Table of contents
Editorial
2
Chairman’s Report
2
‘What does it mean to be retired?’ by the Chancellor
3
Pensioners’ Welfare Officer’s Report
4
Postbag
5
Autumn/Winter Programme 2009/10
5
Reports: Spring Talks 2008/09
6
AGM and ‘Colour Supplement’
6
Brasenose College
6
Museum of Natural History
6
Reports: Spring/Summer Visits 2009
7
Brasenose College
7
Sulgrave Manor
9
Exbury Gardens
10
Excursion to Northumberland
12
Southwick Hall and Prebendal Manor
19-22
Kelmscott Manor and Buscot Park
22-24
President’s Garden Party
24
Miscellaneous
24
Amblers Anonymous
24
French Conversation Group s
25
Sir Roger Bannister at the University Club
25
Notices
26
Retired Staff Card
26
Your feedback
27
Silver Yoga
27
Conundrum: Too clever by half?
28
Quiz No 3
30
Crossword Solution
30
Obituaries
32
Change of address
33

Editorial
The picture on page 14 is called ‘The Journey’ and this is what we have been on in
many senses of the word since the last issue - a journey to Northumberland and
other visits to interesting venues but also through a design process in updating the
presentation of your Newsletter .
The first issue appeared in Michaelmas 1990 when the Chairman and Editor was
George Wareing. It was a simple 18-page document but the talks and visits were
just as interesting then as now. The inaugural meeting of the Association took place
in December 1985 and the Newsletter was the result of being asked for brief notes
of these activities by those members who were unable to join in.
This edition of the Newsletter is breaking new ground with a cover in colour and
new design. Our thanks go to Anne Brunner-Ellis, Head of Publications and Web
for her help and to Andrew Harvey who is a freelance graphic designer in Oxford
who works part-time for the Publications Department in the University for coming up
with ideas and making suggestions for our new design. We would be interested to
know of your reactions to the ‘new look’ and, if you would like to comment on the
design and/or content, then please contact the Editors.
Editor
Chairman’s Report
There are many ways of keeping in touch with the activities of the University, and
I’ve found it extraordinarily interesting logging on to the University’s website
(www.ox.ac.uk) to see the range of activities reported in the News section. One of
the common features I’ve found is the reference to the work of a team in producing
the results being reported. It is clear - as indeed I remember from my own
experience - that a successful outcome depends on the collaboration of staff with
very different individual strengths, all of whom make important contributions. It
struck me as very appropriate that the same mix of disciplines and backgrounds is
such an evident feature of AOUP gatherings.
It’s been a splendid six months since my last report. The winter season of talks
finished well and the summer outings have been popular and varied. It was clear
from early bookings for the visit to the Inns of Court in September that this was
going to be heavily oversubscribed, so we’ve organised a second coach and guide
for a later day to try to meet the demand. This has shown how useful it is to have
the booking forms returned well before the deadline, although, of course, not
everyone is able to plan a long way ahead. When the demand exceeds the number
of places available, the allocation is by ballot, with priority being given to those
whose last application was unsuccessful and to any who had not previously applied
for an outing. We also ensure that a committee member is successful in the ballot
so that support on the day is available for the leader.
The trip to Northumberland was oversubscribed, and those who were
unsuccessful in the ballot were offered priority on the autumn visit to Shropshire
and the Welsh Marches. In fact, this trip is going ahead without having reached the
maximum numbers, and this has raised the question of whether there is sufficient
demand for two visits a year to different parts of Britain. (Given the current
weakness of sterling, the committee is not looking at overseas trips at the moment.)
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The spring trip in 2010 will be based in Cardiff, and the application form for that visit
(included with this Newsletter ) will offer the opportunity to express interest in an
autumn visit to Lincoln, visiting places of interest such as Belton, Beverley, Calke
Abbey, Gainsborough, Hardwick Hall, Southwell Minster and Workhouse. If there is
sufficient interest in this as an autumn visit, albeit without commitment, it will be
organised for September 2010, with the booking form in the Spring 2010
Newsletter . If it doesn’t look as though there would be enough demand for a second
visit in 2010, the Lincoln visit would take place in spring 2011.
This year, the committee has discussed eligibility for Social membership of the
AOUP. The University automatically grants AOUP membership to those staff
retiring from the University who receive either USS or OSPS pensions, and to their
spouses or partners, and provides the Association with a per capita allowance to
cover the costs of publishing and distributing the Newsletter , and of speakers for
the winter lecture series. Social membership of the AOUP, at a current annual
subscription of £5, is open to all these members and also to staff who have retired
from a College and receive a College or OSPS pension, and to their spouses or
partners. We have had enquiries from pensioners who left the University or a
College before retirement, and from retired holders of a University card, asking
whether they are eligible for Social membership, and we have reluctantly come to
the conclusion that we must maintain the condition of retirement directly from the
University or College, in line with the University’s practice.
I appealed in the Spring Newsletter for someone to set up a webpage for the
AOUP and I’m delighted that Elaine Grande has offered her skills. Our new web
address is www.users.ox.ac.uk/~aoup. Starting with the current issue, the Spring and
Autumn Newsletters will be published on-line, and anyone who would prefer not to
receive the printed version can be removed from the mailing list by contacting the
AOUP Secretary (aoup-secretary@admin.ox.ac.uk). There will be information on the
web for all AOUP members, with additional pages applicable to Social members. We
anticipate that the content will develop over the next few months, so please look at
the pages and tell us (by e-mail to aoup-webmaster@admin.ox.ac.uk) what else
you’d like to see there.
Looking ahead, I think we have an excellent series of winter talks and outings, as
well as a very interesting trip to Cardiff, already mentioned. We have again invited a
guest of honour to the Christmas lunch, David Acheson, Emeritus Fellow at Jesus
College, who will give us a brief light-hearted talk - one that will provide food for
thought, I think! If anyone would like to make suggestions for the future, these
would be very welcome.
Gilliane Sills
‘What does it mean to be retired?’
by the Chancellor
The first herald of retirement came five years ago when Mr Livingstone sent me as
a London resident my ‘freedom pass’, entitling me to free travel on public transport
around the capital. What had I done to deserve this? Five years on, further benefits
come through the letterbox, but they are not rewards for giving up activity. Indeed, I
seem to be far busier allegedly after the retirement age than I was when a full-time
public official.
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I guess many of you find yourselves in a similar position. There has been no time
for the golf course or a ‘Saga’ cruise; no Mandarin lessons or carpentry. I seem to
spend less time gardening these days and have not played a game of tennis for a
year.
But at least having Oxford as one of the focuses of my life means that I am never
bored. I hope you feel the same way. Being associated with one of the world’s
finest universities is a great privilege, and an enjoyable one too. There is so much
of huge interest happening in the city that it is easy to take the scale of the
intellectual banquet for granted. Writing a book recently, I found that whenever I
began to flag, talking to some of our academics or students revived my interest and
spirits. I hope that Oxford keeps you on your toes too.
Your association does an important job for which all of us associated with the
University are grateful. I know how much your success depends on the active work
of a few individuals. I imagine they feel almost as retired as I do. Thank heavens for
retirement: it keeps us all so busy.
Chris Patten
Pensioners’ Welfare Officer Report
I am looking forward to meeting many of you on 15 September at the University
Club. This is the first of a planned monthly session on the third Tuesday of each
month when I will be there from 2-4pm with my colleague Alan Cunningham from
the Pensions Office. He will be able to offer advice on pensions and I will be there
to answer any general queries you have. It will be a good opportunity to meet up
with friends and colleagues for a chat and a coffee in a very pleasant environment.
Many of you have reminisced fondly with me about events you were involved with
at the old Club so come along and enjoy all the facilities the new Club has to offer.
(N.B. There is no need to book - just turn up.)
In May I attended the Royal College of Nursing Congress where Cynthia Bower
Chief Executive Officer of the newly-formed (April 2009) Care Quality Commission
spoke.
The Care Quality Commission has replaced The Commission for Social Care
Inspectorate, The Healthcare Commission and The Mental Health Act Commission.
It is an independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. Its
objective is to ensure better care is provided for everyone whether in hospital, in a
care home, in his or her own home or elsewhere. They regulate services as diverse
as nursing and personal care, transport services, triage and medical advice
provided remotely.
What I particularly liked in Ms Bowers’ presentation was her belief that high
quality care in residential and nursing homes is not just about good food and a
clean environment but it is about taking part in normal activities that those of who
are well take for granted like choosing what we want to listen to on the radio without
it feeling as if it is a burden to the staff caring for them. This is imperative for
people’s well-being and so often has been overlooked in the past.
To find out more about The Care Quality Commission you can look at their
website www.cqc.org.uk, or telephone them for advice or information on Tel 03000
616161. - Marie Hawksby, Pensioner Welfare Officer, Finance Division, University
of Oxford, 23/38 Hythe Bridge Street, Oxford OX1 2EP Tel 01865 616203
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From the Postbag
Mr Helvidge, who retired in 1984, has written to thank Marie Hawksby, the
Pensioners’ Visitor, for her assistance in retrieving some published papers of his
work written while he was Chief Animal Technician at the Nuffield Institute for
Medical Research. They had been lent to an elderly relative who died and whose
house was cleared before he could retrieve them himself. Through her enquiries
several copies were received from the University Library and eventually the
remainder (some conjoined with other academic research workers) came from The
British Library.
He writes: ‘So, once again many thanks to you Marie for your diligence and help
in restoring to me records of some of my work.’
Autumn/Winter Programme 2009/10
24 November, 6-8pm: Reception for newly retired staff at the Divinity School
18 December, Carols and Christmas Lunch at Exeter College
Winter season talks 2009 - 2010
All the talks take place on Wednesday and will be held in the Department of
Engineering Science, starting at 2.15pm in Lecture Theatre 2. Tea, coffee and cake
will be served after the talks in the Holder Common Room nearby.
