Golden Jubilee award for church recorders’ organiser
On 26 April 2018, at the West Midlands chairmen’s lunch at the delightful home of Roly Trevor-Jones, Angela Watkins, the church recorders’ group organiser for The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa, was presented with a Golden Jubilee award. This is “in recognition and appreciation of her outstanding contribution to volunteering for The Arts Society”.
Angela has been group organiser almost since the inception of the church recording group in 1996. The group has recorded seven churches and is currently working at St Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic church in Baddesley Clinton.
She has recently retired as the West Midlands Church Recorders’ Area Representative, having been in post for twelve years.
26 April 2018
Wednesday 14th August 2019 – Belvoir Castle
Our visit to Belvoir Castle was a fascinating excursion into the history of the Duke of Rutland’s family since 1067. We saw one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in the world in the castle today which was built in the early 1800s for the 5th Duke and is the fourth castle to stand on this site. The numerous paintings and treasures, which have been collected by the family for nearly 1,000 years, were wonderful.
The weather was against a full exploration of the gardens but a few intrepid members ventured to see how the lost plans of Capability Brown had come to fruition. Some also did the walks through formal gardens, woodland, Japanese, Duchess’s and Hermit’s gardens.
We also had very tasty food, drink, some retail therapy and good company. In all a most enjoyable day.
Image – Belvoir Castle © By Nancy, Used under Licence: Creative Commons by SA 3.0
Wednesday 8th May 2019 – Stonor & Hughenden
After delays due to traffic and a very wet start to the day we had a most interesting visit to Stonor Manor. This is one of England’s oldest manor houses housing outstanding displays of portraits, tapestries, bronzes and ceramics.
It has been the family’s residence for over 850 years making it one of the oldest family residences still lived in. The guides brought the most interesting family history to life while we toured the house before lunch in the restaurant in the manor.
After lunch we visited Hughenden Manor which is the handsome home of Benjamin Disraeli, set in a Chiltern valley where the sun made a brief appearance. It houses a fascinating collection of personal memorabilia of this colourful statesman. Disraeli’s hillside retreat later became the headquarters for a top secret Second world war operation that put Hughenden high on Hitler’s target list. The basement exhibition, 1940s living-room and ice house bunker was fascinating bringing wartime Britain to life.
In all a most interesting day visiting two of England’s famous Manor houses.
Images – Stonor and Hughenden © Ann Pitt
Thursday 15th November 2018 – Blenheim Palace
Blenheim Palace at Christmas & Living Crafts Fair
Blenheim Palace was built in the 18th century as a gift to the 1st Duke of Marlborough who won the battle of Blenheim on 13th August 1704. From 1764 the grounds were transformed by Capability Brown. Today it is most notably known as the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
We had a most enjoyable visit learning about the history of the Palace with the new audio guides, while marvelling at the beauty of the Palace dressed Christmas. This was a magical experience.
The weather was kind allowing us to wander round the Capability Brown gardens and lakes.
The final treat was to visit the “Living Crafts for Christmas fair” which showcased over 150 British designer-makers of contemporary crafts. This was a most enjoyable way to buy some of our Christmas gifts!
Image – © Ann Pitt
Chatsworth House – October 2018
On Friday 12th October 2018, we hosted a Day of Special Interest at The Warwickshire Golf & Country Club, Leek Wootton, near Warwick CV35 7QT.
The speaker was Simon Seligman who has spent almost thirty years working in the arts, heritage, tourism and communication.
The subject was Chatsworth House, an historical overview of the evolution of the House and collections, and the garden. After lunch, a focus on the life and times of Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, the youngest and last surviving of the six Mitford sisters, who were prominent members of English society in the 1930s and 1940s.
Image out of copyright. Taken from Morris, F. O.: “Picturesque Views of Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland” (1870)