a guy on Bonfire Night”
The religious tensions of the time were reflected in the great buildings of York. Powerful St Mary’s Abbey was sold off and stripped by King Henry VIII to fund his war with France, and when 35,000 pilgrims marched through York demanding a return to the rule of the Pope – the “pilgrimage of Grace” of 1536 – the King executed leader Robert Aske and hung his body in chains from Clifford’s Tower as a warning. When Fawkes was growing up, the once great abbey had been reduced to a quarry. The St Mary’s abbot’s house became King’s Manor, housing the Council of the North – which weeded out Catholics and secret priests. Henry VIII visited in 1541, inspiring the name, and King James VI of Scotland stopped in on his way south to become King James I of England in 1603. A shield above the entrance is a symbol of unity – the lion represents England, the unicorn, Scotland, in Charles I’s coat of arms – but concord was a long time coming. As well as teaching Fawkes the harsh lessons of Protestant rule, York demonstrated the consequences of rebellion. Micklegate Bar, the royal entrance to the city, was decorated with the severed heads of traitors skewered on pikes, including Thomas Percy and later another member of the Percy family, who joined Fawkes in the Gunpowder Plot.
Fawkes – by most accounts a pious, honourable and courageous man – sold off inherited land in Gillygate and Clifton (where St Peter’s School now stands) in order to enlist in the Catholic Spanish army aged 21. There, Fawkes developed a knowledge of explosives and met Thomas Winter and Kit Wright, with whom he joined forces to plan the assassination of King James – the increasingly intolerant monarch who declared his “utter detestation” of Catholicism. However, contrary to popular opinion, the conspiracy was not masterminded by Fawkes, but by the charismatic Robert Catesby. Fawkes became the more renowned of the plotters because he was
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York Top to bottom: The royal entrance to the city, Micklegate Bar, displayed the heads of traitors during Fawkes’s lifetime; the famous plotter grew up in the shadow of the monumental York Minster cathedral
the one who crept into the cellar beneath the House of Lords during the state opening of Parliament, on 5 November 1605, to light the fuse, and was thus caught red-handed with 36 barrels of gunpowder. He withstood two days of torture on the rack in the Tower of London before finally confessing and naming his co-conspirators. But he was not hanged, drawn and quartered, as so many traitors had been: he escaped that fate by leaping off the gallows and breaking his neck in 1606. His body was still quartered, and sent to the four corners of the kingdom, but the king admired his “Roman resolution”. Catesby, meanwhile, was killed in a siege while trying to evade capture. Following the Gunpowder Plot, anti-Catholic repression increased dramatically. In York, Catholics were under strict surveillance and more than 50 were imprisoned for refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the king – 40 died in prisons at York Castle, Monk Bar and Ouse Bridge.
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The plot’s legacy Today we remember Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot through the annual search of the Palace of Westminster’s cellars before the state opening of Parliament and, of course, with bonfires on 5 November. The latter began in 1605, with Londoners lighting fires in thanksgiving that their king had been saved; later celebrations added fireworks and effigies. But does Fawkes deserve this fate? While it is impossible to condone a plot that would have ended in the deaths of so many, an exploration of York’s grisly history does, at least, explain what shaped the most famous of the Gunpowder Plotters and why he came to believe violence to be the most effective course of action – and a fitting revenge given the mistreatment of Catholics. There are even shadowy theories that Jacobean spymaster Robert Cecil knew of the plot early on, or even engineered parts of it, in order to create anti-Catholic propaganda and justify the king’s actions. Visitors to York Dungeon can meet Guy Fawkes and hear his story. But exploring the city that shaped him is perhaps the best way to decide whether the story of the infamous plotter should be reclaimed this November. n For more on Yorkshire’s highlights, see www.discoverbritainmag.com/yorkshire
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Made in Britain We have the Romans and Normans to thank for the tipple
I were brought up on cider And I be a hundred and two But still that be nuthin’ when you come to think Me father and mother be still in the pink And they were brought up on cider/Of the rare old Tavistock brew… Said to promote longevity, as this old Devonshire drinking song reveals, cider is also traditionally credited with health-giving properties and even, when combined with swine’s grease and rose water, said to soften the skin and fade freckles. Putting the dubious provenance of this old wives’ tale to one side, it is true that cider occupies a special place in the hearts of Brits. More cider is drunk in the UK per capita than anywhere else in the world. In the 14th century children were baptised in the stuff, the West Country’s Wurzels have forged a successful career singing countless ditties about it and even Prince William is partial to a tipple, so it ironic, perhaps, that two groups of invaders from overseas – the Romans and the Normans – are credited with its beginnings. For a long time it was thought the Normans introduced cider to Britain after the conquest of 1066. Certainly, northern France was famed for its orchards and vineyards, but cider is now thought to have made an earlier appearance with the Romans. Although apple trees were growing in the UK well before the arrival of the latter, it was they who introduced organised cultivation: as an inducement to stay in Britain, Roman army veterans were given settlements on which to grow the fruit. Yet the Normans had the most notable effect on cider-making; there are clear
Worcestershire, Norfolk, Surrey and Sussex, and as far north as Yorkshire, though the climate and soil in Britain’s western regions were best suited to production. The popularity of the drink grew: new varieties of apples were introduced and cider began to appear in the tax records. It became known as the drink of the people, and workers at monasteries and farms would be paid, in part, in cider, with a typical allowance of around three or four pints a day. Labourers were rated by how much they drank – some said that a two-gallon-a-day man might be worth the extra he consumed. Interestingly this practice continued until a campaign to curtail payment in alcoholic drinks resulted in a change in the law in 1887. The popularity of cider has had its ups and downs over the years. With the introduction of British-grown hops during the reign of King Henry VIII, for example, the production of cider took a bit of a nose-dive with the rise of the popularity of beer. In the 18th century, D Marshall, in The Rural Economy of Gloucestershire, opined wisely of the best harvest: “The criterion of a due degree of ripeness is that of the fruit’s falling spontaneously from the tree. Nature is the best judge of this crisis.” Harvesting tended to be a back-breaking task that involved male workers beating the trees with “polting lugs” (poles or rods) and the women gathering the apples in baskets. Today the process is mechanised, but some old habits die hard. Wassailing, the custom traditionally performed on Twelfth Night to protect the trees from evil spirits, endures in the west of England to this day. n
MELLOW FRUITFULNESS With apples “heavy on the bough” in Britain’s orchards, Alice Rush investigates the rich history of cider-making
records of cider production taking place in England’s monasteries after the conquest, where the monks sold cider to the public. Records at Battle Abbey in Sussex, for example, reveal that in 1369 three tuns of cider were sold for 55 shillings. Most manors had their own presses in the apple-growing counties of Kent and Somerset. By the 14th century cider was also being produced in the regions now known as Buckinghamshire, Devonshire, Essex, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire,
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With Winter and Christmas just around the corner, there’s lots to see and do in vibrant, treasured and historic Malmesbury. Choose from exciting musical concerts in the stunning 12th century Abbey and live music venues around the town. Don’t miss the popular late night Christmas shopping event - visit our website and save the date! See the famous Abbey House & Gardens, the Market Cross and browse the unique, independent shops. Treat yourself to a winter walk along the River Avon and warm up at one of our lovely cafés, restaurants and pubs. Close to Bath and Cirencester, Malmesbury is a perfect place to visit. In fact, you may never want to leave. Take a look at our online
events calendar or sign up to our newsletter. Follow us @malmesburylife for all the latest.
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Devon at Christmas is unforgettable. Think misty wooded valleys, dramatic moorland and windswept beaches; busy Christmas markets and festive steam train rides. Visit us and enjoy the warm hospitality of our hotels, pubs and restaurants, or simply rent a holiday cottage and cosy up in front of the fire.
