Dunstanburgh Castle: guidebooks

Dunstanburgh Castle © David Gill

Dunstanburgh Castle on the Northumberland coast was placed in State Guardianship in 1929. Construction had started in 1313. The first official guide was published in 1936 with the section on the history of the castle by C.H. Hunter Blair, and the description by H.L. Honeyman. The cover carries the arms of Thomas, second Earl of Lancaster (1277–1322). There is a foldout plan inside the back cover. The guide continued into the 1970s.

1936 (2nd ed. 1955, 4th impress. 1962)
10th impress. 1973

A colour illustrated guide was prepared by Henry Summerson (1993). The main section is dedicated to a tour of the castle, and there is a helpful bird’s-eye view to help to orientate the visitor. There is a short section with biographical notes on Thomas of Lancaster and John of Gaunt.

1993

Alastair Oswald and Jeremy Ashbee prepared the English Heritage red guide (2007). This contains a bird’s-eye view and a plan of the castle on the fold-out card cover. The tour contains helpful thumbnail plans to help the visitor located their position. There is a section on Dunstanburgh and coastal defence during World War 2.

2007 (repr. 2016)

Hadrian’s Wall: official guides

HW_DOE_souvenir
1963 (1969)

A.R. Birley prepared ‘an illustrated guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall in 1963. This supplemented the guides to individual forts on the wall (Chesters, Housesteads) as well as the Stanegate (Corbridge). (See now the English Heritage guide to Birdoswald.) A foldout plan inside the card cover showed key locations between Wallsend and Bowness. There are some excellent reconstructions by Alan Sorrell (including one with an overlay to show the inside of the bath-house).

HW_card_MoW
1970

There was a fold-out MPBW guide to the Wall in 1970.

HW_souv_EH
1987 (3rd ed. 1996)

David J. Breeze prepared the Souvenir Guide to the Roman Wall, which is described inside the cover ass ‘The greatest monument to the Roman occupation of Britain’. Breeze has also prepared the Handbook to the Roman Wall. The guide includes South Shields and Vindolanda, as well as the Roman fort at Maryport on the Cumbrian coast.

HW_EH_red
2006

The souvenir guide was replaced by Breeze’s ‘Red Guide’ to Hadrian’s Wall. The tour goes from west to east and includes non English Heritage sites such as Maryport, Vindolanda, Wallsend and South Shields.

The Development of Guidebooks for Heritage Sites in England

StBotolph_OW
1917

These covers show the development from the first official guidebook (St Botolph’s) issued by the Office of Works through to English Heritage. These guides range from small booklets to concertina card guides.

For the development of guides in Scotland see here.

Pyx_Office_of_Works
1949

Scilly_green
1949 (repr. 1952)

Dartmouth_MW
1951 (repr. 1954)

corbridge_green_cov
1954

Osborne_MW
1955

Audley End
Audley End (1955)

Pevensey_green
1952 (repr. 1956)

 

Shap_MPBW
1963 (3rd impress. with amendments)

OldSarum_souv
1965

Goodrich_MPBW
1958 (5th impress. 1967)

Maison_Dieu_MPBW
1958 (3rd impress. with amendments 1967)

StantonDrew_MPBW
Revised 1969

Hetty_Pegler_DOE
1970

Aldborough_blue
1970

Helmsley_blue
1966 [3rd impress. 1971]

Saxtead_DOE_blue
1972

Glastonbury_DOE
(1973)

Egglestone_DOE
1958 (8th impress. 1976)

Totnes_DOE
1979

Stott_Park_DOE
1983

GrimesGraves_DOE_front
1984

Bayham_blue
1974 (1985)

Chysauster_EH_white
1987

EH_Orford_early
1964 (1982; English Heritage 1988; repr. 1975)

Middleham_EH_1993
1993

Portchester_EH
1990 (2000)

Tintagel_EH
1999 (repr. 2002)

Richborough_EH
(2012)

Furness_Piel_EH
1998 (rev. 2015)

Pendennis_StM_EH_red
2012 (2nd ed. 2018)

West Kennet Long Barrow: MPBW sign

west kennet-Edit
West Kennet Long Barrow © Patrick Taylor

The West Kennet long barrow was placed on the 1882 Schedule of Ancient Monuments. It now lies within the Avebury World Heritage Site. The scientific excavation took place in 1955–56.

Radiocarbon dates suggest that the monument was constructed in the period 3,700–3,600 BC, more than a millennium earlier than was thought in the 1960s.

Tintern Abbey: guidebooks

Tintern_DG_6
Tintern Abbey © David Gill

Tintern Abbey was transferred to the Office of Works in 1914. The guidebook was prepared by the architect Sir Harold Brakspear (1934). Brakspear had helped to plan the ruins after they were purchased by the Crown in 1901, and before they were conserved.

Tintern_MPBW_blue
1956 (repr. 1968)

A replacement ‘blue guide’ was prepared by O.E. Craster in 1956. This took the standard pattern of history followed by description. A plan of the abbey was placed in the centre pages.

Tintern_DOE_blue
1956 (9th impress. 1977)

Craster’s guide continued to be published into the 1970s. This included some elements in Welsh: Abaty Tyndyrn (on the title page, but not on the cover), and a short summary of just over one page at the beginning.

