North Elmham Chapel © David Gill
In the late Anglo-Saxon period North Elmham was a focal point for the Bishops of East Anglia. The bishopric was moved to Thetford in 1071.
Bishop Herbert de Losinga [ODNB] founded a church, after 1091, on the site of the earlier Anglo-Saxon cathedral. At some point after 1388 Bishop Henry le Despencer turned the former chapel into a castle. Part of the walls within the inner moat can be seen to the right of the chapel’s apse.
The chapel is now in the care of English Heritage.
The MPBW published a short paper guide by S.E. Rigold (1960) using the site’s then title of ‘North Elmham Saxon Cathedral’.
1960 (repr. 1966)
Audley End (1955)
The original Ministry of Works guidebook for Audley End in Essex was by Bryan H. St John O’Neil (1950). A third edition appeared in 1958, and this formed the basis of the (anonymous) Ministry of Public Buildings and Works Official Guidebook.
1958 (3rd ed; 1967, 5th impress.)
1984 (2nd ed. 1991)
English Heritage replaced this guide with a new one by P.J. Drury and I.R. Gow (1984; 2nd ed. 1991). This had the standard ‘white’ cover with red title.
1997 (rev. 2002; rev. 2005; repr. 2007)
This was replaced in 1997 by a large format colour guide. The present English Heritage ‘red’ guide is by Paul Drury (2010).
2010 (rev. repr. 2011)
1951 (repr. 1954)
Dartmouth Castle was placed in the care of the Office of Works in 1909, although the War Office retained the right to use the structure. It was finally placed in State Guardianship in 1970.
B.H. St. John O’Neil wrote the first guide to the castle in 1934, followed by a paper guide in 1951. It was followed by a Ministry of Public Buildings and Works souvenir guide in 1965. This was written by A.D. Saunders. The printer was W.S. Cowell of the Butter Market, Ipswich. This guide took the format: Introduction; Early Defences; The Building of the Castle; Kingswear Castle; Bayard’s Cove; Sixteenth-Century Repairs and Additions; The Civil War; Later History; Description.
1988 (2nd ed.)
Saunders’ guide continued into the period of English Heritage. It was reprinted in 1983, with a second edition in 1988. This carried the branding of Gateway supermarkets. The format was altered, starting with a description and then the history. An expanded third edition appeared in 1991.
Vindolanda, Roman Fort © David Gill
The Roman fort at Vindolanda was purchased by Eric Birley in the sale of the Clayton estate in 1929. Birley placed the fort itself into state care in November 1939. The Vindolanda Trust was formed in 1970 and the fort is now managed as part of the larger site including the vicus.
It is thought that the first fort was erected c. AD 85.
The Ministry of Works sign appears to be located at the west entrance to the fort.
Old Blockhouse, Tresco © Patrick Taylor
There are three monuments in State Guardianship on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. Cromwell’s Castle, King Charles’s Castle and the Old Blockhouse. All three were acquired in 1950 (and feature in the Ministry’s guidebook).
The Old Blockhouse at Old Grimsby and King Charles’s Castle (note the sign uses King Charles’ Castle) near New Grimsby are contemporary.
King Charles’s Castle, Tresco © Patrick Taylor
The text for the sign echoes Bryan H. St John O’Neil’s guide:
Guidebook: ‘The western end is semi-hexagonal in order to provide a wide field of fire, and was two-storeyed to give at least two tiers of guns.’
Sign: ‘The western end was semi-hexagonal to provide a wide field of fire and was two-storeyed to give at least two tiers of guns.’
Guidebook: ‘… one bastion and a demi-bastion … It was intended to protect the castle from a landward attack across the headland.’
Sign: ‘During the Civil War, low, earthwork defences of bastioned form were thrown up beyond the castle to protect it from landward attack.’
Cromwell’s Castle, Tresco © Patrick Taylor
I am grateful to Patrick Taylor for digitising images of these signs.
1967 (reprinted 1971)
We have noted before the Ministry of Works and MPBW guides to the Tower of London, and the Ministry of Works illustrated guide-book. The latter continued to appear as the DOE Official Guide (inside described as a ‘guidebook’) republished in 1967 (and reprinted in 1971).
The texts are similar with many of the same images, although there are additional colour plates.
I have noted before the souvenir guide for the Border Abbeys, published in 1964: Dryburgh, Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose. A small card guide (with colour printing) to Melrose Abbey was issued by MPBW in 1963. On the reverse was a tour of the abbey, ending at the ‘attractive museum’. The cost was 4d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s). The suggested station was Melrose.
The MPBW card guide (monochrome on blue card) to Jedburgh Abbey is less elaborate with the tour inside with small sketches to illustrate the key features. The cost of this guide was 2d (with the adult entry to the site at 1s).
A further leaflet was available for Kelso Abbey.