THE DONKEY SANCTUARY
There are hundreds of donkeys waiting to meet you here in Sidmouth. Cosy up in the barns this winter with the many residents that take Sanctuary here. It’s also the perfect place to buy those extra special Christmas presents for your family and friends. The donkeys can’t wait to meet you! www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/contact
Looking for a Devon country escape this Christmas? Boringdon Hall’s all-inclusive House of Christmas breaks start from £1000 per couple for 3 nights, including usage of the luxury Gaia Spa. Book now on 01752 344455 and visit www.boringdonhall.co.uk
TAKE A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY TO LUNDY Escaping with loved ones or enjoy an intimate family Christmas break away from the hustle and bustle of a busy home life, make sure that the people close to you have a magical Christmas by choosing to spend Christmas on Lundy Island. For more Information and Bookings call - 01271 863636 or visit www.lundyisland.co.uk
MARWOOD HILL GARDENS
Discover the stunning views at Marwood Hill Gardens. 20 acres of private gardens and lakes tucked away in a North Devon valley. AwardWinning Tea Room, Gift Shop and Specialist Plant Sales. Dogs welcome www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk
A GORGEOUS DARTMOOR CHRISTMAS
The Two Bridges Hotel in the heart of Dartmoor National Park. Crackling log fires, flickering candles, award winning dining, and a fabulously festive welcome. The perfect Christmas Break. www.twobridges.co.uk/christmas-break-2016
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Lincoln Christmas Market takes place in the shadow of the historic cathedral
To market, to market
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Avoid the hassles of the high street and discover a festive shopping experience with a dash of history. Jemima Coxshaw rounds up the best of Britain’s Christmas markets
he Victorians invented Christmas as we know it today. Crackers, cards and trees all first became popular in this era, with the latter making an early appearance in 1848 when the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a decorated tree at Windsor (right). It’s said Queen Victoria and Prince Albert liked to bring the tree into the castle and decorate it themselves. The relatively new sight – today ubiquitous during Advent – took Britain by storm. The tradition derived from Germany, where Albert was from – Victoria, too, had
a German mother – and is one Britain took to its heart. Of course, our most famous festive tale, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, helped to popularise and spread the traditions, such as the turkey, which sprang up in this era. The Victorians are also credited with introducing the first of the Christmas markets, which also have German roots, and more recently these picturesque bazaars have seen a resurgence across Britain, springing up in some of the UK’s most famous historic landmarks. Here are a few of our favourite Christmas markets and fairs... ➤
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EXETER CHRISTMAS MARKET The majestic Gothic cathedral presides over Exeter Christmas Market, which focuses on the riches of the rural south-west region surrounding the city – known for its arts and agriculture – with a mix of great food, crafts, unique gifts and decorations. One of Devon’s most iconic sights, the cathedral, with its warm,
honey-coloured stone, retained its Norman towers when it was rebuilt between 1270 and 1350. Today it boasts the longest unbroken Gothic vaulting in the world. Do pop in to see it in between shopping. Dates: 19 November to 18 December 2016 www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk
EDINBURGH’S CHRISTMAS There are those who say Paris in springtime is the thing, or the English Riviera in summer, or New England in autumn but it is hard to argue with Edinburgh at Christmas, a magical, twinkling affair that lights up this most beautiful of cities and will have you heading for the Big Wheel, mulled wine in hand, faster than Scrooge could say “humbug”. Edinburgh’s Christmas takes place over six weeks in St Andrew Square, East Princes St Gardens and the Royal Mile and, in truth, is closer to a festival experience than a market with a Spiegeltent, ice skating and fairground rides, which offer breathtaking views over the city. Dates: 18 November 2016 to 7 January 2017 www.edinburghschristmas.com
WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL CHRISTMAS MARKET Winchester is an easy place to reach for a weekend escape from London and its famous cathedral stands at the heart of its Christmas market. With pretty wooden chalets filling the Cathedral Close and a focus on British crafts, this charming market celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Take a spin around the ice rink, enjoy a festive ceremony in the cathedral itself or catch the Lantern Parade in which participants process with homemade paper lanterns through the cathedral grounds and light up the night sky before singing community carols. Dates: 18 November to 20 December 2016 www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/christmas
LUDLOW MEDIEVAL CHRISTMAS FAYRE
LINCOLN CHRISTMAS MARKET
There’s so much to love about Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre – not least the setting in the grounds of Ludlow Castle. As well as over 100 stalls selling seasonal wares, food and drink, crafts and historical goods, look out for wide-ranging entertainment with medieval-themed drama and music from everyone from the Shrewsbury Mummers to Wynndebagge, dubbed by the BBC’s John Sessions as “the best medieval entertainer”. There’s also falconry, jesters and the chance to recreate three famous battles, including Agincourt, Mortimer’s Cross and the bloodless battle of Ludlow itself at Ludford Bridge. All that, and Christmas shopping... Dates: 26 to 27 November 2016 www.ludlowmedievalchristmas.co.uk
With over 200 stalls nestled in the cobbled square between the towering Norman castle and the spectacular Gothic cathedral, the setting for Lincoln Christmas Market could not be more atmospheric. The first revived German-style market in the UK, Lincoln is twinned with the town of Neustadt in Germany and offers traditional crafts, food and drink, as well as handmade jewellery, hand-poured candles, wooden toys, hand-painted glass, ceramics, photographs and locally created art. Lincoln Christmas Market forms a wonderful seasonal introduction to a fascinating city. Do visit the castle and cathedral – and look out for the Lincoln imp in the latter. Dates: 1 to 4 December 2016 www.lincoln-christmasmarket.co.uk
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THE BEST OF LONDON THEATRE THE PRINCES IN THE TOWER ON THE TRAIL OF LORD BYRON MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE I’M A LONDONER
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WEMBLEY STADIUM TOURS
Since opening in 1981, Piccadilly Market has established a reputation as a great place to shop for perfect gifts and unusual souvenirs. From Wednesday to Saturday, arts and crafts are sold, while Tuesday offers predominantly antiques and collectables, and Monday specialises in good food. The market is located in the courtyard at St James’s Church in the heart of the West End – just yards from Piccadilly Circus. The market is open from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 6.30pm (Monday 3.00pm) throughout the year.
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The Wembley Stadium Tour allows all visitors unprecedented behind-thescenes access to the UK’s largest and most prestigious stadium. These award-winning guided tours of ‘The Cathedral of Football’ include entry to the England team’s dressing rooms, the press room, players’ tunnel, Royal Box and much more. Historical artefacts include the 1966 World Cup crossbar, the 1966 Jules Rimet Trophy, the original flag from London’s 1948 Olympic Games and The Original FA Cup from 1911. The perfect sports experience for groups of all sizes.
www.wembleystadium.com/tours Wembley Stadium HA9 0WS | T: 0800 169 9933 | E: email@example.com
On the town
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” samuel johnson
Emma Hamilton had an extraordinary life. Famed as the mistress of Horatio Nelson, Emma’s beginnings were far less elevated. Born the daughter of an impoverished blacksmith in 1765, Emma’s beauty brought her fame in her teens as the muse of the great portrait artist, George Romney. Her marriage to Sir William Hamilton, the British envoy in Naples, in 1791 saw Emma’s next leap up the social ladder, leading to her close friendship with Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples and Sicily, the sister of Marie Antoinette. It was in Naples, too, that she met Nelson after the Battle of the Nile. But the love story was to end in tragedy… Emma Hamilton: Seduction and Celebrity, which opens at the National Maritime Museum on 3 November, explores Emma’s dramatic story. www.rmg.co.uk/emmahamilton discoverbritainmag.com 55
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SEDUCTION AND CELEBRITY
SHAKESPEARE’S WOMEN The fact we’ve been celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death this year is a testament to the resilience of his plays and this autumn London’s theatres are bringing radical new approaches to the Bard’s work with a raft of gender-reversed productions. The Donmar brings three women-led productions to a new 420-seat, in-the-round temporary theatre at King’s Cross. The Tempest, starring Harriet Walter (pictured) as Prospero, Henry IV and the acclaimed all-women Julius Caesar will play from 23 September to 17 December. On special Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy days, all three will be performed back to back. www.donmaratkingscross.com
DANCING FEET London’s big Christmas dance show this year is the most famous of dance stories, The Red Shoes, directed by dance’s most famous showman, Matthew Bourne, at Sadler’s Wells. Bourne’s adaptation is based on the award-winning 1948 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, as well as the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, about ambition, obsession and a pair of destructive red shoes. Ashley Shaw (pictured) dances the role of flame-haired Victoria Page, played by Moira Shearer in the 1948 film, with designs by Bourne’s longtime collaborator Lez Brotherston and a new score arranged by Terry Davies using the music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann. The Red Shoes opens at Sadler’s Well on 6 December 2016 and runs until 29 January 2017. www.sadlerswells.com
With a ceremony that dates back over 800 years to King John in 1215, the Lord Mayor’s Show takes place every year, with this year’s event on 12 November. King John tried to win London over to his side by allowing it to pick its own mayor but with the caveat that the mayor should leave the safety of the City of London, travel up the river to Westminster and swear allegiance to the crown. Over the years, the mayor’s mode of transport has changed from river barge to the spectacular State Coach of today. www. lordmayorsshow.london
V&A WINS CROWN
One of London’s most beloved institutions, the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, has been crowned Museum of the Year, winning £100,000. The annual prize is the largest of its kind and recognises the outstanding innovation and achievements of one museum throughout the preceding year. Director of the V&A, Martin Roth, who accepted the award from the Duchess of Cambridge, said: “With this prize we plan to revive the museum’s legendary circulation department, which collected and shared the best of contemporary design with regional museums, galleries and art colleges, but which closed in 1976.” www.vam.ac.uk
London is the world’s greatest cultural capital and not just for British art, with the National Portrait Galley set to stage a major exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s work. Picasso Portraits, which runs from 6 October 2016 until 5 February 2017, gathers more than 80 of the artist’s portraits in a range of media – many of them never before seen in the UK. The artworks showcase the astonishing innovation of Picasso’s art as he painted family, friends and lovers in a huge variety of styles from drawing from life to humorous caricature and painting from memory. www.npg.org.uk/picasso
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THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW
Opening September 2016
Opening September 2016 Opening September 2016 A unique new attraction on a five acre site in the heart of Newmarket – Meet former racehorses – Explore the new National Horseracing Museum – Discover famous paintings in the National Gallery of British Sporting Art – Ride a winner on a famous racehorse simulator! All in the royal settings of Charles II’s sporting palace and stables, a great day out for all the family
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Opening Times: 10.00 – 17.00 Palace House, Palace Street, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8EP
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London’s theatre scene is one of its crowning glories. Sally Hales explores what’s on offer this autumn
A Above: Shaftesbury Avenue after dark Right: London’s oldest theatre, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
visit to the dazzling lights of the West End’s Theatreland, which loops around Leicester Square, Covent Garden and along the iconic Shaftesbury Avenue, is an essential part of soaking up the capital’s sultry after-dark spirit. From musical spectaculars such as Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre and Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre to timeless classics like An Inspector Calls at the Playhouse or the richly varied rep season led by living legend Kenneth Branagh at the Garrick, there’s sure to be something to whet the theatrical appetite. London’s huge concentration of theatres – around 40 in the West End alone with many more notable outposts further afield – speaks of a long love affair with the stage, which shows no signs of waning. Here, we sample the best shows at the most fascinating and historic theatres this season.
