Burton Court, Eardisland, Leominster
Tuesday 28th May 2019
The owners of the court gave us a very good guided tour with a lot of history – helped by the older daughter (4-5 years old) who was able to help daddy by playing the piano with a few fingers – and she did well, but he was very patient with her. The court is only small compared with a lot of the houses but it has a lot of interesting history from the point of archaeological digs – as well as the normal type of information. The tea was prepared by the owner’s wife who was also looking after the youngest child after she woke up whilst daddy was telling us part of the information about the house and its contents- and had to be passed across – it was timed well to coincide with the scones being completed! The garden is only small but immaculately done on a parterre theme which matches the house. They use the house for weddings and bed and breakfasts as well and we were given a peep into two of them. The standard was at least as high as those of Weston Park. They have some very unusual musical instruments as well as other items of furniture that are very unusual. The decoration in the house is varied and is of several eras. The owner has learned a lot of detail about the house and made it very easy to follow. We had lovely weather and everyone enjoyed themselves greatly both in the house and garden, and for the cream tea.
Newhall Watermill, Sutton Coldfield
Tuesday 25th June 2019
Unfortunately, this was one of the very few days when the weather was decidedly unkind to us – it was mainly wet with gaps of dry – but nonetheless as the place itself is quite a little gem. The volunteers were very helpful and also very interesting on their own sections of knowledge about the Mill, the workings of the mill could be accessed up to two and a half floors by people with sticks. We were nearly all able to see and hear most of the explanations about the different parts of the workings of the mill which nowadays has had to become reliant on a man-made item to preserve the workings. Last year one of the main bodies who control the water/ flooding etc. re- routed the original path of the stream which had been providing the water for hundreds of years. It is a mill that is able to be fully operational, but now with much reduced capacity and working times. They also have several different types of small demonstration grinders as well as the full size mill wheels which they have to have specially ‘dressed’ to enable the mill wheels to keep grinding. We were able to see all this, although not on a working mill day.
They have a small garden with plants and veg and herbs which they sell as well as providing us with a lovely tea. There are open days throughout the year when the mill will be working fully. I am personally looking forward to going to one of those as they also have other events on their property going on as well on those days. A brilliant day out for all of us.
Soulton Hall, Nr. Wen, Shrewsbury
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
The visit to Soulton Hall was a bit different – it is a lovely, but not very big house, with great symmetry of style. They have made some discoveries about previous buildings and also the long barrows on the land of the farm which is their main livelihood.
The building houses a lot of very old wooden furniture panelling, stonework and also some of the windows are exceedingly old. It has a beauty all of its own. Some of the outbuildings have been modernised for different usages, but still retain the ancient atmosphere with the parts that have been retained sympathetically.
The young man who is the son of the owner gave us a talk and explained about the changes that they were making to the way that they farmed the land. This no longer involves pesticides etc, nor breaking up the ground. Michael Gove has visited the farm to learn what has been done over the last five years. Having a small knowledge of farming from my earlier years I and some of the others found it more interesting than some of the rest of us; but a good day was still had by all. The weather treated us well and the tea was excellent.