Ceredigion Association of National Trust Members Cymdeithas Aelodau r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol NEWSLETTER 2016 ISSUE 44.

Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download "Ceredigion Association of National Trust Members Cymdeithas Aelodau r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol NEWSLETTER 2016 ISSUE 44."


1 Ceredigion Association of National Trust Members Cymdeithas Aelodau r Ymddiriedolaeth Genedlaethol NEWSLETTER ISSUE th ANNIVERSARY

2 CEREDIGION ASSOCIATION OF NATIONAL TRUST MEMBERS COMMITTEE MEMBERS from AGM 2015 Officers: Chairman Mrs Dwynwen Belsey Vice Chairman Mrs Barbara Hogger Hon Secretary Mr Dave Hughes Hon Treasurer Mr Colin Eldridge Members: Mrs Sylvia Cartwright Mr Rod Harris Mrs Gwyneth Hirst-Evans Mr John Latham Mrs Gillian Manton* Mr Russell Jones Miss Margaret Woodliff *Gillian is also Membership Secretary & Newsletter Editor Non-Committee Members who contribute to the running of CANTM: Mrs Jenny Edwards Raffle organiser Mr Stan Nettle Photography Mrs Mair Rees Help with computing The National Trust s Associations have existed for more than 50 years to support the work of the National Trust and to make membership of the charity more enjoyable. There are now about 200 such groups in Wales, England and Northern Ireland and in Belgium and Germany. Ceredigion Association was founded in 1991 and has since then raised over 40,000 which has been donated to Llanerchaeron and to other National Trust countryside and coastline projects in Ceredigion. We have an interesting programme of talks, outings and other events and new members are always welcome. SUBSCRIPTION RATES Subscriptions: Member: 7.00 p.a. Any number of National Trust Members living at the same address: p.a. Application forms can be obtained from the Membership Secretary: Mrs Gillian Manton Llys-wen, Bryn Eglur LLANFARIAN Aberystwyth SY23 4BP PROVISIONAL Programme for 2017 JAN Mon. 23 Coffee Morning & Speaker Waunfawr Hall FEB Tues. 21 Winter Warmer & Speaker MAR Thur. 23 Theatre, trip to Cardiff CANCELLED. Now informal coffee & talk at Llanerchaeron APR Mon. 24 to Fri. 28 Annual Trip MAY Thur. 18 Coach Trip: Cardigan Castle, Fishguard Tapestry & Nevern JULY Sat. 1 Tea: Llys-wen, Llanfarian (CHANGE of DATE) SEPT Fri. 8 Coach Trip: Brecon Mountain Railway OCT Thurs. 19 AGM: Carriage Courtyard, Llanerchaeron NOV Wed. 15 Annual Lunch, Lampeter DEC Tues. 5 Christmas Carols, Llanerchaeron (CHANGE of DATE) Full details will be sent to members in Bulletins. Many thanks for all the photographs supplied by members. The editor would also like to thank all the contributors for their reports on our events. 31

3 MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN September 2016 Dear CANTM Members TEA at BRYN EGLUR JUBLEE DINNER 30 This past year has been a momentous year for CANTM as we have celebrated our Silver Jubilee. Yes, it is twenty five years since we started and it is very satisfying to look back over the last quarter of a century and see the tremendous achievements made by the Association and its members. I recently saw some photographs taken in the early nineties of Llanerchaeron and the poor condition of the house itself and the outbuildings, yet by today there has been a huge transformation and much of the enthusiasm and work that has contributed to this transformation is due to the efforts of our members and their volunteering roles over the years, often the result of hard physical work. From a financial perspective, CANTM has contributed over 40,000 to Llanerchaeron and we will be in a position to make a generous donation again this year. Support for the National Trust and enjoyment for members are the objectives of CANTM. We have certainly had a successful programme this last year, full of enjoyment with a wonderful range of places to visit from the traditional Stately Homes such as Attingham Park to the unusual but fascinating Plas Teg. We have had day trips, delicious teas, especially the one in Gillian Manton s house in June, as well as the highly successful trip away to Dorset. The rolling hills of Somerset and Dorset were a wonderful backdrop to the majesty of such places as Montacute House and Sherborne Castle. We had the quirky too, who would have expected a museum on teddy bears or Tutankhamun in Dorchester? Our Silver Jubilee celebrations were enhanced by a delicious dinner in the Conrah Hotel in July when we had the most wonderful harp recital by local talented harpist Nest Jenkins and a talk by Philip James who was able to give us a valuable and interesting insight to the early days of Llanerchaeron. It has been an honour and a privilege for me to have been your Chairman for such an auspicious year. Dwynwen Belsey 3

