Travellers Tales: Rambling through Rajasthan in the 1980s by Dr. David Evans

Jaipur Palace of the Winds

Jaipur Palace of the Winds

The freedom to travel the length and breadth of India would be the ultimate dream for many people. Dr. David Evans, now Director of Environment at Dorset County Council, did exactly this in the 1980s and is now giving an illustrated talk about his experiences.

Dr. Evans travelled to India for five weeks in the 1980s, making his way by train through Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh. With the support of the British Council he met the Chief Town Planners of each of the provinces. They discussed planning operations in their areas which are still based on the 1947 British system.

The presentation will include Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Shimla and the many colourful and fascinating slides will be accompanied by sound and music.
The talk is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

A donation of £3.00 is encouraged to cover costs. The event takes place on Thursday 27th March, doors open at 7.00pm and the presentation will begin at 7.30pm.

For further information please see www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or telephone 01305 262735.

Advertisements

New Art Exhibition by local artist Carolyn Fields

Durdle Door by Carolyn Fields

Durdle Door by Carolyn Fields © 2014

From the 24th February to 21st June 2014, A brand new exhibition of pastel paintings by a local artist opens on Monday 24th February at Dorset County Museum.

Carolyn Fields lives in Dorchester but was born in Singapore and brought up in Scotland. She is a science teacher but spends her spare time painting. Her pictures are beautiful pastel paintings of many of the most recognisable of Dorset’s landmarks including Portland Bill, Kimmeridge Bay and Durdle Door.

Clavell Tower, Kimmeridge Bay by Carolyn Fields

Clavell Tower, Kimmeridge Bay by Carolyn Fields © 2014

Carolyn said, “I share a love of pastel painting with my mother who is also an artist. I have painted in Italy and Ireland but am most at home painting the Dorset landscape, in particular the Jurassic Coast.”

Carolyn’s paintings will be exhibited in the Museum’s popular Tea Room and every piece will be for sale. For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735. Entry to the exhibition is FREE.

Tales from the Archives: A browse through old registers

Dorset County Museum Accession RegisterWhen carrying out research at the Dorset County Museum using its old Accession Registers, (some tatty, some neat and tidy!) one cannot but help spotting odd, strikingly worded or unusual descriptions. The following list is a record of some of the most significant, interesting and obscure Accession Register entries those found during 2013. Serendipity is indeed a strange bedfellow…

_______________________________

1884 October
Given by J. S. Udal Esq, Inner Temple. A portrait of Judge Jeffreys.

_______________________________

1885 September
The slough of a snake, nearly 4ft long from Wool Heath. Given by Mrs Penny.

_______________________________

1886 May

A pair of Chinese stockings made of human hair. Given by the Right Reverend G.E Moule. Bishop in Mid China.

_______________________________

1896 March
A fragment of Roman pavement from Victoria St London. from F. A. Burt Esq, 1 Gordon Villas, Swanage.

_______________________________

1891 January
Copy of poll at Shaftesbury Election 1679. Given by J. E. Nightingale Esq.

_______________________________

1893 February
Beaver bones from Tarrant Crawford.

_______________________________

1901 April
Palestine Exploration Fund Journal for April 1901. Given by the Reverend G. E. V. Filleul, Dorchester.

_______________________________

1903 November
On loan from F. J. Lloyd Priestley Esq. 2 hawk mummies and several small figures of Egyptian Gods etc.

_______________________________

1921 June
Hen’s egg “freak”- chicken 1 head, 4 legs, 2 bodies. Mrs Follett, Wych Farm, Bridport.

_______________________________

1925 February
Little Auk. Picked up in an exhausted state, near Corfe Castle.

_______________________________

1937 March

Chimney sweep’s hook for pulling down obstructions in chimneys. Found broken in a chimney, Cornhill, Dorchester.

_______________________________

  • Some but not all of these objects may still be found in the collections of the Dorset Natural History & Archaeological Society at the Dorset County Museum!
Archivist Mole

David Ashford – Dorset County Museum Research Enquiries & Identifications Service

A British Earthwork by Rev. William Barnes

Maiden Castle, Dorchester, DorsetA British Earthwork by Rev. William Barnes

[An Archaeologist speaks.]

