Surely, that would only work once, wouldn't it?
The Halloween tradition of placing a candle into a hollowed-out pumpkin and using them as lanterns seems to be a relatively modern tradition in England that I associate with the United States, yet it seems that here in England we do have a similar tradition.
On the last Thursday in October in the Somerset village of Hinton St George, the local children carry lanterns that they call Punkies, these lanterns are carved from mangel-wurzles. These root vegetables are decorated by cutting the skin to make patterns for the light to shine through, it seems that a crucial part of this task is that the cutting does not make an actual hole.
As with most traditions, Punkie Night in Somerset can be traced back a few hundred years when lanterns were made by the women of the village who were left at home whilst their husbands spent the whole day drinking at the annual fair in the neighbouring village of Chiselborough. As dusk arrived, the women with the candlelit mangle-wuzles, made their way to the fair. Seeing the pale faced ghostly spectres hovering in the air so frightened the menfolk they couldn't wait to get home.
Surely, that would only work once, wouldn't it?
The county of Suffolk lies on the east coast of England and only has minor A and B roads but no motorway system, therefore the small village of Wingfield can only be found by ambling along the counties high hedged, long windy thoroughfares that cut between Halesworth and Eye, two of Suffolk's bigger villages.
Wingfield, in its prime, was the home of one of the most powerful families in late medieval England, the De La Poles, Earls and Dukes of Suffolk. It was the De La Poles, who in 1384 applied for a royal permit, to castellate Wingfield Castle. This 'castle' actually isn't a castle at all, its rather a cross between a 'feudal fortress and the ordinary moated manor house.' Wingfield owes its name to Sir John Wingfield who was responsible for the founding of two other building in the village, Wingfield College founded in 1362 and its church, which is dedicated to St. Andrew. It is within this church that the tomb of Sir John Wingfield can be found.
In 1351 Sir John Wingfield was in the pay of Edward the Black Prince as his chief administrator, he was also directly responsible for the princes private affairs. He and his brothers had fought at Crecy, they also fought in Normandy between 1347 and 1348. At Poitiers Wingfield had captured a French knight name D'Aubigny who was the French kings body guard, Edward III quickly purchased him from Wingfield for over eight hundred pounds, using D'Aubigny it as political leverage.
Sir John Wingfield died of the black death in 1361. His only child was a daughter named Catherine, she had married Micheal de la Pole 1st Earl of Suffolk. It was Catherine's descendants who went on to become key players in the political life of the next two centuries.
16th May 1643
The Cornish town of Stratton, that lies close to the boarder with Devon, was a manor owned by my ancestors in the early 12th century, its history, and theirs is quite fascinating. Stratton was the head of its hundred (a division of the county for judicial purposes) and was an important stannary town in the north of Cornwall. It had a thriving agricultural and leather trade.
By the 17th century there was little to show that my ancestors ever lived there, however on the 16th May 1643, a civil war battle, the Battle of Stratton, took place at the base of Stamford Hill, less than a mile north of the family's castle.
The battle raged for most of the day, but by the end of it Henry Grey, Earl of Stamford, had lost half of his forces enabling the Cornish Royalist army to march across the border from Cornwall to Devon. It was a Royalist victory, and a quite remarkable one considering the three thousand Royalist troops, under Sir Ralph Hopton, faced Grey's Parliamentarian army that numbered over five and a half thousand.
By July, Hopton had lead his forces in two more battles, one at Crediton and one at Landsdowne, where Hopton was injured. A year later he successfully defended Devizes from an attack by William Waller's forces and two years after that he had taken up a defensive position in the Devon town of Torrington, a battle that marked the end of Royalist resistance in the West Country.
Henry Grey's failure at Stratton and the surrender of the city of Exeter after a three month siege effectively ended his career as a Parliamentary commander.
with surprisingly so much to see.
In a lot of ways, the sleepy and picturesque English village of Bratton in Wiltshire has a lot in common with Laurie Lees novel Cider with Rosie. It has rose covered thatched cottages, narrow paths and a single village shop, where if you stand outside long enough you get to hear of what going on in the village, from the time of someones doctors appointment, all about granny whose is still trying to give up smoking or the route of the midnight dash to the vets of a poorly cat.
As you walk through its narrow lanes you can be forgiven for thinking you have been plunged into another world, as with Lees book, the new world has arrived here, Bratton has a main road running though is centre, new housing and its infant school is bright and modern and you can sit outside the pub, a conversion of three eighteen century buildings into one, and enjoy your local ale.
Historically speaking, Bratton can also boast of many events linked with its ancient past from its White Horse hill carving, one of only sixteen in the country, a double ditched iron age hill fort, the suspected site of an Anglo Saxon battle won by King Alfred the Great against an 'uncoordinated band of Vikings' under its leader Guthrum. Bratton has a fifteenth century court house used by Judge Jeffreys, the notorious hanging judge during the Monmouth Rebellion, earthworks of a moated medieval English Heritage site and finally Bratton was the home of Major General Sir Jeremy Moore, Commander of British land forces during the Falklands War who lived in the village for twenty years until his death in 2007.
After ten years in the workplace I became a mother to three very beautiful daughters, I was fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home and spend my time with them as they grew into the young women they are now. I am still in the position of being able to be at home and pursue all the interests I have previously mentioned. We live in a beautiful Victorian spa town with wooded walks for the dog, lovely shops and a host of lovely people, what more could I ask for.
All works © Andrea Povey 2014. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Andrea Povey.