Entangled at Turner Contemporary

the-turner

Tuesday was the only day we left the immediate surroundings of Ramsgate and we drove just five miles away to Margate to the recently opened and much acclaimed Turner Contemporary. We parked nearby and paid for three hours in the car park thinking that would be quite long enough to see the Gallery (as we are not into modern art), walk along the front and the Harbour Arm (jetty) and investigate the town centre. In the end we spent over two hours in the Turner, including a quick bite to eat in the airy cafe, and had quick walk to the end of the Harbour Arm for a view of the gallery and a breath of fresh air. It was a 10 minute walk back to the car park and we realised that we had Landmark Withdrawal Symptoms and drove straight back to the Presbytery to build up the fire for the evening.

Continue reading

Broadstairs on Sea

On the first Friday of February after leaving St Edward’s Presbytery and dropping my sister off at Ramsgate Station I headed to the little seaside resort of Broadstairs. It’s practically part of Ramsgate but definitely a separate place. I liked very much what I saw. I’d always been intrigued by views of the town which show Charles Dickens’s Bleak House on a cliff looking  out to sea. You can see it in the middle of the picture below. There are several Dickens connections in Broadstairs and I probably didn’t see all of them. At that early hour in the morning I was able to park easily near the sea front. As near as you can get by car, anyway. There are pleasant gardens and paths separating the beach from the road and the main streets and narrow lanes behind.

img_0422

Broadstairs Beach

Continue reading

Pugin’s Presbytery

St Edward’s Presbytery in Ramsgate is one of the latest properties to be added to Landmark Trust’s portfolio. It’s restoration featured in the 2015 Channel4 TV series Restoring Britain’s Landmarks.  Just before my Amsterdam trip I celebrated my birthday with a stay there. My sister joined me and we spent 4 nights relaxing by the log fire in the evenings and taking walks and making very local visits during the days. The furthest we drove was 5 miles to Margate and back.

Continue reading

“We Have Done Our Best and Made A Garden Where None Was”* : Sissinghurst in Kent

house and garden

Sissinghurst Castle and Garden

Can it really be three years since some of us from the online book group met up on a summer’s day outside London? At least, it was in 2013 that I last posted about one. That was in Malvern and before that, in 2012, Chatsworth. This year it was the turn of Sissinghurst.

Continue reading

Tappington Hall and The Ingoldsby Legends

“THE JACKDAW sat on the Cardinal’s chair!
Bishop and abbot and prior were there;
        Many a monk, and many a friar,
        Many a knight, and many a squire,
With a great many more of lesser degree,—         5
In sooth, a goodly company;
And they serv’d the Lord Primate on bended knee.”

Did you read The Jackdaw of Rheims at school? We did. And it all came back to me last Monday when I visited my friend Sarah’s family in Kent. Sadly, Sarah died in November 2008. We’d known each other since our first days at university in 1970 and met up several times a year ever since. Sarah’s parents and other family live near Canterbury in Kent and one of my reasons for travelling down there for a birthday treat was to visit them and talk with them about Sarah and our friendship.

It was the snowiest day of the winter but I was not deterred from my journey. Luckily Sarah’s brother was clearing snow at his parents’ home and kindly turned my car round in the drive. After my initial welcome Andrew took me in his steadfast farm Landrover to see the Ginko tree that had been planted in Sarah’s memory and on to the area of woodland on the farm where her ashes had been scattered.

After a few moments’ quiet contemplation Andrew offered to take me to visit his own home and meet his wife Sue. Tappington Hall near Denton is a lovely old house tucked away down a farm track a few miles from his parents’ place. Sue and Andrew offer bed and breakfast on an informal arrangement. They were expecting two Canadians that evening and hoping that they would find it warm enough. I think Canadians are probably used to snowy weather!

Of great interest to me was the fact that Tappington Hall was the former home of The Reverend Richard Harris Barham  (1788-1845) alias Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Everard in Kent. Sue and Andrew have a vast book collection which includes many versions of Barham’s Ingoldsby Legends. Unbeknown to me until I opened one of the books was that The Jackdaw of Rheims poem is one of these Legends.

Barham was ordained in 1813 appointed to the parish of Westwell in Kent and later to the living of Snargate and Warehorn, on Romney Marsh. He and his wife and children later moved to London where he was appointed to a post at St Pauls although he kept his Romney Marsh living as well.

His writing  and journalism took off when he got to London and he was published in several periodicals including Blackwoods and  Bentley’s Miscellany. He seems to have enjoyed mixing in literary circles in London, knew Charles Dickens and Richard Bentley and was a founder member of the Garrick Club (1832). Probably he is best known for

” … his Ingoldsby Legends, which began to appear in 1837 in Bentley’s Miscellany. Under the guise of Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Everard in Kent, Barham ‘discovered’ old documents which provided the basis for his tales. In effect, most of these are reworkings of other narrative sources, from medieval chronicles to Kentish legends and Sir Walter Scott. The mixture of crime and the supernatural, in both verse and prose, is given a comic and grotesque dimension, immediately appealing to Barham’s readers.”

Extracted from : The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

The Legends passed through very many editions some with illustrations by such artists as Tenniel, Cruikshank, and Rackham and Sue kindly showed me several of these. Many of the editions were best sellers in their day.

On the Sunday night before my visit to Barham and Tappington I stayed at a B&B between Sittingbourne and Faversham. I was delighted to find a selection of Persephone Books beside my bed at Dadmans – even though I had read them all.

A further selection of Kentish books made up the library at Obriss Farm. There is no shortage of reading materials at Landmarks.