Autumn 2016 Newsletter

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Chairman’s messageJackie Arnot

Weather-wise it’ls been a disappointing summer but we’ve managed to enjoy all the days out so far. As I write it’s the night before we set off for Hughenden Manor and the forecast is pretty appalling! Nevertheless we anticipate a good time and it means we are able to raise money for our group to buy items on the next “Wish List” for the Eastern Region. Thank you all for being such fun to travel with and willingly being “ticked off” by me!

A Saxon warrior wearing the Sutton Hoo mask and carrying a spearReferring to the “wish list” I thought you would like to know how we distributed the £4,556 we raised last financial year. We gave £250 towards a rear entry hide at Blakeney, Borne Mill a £356 contribution towards 50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4 - school holiday activities, Coggeshall Grange Barn £1,000 towards lighting equipment for weddings and functions, and a set of Sheep Hurdles for Hatfield Forest at £600. “Releasing the Sutton Hoo Story” is a large project to which we gave £400, and £450 to Wicken Fen for five GPS devices for many activities. At Wimpole we bought two trees, a Hawthorn and a Field Maple (Nos 57 and 58 in the wood) for £500, and finally the Royal Theatre Bury St Edmunds £1,000 towards enhancing the outside space. It was heartening to read the many thank you letters we received which spurs us on to continue raising money for the NT.

I was sorry to have no new volunteers to our Committee after my plea at the AGM. We really do need to train up some younger folk to begin to help with Committee jobs. Meanwhile we are very grateful to the folk who support the Committee like Laurie Boyall with preserves and auditing, Keith Otter on our website (You’e welcome!) and Thelma and Olive who knit so beautifully for our Christmas Fayre.

If you have a talent you could share (even if you hate the idea of being on a committee!) we would love to chat with you.

Looking towards a building with a large forward-projecting roofOur Holiday to the Cardiff area begins on Monday, 12 September, and then our first Wednesday evening meeting on 21 September is “The History of Hoffman’s in Chelmsford” when we look forward to welcoming Stephen Norris as a new speaker. You’ll notice that the December meeting is “The Victorian Christmas” as a result of requests to ask Andrew Davies to travel from London once more.

Please note the date of The Cathedral Christmas Market in your diaries: Saturday, 3 December, from 9.30am – 2.30pm. Please support this event, it is our biggest fund-raiser for the National Trust, and the Cathedral provides delicious refreshments and lunches at a very reasonable cost as a bonus. The event is always very friendly with various entertainments through the day and there are many bargains to be had!

It just remains for me to thank all our members for their support for both our outings and our talks. If you have ideas for either we are always keen to hear from you. I add a sincere and grateful “Thank You” to the Committee who work so hard during the year to continue to make our Supporter Group such a success.

Jackie Arnot


Members are reminded that the annual subscripton for couples is now £9. The annual subscription for single members remains at £5. The new membership subscription was agreed at the AGM in March 2016.

For King and CountryShirley Deering

A Tale of Valour and Patriotism

He strode to the top of the hillock and turned to face the serried ranks of his warriors. His eyes flashed as he whirled his mighty battle-axe about his head.

“Men, today the Danes are defeated and I, Raedwald, am become High King of the East Saxons.”

“All hail, High King Raedwald!” roared the men with one voice, as each raised his right arm in a clenched fist salute.

A drawing of a Saxon king with his warriorsHe glanced around the scene before he spoke again, his voice ringing out crisp and clear across the peaceful green countryside, with its distant glimpse of the calm sea, sparkling under the late afternoon sun.

“While I have strength in my arm and breath in my body no invader shall ever again dare to set foot in my land of the East Saxons. Then, when I am gathered to my ancestors, a great mound shall be raised over my burial place so that all who approach by land or sea shall see it and know that I, Raedwald, still watch over this land.”

“Live long, O mighty King Raedwald!” roared the warriors, with another clenched fist salute.

“And now it is time for feasting and merry-making. Return to your villages, let cattle, swine and sheep be slaughtered and roasted, let casks of ale and mead be broached. Order your women to prepare a great feast, tell them to make loaves of finest barley flour and bake cakes of sweetest honey.”

“We will drink to your health, Raedwald, our great and mighty High King of the East Saxons”, cried the men as, with a final salute, they hurried away.

His heart swelled with pride as he watched them go.

What a fine body of men they were, every one of them utterly loyal and faithful, every one of them knew exactly what was required of him, and performed his duty without faltering.

A faint sound caught his ear, like a muffled clash of metal. He turned to see a Viking warrior toiling up the slope behind him, his sheathed broadsword thudding against his chainmail tunic.

“Hi, Ron”, said the figure, a little breathlessly, as he paused at the top of the hillock. “Got a text from your missus. Wants you to buy a box of tea bags and a packet of digestives on your way home from the battle enactment rehearsal.”

Ronald Walden sighed.... and then frowned.

He was certain he and Harold Larson, his next door neighbour, were the last two people left on the site, but he was sure he could hear the sound of derisive laughter, coming from the direction of the Great Burial Mound!!!

Recent changes in the NT in Essex and beyondPaul Chaplin

As members and volunteers we often forget that the NT is a large employer and has a duty to look after its staff and give them opportunities to progress whenever possible. When we visited Grange Barn in CoggeshallChurch with a small white tower surmounted by a spire and a clay tile roof recently Sarah Barefoot (currently Community Involvement Manager for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and south Suffolk) was on duty and she gave me a verbal report on some recent changes. We know Sarah from the Northey Island open days and Castaway events as well as the Essex Young Farmers Show.

Paul Forecast is the new Regional Director who took office earlier this year and replaced Ben Cowell. Caroline Ponds is the new Assistant Director of Operations filling Paul place. Caroline has moved from Ickworth.

Aiden Clarke remains as General Manager to the region for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and a bit of South Suffolk. You may remember he gave us a talk following the 2012 AGM.

Carol Marchlik was the house and Collections Manager for Coggeshall properties and has now moved to the Marks Hall Estate. Her replacement with effect from 5 September is Elizabeth Dunforth who was at Shaw’s Corner ad Dunstable Downs. Stewart Banks (known for his moustache and is now clean shaven) has left Essex with his wife and baby daughter to be the Countryside Manager for the Blickling Estate. You may have met Stewart at the Essex Young Farmers Show tent or at Northey Island Open days or Castaway weekend.

A view over a fieldHenry Bexley is the new Countryside Manager for Essex with David Piper as Lead Ranger who is supported by Barry Hewitt for North Essex and Flatford with Alex Preston for Danbury. They are helped by a new Assistant Ranger Janice Rogers who has recently graduated from Writtle College and been volunteering at Hatfield Forest. Ben Piper is now Operations Manager for Flatford and Borne Mills.

Two anniversaries to note: Beatrix Potter was born 150 years ago and was a visitor to Melford Hall where an exhibition has been staged to celebrate her birthday. Secondly, it is 300 years since “Capability” Brown was born, and in 1757, he provided a plan for altering the lake at Hatfield Forest for the owner, Jacob Houblon III, part of which was implemented. About fifteen years later, he was again consulted by the Houblon family, this time for the adjacent Hallingbury Park.

And finally the café at Hatfield Forest is now in-house.