21 October:
George McGavin ‘Lost Land of the Jaguar: the
making of the TV series’
18 November:
Neil Rowe ‘Send a Cow’
9 December:
Penny Garner ‘SPECAL - approach to managing
dementia’
20 January 2010:
Richard Dick ‘Lucy’s of Oxford’
17 February:
AGM and Shirley Coates’ Musical entertainment
17 March:
John Banbury ‘From Feverish Foundations : A
short history of the development of Hospitals in
Oxfordshire’
Winter 2009/Spring 2010 Visits
20 October:
Oxford Stained Glass tour
11 November:
Museum of History of Science
12 January:
Science Oxford
11 February:
Blackwells
24 March:
Jesus College
10-14 May 2010 inclusive:
Excursion to South Wales
The provisional programme will include the
following: Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, Wales
Millennium Centre and Welsh Assembly,
Blaenavon, Aberdulais Falls, The National Botanic
Garden of Wales, Dolaucothi Gold Mines, The
Museum of Welsh Life, St Fagans, and Castell
Coch.
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Spring Talks
AGM 18 February 2009 and John Bishop’s ‘Colour Supplement’
After the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer had engineered a swift passage
through the agenda of the Annual General Meeting, John Bishop delivered his
‘colour supplement’ on a grey February afternoon.
His many slides captured the beauty of the world of nature, especially flowers,
shrubs and trees through the seasons. Even in the gloomy days of November there
were ever-changing delights to be seen in our gardens and around the countryside.
Without question, our spirits on a desultory day were raised not only with John’s
fine photography but also by his witty commentary.
David Chamberlain
Brasenose College, 25 March
‘I tope all the night, as I trifle all day’.
Elizabeth Boardman gave us a fascinating insight into the history and student
behaviour at the two colleges at which she is the archivist, Brasenose and
St Hilda’s. Her title was taken from an admission - or perhaps a boast - by a
Brasenose student that his night was spent in copious drinking, and we heard an
excuse from a student who regularly failed to attend early morning chapel as
required, that he found 7am too late - he was able to remain up during the night
only until 6am.
Brasenose was founded in 1509, but it was during the 18th century that it
flourished as one of the wealthiest in Oxford. The College prohibited the keeping of
horses, but the sons of country gentlemen would either keep their horses in stables
in the city, or use livery horses, for racing and hunting. Sport was not encouraged in
Oxford, but a Brasenose student is credited with introducing rugby in the 19th
century. Dining clubs were popular, and the Phoenix, the oldest such club in the
University, was established in Brasenose more than two hundred years ago. At the
other end of the longevity spectrum was the Crocodile Club, which existed for one
year for the reading of literature. It seems that quite a lot of student energy was
expended on activity that the College proscribed, including climbing in and out of
College and the concealment of young women.
The young ladies of St Hilda’s appear to have led much less eventful lives, at
least so far as their freedom to socialise in the University and the city was
concerned. The College was founded in 1893, and the rules requiring students to
be chaperoned meant that most of the social exchanges took place in College.
Going to dances was prohibited initially, but dancing with each other was
acceptable and became a regular feature between dinner and chapel. In 1926 the
University established a Dance Club, which was attended by students of St Hilda’s.
The picture that Elizabeth Boardman painted of student social life suggested that,
although the pressures and constraints on students have changed over the
centuries, their enthusiasm and ingenuity is much the same.
Gilliane Sills
Oxford University Museum of Natural History, 25 February
The great joy of this brief but stimulating guided tour of a familiar Oxford institution
was that we learned the human stories behind the impressive building and its vast
collection of exhibits.
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Our guide, Chris Jarvis from the Museum’s education staff, explained that he was
often talking to children or youngsters with special needs. We found his amusing
and informative style was equally well-suited to his more senior audience.
We learned of the vision of Sir Henry Acland who was determined to create ‘a
cathedral of science’ for Oxford in a building that combined both art and science in
its construction, with pillars of almost every stone ranked in geological order
embossed with carvings by the Irish O’Shea brothers who drew their inspiration
from branches and flowers gathered from the Botanic Gardens.
We admired the slender cast iron columns that support the glass roof, and
learned that the original design was so lace-like that it fell down, that the original
gas lighting smoked so much it was never used again, and how the Museum hit on
the idea of public subscription for a statue of the late Prince Albert which raised
enough to pay for statues of the great scientists down the ages as well.
We admired the industry of William Buckland, the Dean of Westminster, and the
first Reader in Geology at Oxford who was the first to present a scientific
description of a dinosaur and found out why the skeleton of a giraffe has a different
coloured tail (it was because the process of boiling down the bones near Carfax
made such a stink that the local populace overturned the huge vat and in the
resultant chaos a dog ran away with the original).
Our visit was well-timed to coincide with an exhibition about Charles Darwin,
which reminded us that the Museum was the venue for a celebrated debate about
the origin of species between Thomas Huxley (‘Darwin’s bulldog’) and the Bishop of
Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, after which the wife of the Bishop of Worcester was
heard to remark: ‘Descended from the apes! Let us hope it is not true. But if it is, let
us pray that it will not become greatly known.’
The building opened to the public in 1860 and was to be the focus of all Oxford
science. Its role has changed as science grew and spread into what became known
as the science area, and as a museum it now enchants both adults and children,
while still remaining a centre for scientific study. With thanks to our guide and to
Roy Overall who organised our visit, we can be sure that the delights of this Oxford
treasure will be yet more greatly known.
Andrew Moss
Visits
Brasenose College, 25 March
This year is the 500th anniversary of Brasenose
College which was founded in 1509 by the
Lancastrian William Smythe, who was Bishop of
Lincoln, and the lawyer Sir Richard Sutton who
was from Cheshire. This has given the College
links with the Northwest of England which it has
retained throughout its history. Before the official
founding of the College there was on the site a
medieval lodging house called Brasenose Hall,
which gradually became an academic institution. The name was originally Brazen
Nose and was probably derived from the bronze doorknocker in the shape of a
head with a ring through the nose which may have been used as a sanctuary ring.
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This adorned the door of the old hall but was taken to Stamford in 1333 by a group
of rebellious Oxford scholars including Philip the Manciple at Brasenose. In due
course, after the King ordered them to, the students returned to Oxford, but the
knocker took quite a while longer. In 1890 a house in Stamford, which had been
known as Brasenose since the 17th century and had an ancient doorknocker, was
offered for sale. The College authorities who were convinced by their historians that
this was their original doorknocker, bought the house and returned the doorknocker
to the College, where it now sits behind the High Table in the dining hall.
Our group, which was led by Roy Overall, was given a guided tour by Elizabeth
Boardman, the archivist of Brasenose. We started in the Old Quadrangle, which
houses the original Tudor two-storey buildings and tower, started in 1509, and
incorporates the 15th century kitchen of Brasenose Hall. By the 17th century the
College was running out of space and so a third storey was added. The
complicated sundial on the North side of Old Quad is dated to 1719 but earlier
descriptions of College rooms in the 1670s mentioning a dial, show that this was
not the first there. Samuel Radcliffe who was Principal during the Civil War, left
money in his will of 1648 for the building of a second quadrangle, containing a
chapel and library which were built between 1649 and 1663. The Chapel was built
to fit the hammerbeam roof taken from St Mary’s Chapel at Frewin Hall, which,
though originally occupied by Augustinian Canons, was owned by Brasenose. This
roof is now covered by a magnificent fan-vaulted ceiling, made from wood and
plaster in 1659, and repaired and painted in 1895 by Kempe. The organ case and
choir screen were designed in 1892 by Thomas Jackson. In the 17th century, a
giant named John Middleton who was 9’ 3” tall and came from Haile in Lancashire,
visited Brasenose. A life-sized portrait of him was painted and the outline of his
hand was carved on a stone. These are now in the antechapel and the Brasenose
College boat is called ‘Childe of Hale’ after him. The Library was built at the same
time as the Chapel and originally had an open cloister underneath it. This provided
shelter for those taking exercise and was also the College’s burial ground. The
tombs and epitaphs were removed in 1807 when the cloisters were turned into
college rooms. This second quadrangle is known as the ‘Deer Park’ and could be
either a dig at Magdalen’s vast grounds or may refer to a stag hunt of 1820 when it
is claimed that a stag which was hunted from Blenheim Park in Woodstock to
Oxford, took refuge in the Chapel (and was promptly despatched by the hounds!).
There are 22 steps to the library, which was full of students, and we climbed further
stairs to an attic. This housed documents and an old strongbox with three locks.
This was so big that it had to have been made in situ as there was no way it could
have been dragged up there. During the Civil War a mixture of silver plate,
documents and corn were kept in the Tower. Rats, which were after the corn, also
ate valuable documents with the result that the College could not prove its
ownership of various properties and so this led to prolonged disputes. The further
expansion of the College to create a frontage on the High Street was planned for
over 150 years before it actually happened. In 1770 a house on the High Street was
adapted to make a new lodging for the Principal but the rest of the area between
the Chapel and the High Street, which contained a miscellaneous collection of
buildings described as squalid, remained in this state until the 19th century. The
College took the plunge and embarked on the building of New Quad around 1880.
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However, because of financial constraints, it was not completed until 1911 as part
of the Quarter-centenary celebrations. Thomas Jackson was then finally able to
complete a set of buildings that he had designed years before.
We had a wonderfully informative tour of Brasenose, which one of our group
described as ‘quirky’, and this was enhanced by tea and biscuits. Our grateful
thanks go to the archivist, Elizabeth Boardman, for telling us as much of its history
as she could in the time allowed, and to Roy Overall for arranging it. Maggie Bishop
Sulgrave Manor, 29 April
The journey to Sulgrave was smooth and relaxing, and we arrived in time to see a
troupe of school children, dressed as colonials, processing from the house to the
courtyard and educational block. Sulgrave Manor has a programme for school
parties, to learn about the colonial way of life.