4 VISIT to BIRMINGHAM 14 th - 16 th SEPTEMBER 2015 Our September outing involved a three-day trip, staying at the 4- star, 2-AA rosette Manor Hotel in Meriden, allegedly the heart of England. A whole day was spent in Birmingham visiting the Museum and Art Gallery and touring the celebrated Back-to-Backs (the highlight of the trip). We also visited Attingham Park, Worcester Cathedral and Greyfriars' House and Garden. On our return we stopped for a sumptuous tea at our favourite Watering Hole in Aymestrey. ATTINGHAM PARK Monday 14 th September 2015 The first Lord Berwick commissioned the Georgian mansion and stable block in Attingham s fortunes fluctuated in the 19th century as the family faced bankruptcy not once but twice and endured lean years before they were able to carefully and lovingly restore the house in the early 20th century. There is a strong Italian thread running through the house as the family had close connections with Venice. Thomas, the last Lord Berwick to inherit Attingham, developed a passion for French furniture, he and his wife set out to restore the house as much as they could on limited means. In 1937 Thomas gifted Attingham in its entirety to the National Trust as an example of eighteenth-century architecture You first enter Attingham through the domed foyer, then through a vast selection of magnificent reception rooms, where there are many examples of restoration work. We were able to see the conservation project to restore the glazed roof above the picture gallery and a series of rooms on the top floor in the process of being restored, including a number of bedrooms which are currently excluded from view. Finally, the servants quarters provide a fascinating insight into life below stairs. The walk to the walled garden was designed by Humphrey Repton for visitors to enjoy the approach. The garden, set in 2.5 acres, has been recreated since 2008 with the assistance from volunteers after years of neglect. It was not modernised in Victorian times and is therefore an excellent example of an 18th-century walled garden made entirely by brick, divided into two parts, a large productive section and a smaller section housing glass houses and cold frames. The garden was full of late summer vegetables and cutting flowers for the house. Branwen Phillips 4 JUBILEE DINNER Wednesday 6 th July 2016 CANTM held its 25 th Anniversary Dinner at the Conrah Hotel, Chancery, where after a harp recital by Nest Jenkins, our speaker, Philip James, enthralled us by the account of the early days of the acceptance of Llanerchaeron by the National Trust. As no money came with the bequest, Headquarters initially refused to accept it. However, such bodies as The National Library of Wales and St Fagans, emphasised the special qualities of Welshness that were encapsulated in the self-sufficient estate of Llanerchaeron. As a result, Philip worked out the cost of repair and maintenance and how it could be financed by the sale of some of the farms. He then spoke to local groups in the area and soon CANTM was formed. Volunteers worked tirelessly in the leaking, cold, cobwebby house, in the overgrown walled gardens, and in the crumbling farm buildings clearing rubbish, cleaning and cataloguing. Committee meetings with HQ were held in a Service Station at Chippenham: 2,000,000 was received from The Heritage Lottery Fund and matched by the EU, and after five years Llanerchaeron was accepted by the National Trust. Improvements since then have been careful to maintain the original character of a working farmstead. The latest phase of repair is the new roof which was paid for by the Pamela Ward Bequest. Her Treen Collection is displayed in Llanerchaeron while her house has been sold to pay for further repairs. Philip concluded by again praising the love, care, and efforts of the Volunteers saying that CANTM was critical in saving Llanerchaeron for the National Trust. He was warmly thanked by Barbara Hogger and us all. Betty Loyn 29

