I have noted before the Young People’s Guide to Grime’s Graves by Barbara Green (MPBW, 1964). This was adapted in 1984 by the Department of the Environment with a rather striking cover (designed by William Brouard). Note that Grime’s Graves has now become Grimes Graves, and the young people’s guide has been dropped.
Additions include a map inside the front cover along with a revised version of ‘how to get there’. The Alan Sorrell reconstructions have also been dropped. The plan of Pit no. 1 has been re-orientated so that north is at the top. The general plan of the site shows that the custodian’s hut was moved from the site of the car-park to a point closer to Pit 1.
Nether Largie South Cairn © David Gill
Nether Largie South Cairn is part of the prehistoric landscape at Kilmartin. It was excavated by Canon Greenwell in 1864. Its first phase appears to belong to the early Neolithic. Two cists were cut into the outer part of the cairn, probably ion the Early Bronze Age.
Nether Largie Cairns, Kimartin © David Gill
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; Excavaions at or adjoining Old Sarum.
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).
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.
Mottistone © David Gill
The long stone on the down above Mottistone originally formed part of the entrance to a Neolithic long barrow [National Trust]. The mound was excavated by Jacquetta Hawkes in 1956 (and published in Antiquity).
Mottistone © David Gill
Kilmartin © David Gill
Kilmartin is one of the UK’s top prehistoric landscapes.
The neolithic mines at Grime’s Graves are in the care of English Heritage. Barbara Green prepared the Young People’s Guide to Grime’s Graves (1964), in parallel to the souvenir guide to the site. The cover is by Alan Sorrell, and the guide was printed by Brown Knight & Truscott Ltd., London and Tonbridge.
The guide poses a two questions before addressing wider questions:
- why were the mines dug?
- what was the flint used for?
- mining at Grime’s Graves
- Exploring the mines (‘… it is often necessary to wriggle on one’s stomach’).
There is little in the text to make it more accessible for the younger visitor.
Inside the cover is a note: ‘Visitors wishing to crawl along the galleries are advised to wear old clothes and take an electric torch’. Those galleries are now closed to the public.
My copy was a handwritten note of the opening times on the back cover. The site was open until 7.00 pm from May to September (5.30 pm, March, April, October; 4.00 pm, November – February).
Iona Abbey © David Gill
The 2016 figures for Leading Visitor Attractions have been published. They include figures for properties in the care of Historic Environment Scotland (Historic Scotland).
The properties are:
- no. 16: Edinburgh Castle, 1,778,548
- no. 68: Stirling Castle, 481,970
- no. 84: Urquhart Castle, 396,397
- no. 103: Glasgow Cathedral, 296,062
- no. 177: Skara Brae, 93,375
- no. 182: Doune Castle, 90,279
- no. 188: St Andrews Castle, 77,038
- no. 190: Linlithgow Palace, 74,428
- no. 194: Iona Abbey, 65,092
- no. 198: Fort George, 60,924
- no. 200: Melrose Abbey, 52,073
- no. 203: Argyll’s Lodgings, 49,197
- no. 210: St Andrews Cathedral, 46,488
- no. 212: Tantallon Castle, 42,708
- no. 215: Caerlaverock Castle, 35,633
- no. 219: Elgin Cathedral, 30,502
- no. 220: Blackness Castle, 30,053
Significant rises were seen in the numbers for Edinburgh Castle, Urquhart Castle, Glasgow Cathedral (62%), Doune Castle, Linlithgow Palace, St Andrews Cathedral, Elgin Cathedral and Blackness Castle.
Linlithgow Palace © David Gill