Britain’s first purpose-built playhouse, “the Theatre” was built in Shoreditch in 1576 and, a few years later, a young actor named William Shakespeare would join its resident troupe. Although no theatres survive from this first flourishing, we can still experience the golden age of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside. It’s almost 20 years since it opened near the site of the original Globe Theatre – in which Shakespeare was a shareholder – and in that time the Globe has pulled off the enviable feat of becoming both a must-see visitor attraction and a serious theatrical force. Stand in the open-air yard for a joyous taste of times gone by, where you are welcome to hoot and holler at the Bard’s brilliant words. New artistic director Emma Rice’s inaugural Wonder season has brought yet more critical acclaim with raucous, open and inclusive performances. This autumn, Imogen, a “renamed and reclaimed” version of Cymbeline, closes the outdoor season before the dramatic delights move indoors for the winter to the candlelit Jacobean-style Sam Wanamaker Playhouse (below), with intimate performances of John Milton’s epic poem Comus and family show The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales. And – one for the diaries – look out for Othello in spring 2017.
THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE The English Civil War closed the theatres in 1642. But, 18 years later, when King Charles II was restored to the throne, London’s theatre scene roared back to life and, during the 18th century, play-going flourished as a popular pastime. Boasting the longest continuous theatrical traditional in the UK, London’s oldest theatre, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, can trace its history back to this time. First built in 1663 under patent from Charles II, this is where the king caught his first glimpse of his famous mistress Nell Gwynn, who made her stage debut here in 1665. Today’s Grade I-listed building is the theatre’s fourth iteration on the site, opening in 1812. Following extensive refurbishment, it can also claim to be one of the city’s most historically accurate and luxurious theatres too. With a capacity of more than 2,000, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane is also one of the largest, capable of staging the most spectacular shows. It’s currently home to a magical production of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with Bond director Sam Mendes at the helm; indeed the theatre’s vast size lends itself perfectly to the show’s jaw-dropping effects – including a spectacular Chocolate Room and an amazing glass elevator. ➤
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The largest commercial theatre of them all is the London Palladium, which seats a whopping 2,286. Its size and beauty is a testament to another glittering era on the London stage: variety. The iconic Frank Matcham-designed theatre opened on Boxing Day 1910 with the first “grand variety bill” presenting an ever-changing programme of music-hall style entertainment with a huge seating capacity of thousands at the time. Music halls were hugely popular at the turn of the century but had a rather lowly reputation and the Palladium endeavoured to close this gap with more middle-class offerings. When it opened, it was described as being “one of the most magnificent places of entertainment in the world,” and audiences flocked to see the great and the good of stage and screen – who queued up to top the bill – at the “Ace Variety Theatre of the World”, as well as the Palladium’s wonderful pantomimes. This year, the London Palladium has returned to its variety roots with a programme of one-off concerts and events, along with the return of a festive spectacular as a sparkling Cinderella looks set to wow the Christmas crowds.
Away from the West End, the handsome Old Vic – as it is now known – first opened in May 1818 south of the River Thames near Waterloo. In 1912, English theatrical producer and manager Lilian Baylis was appointed the theatre’s manager and her tireless work at the Old Vic and Sadler’s Wells would lead directly to the birth of not only the National Theatre but also the English National Opera and the Royal Ballet. The Old Vic Shakespeare Company was formed here in 1914 and, over the next decades, Britain’s acting greats would regularly grace the stage. And, when the decision was made to create a National Theatre, the Old Vic became its home, with Sir Laurence Olivier at the helm, until the 1976 opening of the purpose-built National Theatre on the South Bank. The exciting 10-year tenure of Kevin Spacey as artistic director may have recently come to a close, but the Old Vic continues its mission to be at the forefront of the theatre world.
WHAT’S ON Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside Cymbeline reimagined from its heroine’s point of view and supplanted to modern London, Imogen, a rare modern-dress production, runs from 17 September to 16 October. In the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, family show The Little Matchgirl and Other Happier Tales, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, promises a spellbinding world of magic and mystery, from 24 November 2016 to 22 January 2017. www.shakespearesglobe.com
The Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue Stephen Daldry’s multi-award winning production of JB Priestley’s sinister classic An Inspector Calls, with set design by Ian MacNeil, returns to London for a limited run from 4 November 2016 to 4 February 2017. www.aninspectorcalls.com The Garrick Theatre, Charing Cross Road Kenneth Branagh’s Plays at the Garrick season concludes with the
man himself starring as Archie Rice in John Osborne’s modern classic The Entertainer, until 12 November. www.branaghtheatre.com
with a star-studded and big-budget Cinderella running from 9 December to 15 January 2017. www.cinderellapalladium.com
Theatre Royal Drury Lane The Charlie and Chocolate Factory musical is choc-full of fantastical treats and stunning effects. Booking until January 2017. www. charlieandthechocolatefactory.com
The Old Vic, The Cut Twenty-five years after she gave up acting for politics, double Academy Award-winning legend Glenda Jackson returns to play a genderreversed King Lear in Shakespeare’s most powerful tragedy, from 25 October to 2 December. www.oldvictheatre.com
London Palladium, Argyll Street Panto is coming home this year
ST MARTIN’S THEATRE
St Martin’s Theatre, West Street The longest-running show of any kind in the world, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap (right) is a piece of theatrical history and a brilliant whodunnit written by the greatest crime writer of all time. Booking until January 2018. www.the-mousetrap.co.uk Queen’s Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue Cameron Mackintosh’s timeless testament to the human spirit, Les
Misérables, has been seen by 70m people around the world and is booking until March 2017 in London. www.lesmis.com/uk Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket In its 30th year at the theatre, with no signs of ageing, legendary love story The Phantom of the Opera offers the kind of stage spectacular London is famous for delivering. Look out for the plummeting chandelier. Booking until 4 March 2017. www. thephantomoftheopera.com/london
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From left to right: London Palladium; the Old Vic; The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running show, at St Martin’s Theatre
Neither the oldest nor the biggest, the 550-seat St Martin’s Theatre opened in 1916 in wartime London and, while its claims to fame are rather quieter, they are no less fascinating. One of very few London theatres still in private ownership, St Martin’s was built for Lord Willoughby de Broke, grandfather of the current owner, the Rt Hon Lord Willoughby de Broke, the 19th Baron. But it is, perhaps, most famous as long-time home of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the longest-running show in the world, which first opened at the adjacent Ambassadors Theatre in 1952 before transferring to St Martin’s in 1974, where it has played ever since. Recent interior and exterior refurbishment means the theatre is a delight to visit boasting restored woodwork, new upholstery, silk wallpaper and stage curtains bearing the Willoughby de Broke family coat of arms. In the main foyer is a sign stating the exact number of the performance of The Mousetrap you are about to see (there have been at least 26,000). Remember to make a ➤ note of it in your programme for posterity.
Opened by HM The Queen in 1976, architect Denys Lasdun’s vast National Theatre is one of the great public sector buildings – and one of London’s architectural wonders, covering five acres next to Waterloo Bridge on the South Bank of the Thames. With its two fly towers rising from layered horizontal terraces that wrap around the building, the National forms an iconic vista and houses three auditoriums – the Olivier, Lyttelton and Dorfman – as well as multiple restaurants, bars, social spaces, a bookshop, rehearsal rooms, set-building and scenic-painting workshops, as well as those for costume- and prop-making and digital design. Inside, its inclusive spirit and welcoming atmosphere ensures it is a great place to linger, as well catch the big-name stars on the stage in its hugely varied programme. Among this autumn’s highlights are productions of Peter Shaffer’s classic Amadeus and a fresh version of Peter Pan in the Olivier Theatre, alongside a new play by elder statesman of British drama David Hare, The Red Barn, in the Lyttelton. n
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GONE but not forgotten It is one of Britainâ€™s greatest unsolved mysteries. Nicola Rayner revisits the case of the Princes in the Tower with Philippa Langley, famed for finding King Richard III
he mystery of the Princes in the Tower is one of Britain’s most famous cold cases, and one of its most emotive. As a story, the narrative of two boys – the 12-year-old Edward V, and his younger brother, the nine-year-old Richard, Duke of York – who went missing from the Tower of London allegedly murdered at the instigation of an “evil” uncle hungry for kingship is rich in possibility. The atmospheric setting, poignant heroes and, of course, all-important villain were famously seized upon by Shakespeare for an appreciative Tudor audience. The princes appear in a long line of ghosts that come back to haunt King Richard III before the Battle of Bosworth. As the battle’s victor, Henry Tudor, was crowned King Henry VII, it was in the Tudors’ interest to paint Richard as a villain. In short, history is written by the winners. And it is possible that, as a story, the case of the Princes in the Tower is too good to be true. “We have to remove the Game of Thrones hysteria that’s forever been attributed to this mystery, and Richard’s reign, and look at it from a wholly critical and contemporary perspective,” warns Philippa Langley. Heading up the Missing Princes Project, which was launched last year, Langley is best known for her success in conceiving and commissioning the search for Richard III that ended in a car park in Leicester in 2012. She has been researching the life of Richard III for over 20 years. What drew her to this period of history? “It was originally the incredible story and complex characters,” she says. “I couldn’t understand why Richard’s historical story had never been placed centre stage on our screens. And how neglected the study of this period of history has been. “For centuries it’s been a merry-go-round of repeat, repeat, repeat, without key questions being asked and sadly only a very few writers are doing this today.” The Missing Princes Project, she explains, employs “forensic analysis of the people and events surrounding the disappearance of the sons of Edward IV”. In view of the “merry-go-round of repeat, repeat, repeat”, it is interesting to look at what we can be reasonably sure of, including a few of the key dates.