The grassy downs of Dorset,
Rising o’er our homes of peace,
E’er teem with life and riches
In the sheep and precious fleece;
And charm the thoughtful roamer
When, like us, he climbs to scan
Their high-cast mounds of war – the works
Of Britain’s early man,
Whose speech, although here lingers yet
His mighty works of hand,
Has ceased a thousand years to sound
In air of this green land,
And startled may it be to hear
The words of British kin —

An gwaliow war an meneth,(1)
An caer war an bryn.(2)

Their breastworks now are fallen,
And their banks are sunken low;
The gateway yawns ungated,
And unsought by friend or foe.
No war-horn (3) calls for warriors,
And no clear-eyed watchmen spy
For tokens of the foe, around
The quarters of the sky.

No band, with shout and singing, (4)
Sally forth with spear and sword,
Staying foes at wood or hill,
Or at the waded river ford;
Or else to take the hill, and fight
To win, or die within

An gwaliow war an meneth.
An caer war an bryn.

There were lowings of the cattle
By the rattling spears and swords;
There were wails of weeping women
And grim warriors’ angry words —
“Be every Briton fearless, or
For ever live in fear;
And bring his ready weapons out —
His bow, and sword, and spear! (5)
For what have we to fight the foe?
Our children and our wives!
For whom have we to fight? For those
Far dearer than our lives!
And we, to shield them all, will die,
Or else the battle win,

Yn (6) an gwaliow war an meneth,
Yn an caer war an Bryn ! “

But now, in sweet, unbroken peace,
May Dorset land-folks sleep;
In peace may speed the gliding plough,
In peace may graze the sheep;
In peace may smoke our village tuns,
And all our children play;

And may we never need nigh banks
To keep the foe at bay!
And blest be lord or farmer
Of the land, who wins our thanks
By sparing from the spade and sull
These olden British banks,
And not destroying, for a crown
Or pound that he might win,

An gwaliow war an meneth,
An caer war an bryn.

Notes:

(1) – “The ramparts on the mountain.”

(2) -“The stronghold on the hill”  

This is In the old Cornoak or Cornish-British, that of our West of England.   The modem
Welsh would be —

“Y gwaliaie ar y mynydd,
Y au caer ar y bryn.”

Au pronounced ace; y like e in le, French ; ” mynydd,” munneethe.

(3) – Cadgorn.   The bugle-horn was used for hunting, war, and drinking.

(4) –  By the laws of Hoel Dda, when the Welsh marched to battle the bards were to go before them singing a national song, now lost, called “Unbenaeth Prydain” (“The Monarchy of Britain “). This, however, was later than the time of the upcasting of our earthworks.

(5) -A law triad gives, as law-bidden weapons which every man was to keep ready for battle, a sword, a spear, and a bow with twelve arrows.

(6) – In.

Related Sources:

On the Maze, or Mizmaze, at Leigh, Dorset

Pimperne Maze

How the Pimperne Maze looked before it was destroyed in 1730 © DCM

Here is an article written by Rev. William Barnes from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 4,  1881 entitled ‘On the Maze, or Mizmaze, at Leigh, Dorset’

Coker, in his History of Dorset, says of the Maze at Leigh, that ” formerly the young men of the village were wont, once a year, to go out and make it good; and the day was a day of merrymaking.” Not, we may believe, a day of merrymaking because they had made the maze good by righting up of the banks, which edged the paths; but that the maze was made good for the day of merry-making, which might have been that of the village wake, or the old May-day.

That the young and not the old men were most interested in the maze, would go to show that it was for their games, and not for any heathenish or other ceremony of their elders.

Phillips, in his “New World of Words,” A.D. 1706, speaks of mazes as in his time made in gardens. He says: — “Maze, in a garden, a place artificially made with many turnings and windings.” The maze seems to have had formerly, all over England, its day of favor among friendly gatherings at great halls, and at some of the village feasts, as had the old game of Pall Mall, and its later form under the name of Croquet, though the pleasure of the maze (a puzzle), was akin to that of other puzzles which are now put forth among friends in the house, or in the open air. The maze was formed of a cunningly drawn maze of winding paths, which any one who would try his skill was to thread so as to find his way out again in the shortest time, and the mirth of it was, I suppose, that of the outsiders who might see a bewildered wayfarer misgoing into passages that led to nothing but others of the same kind, and the glory of a walker who, knowing the clue, came out with a laugh against the others.