It was built by Lawrence Washington who had been employed by William Parr,
uncle of Katherine, the last wife of Henry VIII. Lawrence had moved to Northampton
where Parr had interests. However, John Spencer of Althorp, his cousin, was
making a fortune from the wool trade, and so Washington transferred his interest
also to this trade. He married Elizabeth Gough, the young widow of a rich
woolstapler in Northampton, but sadly she died in childbirth. He then married
another widow, Amy Thompson (née Pargiter). Some time later he acquired a lease
on the Manor of Sulgrave and, at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries,
managed to purchase the estate from the Crown for £324 14s 10d.
He began to build the Manor House, some of which can be seen today,
eventually completing it in 1560. However, many changes occurred as later owners
put their own stamp on it!
The history of the house is as interesting as the history of the Washington family.
It was fifth generation Colonel John Washington who emigrated to Virginia in 1600,
and was the great grandfather of George Washington, the first President of the
United States of America.
1914 marked a century of peace between Britain and the United States, and
many plans were made to celebrate it. One of these was the raising of £12,000 in
order to purchase Sulgrave Manor and hopefully to do some of the restoration work
required. With many subscribers, including George V and many Americans, the
money was finally raised to complete the work. The house was formally opened
and dedicated on 21 June 1921.
The house has remained open to the public ever since, with much financial help
from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, a group of American
ladies descended from the men of the original thirteen colonies which formed the
USA.
The parts of Lawrence Washington’s original house remaining are on the south
side and include the Porch, screen passages, Great Hall, Great Chamber and two
smaller rooms above. Many conversions were made by later owners and a West
Wing added at the time of restoration in about 1929. This contains the Director’s
Quarters.
The Great Hall is delightful, with a large Tudor fireplace and chimney opening
measuring 7’2” wide and 2’8” deep. The Hall has a blue Hornton stone floor and
remarkable windows containing reproductions of the coats of arms of members of
the Washington family. Over the fireplace hangs the most valued object in the
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house, an original portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart considered the
greatest American portrait painter of the time.
Other rooms on display are equally fascinating: the Oak Parlour, built by John
Hodges after the Washington family had emigrated, dated 1700, is beautifully
furnished. It contains a spinet of walnut and a rare folding music book rest. The
Great Kitchen; bedrooms above - the White Bedroom, the Chintz Bedroom and the
Great Chamber all deserve a mention. The Great Chamber particularly with its wide
floor slabs of polished oak and an Elizabethan canopied four-poster bed which was
brought from Battle Abbey in Sussex. Interesting too, are the Deed Room and Pot
Room, two rooms used to display such items of George Washington’s saddlebags,
velvet jacket and a lock of hair.
Before leaving, there was just a little time to explore the grounds, including the
delightful herb garden, the herbaceous borders and topiary.
We then moved swiftly on to visit Sulgrave’s village church of St James the Less.
It was built between 1327 and 1377 during the reign of Edward III. The Tudor porch
is decorated with fleur-de-lys, a reminder of the link between the English and
French thrones. Inside the church is an octagonal font of local stone, dating from
the 15th century and an oak chest reputably belonging to the Washington family.
On the south side of the church is a small perpendicular window dating from the
reign of Edward III and beneath it a low side door. These are very rare and were
used before the Reformation for the ringing of the bell to announce the Elevation of
the Host at Mass. Other items included a Squint, which was blocked up in the post-
Reformation days, a Medieval Piscina, used for cleansing the vessels at Mass and
four beautiful panels of Elizabethan glass, containing the coats of arms of the
Washington family. To mark the Millennium, a stained glass window was placed in
the south aisle.
Sadly we had to leave Sulgrave and Terry, our driver, safely transported us back
in good time to Oxford. A superb and informative afternoon.
Roma Vincent
Exbury Gardens - 13 May
On a damp and drizzly morning our departure looked most inauspicious and the
increased traffic congestion delayed our setting off. But as we drove south, the rain
stopped, the temperature mellowed and it proved to be a most successful outing:
we came back full of memories of shimmering, softly glowing rhododendrons and
azaleas in bloom, with lingering
images of (real) bluebell trails and of
many other flowers. For the
Impressionists Exbury would have
been a more intense source of
inspiration than Monet’s garden at
Giverny!
Exbury is a 250-acre garden along
the Beaulieu River in the vicinity of
the New Forest. At first grazing land,
acquired by the Mitford family in the
16th century, it was later planted with
trees, becoming the country property
of the Rothschilds in the early 20th
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century. Finally in 1919, Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, heir to the English branch of
the prominent bankers, inherited a by now somewhat unkempt estate. However,
Lionel was also a horticulturist and a passionate botanist, describing himself as
‘Banker by hobby and Gardener by profession’! No doubt his ‘hobby’ in banking
financed his professional gardening and botanist activities by sponsoring plant-
searching expeditions in the gorges of the Himalayas to collect rare samples and, in
particular, seeds of rhododendrons for his cross-experimentations. Thus he
successfully developed and registered over a thousand hybrids, whose
descendants are now blooming at Exbury. He rebuilt the mansion, landscaped the
entire garden, irrigated it and built a large rock garden. (He needed a steam train to
bring the stones, the ancestor of the now tourist steam train!). Exbury Gardens are
Lionel’s own creation.
The Head Gardener, John Anderson, split the party in two groups and took each
round part of the garden for about an hour. He was a witty and well-informed guide
and gave a wonderful explanation of how the garden had been developed by
Lionel. There was also ample time to explore the gardens by ourselves, with the
help of a map. The rhododendron flowers captured all eyes at first! Many were in
full bloom, others still opening, with their buds of a darker shade. Azaleas were at
the peak of their flowering. We could roam at random along glades with ponds
reflecting flowers, carefully kept streams with tall candelabra primulae flowering
along their moist edges. We could venture down to the Beaulieu River, with an
open view on anchored sailing boats. It was easy to find a beautiful spot to enjoy a
picnic. (Besides benches Exbury offers wheelchairs and rides on buggies.) On the
other hand it has a labyrinth of wild paths along which walkers can get lost!
John Anderson was generous with his time and took each tour in opposite
directions. With a team of ten gardeners he maintains the whole property. A man of
great vitality, he has an intimate knowledge of plants: many trees seem to be his
personal friends and he cuts the invading saplings only when necessary. John
especially drew our attention to the graded background setting for the
rhododendrons, such as high oaks and pines at the back, lower Japanese maples
in the front, as well as other trees, which, he stressed, had to be at harmonious
heights, and flower in different seasons. To me Exbury thus became a stage and I
began to look beyond its highlights. I became acquainted with Eucryphia,
Enkianthus , with different varieties of oaks. We admired several Magnolia Wilsonii
dangling their flowers like lampshades, high in the air. It was a pleasure to be able
to ask the simplest of questions, but it was a challenge to answer John’s own
questions! A few of us were able to produce Latin names; more could recognise the
Mexican Orange shrub. He also took us to admire especially attractive
rhododendron hybrids, such as Lem’s Cameo (American) and Naomi (named after
Lionel’s daughter). He showed us the new hybrids developed from a species found
on the Japanese island of Yakushima, a sturdy variety. As he went on his way he
provided many technical details, on the modern watering system for instance, and
the great amount of water necessary to keep those plants happy in a region of low
rainfall (22 inches). He also indicated his own tastes: one should not always
eradicate, he said, weed-like plants, like Gaultheria or even Mare’s tail which, if
contained, provide good ground cover and he also wished to keep some areas of
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wild grassland in order to preserve native species. This guided visit of one small
part of these Gardens was exciting, full of details and full of fun!
By the end of these botanical quizzes and of a day of fresh air, we all welcomed a
splendid tea in a quiet room adjoining the restaurant.
Mireille Steer
Five-day Excursion to Northumberland,
18-23 May 2009
[ Led by Carlos and Marie Ruiz
and assisted by Carol Bateman
and Esther Rose (both of whom
are local girls). Terry from
Plastows drove us throughout
the week. On the journey north
we paid a short visit to Durham
Cathedral, most of which dates
Our hotel - Longhirst Hall
from the 12th century and is widely
regarded as the finest example of Norman architecture in Europe and is a world
heritage site. The bodies of both St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede lie here. We
hope the following descriptions of what we saw and did will give you a flavour of a
much enjoyed trip. Ed. ]
A Novice in Northumberland or a Rookie goes north
A coach holiday with a load of pensioners? I don’t think so. And yet I had always
wanted to go to Northumberland and the itinerary sounded wonderful. So with some
trepidation I signed up. As the time for departure approached, I grew more and
more apprehensive especially after sharing my doubts with friends - would I find
any like-minded souls, what would the etiquette of the coach be like, how would I
cope with communal meals.
Everyone was very friendly waiting at the bus and I was delighted when a fellow
Newsletter envelope-stuffer asked if she could sit next to me - two hurdles out of
the way. Most of the other doubts disappeared when Carlos Ruiz, our tireless
leader, started his potted history of Northumberland as we drove north - full of
fascinating facts and humour it both informed and made us laugh at the same time.
By the end of a tiring first day, I reckoned that many of my doubts had probably
been groundless. As the days went by and I got to know more people I began to
realise what a wonderfully interesting, varied and egalitarian group this was - a
proud example of Oxford University at its best.
The whole trip was planned with great finesse and care. We journeyed through
magnificent scenery, with expert commentaries on the places we were visiting, saw
great examples of modern architecture, ancient castles and beautiful gardens;
learned about marauding reivers (plunderers - we had to ask too), different types of
sheep and lazy-beds; turned the electronic pages of illuminated gospels; heard
stories about witches and saw red squirrels.
If anyone has had doubts about signing up for one of these trips, give it a whirl -
the whole experience has converted this sceptic and I shall certainly go again.
Polly Friedhoff
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Day 2: Belsay and Cragside
In the morning we visited Belsay which is now owned by English Heritage. The Hall,
Castle and gardens have been the home of the Middleton family for almost 700
years. It is one of the most important neo-classical houses in Britain. Now displayed
without furnishings, the rooms are large and the wallpapers were magnificent as
was the coving. It is centred around an amazing two-storey ‘Pillar Hall’. The
Middleton family moved into the Hall from the Mansion on Christmas Day 1817.