April 1483: King Edward IV dies The princes were the offspring of King Edward IV and his wife, the “commoner” Elizabeth Woodville. The former, who had come to the throne during the Wars of the Roses, had restored some stability to the country, but died suddenly on 9 April 1483. His eldest son was proclaimed Edward V at Ludlow and his father’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was named protector of the realm, though Woodville and her supporters tried to replace him. As Edward V travelled towards London, he was met by Richard and escorted to the capital, where he was lodged at the Tower of London by the King’s Council for his coronation. In June 1483, he was joined by his brother, the Duke of York.
June 1483: A secret marriage revealed A crucial turning point in events was the revelation of Edward IV’s secret marriage – or betrothal (though they
“We have to remove the Game of Thrones hysteria that’s forever been attributed to this mystery, and Richard’s reign” were one and the same in medieval English Canon Law) – to Eleanor Talbot, the daughter of the earl of Shrewsbury. The marriage was revealed on 9 June 1483, by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, Robert Stillington, who told the royal council that preparations for the coronation of Edward V could not proceed because he was illegitimate – because he, Stillington, had married Edward IV to Eleanor Talbot. As it was alleged that their father had married someone else before his marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, the boys were declared illegitimate and ineligible to succeed to the throne. As next in line, Richard, who was petitioned to be king, as Langley points out, was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 6 July 1483. Of course, the convenient timing of this announcement looks suspicious for Richard III, not least because Eleanor, who died in 1468, wasn’t around to confirm or deny the marriage, or “pre-contract”. How likely is it that the secret marriage took place? “Very likely,” says Langley. “It was recognised in an act of parliament.” The act of 1484, known as Titulus Regius, was repealed and destroyed by Henry VII. Again, suggesting, of course, his own agenda.
July 1483: Royal Progress In the summer of 1483, the newly crowned Richard went on royal progress. “It will have been important for him to show himself to the local people and gentry, and receive their allegiance,” explains Langley. “We can have some level of certainty that the princes disappeared during the royal progress based on analysis of the contemporary source material… From this analysis, the likely timeframe for the disappearance of the princes was either towards the end of July when Richard III and the royal progress were in the Thames Valley, or around mid-September when King Richard was in York.” Only contemporary and near contemporary foreign sources write about the boys disappearing or being killed on or before the coronation of Richard III, with one even saying that they were murdered while their father was still alive. Certainly, by late September, rumours of the princes’ death were spread by rebels led by Richard’s former ally, Henry Stafford, Duke of Buckingham.
1557: Thomas More’s account of Tyrell’s confession Of course, the next highly significant date in Richard’s reign is 22 August 1485, when he was killed at the Battle of Bosworth, but, in terms of Richard’s legacy, it is worth considering the account of Tudor loyalist Thomas More, published in 1557, of a supposed confession made by Sir James Tyrell – an English knight and the princes’ assassin in Shakespeare’s play – at the time of his death in 1502, during the reign of Henry VII.
Clockwise, from above: Tradition has the princes killed in the Tower of London; the young Edward V and his brother Richard, Duke of York; Queen Elizabeth of York; King Henry VII; King Richard III Previous page: The princes were allegedly taken to the tower by Richard III; (inset) a painting illustrates Shakespeare’s version of the boys’ murder
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Of this confession, Langley responds, “I have to say, what confession and where is your evidence for it? This story relies on Thomas More’s account, but... no confession by Tyrell exists, with no record of it being made, including by Henry VII’s official court historian, Polydore Vergil, and his biographer, Bernard André.” She adds: “If a confession had been made, this was an astonishing coup for Henry VII. He could now proclaim Richard III as the murderer of the princes and remove the threat of any further pretenders to his throne. But Tudor does nothing with it. Indeed he never accuses Richard III of the murder of the princes. “The supposed confession, from all the research undertaken, appears to be a myth that, disappointingly, has been reported as fact and truth in order to support the traditional view of murder, and by Richard III. But we cannot begin any investigation, historical or otherwise, with an end position and then work backwards from it.”
THE SUSPECTS Who else stood to gain from the princes’ disappearance? Richard’s rival at the Battle of Bosworth, Henry VII benefited from the disappearance of the princes and married their sister, Elizabeth of York. However, as he was abroad at the time of the disappearance, it seems unlikely they survived beyond Richard’s death without being seen. Once Richard’s closest ally (whom he later had beheaded), the Duke of Buckingham played a key role in Richard III’s rise.
1674: Skeletons at the Tower In More’s account, he states the princes were smothered on their uncle’s orders, secretly buried “at the stair foot”, and then reburied in a “secret” and “better place”. And in the reign of King Charles II, the discovery of two skeletons, when a building in front of the White Tower was demolished in 1674, seemed to confirm the story (by ignoring the second burial). The remains were brought to Westminster Abbey and first buried in the vault of General Monck, with a white marble sarcophagus to house them designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The Latin inscription, confirming the popular version of the story, reads: “Here lie the relics of Edward V, King of England, and Richard, Duke of York. These brothers being confined in the Tower of London, and there stifled with pillows, were privately and meanly buried, by the order of their perfidious uncle Richard the Usurper.” The urn was opened on 6 July 1933 and, after examination, pronounced as belonging to two boys of the right sort of age, and then re-sealed. But important new scientific evidence, in John Ashdown-Hill’s book The Secret Queen, which has recently been updated, “backs up the latest research to show that the bones in the urn at Westminster, which are said to be those of the so-called Princes in the Tower, probably do not belong to them,” says Langley. This confirms her own conclusions: “In my talks I go into the evidence for this in some detail,” she says. “For example, the depth at which the remains were found strongly suggests they are of Iron Age, Roman, Saxon or Norman antiquity. Secondly, modern scientific analysis of the 1934 report on the remains is highly suggestive of the remains being female, and likely consisting of the co-mingled remains of more than two individuals.” At the moment the Missing Princes Project does not consider the “bones in the urn” a major part of the investigation (which is perhaps a good thing as the Church of England has refused requests to carry out forensic tests on them). “Moreover, new research is revealing important evidence regarding the potential to identify the sons of Edward IV that does not require exhumations. It is hoped
Margaret Beaufort, Henry VII’s formidable mother, keenly recognised that the removal of the princes was essential for the success of her son.
“If a confession had been made, this was an astonishing coup for Henry VII. He could now proclaim Richard III as the murderer of the princes and remove the threat of any further pretenders to his throne. But Tudor does nothing with it”
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this new research will be revealed towards the end of the year,” Langley adds tantalisingly.
2015: The Missing Princes Project is launched “I began the project last summer with three key lines of investigation, it now has over 50,” says Langley. “Following the launch at Middleham, the Missing Princes Project grew rapidly to over 30 member researchers. We currently have a team of 54 who are undertaking archival investigations at key locations in the UK and overseas. It’s an extraordinary start but we need more willing volunteers to become involved so that we can cover as many of the key locations as possible.” Although there is “a named individual who is currently at the top of the list for the disappearance”, Langley is unable to say who the prime suspect is. Of course, I have to ask, is Richard off the hook? “Your question reveals so much about the traditional history,” Langley says. “Richard III is portrayed as the guilty party, yet there is
no evidence to support either a murder in the tower, or Richard’s culpability. This is why the project is called the ‘Missing’ Princes Project. “It’s time we all began speaking about this abiding mystery in this way. This is not to get Richard or anyone else ‘off the hook’ but to put it firmly into context for the very first time. “So far for the specialist investigators involved, Richard III is not the prime suspect in any potential murder of the sons of Edward IV; he doesn’t fit the profile. However, with the searches under way we don’t know what neglected archival material may be uncovered; might it change everything we know, might it confirm it? What is exciting is that for the very first time, we’re looking.” n Philippa Langley is the co-author of The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III and Finding Richard III: The Official Account. For more information see www.revealingrichardiii.com
Clockwise, from main image: King Charles II had the boys’ alleged remains placed in Westminster Abbey; the sarcophagus was designed by Wren; the abbey is the burial place of British royalty; Margaret Beaufort is a suspect
For more unsolved Britain’s greatest unsolved mysteries, see www.discover britainmag.com
London Follow in the footsteps of one of the capital’s most famous inhabitants, the Romantic poet Lord Byron. Alexander Larman, author of Byron’s Women, leads the way
n the western stretch of Oxford Street, near the corner adjoining Holles Street, you may see various items of architectural or historic interest, most notably Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture Winged Figure. But look closer, and you will see a City of Westminster plaque with the inscription, “Always laugh when you can, it is a cheap medicine.” The quotation is from Romantic poet Lord Byron – of “mad, bad and dangerous to know” fame – and it replaces an earlier blue plaque: the first such to be found in London, and erected in 1867, just over four decades after Byron’s death. Yet Holles Street has great significance in the poet’s life as it was here, in number 16, that he was born on 22 January 1788 in an unexceptional house on the site that has been long since demolished. The circumstances of his birth were inauspicious; as his mother was unable to afford a midwife and nurse of good quality, the delivery was a botched affair, resulting
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Clockwise, from far left: Lord Byron as a young man in 1813; he was christened at St Marylebone Parish Church; and caused havoc as a schoolboy at Harrow; the poet’s marriage to Annabella Milbanke ended in scandal; Holland House was a popular haunt during his early days of fame
in damage to the boy’s right foot, something he resented for the rest of his life. Baptised in St Marylebone Parish Church the next month, the remainder of his childhood was spent, first, in Aberdeen, and then, when he inherited his title at the age of ten, in the grand but chaotic surroundings of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.
