“And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

Dove Cottage © David Gill

Today is the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth.

His ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802‘ seems an appropriate poem to recall.

Ellisland Farm and Robert Burns

Ellisland Farm © David Gill

Today we celebrate Burns Night (25 January 2018). Robert Burns lived at Ellisland Farm, to the north of Dumfries, from 1788 to 1781. He wrote some 130 songs and poems during this time. The farm is open to the public.

Burns Night 2017

Alloway © David Gill

The Burns Birthplace Museum is managed by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). The visitor centre at Alloway is linked to the cottage via the Poet’s Path.

Burns Night is celebrated on Wednesday 25 January 2017.

Ruthwell Cross

Ruthwell Cross © David Gill

The Ruthwell Cross now stands in a specially constructed apse (1887) in Ruthwell Parish Church (although it is in the care of Historic Scotland). It is some 5.7 m in height, and dates to the early 8th century.

The inscribed text includes sections of The Dream of the Rood linked to Caedmon.

Ruthwell Cross © David Gill
Ruthwell Cross © David Gill
Ruthwell Cross © David Gill
Ruthwell Cross © David Gill

The cross stood at the entrance to the Manse from 1823 to 1887 (when it was placed in the church).

Treasured Words at UCS

Mildenhall Dish © David Gill

We are looking forward to an evening of poetry at UCS in conjunction with the Suffolk Poetry Society. This will take place on Friday 15 April at 7.00 pm in the main UCS Waterfront building on the Ipswich Marina.

The theme of the evening is ‘Treasure’, and all are welcome to attend and to bring a new poem on the theme (which can be interpreted in any way you wish).

Poetry Treasure

Wroxeter Roman City

Wroxeter Roman Baths © David Gill

The remains of the Roman city of Viroconium can be found at Wroxeter in Shropshire. It contains one of the largest Roman architectural fragments in Britain, part of the urban baths. The site was excavated by J.P. Bushe-Fox 1912-14, then in 1936 and 1937 by Kathleen Kenyon, and from 1955 by teams from Birmingham University under Graham Webster, and from 1966 Philip Barker. The remains of the bath-house came under state guardianship in 1948, and more of the city in 1972 (through purchase).

1965 (4th impression 1970)

The first guidebook for the site (The Baths at Wroxeter Roman City) was published in 1965 by Graham Webster, with a section on the site museum by G.C. Dunning. There are two foldout plans: one of the baths complex, and the other of the city.

1978 (3rd edition)

A second edition of the guidebook appeared in 1973, and a third edition in 1978. The third edition was by the two recent excavators Graham Webster and Philip Barker. On the title page it is given as Viroconium, Wroxeter Roman City. Inside the cover is an updated plan of the baths, and another of the city. The guide includes a reconstruction by Alan Sorrell. The specific section on the museum was dropped.

1991 (repr. 1993)

English Heritage produced a fully illustrated guidebook with numerous reconstructions in 1991. The authors were again Webster and Baker. It includes detailed aerial photographs and a more substantial plan of the entire city.

1999 (repr. 2007)

A new colour guidebook by Roger White appeared in 1999. This includes a section on the church of St Andrew and the medieval village, and a brief mention of the site museum. There is also a quotation from Wilfred Owen’s 1913 poem ‘Uriconium’. There are several reconstructions, and a geophysical plan of the city is included.


Blue Plaque for Dylan Thomas

5 Cwmdonkin Drive © David Gill
5 Cwmdonkin Drive © David Gill

The outside of the Dylan Thomas birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Uplands, Swansea bears a ‘blue plaque’ to the ‘man of words’.

5 Cwmdonkin Drive © David Gill
5 Cwmdonkin Drive © David Gill

This replaces an earlier sign.

Carved stone

Hallaig © David Gill
Hallaig © David Gill

Fronds stand as markers
on this deserted path
hovering above hidden landscapes,
your message obscured.
Distance is cut in stone
but your departure
was measured by oceans.

© David Gill, 2015

Hallaig © David Gill
Hallaig © David Gill

Hallaig: National Poetry Day

Hallaig © David Gill
Hallaig © David Gill

Today is National Poetry Day (with excellent material from the BBC). So Heritage Futures turns to Scotland and Sorley Maclean’s “Hallaig” (see Scottish Poetry Library).

The wood at Hallaig © David Gill
The wood at Hallaig © David Gill

The opening line, ‘Tha tìm, am fiadh, an coille Hallaig’, takes me to the wood through which you walk to reach the clearance village of Hallaig on the eastern side of Raasay facing the Applecross peninsula.

The monument to Sorley MacLean at Hallaig © David Gill
The monument to Sorley MacLean at Hallaig © David Gill

And on the old trackway leading from the jetty is a monument reminding us of the village and the poem that keeps the memory of the village and community alive.

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