5 DOLAUCOTHI GOLD MINES Saturday 14 th May 2016 Originally planned as a full day, the coach trip to Dinefwr and Dolaucothi had to be turned into an afternoon visit to Dolaucothi as only 11 members had booked. We therefore made our own way by car on a simply beautiful afternoon to Dolaucothi. The 14 members who went thoroughly enjoyed Barry Burnham s introductory talk, most of us, suitably kitted out with helmets, followed him above ground for a longer tour of the site, which involved making our way up steps to be taken through the Upper Mine which showed clearly marks of the tools used by the miners to fashion the tunnels. Gillian Manton TEA at LLANFARIAN Friday 17 th June 2016 Thirty-three members were able, on the warm afternoon of Friday, 17 th June, to attend an afternoon tea in Gillian Manton s garden. A magnificent spread of sandwiches and cakes together with strawberries and cream was set out to enjoy, after a welcoming cup of tea or coffee. A lot of work by volunteers had obviously gone into its preparation. Old friends were able to meet up and sitting in groups exchange news. The garden, and the view from it, was an added attraction. A stall selling produce, flowers, books and DVDs was available in aid of funds for the National Trust in Ceredigion. This quickly sold out and, in total, a sum of just over 350 was raised. The guests were joined by a beautiful brindle cat. The cat kept a general eye on the proceedings and allowed a small amount of fussing. A raffle for many prizes finished the afternoon. A big Thank You is due, therefore, to Gillian for arranging and hosting the event. STAFFORDSHIRE HOARD Tuesday 15 th September 2015 Housed in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery these exquisite items, superbly crafted from precious metals, glass and garnets, demonstrate the sophisticated crafts of filigree and cloisonné not generally associated with the 7th-century Kingdom of Mercia. Some 500 items were discovered in 2009 buried in farmland near Lichfield, excavations followed in 2009, 2010 and 2012 when nearly four thousand items were discovered in total. All were buried and are of a military nature consisting of decorations for helmets, sword hilts and crosses that would have been taken to battle. There are pagan as well as religious artefacts, buried during the later stages of the conversion of Anglo Saxons to Christianity. There is a spectacular handle for a seax a single bladed knife, probably owned by someone high born due to its fine craftsmanship and decoration (it is thought many Saxons carried a knife as the name Saxons means people of the knife ). The reason for the burial of these objects is still a mystery, was the hoard meant as a King s ransom, loot from a battle or treasure hidden from attackers? We will never know but they are fascinating and informative. Dwynwen Belsey Iris Shaw 28 5

6 WELLS CATHEDRAL Friday 22 nd April ATTINGHAM PARK BIRMINGHAM BACK to BACKS 6 From the coach drop-off point, walk just ten paces through Brown s Gate and there it is - the massive, spectacular west front of the Cathedral. It dates from 1230 and as the leaflet says has one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world. Within we enjoyed seeing memorable features such as the 14th-century stained glass, the beautiful scissor arches and the ancient clock (circa 1390). Most of us assembled here at noon to watch the jousting knights gallop round and round while the bell struck twelve. We walked along the Vicars Close, the only complete medieval street in England in steady drizzle, before spending most of our time visiting the Bishop s Palace with its fortified rampart and wide moat. Part of the Palace is occupied by the present incumbent; the remainder is open to the public and includes gardens, an arboretum (marking the Queen s Silver Jubilee) and allotments. There are also The Wells - upwellings from an underground stream fed by rain falling on the porous limestone of the nearby Mendip Hills. Inside the Palace there is a fine Jacobean staircase, vaulted undercroft, displays of ecclesiastical vestments, and portraits of past bishops in a long gallery. More rooms with windows were fitted into the roof in the late 19th century to accommodate Bishop Hervey s family of 13 children. The Great Hall was designed to impress Edward I during a visit but he never came. Henry VIII saw the roof removed so the hall deteriorated rapidly. In the early 1800s two walls were demolished to create a romantic, picturesque ruin so fashionable at that time. There was no time to see any more of the city and its architectural delights. Memo: must visit Wells again soon. Judith and Roger Bray 27

7 BIRMINGHAM BACK - to - BACKS Tuesday 15 th September ATHELHAMPTON We visited, in the centre of Brum, not a mansion but the humble homes of ordinary working people trying to make ends meet and they did here with only a brick apart for privacy! On a guided tour, Court number 15 came to life, with our excellent guides telling of three particular families who lived there in 1840, 1870 and 1930, also the "business" side of Mr. Bingham's sweet shop and George Saunders' tailoring business. Trading on the corner of Inge and Hurst Street was to prosper as 19th-century industrial progress came to Birmingham. Cheap terraced houses were needed to house incomers into this "city of 1000 trades". The restored 19th-century houses are literally built back to back around a communal courtyard, one down and two up rooms of confined space ingeniously used by tenanted occupiers, the communal outside privy was necessary for so many and the "brew house-washday" rota had to suit! Our "march of progress" took us firstly into the Jewish household of Lawrence and Priscilla Levy of four children up from London to carry on their watch-making/jewellery business from their "parlour-workshop". The "waste not want not" ethic was demonstrated in their sparse way of life: tallow candle ends up high along with food away from rats, no running water and the bucket, gazunder or jerry, in evidence, their precious few possessions cherished. Time marched on upwards and downwards (stairs are steep!) into adjoining rooms of the Oldfield family, Herbert and Ann and five children ("top to toe" sleeping certainly took place), they also had two lodgers (man and his girl-friend!) to eke out the rent. Their trade was toymaking, taxidermy and human glass eye making as shown off in the parlour in an open drawer! What a unique experience! The Mitchell family with bachelor George and his special locksmith items and possessions took our attention next, that family had a 95-year connection through three generations with Court 15. Onwards into late 1900 through to 2002 to see tailoring prowess of George Saunders from St. Kitts who being "foreign had difficulty getting established. Eventually his business in military supplies became successful as did many other trades in the area. There were memories, photos, wallpaper displays and much more to occupy you emotionally, so great to visit! 26 Val Harris 7