Looking around their home we discovered the opulent style of the day.
There are thirty acres of stunning Grade I gardens which link the Hall and the
Castle. Unaltered for 200 years, there are thousands of exotic species, famous
rhododendrons (many already in flower) and the magical Quarry Garden, with
ravines, pinnacles and sheer rock faces inspired by the quarries of Sicily. Rock
from the quarry was used to build the Hall. The quarry gardens were a wonderful
surprise and there was something new round each corner - they linked the Hall and
the Castle.
This was a 14th century medieval castle and an adjoining 17th century Jacobean
Mansion in ruins. The first floor great chamber still displayed rare traces of
elaborate medieval wall-paintings. The climb to the top of the tower was well worth
the effort for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. In the Great Hall
Lucky Spot - Stella McCartney’s crystal horse sculpture - was hanging. Lucky Spot
was inspired following a visit to Belsay. It is a jewelled curtain of thousands of
Swarovski crystals that hang in the shape of a horse from the ceiling of the Great
Hall. In the afternoon we visited Cragside, run by the National Trust since 1977.
Formerly the home of the famous inventor William, the first Lord Armstrong (1810-
1900 ) founder of Vickers-Armstrong, an engineering works at Elswick on the river
Tyne. It was built as a weekend retreat from the cares of his armaments and
engineering business.
The beautiful grounds and gardens around Cragside form a 1,000-acre estate,
with over 40 miles of footpaths. There are lakes, streams and some of England’s
tallest trees. The rhododendrons were just coming into bloom. The scenery is ever
changing and spectacular.
Cragside House was built over
the period 1863-1885 and was a
wonder of its age. It is built on a
rocky crag high above the Debdon
Burn. The house is crammed with
ingenious gadgets, particularly in
the kitchen. Lord Armstrong was an
innovator who created his wealth
from ordnance and the heavy
engineering industry. He had a
lifelong interest in electricity and
combined this interest with
hydraulics to create the very first
hydroelectric power house to be installed at Cragside in 1878, making it the first
house in the world to be powered by hydro-electricity.
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The variety and scale of Cragside’s gardens are incredible. Surrounding the
house is one of the largest ‘hand made’ rock gardens in Europe. There is also a
formal garden, terraces, a Dahlia walk and a high bridge spanning the river which
gives a wonderful view of the house.
We were only able to have a brief look at both of these properties, we shall have
to return to explore further.
Carol Bateman
Day 3: Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle
Our day started with an early breakfast and departure
owing to the constraints of tides. The Holy Island of
Lindisfarne is reached by a low causeway that cannot
be crossed at high tide and we needed plenty of time
before the sea made departure impossible in the late
afternoon.
The first stop was Lindisfarne Centre where several
well presented audio-visual displays helped us to gain
an all-round picture of Holy Island. The original
Christian settlement was founded by the Celtic monk
St Aiden in AD 634; after his death the main figure
was St Cuthbert, the bishop, who died in AD 687 and
was buried in Lindisfarne. Subsequently, marauding
Vikings attacked and pillaged the settlement several
times eventually forcing the monks to flee with the
body of (see picture on left) St Cuthbert which
ended up in Durham Cathedral, where it still
remains. Monks returned to the island to found
the Benedictine Priory in memory of St Cuthbert
in AD 1082. Other interesting videos in the
Centre gave insight into the craft of bookbinding
and the fascinating wildlife in the area. In addition
there was a virtual copy of the Lindisfarne
Gospels, an amazing illustrated translation of the
Gospels into English created at Lindisfarne by
one of the monks in
AD 950-960.
After leaving the centre we visited the 12th century
Priory constructed in mellow red sandstone. It is a ruin
but still impressive with its weather- and wind-beaten
Norman arches. These old stones now have attractive
cracks and crevices from exposure to the elements and
wild flowers were growing in between them. Since it had
turned out to be a lovely day, with clouds sailing across
a blue sky and sunny intervals, the view from here
across the shore and inland towards the hills was most uplifting.
We had our picnic lunch in sunshine in the Market Square and enjoyed the
sparrows fighting for crumbs (a sight we rarely see in Oxford these days). The
peace and tranquillity of the village is most appealing and the attractive stone built
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houses provide an overall impression of a corner of England that has not changed
much for many years.
After lunch we went to visit Lindisfarne Castle in the south-east corner of Holy
Island. This was built in 1550 from sandstone (cannibalised from the Priory) as a
protection for the harbour from attack by the Scots. Its position is particularly
impressive being built on a mound of volcanic rock surrounded by green pastures.
The castle fell into considerable decay and disrepair in the late 19th century but
was bought in 1902 by the then owner of ‘ Country Life ’, Edward Hudson. He
employed Sir Edward Lutyens to redesign and refurbish the interior as a delightfully
charming residence tastefully arranged within the ancient edifice. The next owner,
Sir Edward de Stein, presented the property to the National Trust in 1944. We
much enjoyed the décor and atmosphere of the place.
Bamburgh Castle, our next port of call, though visible from Lindisfarne Castle was
several miles to the south and the last visit of the day. This is very much a castle
built on an impressive scale with massive fortifications, ramparts, walls within walls,
buildings, and a central keep constructed again on an outcrop of volcanic rock. It is
claimed to be the ‘finest castle in England’. Indeed it is very imposing and its large
King’s Hall, reminiscent of a College Dining Hall, and other grand rooms splendidly
renovated by Lord Armstrong (of Cragside) have a strong, if rather overpowering
impact. Enjoyment of the furnishings, paintings and myriad displays of all possible
sorts of ‘collectables of the time’ required some stamina after seeing Cragside the
previous day! However, one exhibit we saw that was particularly memorable was an
intricate curtain made by Russian prisoners of the Crimean War from their uniforms
in recognition of the humane treatment they had received from the hands of their
captors. We also heard from one of the guides about the generosity shown by Lord
Armstrong and his successors to the community of Northumberland.
Mary and Gordon Witham
Day 4: The Sage Centre, Gateshead
We approached The Sage building from
the north and passed from Newcastle to
Gateshead over the Tyne Bridge which
had opened in 1928. The bridge was
constructed from steel manufactured at
Vickers Armstrong. Armstrong being
Lord Armstrong whose house, Cragside,
we had visited two days earlier.
The Sage is a stunning Gateshead
landmark and is a remarkable
combination of the very best in acoustic
performance, striking aesthetics and
sustainable design. The building,
costing £70 million, was opened on 17 December 2004. This stunning development
comprises three symphony halls, a music school, a rehearsal and community
performance hall plus all associated facilities.
The largest hall seats 1,650 and is designed to world-class acoustic standards.
Each of the six acoustic panels suspended above the audience weighs around
fourteen tonnes and can be adjusted to change the sound in the space. There are
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drapes hidden in the walls, which can be used to cover the walls - again to change
the acoustics. All the equipment is computer controlled and can be adjusted by
defining the sound required.
The second hall seats 450 while the third provides rehearsal facilities for the
resident orchestra, the Northern Sinfonia, in addition to public exhibition space. The
music school extends the full length of the building with spectacular views across
the River Tyne and is equipped with high quality practice rooms and recording
studios.
The halls are totally soundproof (as demonstrated by our guide when he shut
both entrance doors). They are freestanding and are separated from each other by
some 15mm; the enclosing dome again is freestanding and does not make contact
with the halls. In this way, vibration and sound cannot be transferred between each
structure.
The Sage Gateshead’s sustainable design features have contributed to an
estimated annual operating energy consumption 40% lower than current best
practice. Audiences are kept at a comfortable temperature by an innovative
ventilation system supplied to each seat individually.
After our tour, we had a welcome coffee and cake at an excellent café in the large
open space of the main concourse with a view over the Tyne and the Millennium
Bridge.
Ian Hale
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge
This Wilkinson Eyre and Gifford designed bridge was the winning entry in a 1997
competition for a major new crossing over the River Tyne. The £22m project,
promoted by Gateshead Council and part-funded by the National Lottery, links
Newcastle Quayside with Gateshead. The requirement was to retain a 30m-wide
clear channel for shipping whilst maintaining a low-level crossing for pedestrians
and cyclists.
It was unfortunate that we were unable to see the bridge opening. However, the
operation is simple in that hydraulic rams located in each end support provide the
motive power to rotate the bridge. Bridges that open offer a spectacle, yet are rarely
spectacular. This bridge in contrast has visual daring and elegance in its closed
position, giving way to theatre and power in operation. As the whole bridge tilts, it
changes into a ‘grand arch’ of great width and grace, in an operation which evokes
the action of a closed eye slowly opening.
Ian Hale
Hadrian’s Wall and Hexham Abbey
Hadrian’s Wall
Leaving Gateshead, Terry took us westward onto the B3618, also known as The
Military Road, which runs parallel to and, in places on, Hadrian’s Wall. This was
built in AD 117 and stretches 80 miles from the Tyne to the Solway to ‘separate the
Romans from the barbarians’ - pace the Scots!
The wall was originally four and a half meters (14.5 feet) high and 10 feet thick
and took 15 years to complete. It had 13 forts, spaced at approximately a day’s
march between them with smaller ‘mile castles’ between them.
Alas, in the subsequent 1,600 years, the wall was pillaged for building stones,
field walls and even Hexham Abbey - how could one resist ‘recycling’ cut and faced
building stones that one didn’t even have to quarry?
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While driving along we were able to see the remnants of the walls and ancillary
buildings and even the archaeologically excavated ruins of some of the forts. For
those interested in Ancient history this little excursion was an excellent ‘taster’ for
future outings.