“A scene of riot and confusion” It would not be until the turn of the century that Byron would return to London, initially for education at Dr Glennie’s Academy in Dulwich, and then, more famously, for his school days at Harrow. While the school now claims him as one of its most distinguished Old Harrovians (along with an eclectic selection that includes Winston Churchill, Benedict Cumberbatch and Richard Curtis), his time there was a turbulent one; his housemaster complained that “he has made the house a scene of riot and confusion” (something Byron dismissed as “two or three scrapes”), and the young lord was more interested in pursuing liaisons with boys and girls alike than in bothering himself with schoolwork. After attending Trinity College, Cambridge, during which time he took lodgings at No 16 Piccadilly when he wished to amuse himself in the capital, Byron took his seat in the House of Lords in 1809, shortly before heading on a Grand Tour of Europe that would keep him away until 1811. Shortly before his return, his long-suffering mother died, and his grief and confusion, as well as a desire to write a great autobiographical poem, resulted in his first masterpiece, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. When it was published by John Murray in March 1812, it caused a sensation: Byron would later quip, “I awoke one morning and found myself famous.” As a result ➤
“A civil reception and decent entertainment”
Clockwise, from above right: Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, lived in St James’s Square; the poet lived at the exclusive Albany in Piccadilly; Holland Park, the site of Holland House; computing pioneer Ada Lovelace
It was here that Byron met his most notorious mistress, Lady Caroline Lamb, and he was often seen in public with her both there and at the other great establishment, Melbourne House on Whitehall, where Byron spent much of his time; he commented to his friend and biographer Thomas Moore, tongue firmly in cheek: “You will meet with a civil reception and decent entertainment,” at Melbourne House. The only part of the entertainment that he did not enjoy was waltzing, to which he was ill-suited due to his lame foot. During his early years of fame, Byron initially lived in lodgings on St James’s Street in Piccadilly, and, after he had acquired more money and an even grander reputation, he moved across the road to the Albany, which, then as now, catered for well-to-do gentlemen. The rules – no pets, no children and no noise – remain the same today, and everyone from Gladstone to Terence Rattigan has lived there since Byron’s time. Byron subscribed to the code of conduct there: elegant manners adopted while in public, and eyes averted once safely inside the staircases. It was here that the poet conducted a dizzying variety of love affairs, with everyone from aristocrats to chambermaids – until his 1815 marriage to the intellectual Annabella Milbanke put a stop to that.
Byron’s ill-fated union with Annabella would eventually end in one of the most scandalous divorces ever seen in English history in 1816, with everything from rape to incest (with his half-sister Augusta Leigh) being cited. He left the country in disgrace later that year, but while his short union was anything but a success, he was at least able to live in grandiose splendour with his wife at 13 Piccadilly Terrace, for which they paid £700 a year in rent – or around £50,000 a year in today’s money. It was recently announced that this house was to be converted into a £45 million, eight-bedroom mansion complete with staff accommodation, swimming pool and a sauna – something of a far cry from Byron’s life there, where his debts were so overwhelming that at one point a bailiff entered the house and took up residence there. After his 1816 departure, he never returned to London again, but it remained a key influence on his imagination and work. His attitude towards it can perhaps be summarised by some lines from his final satiric masterpiece, Don Juan, in which he famously refers to the capital as the “Devil’s drawing room”: “... a wilderness of steeples peeping On tiptoe through their sea-coal canopy; A huge, dun cupola, like a foolscap crown On a fool’s head – and there is London Town!” Nonetheless, there remains a legacy to the poet of sorts. His legitimate daughter Ada Lovelace, widely recognised today as a pioneer of computing, made her home at 12 St James’s Square, where she confounded society and expectations of how women would behave just as successfully as her father had refused to behave conventionally decades before. Today her house, which lies between the London Library and Chatham House, is a pilgrimage for many on Ada Lovelace day, a celebration of women’s achievements in science, which this year falls on 11 October. One could do worse than visit then and observe the legacy of a great – if turbulent – London family. n
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of this, he found himself invited to the great salons and soirees of Georgian London; his friend, the publisher Samuel Rogers, remarked wryly about “the manoeuvres of certain noble ladies” who knew the most famous man of the day would be an indispensable addition to a party. These events took place at such grand mansions as Holland House, a once-great establishment surrounded by what is now Holland Park. The house was built in the early 17th century but was mostly destroyed in the Blitz, although its remnants today hold a high-end restaurant, the Belvedere, and the annual Opera Holland Park.
BUY THE BOOK Byronâ€™s Women by Alexander Larman (Head of Zeus) is out on 8 September in hardback.
“Cockney rhyming slang was actually created by market traders, who were always being moved on by police and needed a secret language”
ou know you’re with royalty when the cafe owner gives you tea on the house – or “rosy lee”, as George Major, Pearly King of Peckham, dubs it. He also enjoys free rides in London cabs “when I’m in my pearls”, as well as constant attention from passers-by wanting a chat or a picture. Those pearls are some 22,000 buttons sewn onto his clothes and cap, alongside badges representing the charities George, 78, supports through his work. “It weighs a hundredweight, and does get hot in summer.” The Pearly Kings and Queens originated amid the costermongers (street traders) who imitated London swells by adding the odd pearl to their attire. Then, in the 1880s, road-sweeper and rat-catcher Henry Croft found a crate of smoked pearl buttons and smothered his clothes in them, creating slogans like “all for charity”. His look helped him fundraise for an orphanage, beginning a life of charitable efforts. Other costers followed, representing different districts.
“They’d always helped the poor, sick and needy – remember there was no NHS then,” explains George. “Costers could relate because they served everyone, and they were working class too.” George’s tough childhood has similarly equipped him to be empathetic. “My mum left when I was a baby, and I was brought up my maiden aunt – a wicked woman who hated boys. She used to put horrible things in my food. “My neighbour, Iris, became like a mum. She was the only one who hugged me, even though it was painful because she had rheumatoid arthritis. She and her husband helped me find my sister, Violet.” George’s sister, who had learning disabilities, had been put in Tooting Bec Hospital, then an asylum. “I first met her when I was seven.” It was Iris who told George he was royalty – “my great-grandfather was the Pearly King of Mile End Road” – and made him his first Pearly suit. “I started raising money for Violet’s hospital. I’d go out with her and fill a bucket
MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE I’M A LONDONER Marianka Swain gets an insider’s tour from a Pearly King. Photography by Arnhel de Serra
in no time. That inspired my future life. I never walk past anyone, whether they’re in a wheelchair or a tramp in the road. I’ve collected millions for charity, but the most important thing is human contact.” Another formative woman in George’s life was Rosey Lea, his father’s girlfriend, who introduced him to the markets and taught him the tricks of the trade. “Because of my upbringing, I left school not able to read or write, and I’m also deaf. But I fit right in there, and all those tricks that Del Boy pulls on Only Fools and Horses? That could be me. I even had the same three-wheel yellow car. We sold anything that was cheap. “One of our best was nicking empty milk bottles off doorsteps, filling them from the exhaust pipe of the car, and selling them as genuine London smog!” In almost 60 years as the Pearly King of Peckham, George has travelled the world representing the organisation, and is also a keen collector and keeper of its history. But the latter isn’t without controversy, thanks to a raging civil war between two Pearly factions: the association and the guild, which sadly contributed to the closure of the of George’s Cockney Museum. The latter
showcased music, pictures and antique Pearly suits (“one belonging to Henry Croft”). George now keeps the collection on a trailer, visiting events like the Rochester Dickens Festival, but would love to house it permanently in Borough Market, “connecting to those coster roots.” “Cockney rhyming slang was actually created by market traders, who were always being moved on by police and needed a secret language,” he adds. “You’re telling these stories from the heart, and that means a lot to people. I’ve given talks to local schools, and when I go back and ask the kids, ‘If you see an old dear struggling with her shopping, what should you do?’ They all say, ‘Help her!’” George hopes his family – seven children, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren – will carry on the tradition. “The Pearlies have changed people’s lives, and they’ve certainly changed mine. I’ve opened fetes, done parades, harvest festivals and the Lord Mayor’s Show, met all the royal family. It’s like having a passport to London. But the best bit is bringing joy to someone’s day. You can’t ask for more than that.” n For more on iconic Londoners, visit www.discoverbritainmag.com/london
THE INSIDE TRACK: A PEARLY KING’S PICKS Favourite London attraction “The markets – Spitalfields, Covent Garden and especially Borough. Markets tell you the history of the local people.” Favourite London view “Tower Bridge – so much character there.” Favourite London meal “I’m partial to pie and mash and liquor. There’s a good M.Manze in Peckham.” Favourite Londoner ”Michael Caine. And also Norman Wisdom – he was a mate of mine, and another one who had a hard start in life. The most generous man I knew – if we were having tea and my cup was emptying, I’d turn round to find he’d topped it up from his own.”
The Insider On a seasonal tour of Britain, Brenda Cook explores hidden gems and asks… did you know?