8 WORCESTER, GREYFRIARS HOUSE Wednesday 16 th September On leaving the Cathedral I took a stroll up the pedestrianized, ancient, Friar s Street, passing many delightful boutiques until I found Greyfriars House. It is a good specimen of a late medieval, timber framed, town house. The house has seen many owners and tenants since the time of Thomas Grene, a wealthy merchant, who had the house built in It fell into disrepair and was saved from demolition in 1943 by the Archaeological Society. One of its members, Mr Matley Moore and his sister became life tenants and restored the building at their own expense and moved into the premises in It was donated to the National Trust in On entering the building from the street by a big double gateway, a cobbled path leads to a beautiful courtyard and garden. The quince trees, with hanging fruit, were a tremendous sight. The ground floor room is dominated by two tapestries, one 16 th century and one 17 th century. There is a superb four-fold screen made up with 17 th -century leather. The dining room is furnished with Georgian period furniture and panels of George 1 wallpaper. More tapestries hang on the staircase and gallery. There is a superb 17 th -century three -quarter tester bed, draped in 20 th century Liberty fabric, in Mr Moore s bedroom. The library was most inviting, spacious and furnished in deep rich colours of reds, browns and yellows. We saw various samples of Miss Moore s fine artistry and needlework throughout the house. The most enjoyable visit terminated with a cup of tea, sitting outdoors in the garden. ATHELHAMPTON HOUSE Thursday 21 st April At its core is the Great Hall, part of the original fortified Manor House built c.1485 by Sir William Martyn. The Great Hall is one of the finest examples of 15 th -century domestic architecture with the original timbered roof and very fine linen fold panelling. Over the next 500 years the house remained a family home for nine different families with varying fortunes but the result is a mazelike house of added wings, not all communicating so there is a lot of going up and down staircases. It contains a very varied collection of artefacts paintings, tapestries, glassware, china, silver, beautiful plaster ceilings and heraldic glass in the many windows and an outstanding collection of English furniture from Jacobean to late Victorian. In the attic of the West Wing, reached by a spiral Elizabethan staircase, is an exhibition of paintings by Marevna, a Russian artist who owned and lived in Athelhampton from The gallery now has 30 pictures by Marevna covering all periods and styles of the artist s long life. She died in 1984 aged 92. The gardens are as extensive and varied as the house with a range of beautifully tended gardens of differing styles from formal and architectural to woodland and riverside with the river Piddle running along one side. In 1891 Alfred Cart de Lafontaine began the restoration of the house and between Inigo Thomas built the Formal Gardens and established the gardens as they are today. In 1957 Robert Victor Cooke bought the Estate and successive generations of the Cooke family have lived at Athelhampton and continued its restoration. It is now open to the public and is very well worth a visit. A brief review like this can only whet your appetite but it is one place I should love to return to. Give yourself a full day to fully appreciate this lovely house and garden. Gillian Morgan Kath Webster 8 25