Hexham Abbey
Hexham Abbey is one of the earliest Christian foundations in Britain and stands
proudly in the heart of this bustling town with views over the Market Place, the Moot
Hall and the Old Gaol. Founded by St Wilfrid, Bishop of York, in 674 AD, as a
Benedictine Abbey it was in part built from the stones of Hadrian’s Wall. Prior
Cuthbert of Lindisfarne was the Bishop of Hexham until 685. In the 9th century, it
was damaged by the invading Vikings and then re-founded in Norman times as an
Augustinian Priory. Since the Dissolution of the Monasteries it has been used as
the Parish Church.
Of the original 7th century church, little remains
apart from the crypt reached by a steep, narrow
staircase of uneven and time-worn treads leading
to a vaulted chapel, bare but for a simple stone
slab altar and some carved and decorated stones
from Roman building along Hadrian’s Wall. Very
little effort of the imagination was needed to feel a
part of the long and turbulent history of
Northumberland. All the stones in the crypt are of
Roman workmanship, with the carved signs
identifying the masonry still visible.
However, it does contain other relics of Celtic Christianity including an Anglo-
Saxon chalice, the Frith stool, a stone ‘cathedra’ or Bishop’s seat which Wilfrid
might have used, Bishop Acca’s Cross, carved with Christian motifs, a fine example
of Northumbrian stonework, and a section of the carved ‘Spital Cross’.
The church as we see it now dates from the 12th to the 15th centuries with later
additions from the 19th and 20th centuries. Its character is still redolent of its
monastic past witnessed by the well-worn ‘Night stairs’ leading from the monks’
dormitory to the church for the early services. Later centuries have left a legacy of
chantry chapels and a lectern decorated with paintings and carvings and the
magnificent choir stalls in the chancel with their wonderful ‘misericords’. The nave,
rebuilt in the 20th century, follows the pattern of the 14th century decorated style
and contains a magnificent font built using a Roman pillar-base for the font itself set
on a medieval stone base and covered with a tall canopy made from 15th century
woodwork by Belgian refugees in 1916!
The 15th century Rood screen carries a 1974 Phelps organ on which, when we
visited the Abbey, the organist was practising delicate rippling arpeggios for the
following Sunday’s services and then broke out into a magnificent fanfare which
filled the Abbey and summed up the history, spirit and meaning of this wonderful
building.
Carlos Ruiz
Day 4: Alnwick Castle
The castle at Alnwick began life as a Norman motte and bailey castle to help
defend England against the Scots and eventually the fortress became the home of
the Percy family in the early 14th century. The Percys continued to improve
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defences against the Scots, by building towers and other structures until, in the mid
1700s, it was transformed from a fortification into a family home for the first Duke
and Duchess of Northumberland. Over the centuries Percys played great parts in
English history, notably Harry ‘Hotspur’ immortalised by Shakespeare.
After a short canter round Knight’s Quest, obviously brilliant entertainment for
children, we found our way into the Outer Bailey where apparently Harry Potter
learnt to fly. A short walk to the Gun Terrace gave us stupendous views over the
river and grounds designed by Capability Brown, only slightly spoiled by aeroplanes
which seemed somewhat incongruous. Then into the State Rooms which were a
strange contrast to the medieval outer walls. The fourth and subsequent Dukes
created rich and ornamental rooms, with the help of Robert Adam and the Italian
architect, Luigi Canina. Italian craftsmen were often used and many of the artefacts
came from Rome. The rooms are filled with treasures including paintings by Titian
and Canaletto amongst others. You wander through room after room filled with
great works of art, so many it is difficult to take in. From sculptures to books, from
family portraits to exquisite 18th and 19th furniture, richly carved marble fireplaces,
ornate gold leafed plaster ceilings, everything is designed to show off the great
wealth and importance of the Percys.
It was a somewhat daunting visit I found but one which I would love to repeat.
Caroline Hill
Chillingham Castle
By the time we reached Chillingham,
on our final sight-seeing day, we
were experts in the different ways of
presenting ‘sights’ to the public, and
could debate the methods and
merits of the National Trust and
English Heritage. But Chillingham
Castle was different! It has been
continuously occupied by the Grey
family for 900 years, and the whole
sweep of English history seems to
be illustrated here: Greys were
present at Crecy and Agincourt, at
the Battle of Flodden, at the Field of
the Cloth of Gold, hosted James VI/I on the way to his English coronation … and
given us Earl Grey tea.
The castle has been adapted and patched up and crammed with an accumulation
of the family’s possessions: armour and weaponry, stuffed animal heads (and some
bodies too), a Saxon font, pewter dishes, six rocking horses, you name it … It is
considered the most-haunted castle in Britain. The dungeons were appropriately
spooky, and the Curse of Chillingham is so powerful that, after it was mentioned on
a TV programme, a stream of pilfered goods was returned by earlier visitors (with
abjectly apologetic letters) from garden cuttings to a door-knob - all displayed on a
wall of the keep! Everywhere the feeling was of a continuously lived-in family home
- wacky, lacking comforts, but deeply loved.
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We were not able to see the famous Chillingham herd, the sole survivors of the
wild white cattle that used to roam in Britain more than 700 years ago. But this was
not so much a disappointment, more a pressing reason to return.
… And then there were the gardens - a complete contrast in their well-kept
state! - which included a part-castellated walled garden with intricate parterre and
herbaceous border and extensive parkland only a fraction of which we had time
to see.
Helen Brown
Nostell Priory
We broke the return journey from Northumberland with a visit to Nostell Priory.
Arriving a little before midday there was time for many of the party to visit the
nearby church of St Michael and our Lady, Wragby with its brightly coloured Swiss
stained glass, and to enjoy a walk in the park before visiting the house which
opened at 1.00pm. Although built near the remains of a 13th century priory, Nostell
Priory is actually a grand manor house built in the Palladian style. Robert Adam
was commissioned to create the interiors seen there today, with his team of the
Venetian painter Antonio Zucchi who painted imaginary neo-classical views of
Rome, Joseph Rose (any relation Esther?) who created the plasterwork and
Thomas Chippendale who designed the furniture, much of which remains in its
original place today. It is believed that many of the Zucchi paintings were in fact
done by Angelica Kauffman and on the strength of this a later baronet in 1908
bought her fine self-portrait, ‘Hesitating
between the Arts and Music’. The room
where this was hanging was closed to public
for repair but one of our more resourceful
members persuaded the custodian to open it
specially. Thank you Liz! After a fascinating
hour viewing these and many other treasures
we returned to the bus and our journey home
via the ice cream kiosk.
Margaret Lavercombe
And to say thank you to Carlos and Marie:
Saints and bishops and Vikings - Carlos has drawn them for us,
As we journeyed up hill and down dale in our trusty pensioners’ bus.
Cuthbert and Egbert and Oswald and Bede, the Romans who left us their wall,
Gospels and witches and gardens and Sage - Carlos has shown them us all.
Now we thank him and Marie (and Terry) for all that they jointly have done
It’s due to their care and their efforts that we’ve had so much interest and fun.
Polly Friedhoff and Helen Brown on behalf of all those who travelled with them.
Southwick Hall Northamptonshire, 17 June
Northamptonshire is a county rich in manor houses and stately homes, both great
and small, and our full day excursion which was led by Geraldine Peissel, took in
two of the smaller ones.
We started at Southwick Hall, which has been a family home for seven centuries,
owned by three related families. The original medieval house was built in about
1300 by Richard Knyvet, who was a prominent wool merchant and keeper of part of
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Rockingham Forest. The two towers at the front and back of the Hall are the most
important remaining sections of this house. An important descendant who was
Sheriff of Northamptonshire, was taken prisoner during the Hundred Years War,
and a ransom demand of £1,000 led to the sale of the estate in 1441 to John Lynn,
who was a relation by marriage. The Lynns were responsible for the Elizabethan
part of the house, which is the largest part as we see it today. A rebuilding of the
hall, adjacent rooms and bedrooms, on the foundations of the mediaeval Great Hall
took place in 1571 and 1580. In the 18th century a West wing was built, and many
Georgian features were introduced into the interior of the house. This was done by
George Lynn, who was one of eight banner bearers at the funeral of Mary Queen of
Scots in Peterborough Cathedral, after her execution at nearby Fotheringhay. The
house was sold in 1841 to George Capron, a solicitor who was a distant cousin of
the Lynn family. The Caprons rebuilt the East wing in 1870, adding another storey,
and also built the stable block and made an impressive entrance through the
medieval crypt. They have made many alterations internally, to make the house
more suitable for modern living.
The tour of the house started in the Hall, which today shows no sign of its origins
as the great hall of a medieval house. It was rebuilt in 1571 with mullioned windows
and the 18th century alterations stripped it of its wooden panelling. The Study,
originally part of the solar, was rebuilt in 1580 and modernised in the 18th.century
and has a fine carved wood fireplace. The Parlour is part of the West wing built by
the Lynn family in the 18th century and has a bay window with Strawberry Hill
Gothic features and a Regency fireplace. This leads to the Crypt of the medieval
house, which has been turned into a lovely entrance hall. Next is the Priest’s Room,
built in 1350 and originally accessed by the spiral staircase of the tower. Upstairs,
the Gothic Room was once used as a
chapel and has some lovely stained
glass coats of arms of the de Bohuns,
who were feudal overlords of
Southwick. These date from before
1361. There are views of Fotheringhay
from the Elizabethan window of the
Middle Room, originally the upper solar
room of the medieval house. The most
impressive room upstairs is the Oak
Room, which has its original
Elizabethan wood panelling and a fine
four-poster bed of about 1630 with
carving typical of the East Midlands. The oldest part of the house is the Vaulted
Room on the ground floor, which used to lead to the Great Hall. It was built in 1300
and has unusual doorways with shouldered heads, and carved heads at the base of
each of the stone ribs of the groin vault. The tour ended in the courtyard which is
dominated by the circular towers and also housed the utilitarian parts of the old
house, such as the kitchen, dairy, laundry, and brewhouse. The stable block has an
interesting exhibition of local artefacts including old farm tools and a variety of
locally made bricks.