The centre page plan was placed on a fold-out plan inside the back cover. The glossary was expanded to include: ashlar, barrel vault, conversi, garth, jamb, lay brother, lintel, mullion, novice, papal bull, plinth, pulpitum, quire, refectory, screen, vestment and vestry. It also dropped: aisle, bay, boss, capital, crossing, floriated, sexfoil.

Tintern_souvenir_cov
1960; 1964, 2nd ed.; 1967, 3rd impress.

Craster also prepared the illustrated souvenir guide (1960; 2nd ed. 1964). It included historical background; a tour of the abbey; the first tourists. The tour is numbered on the plan.

Tintern_Cadw_card
1985

The tour in the souvenir guide in effect turns into the card guide that continued to be published under Cadw.

Tintern_Cadw
1986; 2nd ed. 1990; 3rd ed. 1995; 4th ed. 2002

The Cadw guidebook was prepared by David M. Robinson. This includes a history of the abbey, a section on building the abbey, and a tour of the abbey. A foldout plan (in colour) is printed inside the back (card) cover.

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’.

Stirling Castle: guidebooks

Stirling_blue
Second edition 1948, 7th impression 1967

Stirling_blue_HMSO
2nd ed. 1948 (8th impress. 1972)

The first edition of the guide to Stirling Castle was published in 1936: the description by J.S. Richardson, and the history by Margaret E. Root. A second edition appeared in 1948, and it continued as a ‘blue guide’ into the 1970s (note the move from guide-book to guide).

A fold-out plan was placed inside the back cover.

The cover of the Richardson and Root guide is ‘a drawing of a portrait medallion representing James V, one of a set of wood panels originally in the ceiling of the King’s Presence Chamber’. The heads were the subject of a monograph published by the Royal Commission in 1960. A booklet was issued by the Royal Commission in 1975, with the text by John G. Dunbar.

Stirling_heads_RC
1975

The Historic Scotland guide by Richard Fawcett was published in 1999. This consisted of a guide tour followed by the story (not history) of the castle.

Stirling_HS
1999 (repr. 2002)

Chysauster and Carn Euny: guidebooks

IMG_5725-Edit
Chysauster © David Gill

Two late Iron Age village communities in Penwith are in the care of English Heritage. Chysauster was paced in State Guardianship in 1931, and Carn Euny was purchased in 1957.

Chysauster_MPBW
1960 (1968)

The first paper guidebook was Chysauster was prepared by P.K. Baillie Reynolds in 1960. There is a short history (including recent investigations) followed by a house by house description. There is a plan on the centre pages.

Chysauster_DOE
1971

The DOE produced a short card guide to the site in 1971. This provides a tour of the houses: “Ask the custodian to point out the path uphill to House 6 …”.

Chysauster_EH_white
1987

Patricia M.L. Christie, who excavated at Carn Euny, produced the English Heritage guide to Chysauster (1987). This has an introductory section on the site, history, the field system, dating, and environment and economy.  Most of the guide consists of a description and a tour of the houses. Christie also prepared a separate guide to Carn Euny (1983).

Chysauster_CE_EH_1993
1993

Chysauster_CE_EH_2000
1997, 2nd ed. (repr. 2000)

Christie’s two separate guides were combined in 1993, with a second edition, using colour images, in 1997; it continued to be printed in 2000.

Chysauster_CE_EH_red
2017

English Heritage has now produced a combined guide by Susan Greaney (2017). This contains two separate tours of the villages, followed by a combined history. There are seven special features including the use of the sites by Methodist preachers, Plans of both sites appear inside the foldout back cover.

St Breock Downs Monolith

st breock
© Patrick Taylor

This monolith stands at about the highest point to the south-west of Wadebridge in Cornwall.  It was re-erected in 1956 and placed in State Guardianship in 1965 when it was provided with an MPBW sign (now replaced). Note that the original name was longstone rather than monolith.

Note that the stone is now dated from the Late Neolithic to the mid-Bronze Age, i.e. c. 2500–1500 BC; this contrasts with the view in the 1960s as used on the sign, 1800–600 BC.

IMG_5619-Edit
St Breock Down Monolith © David Gill

The site is now managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

IMG_5629-Edit
St Breock Down Monolith © David Gill

Guidebook: Stanton Drew Circles

StantonDrew_MPBW
Revised 1969

The series of stone circles at Stanton Drew in Bath and Avon (formerly Somerset) were placed under the protection of the Ancient Monuments Protection Act (1882). For an overview of the site see English Heritage.

The guide was prepared by L.V. Grinsell (who also wrote the guide for Hetty Pegler’s Tump). It consists of 7 pages (the back page is blank) and contains a plan of the three circles in the centre pages. There is a short history of the site (noting the date to between 2000 and 1400 BC) and then descriptions of the Great Circle and Avenue, the North-eastern Circle, the South-western Circle, the Cove, and Hautville’s Quoit. In addition there is a section on Stanton Drew in Folk Tradition, and a review of the literature from John Aubrey (1664) and William Stukeley (1776).