9 KINGSTON LACY Thursday 21 st April We set off on a beautiful sunny day; on arriving Stan Nettle was delighted when he secured the use of an electric buggy to aid movement around the property (see the front cover!) The house was transformed into an Italian palazzo? I wondered how a marble monument to William John Banks was going to look in the Dorset countryside. I think I speak for all of us that we saw a beautiful house very grand in marble yet not at all cold. We entered the house and proceeded to the first floor up an impressive, at least seven feet wide, staircase to the half landing where floor to ceiling arched windows gave a wonderful view of the garden, helping to bring the outdoors in. The transformation into an Italian Palazzo was achieved by filling the house with works of art collected from the Mediterranean and amazing ceilings totally covered with canvas paintings transferred from alfrescos. In the dining room, in particular, was an impressive ceiling that had been restored for 100,000, a fresco of day and night, the lady having stars in her veil on a dark background to represent night and the gent bathed in golden light to represent day. Wonderful carved wooden shutters dressed the windows and many paintings were to be seen on the walls. The 6 foot chandeliers sparkled large enough to compete with the other feasts for the eyes. I asked the attendant how she felt about the house. She said it was a house that filled you with joy. I must say that I agreed with her. A very much loved house that had remained in the same family since it was built in I explored the gardens as I could not resist the blue bell wood walk on a beautiful sunny day. A beautiful house with glorious grounds incorporating a Japanese garden contributed by the National Trust inspired by an old design found in the attic. Time ran out to see any more. Margaret Leney ANNUAL LUNCH Wednesday 18 th November 2015 On a wet and windy day, members appreciated the warmth as they crowded into the restaurant of the Talbot Hotel to enjoy a very pleasant Annual Lunch to be followed by a talk by Anthony Griffiths, one of Wales' foremost acoustic guitarists well known for his interpretation and arrangement of Welsh and Celtic airs. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for our digestion), Anthony had left his acoustic guitar behind and appeared before us in his other guise as a local author and acclaimed photographer specialising in Welsh landscapes. His talk, entitled 'The Landscape and Antiquities of Mid-Wales', turned out to be a powerpoint presentation accompanied by a commentary on a whole range of beautiful and atmospheric photographs, ranging from Ynyslas to the Elan valley, Pentre Ifan to the the Teifi Pools, one minute in Newcastle Emlyn, the next in Carreg Cennen and then the Preselis. Views of mountains, lakes, reservoirs, standing stones, graves, stone circles, cairns and cromlechs appeared before us in quick succession as we learned, for example, that the blue stones famously transported to Stonehenge came from Carn Coedog and not Carn Meini as previously thought. His presentation ended with a series of breathtaking sunsets, mainly over Aberystwyth as the birds came home to roost - starlings, of course. Antony left us with a question which had always puzzled him: what were 'chevaux des fris'? None could answer. Can anybody help? Colin Eldridge 24 9

10 CHRISTMAS CAROLS Sunday 13 th December 2015 After an exceptionally wet and windy week, there was a modest improvement in the weather for the afternoon of our CANTM Carol Service. The 2015 Service was held at St. Rhystud s (otherwise St. Restitutis) Church in Llanrhystud. The church was rebuilt and extended in the 1850s and this rebuilding included a substantial stone spire, notable as being the only one in the county. The church is also believed to house the oldest medieval bell (still in use) in the county. Some forty CANTM members and friends attended this service and, unusually, were greeted by a well-heated church interior. The service was led by the Vicar, the Reverend Julian W. Smith. Following tradition, the service began with the carol Once in Royal David s City and then continued with a Bidding Prayer from the Rev. Smith. The main part of the Service comprised a selection of Christmas carols, in the main well-known, sung by the congregation with organ accompaniment, interspersed by a selection of readings, both religious and secular. In addition to these carols, a solo was given by Amy Miller which was beautifully delivered - and accompanied by Barbara Hogger on piano. The nativity-related scripture readings were given by CANTM members David Hughes, Val Harris, Dwynwen Belsey, Colin Eldridge, John Latham and Lindsey Hobson. In addition there were four well-chosen Christmas-related literature extracts, read by Paula Thomas from The Mill on the Floss (George Eliot), Richard Hogger from The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame), Tom O Malley from Cider with Rosie (Laurie Lee) and lastly Barbara Hogger from A Fenland Christmas (William Abington). The service concluded with an address by the Rev. Smith followed by a robust rendition of O Come All Ye Faithful from all the congregation before the Blessing which ended the service. The collection taken amounted to 140 and was split between two charities chosen by the vicar: Plas Lluest and Llanrhystud Church. Refreshments were served afterwards at the back of the church, including sherry, soft drinks and delicious home-made mince pies. SHERBORNE CASTLE Sandra Wheatley 10 23

