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Batsford Arboretum – Autumn is a good time to visit

Events, Features, Places by Tony 1 Comment »

28th October – Golden Leaf Sunday – the Arboretum at it’s colourful best
Batesford in the Autumn (c) Batsford Foundation
Autumn is the perfect time to visit the Arboretum near Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. It will be looking wonderful with the autumn colours coming in early this year with an explosion of reds, golds and yellows and the Maples providing the richest colours.

In September the sugary scented Katsura Tree is one special attraction. The tree is native to Japan and China and a scent is produced by the leaves resembling burnt brown sugar or cotton candy.

Also in September the Mulberry Tree will fruit. The dark red, almost black fruits, are similar to blackberries in appearance but are very juicy with an intense sweet sharp flavour. Shakespeare had a famous Mulberry Tree, of which there are descendants at Kew, and it is said that he had taken it from the Mulberry garden of James I and planted it in his garden at New Place, Stratford-on-Avon, in 1609.

Since 1984 the Arboretum has been run by a charitable trust – The Batsford Foundation -to ensure it’s future and in 2002 it was recognised by the National Council for theConservation of Plants and Gardens (N.C.C.P.G.) as holding the National Plant Collection of Japanese Flowering Cherries (Prunus (sato-sakura group)).

The Estate is the former home of the Mitford girls who all lived at Batsford during the first world war. The oldest, Nancy, based the early part of her novel “Love in a cold climate” on their time at Batsford.

The Estate was sold in 1919 to Gilbert Wills, later the 1st Lord Dulverton and his wife Victoria took a great interest in the garden making many additions to it’s plant stock including the Handkerchief Tree and some fine Copper Beeches.

During the second world war the gardens were neglected and became overgrown until Frederick Wills succeeded his father as 2nd Lord Dulverton in 1956. He had a great passion for trees and proceeded throughout the 1960s to halt the decline. He consolidated the existing collections and added a multitude of other trees to The Estate. He was responsible for raising the status of Batsford to an Arboretum of international standing.

The collection at Batsford now covers a wide range of plants from around the world with an emphasis on the Far East. There are over 3050 labelled specimens including about 1600 different trees, shrubs and bamboo.

Prominent collections include:-

Acer(Maples), Magnolias, Prunus, Bamboo, Sorbus(Mountain Ash and Whitebeams), Quercus(Oak) and Pinus(Pine)

Batsford Arberetum
Batsford Park
GL56 9QB

Telephone 01386 701441

Open daily from 10.00 am to 4.45 pm

New Arrivals at the Cotswold Farm Park

Features, Places by Tony No Comments »

A Donkey Foal and a litter of Kune Kune Pigs are born
Bramble the Donkey Foal

The Cotswold Farm Park was established in 1971 and was Britain’s first ever Farm Park. On display is a collection of rare breeds of British Farm animals including sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, horses, poultry and waterfowl. The Park has serious aims of conservation and education with outdoor and indoor animal displays and daily demonstrations.

It recently had two special arrivals:-

Donkey mum Flower had her first foal, a boy called Bramble. Flower gave birth at lunchtime in front of a crowd of visitors which caused quite a stir and was unusual because donkeys usually give birth at night.

A litter of Kune Kune Pigs were born. This small breed of pig originated from New Zealand and their name is pronounced Cooney Cooney which means fat and round in Maori. How they got to New Zealand is a mystery as there are no indigenous land animals there. They arrived in Britain in 1992 and look like a Walt Disney cartoon version of a pig

Cotswold Farm Park
Near Guiting Power
GL54 5UG
Telephone 01451 850307

The Park is open daily until 9th September then weekends only until End October and daily for the Autumn Half Term – 20th to 31st October
10.30 am to 5.00 pm

Life in the 1500s

Chipping Campden Bulletin by Adam No Comments »

A taste of life in England during the 1500s by Roger Keight, Campden and district historical and archaeological society.

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. They were starting to smell, however, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odour. Hence the custom of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children, with last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”.

Houses had thatched roofs, thick straw piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice and bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, “It’s raining cats and dogs”.

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house from the roof. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, “Dirt poor”. The wealthy had slate floors which would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on the floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entrance way. Hence the thresh hold.

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to go cold overnight and then start again the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, “Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old”.

Sometimes they would obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, “bring home the bacon”. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit round the table and, “chew the fat”.

Those with money had pewter plates. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach on to the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next four hundred years or so, tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle and guests got the top or the ‘upper crust’.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather round, eat and drink and wait to see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone house, and re-use the grave. When re-opening these coffins, one out of twenty-five were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer”.

Roger Keight. Campden and district historical and archaeological society.
If you are interested in joining CADHAS or want to find out more information, you can visit the Chipping Campden History website.

(From the Chipping Campden Bulletin. Included with kind permission of Jeremy Green)

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