Old Soar Manor: guidebook

OldSoar_MPBW
1950 (repr. 1968)

Old Soar Manor in Kent was acquired by the National Trust (1947) and subsequently placed in State Guardianship (1948). Margaret Wood prepared the paper guidebook in 1950 and it continued in print until the 1970s. The guide has a short history and a longer description. A floor plan of the house in c. 1290 is included.

Note the entry: ‘A National Trust property in the guardianship of the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works’.

Druchtag Motte

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Druchtag Motte © David Gill

The 12th century motte near the village of Mochrum is in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. It still stands some 6.5 m high.

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View from the top of Druchtag Motte © David Gill

Access to the top of the motte is via a rope from which there are views towards the Mull of Galloway and the Isle of Man.

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Druchtag Motte © David Gill

Old Sarum: guidebooks

OldSarum_souv
1965

I have noted before the 1922 Office of Works guide to Old Sarum. In 1965 H. de S. Shortt prepared an illustrated guide to Old Sarum for the MPBW in the format that had been produced in the 1950s for other sites in State Guardianship. The cover is based on the 1819 map prepared by Henry Wansey. One of the first features is a double page spread (pp. 4–5) providing a plan for the castle, the outer bailey and the original cathedral. The guide starts with the situation, noting paintings by John Constable (reproduced in the centre pages), before moving into the historical outline with sub-sections on prehistory, Roman-Britain, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and then later periods. It includes reconstructions by Alan Sorrell. There is then a guide to the remains, both the inner bailey, as well as the old cathedral. There are two appendices: A note on the name of Old Sarum; Saint Osmund; Excavations at or adjoining Old Sarum.

OldSarum_1984
1984

The guide continued to be in print until 1990. The plan of the castle had been placed on a foldout sheet inside the back cover.

OldSarum_EH_white
1988 (1990)

The 1990 guide has the Gateway logo.

OldSarum_EH
1994 [2003]
Derek Renn prepared the English Heritage guide (1994). The two main sections are ‘What to see’ (no longer, ‘a tour’ or ‘a description’), and ‘The story of Old Sarum’ (not ‘a history’). A pictorial ‘tour’ is provided in the centre pages. It contains sections on prehistory, Rome, as well as the Normans. One section addresses ‘From city to rotten borough’.

Renn had earlier prepared the MPBW souvenir guide to Shell Keeps in Devon and Cornwall (1969), and the English Heritage guidebooks for Orford and Framlingham Castles (1988), Goodrich Castle (1993).

OldSarum_EH_red
2006

The latest English Heritage guide is by John McNeill, with fold out plans inside the front and back covers. The two main sections are the tour, and a history, with features on the demolition of the cathedral and beneath the ramparts, showing some of the early investigations of the site.

Maison Dieu: guidebook

Maison_Dieu_MPBW
1958 (3rd impress. with amendments 1967)

The hospital of Maison Dieu was built in the 13th century at Ospringe in Kent and stood on the line of the main road from Dover to London. The earliest records date back to the reign of Henry III. The building was placed in State guardianship in 1947.

S.E. Rigold wrote the official guidebook (1958) consisting of a history and a description. There are a number of black and white images. G.C. Dunning added a section on the museum; there is a plan showing the layout of the display cases. Dunning includes a review of Roman finds in the area of Ospringe. He also includes a note on the Ospringe finds now in the British Museum.

Kelsale Medieval Landscape

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Kelsale medieval dam © David Gill

The Suffolk Flora Preservation Trust had an open day on the Fromus Valley at Kelsale in Suffolk. One of the most impressive features is a 200 m long medieval dam across the valley. The Trust has used LIDAR imagery to show the extent of the lake.

The dam and lake appear to form part of the hunting estate by the Bigod family at Kelsale. The earliest reference to the lake appears in the Patent Role of 1281 (details).

Pevensey Castle: WW2 defences

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

The fall of France in the spring of 1940 meant that Sussex became the front line. The ruins of Pevensey Castle—a Roman Saxon Shore fort as well as a medieval castle—were used to disguised strong points. Teams from the Ministry assisted with the construction of the defences so that they would blend into the ruins of the Roman and medieval walls.

This pill box was mounted on the wall of the medieval keep. Note the Ministry sign placed below it: ‘Gun Emplacement / 1939-1945’.

Pevensey Castle: signage

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Pevensey Castle © David Gill

Pevensey Castle was given to the Office of Works by the Duke of Devonshire in 1925. It became one of the front line defences of Britain in 1940.

Pevensey Castle was one of the Saxon Shore forts and was later reused as a medieval castle.

For guidebooks to the fort and castle see here.

Old Sarum: Ministry sign

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Old Sarum © David Gill

The iron age hillfort at Old Sarum was taken into State Guardianship in February 1892. It contained a later medieval castle as well as the remains of a cathedral started in 1078.

Excavations by the Society of Antiquaries were conducted in 1909. The site is now managed by English Heritage.

The Ministry sign was originally mounted on the side of the custodian’s hut.

Berkhampstead Castle: Guidebook

KMBT_C454e-20160811124435
1948 (repr. 1966)

Berkhampstead Castle, Hertfordshire, is now in the care of English Heritage. It was founded as a motte and bailey castle c. 1170. The castle was placed in State Guardianship in 1930. The first guide was written by Sir Charles Peers, Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments (1932), and then reissued in 1936. The post-war leaflet appeared in 1948 (and was reprinted in 1966). The 1936 edition had eight pages of text although this was compressed to four pages by the 1966 reprint (with two additional pages of plan). The text appears to be identical.

The early editions had a foldout plan, but by 1966 this was printed as a double-page spread (pp. 2-3).

Sir Charles Peers and Pevensey Castle

Pevensey_blue
1952 (rev. with additions 1963)

Sir Charles Peers prepared the guidebooks for two of the Saxon Shore forts that had been reused  as medieval castles: Portchester Castle in Hampshire and Pevensey Castle in Sussex.

The guide is divided into two main sections: history and description. There is a foldout plan inside the back cover. Peers describes the nature of the Saxon Shore forts and some of their reuse. He continues with the granting of the site to the half-brother of William the Conqueror.

Peers notes the use of the fort during the Second World War including the insertion of pill-boxes and a blockhouse to protect against tanks: ‘By the grace of God these twentieth-century defences were never put to the test’.

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