11 SHERBORNE CASTLE Wednesday 20 th April April 20 th was bright and sunny with a brisk breeze when we drove to Sherborne Castle, ancestral home of the Digby family since 1617, but originally built in 1594 by Sir Walter Raleigh in the park of a medieval castle. Nothing remains of the gardens Raleigh set out save his Seat, the vantage point from which he surveyed his estate. The present fine landscape surrounding the castle and the 50-acre lake were created by Capability Brown in These and the sunshine proved too tempting to resist, and I took a stroll in the grounds before visiting the castle itself. Pleasant walks along the lakeside with fine specimen trees, flowerbeds, and features like Brown s Cascade, led to the Claire Voir. This was made in 1780 to provide the best view of the Old Castle s ruins and the park, though there were always stunning views across the water of Sherborne Castle itself, attractively built of the local honey-coloured limestone. When I came back to the house, I discovered that my entry ticket had somehow lost itself during my walk. Nevertheless, I was cheerfully admitted by the smiling lady at the door (reinforcing a growing feeling that welcomes were warmer and folk more approachable at private houses we visited than at those of the NT!) The interior of the house is delightful, though little remains from Raleigh s time. There is one chair in the hall, brought from his lodgings while he was held in the Tower, and the ceiling in the Green Drawing Room the principal room in Raleigh s day - has the original plasterwork with his coat of arms on it. The fireplace there is also original, but like other fireplaces in the castle has been ornamented in a highly decorative way and shows the Digby crest, dated The coat of arms of the Digby family includes an ostrich which can often be seen in various places and guises throughout the house. The whole house reveals a fascinating variety of styles derived from its 400 years as a family home, each Digby, and then Wingfield Digby, generation leaving its imprint. Important and impressive collections of art, furniture and porcelain, mean that each room deserved more time than was available to us to explore and admire. I left, though, feeling privileged that I had visited a beautiful, living house, at the heart of a traditional family-run estate. Paula Thomas 22 COFFEE MORNING Monday 25 th January 2016 The Coffee morning this year was held as usual in the Community Hall, Waunfawr. Coffee and biscuits were served to members and friends who then heard an interesting talk by David Steeds on The Politics of Commemoration This was followed by questions from the audience. A raffle was held and the usual Savouries and Goodies stall manned by Richard Hogger sold out. Together with the raffle just over 300 was made, This goes toward the National Trust in Ceredigion and Llanerchaeron in particular, and is part of the annual donation that we make. Gillian Manton 11

12 WINTER WARMER Tuesday 23 rd February 2016 About 30 members met for coffee in a recently re-furbished room at Brynamlwg on an unusually bright, sunny day. Our speaker, who needed no introduction (or microphone!) was Cyril Baker. He trained at Birmingham School of Art and runs Jewellery House in Aberystwyth. The purpose of his talk was to gain insight into the easily misunderstood subject of valuation. This could be for Probate, where you could value at low fire sale prices, with even good gold items only valued for scrap. After a loss, however, your insurance company has to establish the replacement value which is subject to market forces. We need to understand the extent of our cover: Pay more, get more. Cyril explained that Fashion is a big player. He knew of a Grandfather clock, bought years ago for 400, whose value rose to 7,000 but today it s only worth 1,800. Jewellers, therefore, only give guidance for insurance. We need to photograph individual pieces (but put a coin next to them to show the scale). It s rather difficult to provide the retrospective value of a lost piece! The Antiques Road Show was mentioned, with the unseen teams of valuers on lap-tops, and Cyril passed along the tables pairs of similar items for us to value. We now know how to test for a real pearl, and maybe spot 9-carat gold which has been gilded bright yellow! He also dealt with acid tests and X-rays. There is a machine which does spectral analysis of metal, but as it s 20,000 Cyril felt he could manage without one! It is difficult to differentiate between real and enhanced coloured stones, as imperfections can now be filled, like your car windscreen! Our broaches are no longer fashionable, Grand-dad s gold fob watch was key wound until about 1900, and 15-carat gold only existed for a few years as a British Standard. Repairers scratch marks on jewellery ceased in the mid- 1950s. Basically, with insurance you get what you pay for, but with today's excellent, informative talk followed by cawl (Aberystwyth lamb!) and delicious apple pie, I felt we definitely got that and much more. Wendy Reardon Many sixteenth- and seventeenth-century paintings on loan from The National Portrait Gallery are displayed in the longest Long Gallery in the country. Wolf Hall a recent BBC2 production was filmed here. There was enough time left to walk through the interesting gardens before ending a very enjoyable afternoon. Marcia Jones TUTANKHAMUN EXHIBITION Wednesday 20 th April In the summer of 1972 I queued for 7½ hours to see the 'Treasures of Tutankhamun' exhibition at the British Museum in London - as did thousands of others. It was a sumptuous and magnificent display of the exquisite craftsmanship and wealth of the Egyptians in the 18th dynasty. After London, the exhibition travelled to many countries over the next decade. Unfortunately, despite careful handling and supervision, the condition of many of the exhibits deteriorated dramatically. In 1987 a decision was made by the Egyptian Government to meticulously re-create many of the major treasures using, wherever possible, original material. The originals are now displayed under controlled conditions in the Cairo museum. The World Heritage Exhibition currently on show at the Dorchester Museum features these replicas of Tutankhamun's major treasures, including the Golden Mask and the Golden Throne, and a re-creation of the ante-chamber and burial chamber of Tutankhamun's tomb together with all the tomb furniture and treasures - just as it was when Howard Carter discovered it in It also features an exact anatomical re-creation of Tutankhamun's mummy which, following x-rays and measurements, took over two years of research and experimentation to re-create. It is an exhibition for the scholar. It poses questions and explores conspiracy theories about the life and death of the young pharaoh who reigned for only nine years. Who were his parents? What did he look like? Was he murdered? If so, who killed him, and why? It will forever be a mystery as with the passing of time most of the evidence has been removed. Mair Rees 12 21

