Mystery, Cakes and Poets
The Friends of Gloucestershire Archives continue to celebrate their 25th Anniversary year, and they’re doing so in style!
Where are we?
In July members set off on their annual mystery tour, ably organised and led by Dr John Chandler. This year we visited the Vale of Pewsey to witness the interplay between landscape and history. Then, having called in at two medieval churches, we arrived in Devizes where, after lunch, we walked around the town examining its narrow medieval streets and seeing how its once vast castle shaped the way the town developed. On one of the hottest days of the year we were also glad to walk alongside the quiet cool waters of the Kennet and Avon Canal – another influence on the development of the town.
Queen Elizabeth was here before us
In August members paid a private visit to Whittington Court, a splendid Tudor house near Cheltenham. Elizabeth I stayed there in 1592 and apparently enjoyed her visit – and so did we. After a talk about the house’s history and a chance to examine some of its archives, including a letter from John Wesley and a deed from the 1400s, we were allowed to wander about the house exploring its treasures before enjoying a lovely tea of homemade cakes in the dining hall or on the sun-drenched terrace. It was a joy and privilege to experience such a magnificent house which is rarely open to the public and to see some of its historically important archives.
Open All Hours
Open all hours – that’s how it felt at the start of September when the Friends supervised the refreshments for the Archives’ Open Day. Over 400 visitors passed through the doors and it felt as if they all headed for the cakes, tea and ice cream, including the Mayor of Gloucester, whose picture we thought we’d better not publish as she was enjoying a mouthful of cake at the time! We were immensely grateful to Archive staff who baked 20 cakes and a selection of biscuits for the occasion and who helped prepare everything beforehand. We took over £600 in donations, a welcome boost to the Friends’ resources.
One of the main reasons for the Friends’ existence is so they can give financial help to the Archives. A collection of papers came up for auction in June. They related to the ‘Dymock Poets’, a group which included Rupert Brooke and Edward Thomas, and they were probably part of a collection of which the Archives already had part. The auction estimate for the whole collection was a staggering £120,000 but the Archives managed to secure the items that were of greatest interest with the help of a £500 donation from the Friends.
For more information about the Friends visit www.foga.org.uk/