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Known internationally for its firework display of autumnal colour, Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, is home to around 15,000 trees but did you know it boasts Prince Charles’s Highgrove as a neighbour? Managed by the Forestry Commission, Westonbirt is one of the finest collections of temperate trees and shrubs in the world covering around 2,500 different types. Planting began in the 1850s when its Victorian creator Robert Holford, who owned the Westonbirt Estate in Gloucestershire, began to collect specimens from around the world. Today, the Old Arboretum still dates from the 1850s and offers exquisite landscaped vistas and stately avenues. For high-octane thrills there’s the Treetop Walkway, which is set 13 metres above ground level. www.forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt
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THE SPORT OF KINGS The town of Newmarket in Suffolk is world-famous as a global centre for flat racing, but did you know it all began with King James who built a palace in Newmarket so he could visit the area to hunt? At around this time, horse races were put on to coincide with his visits in spring and autumn, and in 1619 the first recorded horse race took place at Newmarket Racecourse. Things really took off with his grandson, Charles II, who had a passion for racing – and all things pleasurable – and it was he who set up the new Round Course, part of which is still used as the July Course today. This autumn, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, in the remains of Charles II’s sporting palace and racing stables, will open to the public, spanning five acres and combining three complementary attractions in one: the National Horse Racing Museum, the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art and the Rothschild Yard, where visitors can meet former racehorses. www.palacehousenewmarket.co.uk
HOUSES WITH HERITAGE English Heritage is best known for looking after some of England’s most famous historic buildings and landmarks, spanning six millennia, including Stonehenge, Dover Castle and parts of Hadrian’s Wall, but did you know the charity also offers a portfolio of 19 holiday cottages in remarkable historic locations? The properties range from the Refectory Cottage at Rievaulx Abbey to South Lodge at Battle Abbey and, though not strictly a cottage, Peverell’s Tower at Dover Castle. As the weather cools, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore some of England’s most iconic sites and then watch the sun set (or rise) on them from the comfort of a warm, cosy base nearby. Perks include free access to the sites during your stay, a tour of the property (subject to staff availability) and a welcome hamper of tea, coffee, groceries and a bottle of wine. www.english-heritage.org.uk/ cottages
The Insider EXETER COOKERY SCHOOL With Dartmouth Food Festival on the horizon, running from 21 to 23 October, there’s never been a better time to explore the foodie heritage of the south-west and where better to start than Exeter Cookery School? Run by Jim and Lucy Fisher (below), who chose Exeter as their base when they moved from the Dordogne, the school is located in a Grade-II listed Victorian warehouse on the city’s historic quayside. Courses range from basic breadmaking to the creation of advanced desserts, all in the heart of the beautiful cathedral city. www.exetercookeryschool.co.uk
LIVING UNDER A ROCK NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/ALAMY/PUREPIX
Did you know that until the 1960s the last community of troglodytes still lived in Britain at Kinver Edge in Staffordshire? Carved into the sandstone, the Holy Austin Rock Houses were once home to a hermitage before the Reformation. Today, the houses are owned by the National Trust and have been restored to look as they would have done during the Victorian era. On a cool October day, take a seat by a warming fire and hear the stories of the people who once lived inside the rock. There’s also a tea shop and, outside, the heath escarpment of Kinver Edge and the Iron Age hill fort. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kinver-edge
LIAR, LIAR! The Lake District’s Wasdale Valley boasts England’s deepest lake, Wastwater; its highest mountain, Scafell Pike; its smallest church, Wasdale Head Church… and the world’s biggest liar. The competition to find the World’s Biggest Liar takes place every November at the Bridge Inn at Santon Bridge, where each competitor has five minutes to tell the biggest and most convincing lie he or she can. The tradition began in the 19th century with popular publican Will Ritson, who lived in the area and enthralled his customers with local “folk tales” that bore little resemblance to the truth – such as stories of local turnips so large that sheep could shelter in them. This year’s event takes place on 19 November – it’ll be an evening to remember, and that’s no lie. www.santonbridgeinn.com
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MICHAEL FRYE B S-O16.indd 1
© Highclere Castle LLP 2014
LADY OF THE LAKE
MICHAEL FRYE B S-O16.indd 1 The second highest waterfall in England at Canonteign, Devon, descending over 70m, is one of the region’s most spectacular attractions, but did you know it is manmade? In fact, there are two sets of waterfalls at Canonteign today – the natural falls and the manmade Lady Exmouth Falls, which take their name from the formidable Victorian who commissioned them in 1890. In the wake of the closure of Canonteign Estate’s silver mines, the 3rd Lady Exmouth instructed local miners to redirect water from a leat course (an artificial waterway) over the nearby massive rock formations. Today’s visitors can explore ancient woodland walks, the Secret Garden and Victorian Fern Garden, as well as enjoying the sweeping views across Devon from the summit known as Buzzard’s View, or exploring the estate’s seven lakes, including the Lily Lake and Swan Lake. www.canonteignfalls.co.uk
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CASTLE COUNTRY With a higher density of castles than anywhere else in the UK, Aberdeenshire has long been a haven for the royal family. Nicola Rayner investigates
ABERDEENSHIRE A favourite haunt of the royal family, Aberdeenshire’s close association with the British monarchy started in 1848 when Prince Albert acquired the lease on Balmoral and began lengthy negotiations to buy the estate, which were completed in 1852. “All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils,” wrote Queen Victoria, who later retreated to Balmoral after her husband’s tragically early death in 1861. Along with its neighbour Moray, Aberdeenshire, famous for Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, is the most fertile region of the Highlands. With Royal Deeside and Cairngorms National Park in the western reaches of the county, and whisky country to north-west, there is plenty to see and do, eat and drink, but lovers of British heritage won’t want to miss the dazzling array of castles. With more per acre than anywhere else in the UK, it is little wonder Aberdeenshire is known as Scotland’s Castle Country. The region boasts no fewer than 300 castles, ruins and stately homes, from wild clifftop fortresses to perfectly preserved examples of Scots Baronial architecture. The latter, a fantastical style featuring fairytale turrets, has its origins in the 16th century, but later saw a resurgence in the 1800s and inspired Walt Disney, no less, to create his iconic castle. And if you’re after Scottish spectacle at its best, visit on the first Saturday in September for the annual Braemar Gathering, the most famous of the Highland Games, which has been frequented by royalty since Queen Victoria first attended in 1848 and whose history stretches back almost 1,000 years. 82 discoverbritainmag.com
BALMORAL CASTLE Aberdeenshire’s most famous castle, Balmoral has been the Scottish home of the royal family since 1852. Deeming its predecessor insufficient in size for the royal family, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert built a new castle 100 yards from the now-demolished old one, which is commemorated by a stone on the front lawn. Balmoral’s beautiful location, in the shadow of the mighty Munro of Lochnagar, was described as “my dear paradise in the Highlands” by Queen Victoria (pictured left). Today, though it’s not possible to view HM the Queen’s private quarters, visitors can explore the grounds, gardens, castle ballroom and special exhibitions. It’s even possible to stay on the estate, with a range of holiday lets available. www.balmoralcastle.com
Aberdeenshire DUNNOTTAR CASTLE Locations don’t come much more cinematic than the spectacular ruins of Dunnottar Castle (pictured on the opening pages). Sitting atop a craggy headland on the outskirts on Stonehaven in the south of the county, the castle’s strategic location has given it a leading role in Scottish history, withstanding sieges, hosting royalty and starring on the silver screen. Yet the castle’s most remarkable moment saw it sheltering the Honours of Scotland – the Scottish crown jewels – from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army. It also narrowly missed out on becoming the eighth wonder of the world. www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk
CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK The Cairngorms National Park, which covers Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus, Perth and Kinross, excels at record-breaking. Twice the size of the Lake District, it is the largest national park in the UK and the highest land mass, covering five of Scotland’s six highest summits and 55 Munros, or mountains over 3,000ft. With ancient forest, dramatic waterfalls and wildlife including red deer, golden eagles and red squirrels, this is Scotland at its most spectacular. www.cairngorms.co.uk
ALAMY/PAUL MARSHALL/HISTORIC SCOTLAND/SHUTTERSTOCK/W & D DOWNEY/GETTY IMAGES
Designed by the foremost Scottish architect of the day, William Adam, Duff House in Banff on the north coast of Aberdeenshire is one of Scotland’s architectural gems. Adam was commissioned by William Duff, Lord Braco, later 1st Earl Fife, but unfortunately the owner and the architect fell out before the project was completed and the 1st Earl was never to live there, settling in Rothiemay Castle with his family, where he died in 1763. It took more than 100 years to complete the interior. Variously a hotel, sanatorium and military base, the house is now in the care of Historic Scotland and part of the National Galleries of Scotland, with a treasure trove of art.
DEFENDING THE REALM FOR CENTURIES The Romans, King Henry II, Sir Winston Churchill â€“ our roll call is long and illustrious.
Dover, Kent CT16 1HU
The English Heritage Trust is a charity, no. 1140351, and a company, no. 07447221, registered in England.
CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE If Craigievar Castle seems familiar, it might be because it’s said to be the inspiration for the famous Disney castle. The pinkish hue is certainly fitting of a fairytale princess – as are its conical turrets, gargoyles and exquisitely carved chimneys. Strictly speaking what is known as a Scottish tower house, Craigievar became the wonder it is today when it was bought in 1610 by William Forbes of Menie, brother of the Bishop of Aberdeen, a merchant who made his fortune by importing wood. Notable inside are the fabulous plasterwork ceilings, particularly in the great hall. The Blue Bedroom is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man thrown from the window by “Red” Sir John – a descendant of William Forbes – as he climbed up to woo Sir John’s daughter. Craigievar remained the home of the Forbes family for 350 years, though it is now in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. The castle, which can be seen by guided tour only, closes between October and 25 March, though the grounds are open all year. www.nts.org.uk
GLENDRONACH DISTILLERY It would be remiss not to taste a wee dram or two, and the GlenDronach Distillery, which produces fine sherried single malts, has a history stretching back almost 200 years. It all began in 1826 with the maverick James Allardice, who lived in the grand Glen House tucked away in the valley of Forgue and created the first single malt Guid GlenDronach. Initially, all the workers at GlenDronach, once the largest duty-paying distillery in the Scottish Highlands, lived in the houses on site. Today, the most famous is still Glen House, where it all started, which is said to be haunted by a Spanish lady who travelled to Scotland in a sherry cask. With a visitor centre and gift shop, GlenDronach offers five different tours for everyone from whisky beginners to connoisseurs. www.glendronachdistillery.co.uk
Aberdeenshire CORGARFF CASTLE Standing alone like an island amid the rolling terrain of remote Strathdon, Corgarff Castle, a striking pale cuboid building, has a history as dramatic as its location. Built in the mid-16th century by the Forbes clan, Corgarff was burned down in 1571 by their enemy Adam Gordon of Auchindoun, a supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots. The fire resulted in the tragic deaths of Margaret Forbes, her children and servants, as recalled in the ballad Edom o Gordon. Later, after the Jacobite risings of the 18th century, the fortified house was redeveloped as a base for government troops hunting Jacobite sympathisers and, later, whisky smugglers. This later military history can be traced in the reconstructed barrack rooms and the star-shaped perimeter, which provided numerous lines of fire to make it difficult for the enemy to approach.
VISIT FYVIE CASTLE The story goes that each of the five successive families who occupied Fyvie Castle added a tower. The oldest – the Preston tower – dates from 1390 while the central Seton tower is the legacy, from 1599, of Alexander Seton. The Gordon and Leith towers followed later in 1778 and 1890 respectively. Fyvie was once a royal castle, dating back to around 1200, where Scottish kings would stay when touring their kingdom. Past illustrious guests include William the Lion in 1214, England’s Edward I and the latter’s adversary, Robert the Bruce, who based his court at the castle in the early 1300s. Look out for the great wheel staircase, the 17th-century Morning Room and the sumptuous Edwardian interiors. www.nts.org.uk
HADDO HOUSE Notable in Aberdeenshire for not being a castle, Haddo House elegantly showcases two eras of British history, reflecting the periods in which it was built and later refurbished, with clean Georgian architecture and lavish late Victorian interiors. Around 20 miles north of Aberdeen, Haddo was designed by William Adam in 1732 for the 2nd Earl of Aberdeen. The earl’s family, the Gordons, lived for more than 500 years on the site. The most famous member of the family was the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, George Hamilton-Gordon, who was prime minister from 1852 to 1855. Remarkably, nearly 1,200 people, now known as the Haddo Babies, were born at the house in the Second World War when it became a maternity hospital. www.nts.org.uk
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Experience luxury for yourself at Meldrum House Following a multi million pound development completed in June, award-winning Meldrum House has added 28 stunning bedrooms and a new Ballroom. Many of the bedrooms as well as the Ballroom have views out to the golf course and countryside beyond. Enjoy drinks in our magnificent newly extended Cave Bar and dinner in our refurbished 2 Red Rosette Restaurant. You wonâ€™t be disappointed.
Idyllic Location, Unique Experience
Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, AB51 0AE Telephone: +44 (0)1651 872294 | Fax: +44 (0)1651 872464 | email@example.com
SLEEP DELGATIE CASTLE After the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, when Robert the Bruce drove out the English army, Delgatie Castle was taken from the Earl of Buchan, who had fought with the English, and given to the Hay family with whom it remained for the next 650 years. After troops rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk used it as barracks, Captain Hay embarked on much-needed renovations. In addition to three self-catering cottages on the estate, it’s possible to stay in a suite in the castle. You’ll be following in royal footsteps – Mary, Queen of Scots was a guest in 1562.
DRUM CASTLE In the region known as Royal Deeside – between Braemar, where Balmoral stands, and Banchory – the courtyard cottage at Drum Castle is an impossibly romantic place to stay. Just ten miles from Aberdeen, the bijou apartment, which sleeps two people, dates back to the 16th century and can be found in the courtyard of the castle, one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses, which was given to William de Irwyn by King Robert the Bruce in 1323. Outside, the Drum estate boasts a 16th-century chapel, ancient woodland and a historic walled rose garden, while inside there’s a log-burning stove to keep you toasty. www.nts.org.uk
MELDRUM HOUSE Nestled in a 240-acre estate of spectacular Aberdeenshire countryside, Meldrum House has a rich history dating back to the 13th century. With a two-Red Rosette restaurant, the Baronial country house hotel also has a reputation for first-class afternoon teas, as well as boasting an 800-year-old Cave Bar, with more than 100 whiskies, and an 18-hole golf course. The hotel has recently benefited from a £4.5 million refurbishment, which has almost doubled it in size. www.meldrumhouse.com
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Experience London’s only personalised visit to Santa in an enchanted snowy grotto hidden in the heart of Rainforest Cafe. www.therainforestcafe.co.uk
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As autumn draws in, Will Baker explores a few of Britain’s cosiest pubs and hotels
3 The Bear Hotel
Located in rural North Yorkshire, the Star Inn is in a fantastic position for those who wish to explore what the area offers. Nearby are medieval Helmsley Castle, whose former owners include Richard III, and Rievaulx Abbey, once a magnificent Cistercian monastery which was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538. Also on your doorstep are the Yorkshire Moors, perfect for windswept walks. Or, if you don’t fancy braving the blustery outdoors, the absurdly pretty thatched inn has a sense of warmth and intimacy ideally suited for seeing out rainy days. Stay in Cross House Lodge, the Star’s nine-bedroomed hotel just across the road from the pub, or simply pop in to enjoy a dish or two of the Michelin-starred food, prepared by chef-owner Andrew Pern.
The Bear Hotel has been providing respite for travellers for almost 600 years. With its hearty pub food and family atmosphere – the Hindmarshes have run the place for 40 years now – the hotel today retains much of the welcoming spirit of the coaching inn it once was (and today’s guests can sleep in the very same oak-beamed rooms used by stagecoach passengers). At the heart of the pretty Welsh market town of Crickhowell, with its famous 18th-century bridge (with 12 arches on one side, 13 on the other), Norman castle and High Street lined with independent shops, the Bear also boasts the stunning Brecon Beacons National Park on its doorstep. If it all gets too much, snuggle up in front of a roaring fire in the bar with a glass – or plate – of something warming.
4 Airds Hotel
Although a new addition to Spitalfields, Batty Langley’s stands in a part of London steeped in history, from Hawksmoor’s magnificent Christ Church, built in 1729, to the area’s Huguenot influence. Langley was a Georgian architect who published popular books advising socialites how to plan the perfect, stylish home. His spirit lives on in the decor, with antique furnishings lovingly sourced to suit the period. Aspiring for the home-away-from-home feel, Batty Langley’s doesn’t have a restaurant, instead guests can pick something from the room service menu and dine either in their bedrooms or in one of the hotel’s stylish public areas – the Library, the Parlour and the Tapestry Room, where the hotel’s honesty bar offers lovely local tipples.
A former lochside ferry inn, Airds Hotel and Restaurant is now a luxury hotel, with 11 rooms, in Port Appin – most famous for the Appin Murder of 1752. This notorious miscarriage of justice took place in the turbulent aftermath of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and later inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling novel Kidnapped. Follow in the footsteps of the novel’s young narrator on invigorating walks and boat trips or relax by a roaring fire with a good book and a wee dram. With the Highlands landscape looking its best in purple autumn colours, you can watch the sun subside into the waters of Loch Linnhe before enjoying a fabulous dinner by candlelight in the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.
Describing itself as a “true country inn” the Anchor Inn at Lower Froyle, Hampshire, is the perfect place to leave it all behind and retreat into Jane Austen country. The novelist lived just ten minutes away in Chawton Cottage, her final home, which is now a museum. The historic city of Winchester, where Austen was buried, is also a short drive away. Back at the Anchor, rooms boast Tudor-style beams and antique furnishings, and take their names from literary heavyweights of the past. Each room features a stacked bookshelf – perfect for curling up with a book and a cuppa or, for the ultimate countryside escape, try the Rupert Brooke suite and take in the sweeping Hampshire views from the exquisite comfort of your surroundings.
GARY CALTON/JAKE EASTHAM
The Anchor Inn
1: Explore North Yorkshire from the cosy Star Inn 2: Batty Langleyâ€™s has a home-from-home feel 3: The Bear Hotel in Crickhowell has 600 years of history 4: A former ferry inn, Airds Hotel mixes luxury and history 5: Get literary at the Anchor Inn in Hampshire
ACCOMMODATION GUIDE – places to stay in Britain
Bush Nook is set on the slopes of North Pennines, a half mile off the A69 at Gilsland, within the rolling and open countryside of North East Cumbria.
View from Penthouse 3 overlooking Penzance Harbour, Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount Self Catering Harbourside accommodation Beautiful properties with stunning views ideally located for you to explore the Great South West
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There are a mix of single, double and twin bed and breakfast guest rooms or you can take the whole place on a self-catering basis, making Bush Nook the perfect destination for celebrations and parties. Each room has an individual design and character. All bedrooms are ensuite and comfortably furnished, complete with Freeview digital television, as well as a supply of toiletries and fluffy towels for your personal use.