13 MONTACUTE HOUSE Tuesday 19 th April On a sunny day we visited the impressive Montacute House in Somerset. Built of warm-coloured oolitic Ham limestone it has emphasis on the Elizabethan concept of huge areas of glass. The original front entrance faces the main London to Exeter road. The builder, Sir Edward Phelips ( ) a wealthy lawyer, who was known to have taken part in both the trials of Sir Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes, resided here with his family only during the months of July and August. For over three hundred years his descendants lived here, until one William Phelips ( ) gambled away much of the estate, and their family fortunes never recovered. The Phelips family left to live in London in Sadly none of the original furnishings or tapestries still exist, only family portraits. After some tenanted years, it was purchased by Ernest Cook (grandson of Thomas Cook, the travel agency founder) and eventually presented to the National Trust in Our guide recounted the story of The Stang Ride set in plasterwork in The Great Hall. A man was condemned to ride astride a pole, after allowing his wife to hit him with a shoe, for having drunk beer whilst minding the baby. I wonder what young people today would make of that! 20 WINTER WARMER LAMPETER TALK 13

14 LAMPETER LUNCH & TALKS Wednesday 23rd March 2016 It ll be alright on the night This year s Lampeter Day could be said to have turned out to be a media event. The title gave the clue David Lloyd, former Head of Features at Harlech Television, gave us a tripartite account of his life in the theatre and in television. The morning contribution was autobiographical: how a shy child from Aberystwyth was introduced to the theatre by his mother and how his lack of self confidence was dispelled forever by his discovery of being able to capture audiences through performing magic tricks. He was able to enrol for drama schools in Sidcup and Cardiff and this led to employment as assistant stage manager in various theatres. He gave a vivid account of the stresses involved in this work. A spell of resting ended when he was appointed studio floor manager with the BBC in Cardiff the launch pad for his subsequent scintillating career in television involving a variety of roles and venues, the latter ranging from the Rank Organisation in Bala, Anglia TV in Norwich, and Grampian TV in Scotland. The experience of having to fill so many roles did, in his words, provide valuable experience for the realisation and development of creative skills. It paved the way for his appointment with Harlech TV, the company which later morphed to HTV Cymru/Wales. Here he produced his first programme documentary, War over Wales. In illustrating the effect of the bombing on Swansea and Cardiff he was able to invite two Germans who had actually been involved in those bombing raids. He described how he had worked as producer and as director with personalities who became household names Geraint Evans, John Morgan, Timothy West, the last in a film featuring the Talyllyn Railway, and not least, Catherine Zeta Jones at the very start of her career. After an excellent lunch in the University Dining Room we had the second part of the presentation. Our guest demonstrated his magician s skills. He appeared to chew chunks out of plates, produce two sponges where there had been but one and miraculously change the colours of fabric scarves. We were entranced! 14 TYNTESFIELD MONTACUTE HOUSE FORDE ABBEY 19

15 FORDE ABBEY Tuesday 19 th April This is a fascinating place to visit. The Abbey began as a Cistercian monastery in The community survived for almost exactly 400 years and acquired vast assets of land and money. The last abbot was busily engaged on a massive building programme when in 1539 the axe fell and Henry VIII and his henchmen dissolved the monastery. A century later Forde Abbey was acquired by Edmund Prideaux MP who set about transforming the buildings into a magnificent private house. Happily, the changes did not obliterate the abbey and the shape of the monastic buildings can still be clearly seen. Artistically, the highlight of the house is the saloon, formerly the workplace of the lay brothers. In this room are displayed the Mortlake Tapestries, woven in the early 17 th century but still showing vibrant colours due to the fortunate accident of them having been for many years confiscated and stored out of the light before being returned to the house. We were amused to learn that the bedroom formerly occupied for a period by the political philosopher Jeremy Bentham, now serves as the honeymoon bedroom for couples who hold their wedding celebrations here. The grounds are delightful and include a fine rock garden established early in the 20 th century and a Centenary Fountain installed in 2005 to celebrate 100 years of continuous ownership and which claims to be the tallest in England. We particularly liked the litter bins which have an opening like a letter box and which bear the inscription: Resemble not the slimy snail, who with his filth proclaims his trail. Post your note here for a cleaner England. David then treated us to an account of his work in TV by describing the need for meticulous detail and continuity, e.g. Hebrew slaves could not be seen on set wearing modern watches. He introduced us to tricks of the trade - passengers sliding down the ship s corridors during the sinking of the Titanic had castors sewn onto the backs of their costumes to ease their passage down. The afternoon finished with what he termed a Video Show of his first 30 years in HTV with excerpts of films he had produced on various themes including religion, education, health, to name but a few. His talk brought home to an appreciative audience how the techniques of television have changed over the years but, particularly, served to alert us to what goes on behind the scenes of what we enjoy on our screens. A good day, indeed. Thank you, David Lloyd and Lampeter University. Megan Hayes Lionel Madden GROUP VISIT to DORSET 18 15

16 VISIT to DORSET 18 th 22 nd APRIL 2016 After a coffee break and an enjoyable visit to Tyntesfield, members' hearts must have sunk as the coach drew up in front of the utilitarian-looking George Albert Hotel, atop windy Wardon Hill near Evershot, surrounded by what appeared to be a derelict leisure centre and redundant clay-pigeon shooting range. But, as the clock struck five, the interior of the hotel was transformed into elegant, spacious public spaces and beautifully appointed rooms, a charming and ever helpful staff who warmly welcomed us appeared (some ladies had to be discouraged from taking several of the Polish waiters home), along with what proved to be excellent food - a feeling of great bonhomie ensued (mainly after the wine reception) which not even the lack of running water the following morning could dampen, although the atmosphere on the coach was a little more pungent than usual. The visit included two more treasures of the National Trust (Montacute House and Kingston Lacy) and three beautiful privatelyowned properties: Forde Abbey (a former Cistercian abbey later converted into a stately home), the stunning Sherborne Castle (once the home of Sir Walter Raleigh now kept in immaculate condition along with its large grounds and lake), and the delightful Athelhampton House (a medieval manor house with wonderful gardens where we enjoyed our now signature dish of a Dorset cream tea). We also managed to fit in a free morning in hot and sandy Dorchester where a visit to Tutankhamun's tomb had been arranged. Our return journey, on an uncharacteristically damp day, proved equally eventful with a mid-day stop in Wells (where many members enjoyed visiting the Cathedral and Bishop's Palace) before departing for the gothic splendours of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol. Here we were given an impromptu tour followed by tea and cakes (with an unusual if tasty white topping) in the undercroft provided by members of the Addiction Recovery Agency. Finally, high with good humour, we sped to the ever-welcoming and highly efficient Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells for an enjoyable supper before boarding the coach for Aberystwyth (fortunately we were able to assist onto the coach those who had by now gone very pale and slightly rigid). 16 TYNTESFIELD Monday 18 th April The Tyntesfield estate extends over a south facing partly wooded hillside. Visitors approach the mansion from the west although the best view of this High Victorian Gothic Revival building is from the east, where its ornate and intricately carved Bath stone exterior, with towers, turrets and spires can be seen in their full glory. In 1843 businessman William Gibbs (described as the richest commoner in England ) purchased the original Regency house and, later, profits from the lucrative Peruvian guano trade funded its re-modelling in the Pugin tradition. Within, superb carving in both wood and stone frequently depict animals and plants found on the estate. The well-stocked library is unusual for its high open oak roof and contains William Gibbs collection of books. William s son Antony, an accomplished amateur carver, collected art works too and the main rooms and corridor walls are thickly hung with paintings. From the central hall, a wide staircase leads to the first floor and a gallery with access to bedrooms, many having extensive views across the valley to the Mendip hills. Most rooms contain original furniture, but two remain upstairs as undecorated store rooms whose stained walls are a reminder of the water damage found before the Trust began a programme of restoration in Accessed from the first floor is the remarkable chapel, surprisingly large and with an ornate screen, mosaics and stained glass, it demonstrated the importance of William Gibbs commitment to the Oxford movement. Ten minutes walk away from the house are the estate gardens and associated buildings: the restored classical orangery, walled kitchen garden, glasshouses and sheltered courtyards bright with colour. We found an interesting woodworking demonstration by The Somerset Bodgers but had no time to explore the stable yard or the extensive woodland and parkland. Judith and Roger Bray 17