There was formerly at Pimperne a cleverly-shapen maze, which is figured in Shipp’s and Hutchins’ History of Dorset. The maze paths were sundered by banks, and overspread nearly an acre of ground; but it was entirely destroyed by the plough about 1780, and it speaks of one at Hilton, Hunts, of which the path is steined with pebbles, and gives Aubray as saying that there were many mazes in England ere the civil wars, which let in the Puritans as lawgivers, who gave little freedom to games and gambols, and whose laws once punished a boy at Dorchester for riding on a gate on a Sabbath.( Borough Records) A fine sample of a maze still kept up, and I believe often threaded by sightseers, is the one at Hampton Court, of which the maze path is edged by a hedge [of shrubs, as, I believe, were the paths of most of the broad mazes of the olden time, with fences of some thick shrubs, whether box. privet, yew, or hornbeam, or other such-like ones. Another maze, of which Londoners seek a merry use, is in the Rosherville Gardens, near Gravesend, and one has, I believe, been made in the grounds of the Crystal Palace. The Athenaeum, July 2, 1881, speaks of ” The St. Anne’s maze,” near Nottingham, as one of the most elaborate examples of which we have any account, though in 1797 it was ploughed up.

The History of Pimperne quotes Stukely, who writes of such mazes in Wales, under the name of “Caertroi.” ” Winding Castle,” the mazes of which are trodden by walking on the banks.

This old British name for a maze, “caertroi,” has, from want of a knowledge of Welsh, led to a mistake that the word “troi” meant Homer’s Troy, and that caertroi, a maze, meant “Troy-town,” whereas ” troi” means simply a turning or winding.

Witches’ Corner, Leigh Common.

Many years ago I was told by a man of this neighbourhood that a corner of Leigh Common was called “Witches’ Corner,” and long again after that a friend gave me some old depositions on witchcraft, taken before Somerset magistrates from about the years 1650 to 1064. The cases were of Somerset, and touched in some points Dorsetshire, and one of the witches’ sisterhood said that they sometimes met in Leigh Common. This proof of the meeting of witches in Leigh Common as the ground of the traditional name of witches corner is interesting as a token of truth in tradition.

Totnell and Chetnole.

I suppose Chetnole is mostly pronounced Chetnel. Totnell is the name of the hill or knoll or knowl, and means Toutknoll, or Spynell, or Outlook-hill, as being in times of trouble a spot taken by outspiers or outlookers. There are in Dorset several touts or spy heights, and the word to tout, to look out for customers is still well-known. That knoll would wear into nell is shown by the name of “Punk-knowl,” which in running talk is called “Punnell.” Tout was formerly tote, and has been shortened in names of other places, as Totton, Totcombe, in the hundred of Totcombe and Modbury. The spelling of names of places is not a trustworthy guide to their meaning or early forms. Nell in Totnell is, I believe, a narrowing of the sound noil, as i in Huntsmin for huntsman. Such a narrowing is common in Latin, as Desilio for Desalio, and so it is in Welsh. Tot is the head of many other place names.

Chetnole

Is, I believe, Chetknoll, but Chet must have been in Saxon of some such form as Cet or Cete. Cete would mean a cabin, cottage, or cell. Was there ever a hermit’s cell there, as at Hermitage ?

Haydon.

Hay is the Saxon Haeg – (1) a hedge, and (2) a hedged ground.    Hay dun would mean the down with a hedged field or fields on it, one not all open.

Winterhay.

The winter inclosure for cattle, but Winterhays, I believe, took its name from a family of Winterhay, and as being Winter-hay’s inclosures, but then they took their name from some Winter-hay.

Calehay, by Leigh.

The Calf or Heifer inclosure, used much as a run for young stock.

Rouch Hay.

Enclosure of rough ground or grass.

On a Whirlwind at Bloxworth

Plate A: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Plate A: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Here is an article written by Rev. Octavius Pickard-Cambridge, M.A., F.R.S., &c. from the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 17,  1896 entitled ‘On a Whirlwind at Bloxworth’

Most of us, I suppose, have observed those curious rotatory gusts of wind which in summer-time raise the dust (and even sometimes the gravel) along the roads in a spiral form; sometimes raising the dust high into the air, sometimes running a course of only a few yards, at other times considerably more. I have myself seen one of these traverse a hay field, carrying the hay along in a spiral path and whirling it onwards high in the air, depositing it, as the force of the gust died away, in any place but where the unfortunate owner desired, leaving also a well marked and cleared track of some yards in width behind it.