There is a dedicated guest area to relax in with a lounge and a delightful conservatory, where in an evening you can rest, watch the birds, take in the stunning views, maybe have a drink in the Nook Bar or on a morning watch the sunrise as you breakfast. Visitors can also have complimentary use of the garden hot tub with stunning views across Northumberland and Hadrian’s Wall Country. For further information visit our website: www.bushnook.co.uk +44 (0)1697747194 • M: +44 (0)7920842253 • email@example.com
Situated in north-west Herefordshire, Buzzard House is a luxury B&B perfectly placed to explore this picturesque area in the heart of Black and White village country. Eating here is shaped by the seasons using locally sourced ingredients where possible. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
estled in ten acres of glorious award-winning gardens, Homewood Park is more than just luxury accommodation and award-winning food. Let the kids play in our gardens, enjoy some croquet or giant garden games. Mums can unwind in our intimate Spa (memberships available), or enjoy awardwinning food in our two AA rosette restaurant; under £25 for a three course lunch. Of course picnics and afternoon teas are a must, and with a ‘Friends of Homewood Park’ card you can find a reason to join us every day. Homewood Park is licensed to hold civil ceremonies and civil partnerships for up to 100 guests in our newly refurbished restaurant, a wedding breakfast for up to 100 people is a breeze, or why not enquire about a Marquee on our lawn? We are truly one of Bath’s best wedding venues...just look at Tripadvisor! We would love for you to pop in for a coffee or just to say hello, our door is always open.
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Olly and Rebecca invite you to join them at Langford Fivehead for unpretentious wellcooked food in a classic country house environment.
‘Fresh, friendly countryhouse dining, with skill, enthusiasm and an innate sense of hospitality’ Langford Fivehead hosts an elegant drawing room for evening drinks, a beautiful garden for games and picnics, and 6 unique bedrooms where you can relax in total tranquillity.
Waitrose Good Food Guide 2016 Cooking score 6
This quintessentially English restaurant and rooms is set in 7-acres of well-tended grounds, and located in the hamlet of Lower Swell; between Swell and Fivehead, just 6 miles from Langport and 10 miles from Jct 25 M5, Taunton, Somerset, UK Restaurant and Rooms Fivehead - TA3 6PH 01460 282020 email@example.com
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Experience Chester with a Roman Soldier www.romantoursuk.com Tel 01978 761264 ACCOMMODATION
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Albro House Hotel
155 Sussex Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2 2RY Tel: +44 (0)20 7724 2931 / +44 (0)20 7706 8153 Fax: +44 (0)20 7262 2278 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.albrohotel.co.uk Located near Hyde Park, public transport and convenient for sightseeing and shopping. Comfortable rooms all with TV, private facilities, tea / coffee maker, phone, radio and hairdryer. Friendly efficient service. Quiet, relaxed atmosphere. Some parking. Families and small groups welcome. Tours booked. Luggage storage. Free WiFi Rates per person including cooked English breakfast & all taxes Single rooms from Twin / double rooms from Family (3 or 4) per person from
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A GOOD VALUE HOTEL IN CENTRAL LONDON ANCESTRY AND TITLES
Come and see the willow industry … from the Withy Bed to the Basket at the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre … The Centre is owned and run by the Coate family, who have been growing willow on the Somerset Levels since 1819. Visitors will ﬁnd a warm welcome and are invited to learn about the history and art of willow growing and basketmaking.
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You will ﬁnd a wonderful selection of basketware to buy, handcrafted from Coate’s own willow, by their team of skilled basketmakers.
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Coates English Willow, Meare Green Court, Stoke St Gregory, Taunton, Somerset TA3 6HY
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Quiz Crossword no 193 SAY WHAT?
Can you identify which great Britons uttered these words of wisdom?
Across 1 Cornish fishing port famous in the 1880s and 1890s for its artists’ colony (6) 5 A shipwrecked person, such as Robinson Crusoe (8) 9 A London rail terminus (8) 10 Buildings occupied by communities of monks or nuns (6) 11 Buildings for accommodating horses or other livestock (7) 12 A measure of land area equal to a quarter of an acre (4) 14 — Lynn, popular singer known in the 1940s as the Forces’ Sweetheart (4) 15 Brass band instrument (8) 18 English warship which sank off Southsea in 1545 and was raised for preservation in 1982 (4,4) 19 School near Windsor, founded in 1440 by Henry VI (4) 21 The short tail of a hare, rabbit, or deer (4) 23 The largest settlement on the Isle of Skye (7) 25 Yorkshire river that joins the Aire near Castleford (6) 26 — Abbey, Lord Byron’s ancestral home in Nottinghamshire (8) 27 Author of Barchester Towers (8) 28 County in which Runnymede is situated (6)
Down 2 — Blyton, author of the Famous Five stories for children (4) 3 Somerset manor house with associated chapel and gardens, owned by the National Trust (5,4) 4 — Hartnell, English couturier and court dressmaker who designed Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation gown (6) 5 Author of Jane Eyre (9,6) 6 An informal photograph (8) 7 A yellowish fossil resin used for ornaments and jewellery (5) 8 Pioneering English aviatrix born in Kingston upon Hull in 1903 (3,7) 13 Form of urban transport common in the 17th and 18th centuries (5,5) 16 A yeoman warder of the Tower of London (9) 17 Cornish coastal town that was once a haven for smugglers (8) 20 Five-shilling pieces (6) 22 Ebbing and flowing, like some estuaries (5) 24 The main part of a church, excluding the transept and chancel (4)
Visit www.discoverbritainmag.com for answers
“Madam, you take medicine, you take a walk, you take a liberty, but you drink tea” B
“A mistress never is nor can be a friend. While you agree, you are lovers; and when it is over, anything but friends” C
“So wise so young, they say, do never live long” D
“Your head runs too much upon Bath; but there is a time for everything — a time for balls and plays, and a time for work” E
“Gentlemen, when the enemy is committed to a mistake we must not interrupt him too soon” Turn to page 98 for the answers
Solution to crossword 192 Across: 1 Odiham, 4 Thistle, 9 Stevenson, 10 Angus, 11 Eliza, 12 Thackeray, 13 Snowdon, 15 Euston, 17 Edward, 19 Chatham, 21 Dungeness, 23 Otter, 25 April, 26 Salisbury, 27 Edensor, 28 Ascott Down: 1 Oysters, 2 Iceni, 3 Alexandra, 4 Tyndale, 5 Izaak, 6 Tiger moth, 7 Easby, 8 Ashton, 14 Oudenarde, 16 Seahouses, 18 Dresser, 19 Castle, 20 Marryat, 21 Drake, 22 Ellis, 24 Truro discoverbritainmag.com 97
English eccentrics “A member of the audience in the Theatre Royal, Richmond had to receive medical attention for ‘immoderate paroxysms of laughter’”
All the world’s a stage
ANSWERS TO SAY WHAT? A “BEAU” BRUMMELL B LORD BYRON C SHAKESPEARE (RICHARD III) D JANE AUSTEN (NORTHANGER ABBEY) E ADMIRAL HORATIO LORD NELSON
NATIONAL TRUST IMAGES/DERRICK E WITTY
little talent, like a him. One feels for his co-stars – one little learning, can became so perturbed that she clung be a dangerous thing to a pillar and refused to leave the especially when, as stage. Later in his career, Juliets were in the case of Robert “Romeo” hard to come by. Coates, it is combined with a lot of Strangely, however, the roles money. Born in Antigua in 1772, continued. The reasons seem to be the son of a wealthy sugar planter, twofold: first, Coates’s significant Coates began to appear on stage wealth meant that he could Robert “Romeo” Coates was Georgian in fashionable Regency Bath in subsidise productions and, it is said, Britain’s greatest actor – or so he believed the early 1800s. One of his first even bribe managers; second, his appearances on stage in England comic value as an amateur actor, took place in 1810: a performance of Romeo and Juliet in perhaps inadvertently (though some argue he was a brilliant which Coates played the male lead, his favourite role and parodist), brought him fame. Audiences flocked to see him, with the one from which, of course, his nickname derives. Baron Ferdinand de Geramb becoming his foremost supporter Setting the standard for the sort of thing audiences could come and even the Prince Regent (later King George IV) making an to expect, Coates, convinced of his greatness, decided to “improve appearance in his audiences. upon” Shakespeare’s text somewhat and, in Act V, took it upon At the Haymarket Theatre (now Theatre Royal Haymarket) it’s himself to prise Juliet’s tomb open with a crowbar, the only said 1,000 people were turned away from the box office when he instrument which, as Edith Sitwell puts it in English Eccentrics, performed in The Fair Penitent, while a member of the audience in “stood between Mr Coates and imminent dissolution”. the Theatre Royal, Richmond, had to receive medical attention for His performances did not improve with practice. Attired in “immoderate paroxysms of laughter”. outrageous costumes of his own design – he had a particular Eventually, audiences tired of the joke. Perhaps unsurprisingly penchant for diamonds and furs – he would invent new scenes and Coates fell into financial hardship and moved to Boulogne-sur-Mer dialogue mid-show. In one performance, he pulled out his snuff box where he met Emma Anne Robinson, whom he married in 1823. and offered some to the audience, in another he was so pleased with The two lived in London until Coates died in 1848, though even his his death scene in Romeo and Juliet that he performed it twice – and ending was full of drama: Coates was run down in the street by a was about to go for a third when his Juliet came back to life to stop curricle, in one final cruel irony, as he left the theatre. n
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