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Southwick Hall shows the evolution of a typical English manor house from its
medieval origins through all the key periods of change in style, such as Elizabethan
and Georgian, and we therefore had a really interesting tour through seven hundred
years of the history of the house and the families who have lived in it.
Maggie Bishop
The Prebendal Manor and Tithe Barn Museum, Nassington, 17 June
On our journey to Northamptonshire to visit these two medieval properties the late
spring flowers were out in all their creamy splendour. The fields of fiery red poppies
were quite stunning. In the afternoon we took the short drive to The Prebendal
Manor which is one of the longest continually inhabited buildings in England, and is
a rare survival of scholarly and archaeological history.
We were greeted by our hostess, Jane Baile, who kindly suggested, as it had
started to drizzle, that we take our picnic lunch into the beautiful 18th century tithe
barn. Those who had already eaten their lunch had time to look around the small
museum. After lunch our hostess informed us that her family had purchased the
Manor in 1968 when the buildings and lands were in a state of great disrepair.
Since then it had been a labour of love, a lot of hard work and research, to
sympathetically restore this unique building and grounds into the family home we
see today.
People have lived on this site since the early Iron Age. In the 11th century it was
one of King Cnut’s timber halls and continued in the ownership of succeeding
Kings. In the 12th century King Henry I gave the manor and some lands to the
Bishop of Lincoln to provide prebends for the canons of Lincoln. A prebend was an
estate owned by the Church to provide them with an income. Prebendaries were
the civil servants of Medieval England, and were learned and well travelled people.
They were required to provide accommodation and hospitality for six clerics and
their large entourage, plus fodder for their horses for at least 12 days per year. It
was during this time that the large beautiful Church of St Mary’s and All Saints was
built adjacent to The Manor. In the 13th century the Great Hall was replaced by a
substantial stone one plus the building of a solar.
The central hearth of the Saxon hall was kept in situ . The Great Hall was the
centre of the estate where everyone ate and slept. It was also used for
administrative purposes. In the 15th Century as the income grew. many
improvements were made to the Great Hall such as a large fireplace at the end of
the hall, an oriel window, a stone screen to support a minstrels gallery, plaster
floors etc. Later a new grander front entrance, a gatehouse, service wing, lodgings,
breweries etc were added. By the late 18th century the Manor was in decline and
many outbuildings were demolished, including the solar. Our hostess guided us
around her family home, The Prebendal Manor House, which is quite delightful. The
Great Hall is now divided into many rooms including a second floor. However part
of the Hall dramatically retains its full height and length, with large windows. It is
very atmospheric and timeless. The Great Hall still incorporated much of its original
features and Jane Baile pointed out details of the architectural changes which had
taken place over the centuries, both inside and out. This was most interesting.
Despite the large fireplaces the Manor House could be decidedly cold in the winter.
We were guided around the reconstructed medieval garden by Michael Brown.
Michael designed the medieval garden, one of the largest in Europe, using
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information from the English gardening book by Jon Gardener, tapestries and other
original medieval sources. Everything in a medieval garden was planted for a
purpose, either medicinal, culinary or religious. In other words the whole estate had
to be self-sufficient and the gardens were planned with this in mind. There were
animals, medieval fishponds, bees, a nut walk, an orchard, coppice, kitchen
garden, poisonous herbs, vineyards. For the privacy and pleasure of the élite there
was an enclosed herber including a turf seat and a Tunnel Arbour which is now
planted with white rosa alba and rosa gallica . Today the whole estate is a haven of
peace and tranquillity but in its hey day it would have been noisy, full of people and
a hive of industry. The dovecote built in the later 15th century, housing over 1,000
birds, provided meat and eggs, feathers for beds, and highly prized manure for
crops. We greatly enjoyed this medieval garden.
This visit could be described as charming and one not to be missed. Thank you
Geraldine for arranging this trip, and to the coach driver for negotiating the very
narrow lanes and entrances to these unique properties.
Sheila Carmichael
Kelmscott Manor and Buscot Park, 23 July
Kelmscott Manor
We felt honoured to drift around this wonderful, peaceful old house, up and down
wooden stairs, helped by friendly guides who answered all our questions. And such
artistic treasures to gaze at; paintings, sketches, furnishings, carvings, books and
furniture from William Morris and his circle.
My two favourites were on the ground floor; a subtle tapestry of St Catherine
made by Morris and his wife Jane, which had a gloriously restrained dark sheen
and sober colouring, and a tender, beautifully sketched head of May Morris (the
younger daughter) in chalks by Dante Gabriel Rossetti - the hair astonishingly
detailed and the cheeks ravishingly contoured.
And could anyone analyse the actual ambience of the place, or discern the all-
pervading smell? Was it made up of old damp stone, ancient carved wood and the
mixed scents of fabric?
A beautiful place, a place to make one yearn for an idealised era of art, backed by
wealth. Very subtle, very English and romantic. And right up at the top of the house,
a touch of pathos, with the tragic tale of Miss Lobb who shot herself upon Miss May
Morris’ death.
Ben Wilkes
Buscot Park
A quarter of an hour’s drive took us from Kelmscott Manor to Buscot Park, the
home of Lord and Lady Faringdon, who maintain the house and park on behalf of
the National Trust. Hundreds of painted ladies (of the butterfly variety) were waiting
to welcome us in one of the perfume-laden alleys of the walled garden. I was told
that it was extremely unusual to see such large numbers of these visitors from
North Africa. The attention of my untutored eye was drawn to the presence of (one)
Red Admiral and (one) Peacock butterfly. It’s an advantage to be able to draw on
the expertise of ones companions for the day (although I did overhear a dominant
personality in another coach party invite his group to take note of ‘all the Red
Admirals’ - but probably somewhere, sotto voce , truth was proclaimed).
Albeit a lethally un-green-fingered fellow, I have found my balance of preference
shifting over the years from houses and their contents to gardens and theirs; and
Buscot was no disappointment in this respect. The grounds comprise, within an
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22

overall parkland landscape, a variety of formal
gardens, a water garden, two lakes and long
Italianate vistas with flights of steps ascending
to illusionistic faux-waterfalls or enigmatic
urns. Particularly to the west of the house,
which stands on rising ground in the centre of
the park, the rise and fall of the ground allows
for striking sculptural massing of trees against
the sky. The soughing of wind through
branches, the alternately revealing and
concealing volumes of tall box and cypress
hedges, the dream scenarios evoked by flights
of steps - all contributed to that slightly eerie
sensation that characterises the best country
house visits.
Since 1978 the present Lord and Lady
Faringdon have created a fine ornamental
garden within what was an 18th century
kitchen garden. This is, undoubtedly, one of
major pleasures of Buscot - though I’m not sure that I would agree with the guide-
book’s description of the ousted kitchen garden as ‘grand, but largely redundant’. I
can conceive of kitchen gardens as being run-down, but surely never ‘redundant’.
Shaped as a sizeable irregular octagon, the space is divided into four quadrants by
two main axis paths: pleached hop hornbeams on one axis and Judas trees trained
over iron arbour tunnels on the other. The perimeter beds are structured around,
primarily, old French roses and more modern cultivars. A pleasing feature to those
who like their food is the use made in the borders of visually characterful
vegetables (red and white chard, courgettes and other gourds, and onions) to give
variety to the foliage. Peaches adorn the south-facing wall; elsewhere there are
espaliered pears, and the beds are punctuated with small apple trees, all fruiting
heavily.
The house, which was built in 1780-83, commands from its elevation without any
undue swagger or inappropriate interference from succeeding generations. One
unnecessary porch added to the south front in the mid-19th century was removed in
the 1930s and returned to the exterior its unaffected and rather bluff charm. As is
often the case where entrance is via a piano nobile (those flights of steps again) the
exterior gives a sense of scale that belies the relatively modest spaces within.
Buscot has much to interest those with a taste for pictures, furniture and ceramics.
The pictures constitute the major part of the collection assembled by the first two
Lords Faringdon, the remainder being kept at a town house in Brompton Square,
London. There are plenty of pretty big guns: for example a Rembrandt portrait of
Peter Six, a Rubens of the Marchesa Veronica Spinola Doria, and a Jacob
Jordaens of an unknown woman dominate the so-called Dutch Room (would
Rubens have appreciated that?) on the piano nobile . But there are also some
unexpected pleasures: a Roelandt Savery ‘Temptation of Adam and Eve’, Lord
Leighton’s ‘Daedalus and Icarus’, delicious topographical accounts of the house
and surrounds by Felix Kelly and Eric Ravilious, and not forgetting one of Sir
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Joshua Reynolds’s most irritating efforts, ‘Mercury as Cut-Purse’, for the pleasure
of throwing a wet sponge at which I would pay good money at a fair. A high point in
the house is the tout ensemble provided by the saloon with its richly glowing
giltwood French Empire furniture, Chinese porcelain and glass, and, set into
engaged frames in the walls, Burne-Jones’s cycle of paintings ‘The Legend of the
Briar Rose’. All of which would almost make you forget to look up at the exquisitely
restrained original 18th century plasterwork of the ceiling in delicious white, pale
pink and pistachio. Nor, it is pleasant to record, is the collection static, the work of
(sensible) living painters and craftsmen being added to the contents of the house.
It was a splendid notion to bring together Kelmscott and Buscot in a single day:
what more striking than the contrasts between the rooted, comforting and cottage-
gardeny Englishness of Kelmscott, and the Italianate and occasionally rather weird
(Did anybody get lost like I did and end up at the spooky ‘Tumulus and Whalebone’
in the beech woods at the far edge of the park?) elements of Buscot. And all
beneath a proper summer sky with fleecy clouds, balmy airs, and only the briefest,
lightest, refreshing shower.
Laurence Reynolds
President’s Garden Party, 12 August
Carlos and Marie are well known for their generous hospitality and on this occasion
there was no disappointment for those who made their way to Davenant Road. In
spite of fierce black clouds which tipped their wet booty on to many a road in
Oxfordshire that evening, somehow they moved over No 37 with benign intent.
