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Stephen Cooper writes about events since he wrote in March.

Updated: Apr 19

There is no finer building in Burford than the parish church, and no better guide than the verger Stephen Price, so we were very pleased that he treated us to two tours on 16 April. 15 of us attended in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. As anticipated, Stephen gave us the benefit of his deep knowledge of the history; but he also shared his charming enthusiasm. I thanked him on behalf of all of us and said that I was sure that many of us would feel inspired to go back for more.


You will remember that, on 19 March Ben Cowell treated us to a talk about the crisis experienced by the English Country House in the 20th century, and at the end he referred to his book The British Country House Revival, due out in May (cost £75). In the meantime, I have purchased his earlier work The Heritage Obsession, which is an excellent treatment of a similar topic, and which (incidentally) is much cheaper!


Our next event is the guided Tour of Broughton Castle on May 21st and I attach a flyer about this prepared by Julia Hart. I have always been interested in the First Civil War of 1642-6 and am keen to know why the owner Lord Saye and Sele supported Parliament, while a mere gentleman like Arthur Jones of Chastleton House fought for Prince Charles at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. I am sure that light will be shed on the matter, when we explore the recesses of the Castle.


On a different front, the Tolsey Museum re-opened on 1 April and Mary and I have acted as Steward on 3 afternoons. The tourists are back, from all over the world; and we have a wealth of history to show them, including famous scenes from the Civil War period. I purchased some postcards which I had not seen before. One of them shows one of the better-known buildings opposite the Tolsey, with a sign which reads 'Bull Hotel' - not 'the Bull Hotel'. So the current name of 'Bull' is not so odd after all.


Lastly, I recently attended a talk in Chipping Norton on the Civil War in the Cotswolds, given by Simon Randall. He is an excellent speaker and mentioned Burford several times. I am going to suggest that he talk to us in 2025.

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