One of the most interesting, in some senses, of these I witnessed in the month of June last, interesting on account of its small size and perfect development, being a whirlwind in miniature. I was standing on a gravel path close to my house; the path was covered with loose, light, sandy gravel, much mixed with minute particles of dead leaves. A little rustling noise at my feet made me look down, when, with the slightest possible sound, the sand and dead-leaf fragments began to rise and move along the path in a spiral form, rising to about two feet high, increasing in speed and width, until at about four yards’ distance the whole had subsided. The whole performance took no more than two minutes, if as much. The cause of these rotatory winds is not, I believe, known; but whatever it may be, we may fairly, I think, conclude that it is, in degree, the same as the cause of those whirlwinds which are of much greater extent and often do great damage in their course. They are of comparatively rare occurrence in this country, but are sometimes noteworthy as presenting many features in common with those of enormous extent and resulting in great destruction, which occur in tropical regions.

The one on which I propose to offer a few remarks to-day is one of a kind of which we do occasionally hear in this country ; but it has an especial interest in the present instance because its path from beginning to end is so plainly traceable, and its effects not only disastrous but in some points curious. This whirlwind took place just at the culminating point of a strong south-westerly gale, on the 10th of November last (1895). The wind rose rapidly during the day, veering from S. to S.W., and continued to blow heavily with heavy rain all the evening ; the barometer fell during the day very nearly three-fourths of an inch, and reached its lowest point (29 inches) near midnight. At just a quarter of an hour later, above the normal noise of the gale I heard a rushing sound as of many heavy goods trains approaching; it roared by, and in five minutes had quite passed away. The gale itself almost immediately slackened, and in half-an-hour or so all was still and quiet. On going, the next morning, into my orchard, I was little prepared for the scene of devastation that presented itself; half the orchard, comprising an area of 21 acres, was as complete a wreck as a dozen or score of men could have made of it in a week’s work. Almost every tree was uprooted, some lying one way, some another; and looking along the line of destruction, each way, the timber (mostly oak) presented a somewhat similar wreck. Some trees were snapped off at the middle of the trunk, others (and those most numerous) with almost every limb torn off, twisted and hurled about in every direction. As soon as I could I traced the path of the whirlwind, and most satisfactorily marked both its beginning and ending (these are shown on the map which I have drawn to illustrate it).    The whole length of the course is exactly one mile, and its width varies from 60 to 80 yards.

Track of Whirlwind at Bloxworth

Track of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

It is as nearly as possible a straight course, and its edges are remarkably well defined; though here and there a tree somewhat away from it is destroyed, and there are at places a tree or trees, quite in the track, untouched.     The direction of the track is exactly S.W., no doubt following the general direction of the gale of wind blowing at the moment.    It began (see map, letter A.) by uprooting a large birch tree, breaking off and otherwise mauling a lot of oak trees, but none of large size. Two elms and various oaks were thrown down in its continuance, until it reached a wood of timber and coppice (letter E.), where several oaks of considerable size were uprooted and many  others torn  to  pieces,  leaving a very   well marked path through the wood; thence the track lay through my orchard (letter I).). Here, referring to the plan, you may see that, crossing the orchard in a diagonal direction, the whirlwind laid low just half of it, as well as broke off or tore to pieces several oak trees in the hedge. * The apple trees were all, excepting one or two, cleanly and completely uprooted.    Some of them were lifted and dropped again at distances varying from two to twenty feet, looking much as though plucked up like a cabbage plant and thrown down a little way off.

Plate B: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

Plate B: Effects of Whirlwind at Bloxworth © DCM

The trees, with earth and all adhering, thus raised could scarcely weigh less than a ton and a-half or more each; they were not thrown down in one direction, but, like the oaks, lay some in one, some in another. The force of the wind thus appears not only to have come in a spiral form, but to have had also a distinct upward stroke. The rest of the track lay through grass fields, and the trees for the most part were in the hedges.   I have marked in the plan with red spots the sites of the principal trees destroyed.   At the bottom of the orchard a transverse red line marks the position of a large limb broken off and blown from an oak tree at about sixty yards’ distance in the wood below it, and shown in one of the photographs exhibited.   Adverting to the  feta of some trees here and there in the track escaping, I may point to letter C. in the plan, where there were eight or ten large elms, some of them directly in the line ; but not a twig even of any one of them showed signs of the wind, whereas a large one close by in the fence at F. was broken off at the trunk. Occurring in the middle of the night, it was not witnessed by any one ; if it had taken place in the day time it would have been a fine sight, and doubtless a bystander might have stood close to the edge of the track and experienced no inconvenience whatever.