Marie and Carlos welcomed over 60 people, some of whom normally are unable
to manage to join in the trips and visits,
but there were also many new faces and
several people who said this was the first
time they had applied to participate in one
of the Association’s activities. They were
enthusiastic to sign up for other events
which was encouraging for the
Committee.
We wandered around the garden in the
evening warmth or sat and talked to
friends old and new. Good food and liquid
refreshment contributed to a delightful
summer garden party.
The President and Chairman
Miscellaneous
Amblers Anonymous
Only once since the last report have the vagaries of the weather caused the
cancellation of our monthly walk but then in dramatic fashion as Abingdon, like
many localities, was cut off by heavy snowfalls. Yet four weeks later we were
enjoying the spring flowers during our circuit of the University Parks after the almost
leafless Mesopotamia. After this rus in urbe we experienced a kind of urbs in rure ,
as your leader indulged his interest in the history of the textile trade by guiding the
group along the Wool and Blanket Trail. During the winter months we had restricted
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our use of rural paths but extended our walks from the centre of Witney to the
Lakes and from Eynsham Market place to the site of the Abbey and beyond.
Last October a select few ambled in the Windrush Valley on a circular walk from
Burford to Widford and Fulbrook, whereas the next month we were almost at full
strength as we mounted Wittenham Clumps from a Dorchester starting point. In
May we joined the West Oxfordshire coffee meeting-cum-walk, hitherto this writer’s
responsibility, but in 2009 at the invitation of Colin Snowdon; Jenny’s coffee and
biscuits contributed to the convivial conclusion in the Methodist Hall in Woodstock.
By August we were returning to neighbouring countryside as we crossed fields and
parkland and through woods near Combe. In contrast, the previous month we set
off from Kidlington Church over the site of the Roman villa to Hampton Poyle and
Hampton Gay, to find a calf which had somehow negotiated a kissing gate. One
brave member used her stick (and charms) to assist yours truly to restore the calf to
its extended family, for which we were treated to a bovine version of the Gay
Gordons in celebration of our eschewing the potential for veal.
Our most venturesome (planned) occasion was from Cart Gap along the
Ridgeway through a field of opium poppies. As often before, we benefited from a
presidential presence, so you can be reassured there was no illicit intake, though
we did pause in the woods for our preferred beverage which does contain caffeine.
In short, a successful year for this set of social members: despite the leader’s
alter ego , no cross word has marred the amicable ambling.
David Chamberlain
Conversation Group
L’amicale francophone
Here is news of a new interest group which has been flourishing in the past year ...
Approximately 10 members meet once a month over a cup of coffee, a cake or
seasonal strawberries, and speak French about almost anything related to France
from cooking recipes to French literature!
The informal and relaxed conversations are great fun. Everyone is ready to
contribute freely with anecdotes, reminiscences or ideas, even if at times only in a
few words, in turn expanded and developed by Mireille, our French member, who is
by no means the only French speaker of the group.
The sessions are usually centred on a topical theme from a French newspaper
article and can lead to a discussion or simple digressions. We have talked about
Entre les Murs ( The Class ), the 2008 Cannes prize-winning film which most of us
had seen. Another time, following a general introduction to the play, we went
together to see Racine’s Andromaque performed by a French company at the
Playhouse in the early spring. Our activities are going strong, and we intend to
carry on!
If you would be interested in joining us, please contact Mireille Steer on 01865
764589.
Mireille Steer
Sir Roger Bannister at the University Club
Tuesday, 23 June saw the launch of the University Club as the social home of the
AOUP. The Club has extended free membership to all members of the AOUP,
irrespective of whether or not they were previously employed by the University or
one of the colleges. Further information about how to join the Club is given
elsewhere in this Newsletter .
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25

Sir Roger spoke to a capacity audience
in the Club. His title was ‘Life after the
four-minute mile’ and he described some
of his subsequent involvement in sport.
He began by explaining genetic
differences between athletes, comparing
the outstanding performance of East
Africans in long-distance running with the
excellence of West Africans over shorter
distances. He moved on to the problems
of drug-induced advantage in sport, and
talked about the introduction, during his
Chairmanship of the Sports Council, of testing of athletes for drugs. By the early
seventies, doping tests showed that a significant percentage of the anonymously
tested athletes were using anabolic steroids and gradually drug testing became
generally accepted. He had an engaging, penetrating style of interaction with the
audience, and after speaking for half an hour or so, he invited questions - offering
as suggestions the topics of advances in neurology, or his experiences as Head of
an Oxford college. Perhaps inevitably, he was asked how he felt after his four-
minute mile (the answer was ‘tired’), but one of the most interesting insights came
towards the end when he confessed that he had always been drawn towards
opportunities that offered the greatest challenge.
Sir Roger escaped quickly to another meeting and AOUP members, along with
those University members present (Marie Hawksby, the Pensioners’ Welfare
Officer, Sam Ellis, Head of Pensions in the Finance Office, and Peter Moldano,
Head of Sports) and Sandra Cohen, University Club, remained for tea and coffee
with cake. It was a splendid morning, and constituted a very warm welcome to the
Club.
NOTICES
Extract from letter from Michael Sibly, Secretary of Faculties and Academic
Registrar, Wellington Square to the Editor of the Gazette last November, following
an extended correspondence from former members of the University:
‘Retired members of staff in receipt of a university pension (whether under or over
75, and whether or not they are a member of a faculty or of Congregation) are able
to obtain a retired staff card, which gives them access to a very wide range of
facilities. Application for such a card can be made via a departmental or college
administrator. The privileges offered by the card include continued access to
university libraries, access to OUCS and its e-mail services, discounts at the Oxford
University shop, and at the Ashmolean and Bodleian gift shops, free entrance to the
Botanical Gardens, the ability to apply for membership of the University Club on
Mansfield Road, and discounted membership of the university sports club at Iffley
Road. Retired staff are also welcomed at the Language Teaching Centre, whose
Director is keen to encourage lifelong language learning amongst retired members
of staff. Retired staff can also continue to receive copies of the University Gazette ,
on application in writing to the University’s Information Office in Wellington Square.’
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26

This is YOUR Newsletter and we need your input to
make it into the best newsletter possible. Help us to do
this by telling us what you do and don’t like - be candid.
Give us suggestions for articles you would like to see
and send us your thoughts on quizzes, cartoons or
indeed anything else. We want to start a big
conversation with our readers and this is when it starts.
Please email aoup-newsletter@admin.ox.ac.uk or phone
01295 738117.
The University Club and AOUP
The University Club is a great place to meet for food and drink, and to sit and chat,
looking out over the sports ground behind, and it’s also an excellent place to stay
overnight, with well-equipped en-suite rooms.
There will be regular events at the Club specifically for AOUP members. Marie
Hawksby, the Pensioners’ welfare officer will be there every month, and would like
as many people as possible to join her socially every third Tuesday, between 2.00
and 4.00pm, starting on 15 September 2009 .
Various activities are planned at the Club, starting with a ‘Silver Yoga’ Course
designed especially for pensioners, which will be launched on Monday
21 September 2009 with a Workshop providing a ‘taster’ session. The course itself
will run for ten weeks from Monday 5 October at the Club.
The Club is free to join for all members of the Association of Oxford University
Pensioners. The Club can activate any current University Card or Bodleian Reader
Card as a membership card or issue its own membership card for a £5 refundable
deposit. Membership application forms are available at the club reception or can be
posted.
The University Club is at 11 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3SZ, phone number
01865 271044. A general e-mail address for enquiries is reception@club.ox.ac.uk.
Further information is available on the Club’s website at http://www.club.ox.ac.uk.
Silver Yoga at The Oxford University Club
Yoga boosts your energy, increases flexibility and diminishes aches and pains. But
aren’t most yoga classes mainly aimed at the younger generation? Not necessarily
- in October I’ll be starting a regular yoga class specifically designed for
pensioners.
A yoga class of this kind typically begins with gentle stretches to warm up your
neck, back, shoulders, feet, and hands, followed by simple flowing movements and
certain postures to help develop sure-footedness, strength and flexibility. There’ll
also be time for enhanced breathing and guided relaxation.
You are warmly invited to join the new Silver Yoga initiative at The University
Club, Mansfield Road. The yoga course will start on Monday 5 October running
from 11.00am until 12.00 noon every week for ten weeks. The cost of the course
is £60 .
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Prior to the start of this course there’s an opportunity to attend a taster class on
Monday 21 September from 11.00am until 12.00 noon . And so, why not give the
taster class a go? The cost is just £5 , payable on the day. Booking is essential, so
please contact me at your earliest convenience: email is preferable, but do feel free
to call. Email: sarahjoanneperry@gmail.com, Telephone: 07917 754935
A Conundrum: Too Clever By Half?
With the ‘Volatility of Vowels’ apparently quite well received, I have turned to
another word puzzle. So far so good, I thought. But proverbially pride comes before
a fall. Just as I was congratulating myself on the stunning originality of my hopefully
unique new mind-teaser devised over Xmas 2008 for the entertainment of AOUP
Newsletter readers, I learned that a Canadian called Christian Bők had just
published a book called Eunoia (meaning, he tells us, ‘beautiful thinking’… and the
shortest word in English to combine all five vowels).
In his book Bők constructs, believe it or not, some 20 pages, each of 150 or so
words of text in which the only vowel he uses is ‘a’: for example ‘Hassan drafts a
Magna Carta and asks that a taxman pass a Tax Act - a cash grab that can tax all
farmland’. He then repeats this pattern for ‘e’ and for ‘i’. The vowel ‘o’ is harder, so
Bők manages only a dozen pages of text, while ‘u’ proves so difficult that he cannot
put together more than five pages … just as well, as it reads almost meaninglessly
and is full of strange proper names. Bők himself lays down a number of subsidiary
rules. As he explains, every ‘chapter’ has to contain ‘a culinary banquet, a prurient
debauch, a pastoral tableau, a natural voyage’. He eschews the letter ‘y’. He
reckons that he has checked every single word that appears in the standard
English dictionary, and used 98% of them in his tour de force of verbal dexterity.
For us lesser mortals, here are my pre-Bők short passages of simple narrative to
show what I earlier had in mind for us - the letter ‘u’ defeated me too - and to invite
you to compose, say, a short paragraph (narrative is often more readable than
description) using ‘e, i, o’ and ‘a’ as the sole vowel in each text. I’m sure you’ll come
up with far better stories than mine, although I still think my ‘a’ story has a lighter
touch than Bők’s staid prose!
I The vowel e .
Ellen never felt very well. Nevertheless, every week-end she rested between
sheets, slept, felt better. Then she left her bed, dressed (green tweeds). Three
steps, then her knees went; seven, her legs bent; twenty steps, her feet … she fell.
Help! Yes, she knew where Peter kept her secret select sherry (the red chest), yet
where were the keys? Where were her excellent new pep-sweets? Help! Help! The
end? Never! Ellen knew best.
II The vowel i .
I’m still right in thinking I’m fit, Chris. Right, if I’m tiring, it is my sixty-sixth this spring.
Still, my chin is firm, my skin tight, I’m slim. If my sight is dimming, my mind is
bright. Chris, first find my six pills, with chill milk. Bring my nightly fizzy pink gin …
fill it, Chris! Risky? Silly girl? Chris, this is bliss: sipping, smiling, kissing …
Midnight? Right, night-night, Chris. My spirit is lifting. I’m still fighting fit.
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III The vowel o .
For Lord Hood of Bolton’s son, Tom, Stockport’s top for hols. Lots of golf, book
shops, good food, hot (brown pork chops) or cold (corn-on-cob), crown-gold Oporto
port. Door-to-door for Molly, Tom’s Oxford popsy. So book now, Tom; non-stop!
Top floor, front room, roof-top pool. Go, go, go!
IV The vowel a .
Staff Day Party, Sat. 16 May . As always, start at staff car park, Adams Mall,
Marcham Way.
11.30
Fast tram (Basra Barracks). At Army Halt, walk past Barclay’s Bank,
Asda, Hardy Hall, Lamb and Flag. At Ash Park Flats, Alan and Amanda’s
flat (and stray black cat, ‘Always’) = 19A
12.30
Amanda’s tasty snacks:
Prawn and Crab Salad
Parma Ham
Lamb Lasagna
Banana and Jam Tart
Pawpaw Pastry
14.30
Play cards, Alan’s darts match, ‘Faraway Talks’:
Malayan Art and Crafts
Arran Ways and Walks
Grammar Facts and Traps
Nan’s Happy Canada Snaps
Past Acts at La Scala
Grandad’s Army Days
17.30
Last Call: Ant’s ‘Fat-Cat Rat-a-Tat’ Bar, Archway A, Alaska Grandstand,
and Mamma Agatha’s Alabama Jazz Band.
Anthony Kirk-Greene
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29

AOUP Quiz No 3
1.
What links:
(a) Jean-Dominique Bauby, Giacomo Puccini, Vladimir Nabokov and
pleurisy-root?
(b) Gabriel Fauré, the wheel support on a camera and a character in
‘Barnaby Rudge’?
(c) Joseph Needham, 56 and 68 Banbury Road, St Catherine’s College and
the Wessex capital?
(d) A peasant poet, a castle on the River Stour, a Cambridge college and a
Franciscan nun?
(e) Bug, Lot, Police and Corridor?
2.
(a) Why should we pensioners have celebrated the centenary of 1 January
1908?
(b) Why should present-day numerate historians remember the date 1099?
3.
(a) When was the first public convenience in the UK opened?
(b) When did the Duke of Edinburgh come to open a village cricket pitch in
West Oxfordshire? (in both (a) and (b) the year is sufficient)
4.
How would you explain the progression: Wellington, Leinster, Belfast, Hull?
5.
Where in Oxfordshire:
(a) did Mrs Honeybourne and Mrs Pratley live when they were sent to Oxford
prison?
(b) is the ‘place frequented by woodpeckers’?
(c) could you agree to meet someone at the Lamb and Flag only to find the
pub is King William?
(d) would you find the chief seat of the foundress of Clare College (and her
husband)?
(e) could you witness an annual chelonian race?
6.
Who founded the first school for the deaf?
7.
Given the phrasing of the first six questions, would you think your quiz-master
might resemble an elephant or a swat? And explain your answer to that
conundrum.
David Chamberlain
Solution to Pensioners’ Crossword No 10
Across:
1. Agoraphobia; 11. Shy; 14. Vaults; 15. Nerve; 17. Id; 18. OLS; 20. Eton; 22. Not a
leg to stand (on); 27. Petrary; 28. Cue; 30. Defencelessness; 33. To; 34. Feretory;
39. Liar; 41. Abscond; 42. PM; 43. Etui; 44. Brigadiers; 46. At; 47. Log; 48. MA; 49
(and 50 down) Gaga; 50. Green; 52. Hautboy; 54. Annat; 55. Apt; 57. Sri; 58. EH;
60. Use; 61. Eardrum; 64. Fee; 66. Ido; 67. Reserving.
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30

Down:
1. Avon; 2. Galore; 3. Oust; 4. RL; 5. A talent to amuse; 6. PS; 7. On; 8. Before;
9. Ir; 10. A vet; 12. Hindus; 13. Yd; 16. Eta; 19. Ogre; 21. Once bitten; 23. Ape;
24 Etc; 25. Tally; 26. Systems; 29. Esurient; 31. Far-sighted; 32. So; 34. Fabliau;
35. Ebro; 36. ECG; 37. Ondatra; 38. RDI; 39. Learnt; 40. Au; 42. Prayers; 45. Ego;
51. Eaten; 53. Birr; 56. Psi; 59. Hue; 62. De; 63. Mr; 64. Fi; 65. Eg.
The winner of the book token was Brian Nash of Islip. Congratulations also to
Michael and Hilary Brown (of Gairloch), Brian Digweed (of Malvern), Gerald Myatt
(of Woodstock) and Richard Sills (of Oxford) who all submitted solutions. The next
Newsletter should include a crossword but the quiz below is for simple enjoyment:
there is no prize other than the satisfaction of defeating your humble compiler.
PS. Did you notice that the answer to 30 across was longer than Dr Kirk-Greene’s
for Part II, no. (ii) of his brain-teasers?
David Chamberlain
Do you remember the photograph on page 21 in the last Newsletter asking for
captions?
Michael and Hilary Brown from Ross-shire
suggested: ‘Waiting for the spark from
Heaven’ (apologies to Matthew Arnold).
A former AOUP Committee member
suggested: ‘Heavens above, where is that
crest I must point out to the Pensioners?’
Or, irreverently, how about: ‘Ye women of
Oxford, why wonder you, looking up to
heaven?’ (cf. The Introit of the Mass for The
Ascension)
We regret there was no prize for this - it was just a bit of fun.
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31

OBITUARIES 2008
Mrs J Macquarrie , 19 July, widow of the late Canon Macquarrie of Christ Church
Mr David Mervyn Jones , 15 October, widower of the late Nan Jones (Somerville,
and former Secretary of Pensioners’ Association)
Mr Maurice Alfred Lacosta ,15 December, Technician, Department of Nuclear
Physics
2009
Dr Robert Lucas , 5 January, Emeritus Fellow, Keble College, formerly Official
Fellow & Lecturer in Plant Sciences
Mrs Elizabeth M F Charlton , 4 February, Social Sciences Division
Mr Sidney F Glozier , 18 February, Senior Technician, Department of Human
Anatomy
Ms Marion Norris , 21 February, Catering Assistant, St Edmund Hall
Mrs Muriel K Jones , 4 March, widow of Mr L Jones
Mr Kenneth Parry , 9 March, Maintenance staff, Wolfson College
Mr John F Stone , 11 March, Workshop Engineer, Clarendon Laboratory
Mr Peter R Lever , 24 March, Administrator, Inorganic Chemistry, and past
Chairman, Pensioners’ Association
Mr Peter Roberts , 25 March, Technician, Department of Pharmacology
Mrs Phyllis Drewett , 30 March, widow of Henry V Drewett
Mr Kenneth S Rumble , 27 March, Head of Building Services, Clarendon
Laboratory, Department of Physics
Miss Jane D Cable , 4 April, Invigilator, Ashmolean Museum
Miss Margaret R Millard , 1 April, Scout, Jesus College
Mrs Susan A Thompson , 14 April, widow of Francis H Thompson
Mr John Willoughby , 18 April, widower of Mrs Ellen Willoughby
Mr Douglas Argyle-House , 2 May, Chef, Central Administration, University Offices
Mr John A McKay , 4 May, Porter, Taylor Institution
Mr Maurice W Lowden , 27 May, Storeperson/Stock control, Central Admin
Services, Wellington Square
Mrs Judith S E White , 27 May, St Hugh’s College
Mr Ronald G Norris , 4 June, Maintenance Engineer, St Hilda’s College
Mrs Pamela Pratley , 6 June, University Careers Service
Mrs Audrey Casey , 19 June, widow
Mr George G Ross , 20 June, Clerk of Works, Corpus Christi College
Mrs Margaret J Cripps , 21 June, Zoology Department
Mrs Janice M Brown , 1 July, Accounts Assistant, Wolfson College
Mr Alfred C Slatter , 5 July, Library Assistant, OULS
Correction: in the Obituaries section of the Spring edition of the Newsletter ,
Dr Peter E Hodgson, whose death occurred on 8 December 2008, was incorrectly
cited as being a Technician in the Department of Nuclear and Particle Physics. He
was in fact a Lecturer. Our sincere apologies to Mrs Hodgson.
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32

Change of address
Name:
My address has changed
From:
To:
E-mail:
To ensure that the Newsletter reaches you regularly, will you please record any
change in the address to which the magazines should be sent on the above form
and send it to:
The Secretary, AOUP
c/o University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD
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