The only previous occurrence of the kind, of which I have myself seen any such effects as I have above described, took place in Bloxworth some 20 or 25 years ago, but although its general character and effects were similar the latter were by no means so traceable, or so disastrous; in this former instance the path of the whirlwind was about two miles in length, the attendant circumstances were also very similar—viz., a very rapid previous fall of the barometer, a gale of wind from S,W., and an immediate dropping of the wind after the blast had gone by. I have represented roughly in the plan, by red spots, the various trees destroyed, the larger spots noting the larger trees; but of course I do not pretend to any exact numerical accuracy. The number of apple trees destroyed, however, is just over 40, and they average from 8 to 15 inches in diameter of the trunk; all were planted by myself just 51 years ago. I may mention here that the photographs I have shown were done by one of our Members, Mr. F. J. Beckford, and kindly given to me for the purpose of  illustrating my account of this whirlwind.

Related Sources:

‘Mock Suns’ as seen from Waterson Ridge, Feb 15th 1909

Sun Dogs

“MOCK SUNS,” As seen from Waterson Ridge, Feb 15th 1909 © DCM

Strange Weather Phenomena taken from the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Vol. XXX 1909

MOCK SUNS.- INTERESTING PHENOMENON. – The PRESIDENT read a letter from the Rev. C. W. H. Dicker, vicar of Piddletrenthide, who unfortunately could not attend the meeting, sending a rough sketch of an interesting phenomenon which he saw from Waterson Ridge as he was driving home on Monday, February 15th — apparently- a pair of ” mock suns.” They appeared in a bank of grey mist. The discs were reddish, but sent out white rays. The apparition lasted, he thought, from five o’clock to 5.15.

Mr. MIDDLETON recalled seeing a somewhat similar phenomenon many years ago at Henley Regatta. The real sun in the middle, with a mock sun on either side of it, had also a third mock sun immediately over it, and the three mock suns were connected with the real orb by arching rays of light. Dr. FIELDING said that such a sight was not uncommon on the Norwegian coast, where the sailors and fishermen regarded it as a premonition of foul weather.

Kingston Lacy’s Roman Amphitheatre

Archaeology National Trust SW

Old John Bankes died back in 1772 and as he wasn’t married his younger brother Henry inherited. Henry only lived another 4 years but he did something remarkable. He commissioned a cutting edge surveyor called William Woodward to make a detailed record of his Kingston Lacy and Corfe Castle Estates. This week Francesca kindly digitally photographed the whole survey.
The archive room at Kingston Lacy House. Until the 1980s the Bankes family archive including Willliam Woodward's survey was stored in the mansion and few people had seen it The archive room at Kingston Lacy House. Until the 1980s the Bankes family archive including Willliam Woodward’s survey was stored in the mansion and few people had seen it

Yesterday, I sat in the conference room in Warminster and saw a remarkable aerial and lidar survey of Brownsea Island. The surveyor did whizzy things on the computer and zoomed into and enhanced images, measuring any detail on command. Things have come a long way since the 18th century but Woodward’s surveys are still accurate and detailed and also works of art.

View original post 886 more words

Half Term fun and games at Dorset County Museum

Hula Hooping

Hula Hooping – an image from the current exhibition, Free Time at the Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum is running a free family activity during half term week.
The theme is toys and games from the past and ties in with the new exhibition which has just opened at the Museum: Free Time.

Children and their families will be able to play with toys and games from the 50s, 60s and 70s like Flying Hats, Flips or Slam!  Learn how to work a hula hoop, do some simple juggling, or play a game of hopscotch.  There will also be a selection of traditional wooden toys, dolls and card games to try out. Come along, play some new games, learn new skills and have a lot of fun at the same time!

All family activities during 2014 are kindly sponsored by Battens Solicitors through their Charitable Trust and are FREE. The activity starts at 10.30am on Wednesday 19th February and runs for two hours. Everyone is welcome and parents and carers must stay with their children during the activities.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Related Sources: