Scraps of evidence about Poole’s ancient defences still exist in the town’s archives and also in the street pattern and place names, although mysteries still remain. Find out more at: http://poolemuseumsociety.wordpress.com
News of a few current happenings at Poole Museum might cheer the gloomy days of winter. The first is a free talk at the Museum on 25th February at 2.00pm by David Dawson of the Wiltshire Museum, Devizes. Gold from the Time of Stonehenge will outline the story of the World Heritage Site and its ritual landscape and feature the remarkable craftsmanship of objects found in the burials of chieftains, important women and priests who used the area for their ceremonies. Many of the objects discussed are on display at the Wiltshire Museum, home of the best Bronze Age collections in Britain. Booking is essential. To secure your place, please contact: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk and search under Poole.
Books for Boys: Heroism, Empire and Adventure at the Dawn of the First World War is a new exhibition running at the Museum until Sunday 23rd April which celebrates a golden age of books for children in the decades leading up to the war. In particular, it considers the influence of the stories of the time on the young men who so readily volunteered in 1914. There is also a special event for World Book Day on 3rd March. For more details see: http://www.poolemuseum.co.uk/whats-on/exhibitions .
Lastly – it’s back! The rudder of the Swash Channel wreck has returned to Poole from its conservation process in York and is now installed in the Museum. I would like to say it’s impossible to miss but actually that’s exactly what I did, wandering past it with my mind on something else. The massive piece of oak stands on the ground floor near the entrance, opposite the log boat. With a cross section of about 48cm x 34cm and a height of 4m to 5m, its top is above first floor level. Also on display nearby is a carving of a merman from above one of the gun ports of the vessel. This is a strangely androgynous figure with the body of a mermaid and the head of a man with beard, moustache and helmet, just one of a number of carvings retrieved from the wreck site.
Looking down at the rudder from the first floor you get a better impression of the sheer size of the vessel, and yet this is only a section of the piece. The whole rudder is nearly twice as tall at over 8m. The most striking feature, however, is the larger than life-sized carved head on the top. The face is of a man of middle years, bold and tough, with the flamboyant moustache and long curls of the period and his eyes rolled upwards as if scanning the sails and the sky. It’s tempting to think that it might be the portrait of a real person, perhaps the Dutch owner of the ship, revealed once more after lying on the bottom of the sea, staring blindly out for nearly 400 years.
For more about the ship, see: https://poolemuseumsociety.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/poole-and-the-swash-channel-wreck/
The number of information plaques in Poole has multiplied recently, giving speaker, Steve Roberts, quite a challenge in tackling the subject at his talk on 15th February at Poole Museum. The latest crop of bright blue discs adds to the many types and styles of plaques already in existence. In fact the more you look, the more you find. They are mounted on walls and buildings, set into the pavement, on posts and plinths, indoors and outdoors. Some are made of stone, some of metal, ceramic tiles, wood or plastic. A purist might wish that they were all of one style but I think that would be a shame because the style of the plaque says as much about the time they were put up as the subject they are commemorating.
Some are consciously antique in style, like the one recording the visit of Charles II in 1665 or the one on the old library. Others are contemporary like the tiled ‘Welcome to Poole’ signs and the decorative plaques round the walls of the Civic Centre which evoke the 1930s. The oldest one I could find is the one on the Guildhall which presumably dates from 1761 and is very much of its period which we are told was during ‘the mayoralty of George Wefton Efquire’. One or two are hard to read like the Sea Music sign which I believe is due to be splendidly restored. The Overlord plaque on the Custom House is classic and restrained while the 1994 plaque further down the Quay also commemorating D-Day is abstract and artistic.
Wording on the signs is also diverse and interesting. Some are technical ‘. . note the eye-bolt terminals’ or rather convoluted ‘. . . which formerly ran through this point in a direction slightly north of west to the shore.’ There are unexpected nuggets of information: ‘. . . these 83 foot boats, made entirely of wood . .’ or ‘. . . the crew was taken by horse brake to their station at Sandbanks, which is now the site of the Royal Motor Yacht Club’. One plaque is in Latin and another quotes from a document dating from 1579. Some are poetical: ‘. . . a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace’ or religious ‘. . . suffered six months’ imprisonment for conscience sake’. Some express themselves in a way we would not choose today: ‘. . . devoted to the use of the poor for 500 years’ and some allow a little partisan feeling to creep in: ‘King Charles II and unfortunate Duke of Monmouth . . .’.
Mixed bag or not, the streets of Poole are richer for their plaques and I am looking forward to finding out more about them. The talk is at 7.30 pm and all are welcome. (£2 to non-members of the Poole Museum Society).
How far did you get with the answers to the quiz? Here is the solution and I hope it all works!
- Bus routes from Poole and their destinations.
- Four Marys: Mary Anning (fossil hunter) / Lady Mary Bankes (defender of Corfe Castle) / Mary Llewellin (first female mayor of Poole) / Mary Spencer Watson (sculptor of Dunshay).
- Inaccurate place names: Isle of Purbeck (not an island) / Maiden Castle (not a castle) / Luckford lake (not a lake) / Nine Barrow Down (has more than 9 barrows).
- Shopping centres: Castlepoint / Dolphin Centre / Sovereign Centre / Brewery Square.
- Christopher Spurrier, 1816 (owners of Upton House in reverse date order).
- Crawford (Tarrant villages in sequence eg. Tarrant Rawston, Tarrant Rushton etc.).
- Falkland Square (eg.) (Places and buildings named after national events in successive centuries).
- Picture of house boat (eg.) (Market Street / Street light / Lighthouse / House ?).
- GORSE DODDER LING BRACKEN (heathland plants)
- THICKFURZE HAM HAVEN TOTTENHAM (old forms of local place names: Heckford, Hamworthy, Sandbanks, Tatnam).
- FLAKE JIGGER QUINTAL TRAIN (Newfoundland salt-cod trade terms: a flake was a platform for drying cod, a jigger was a weighted fish hook, a quintal was a measure of salt fish, about a hundredweight and train was train oil or cod liver oil.
- WOOD POUND HENGIST BAD (add …bury to get four ancient sites, Woodbury, Poundbury etc.)
- Mottos: Who’s Afear’d? / Ad Morem Villae de Poole / Pulchritudo et Salubritas / For Fidelity and Freedom.
- Live entertainment: The air show / Poole Pirates / Beach polo / Boo Bamboo.
- Reading matter: Daily Echo / (A) good book / Poole Advertiser / social media.
- Poole pub crawl: Angel / Butler and Hops / Bermuda Triangle / Blue Boar.
Did you find the Christmas quiz ridiculously easy or fiendishly hard? I must say that by the time it was compiled I no longer had any idea which it might be. Anyway, I have had notification from the Chief Christmas Quiz Wizard that I must issue some clues to help anyone whose quizzing faculties have been weakened by turkey, pudding, chocolate or alcoholic beverages. So here are the clues and in line with the pantomime season they are of course in rhyme. Sorry about that!
- My connections to unravel
- Choose a public form of travel.
- Try the shops in each location.
- Give four ladies admiration,
- But these local places rated
- You might find not quite as stated.
- Sequences their clues deliver
- Following the winding river,
- Old events commemorated,
- Owners of a mansion, dated,
- Phrases over-lapped deduced
- And the final clue produced.
- In the wall, four names discover
- And their modern forms recover.
- All around, four more are growing
- With some salt-cod terms worth knowing.
- Use the final four remaining –
- Buried, ancient sites obtaining.
Enlightened or further mystified? Some or all answers to Jenny at email@example.com . Answers will be supplied next week. Happy New Year.
If you feel in need of a bit of a mental work out over the festive season, have a go at this local quiz. (I’ve already had my work out trying to compile it!) Glory, and perhaps a small prize, awaits the supplier of the first correct solution.
Connections – Can you resolve these local clues and say what connects them?
- Kinson 14 / Bournemouth 16 / Lytchett Matravers 10 / Bournemouth 32
- M. A., hunter / M. B., defender / M. L., mayor / M. S-W., artist
- Isle of Purbeck / Maiden Castle / Luckford Lake / Nine Barrow Down
Sequences – Three clues: what should come next and why?
- Poole Corporation 1961 / Llewellin 1901 / Doughty 1828 / ?
- Rawston / Rushton / Keyneston / ?
- 17th– Royal Oak Tavern / 18th– Port Mahon Castle Inn / 19th– Waterloo Road / ?
Connecting wall – Can you sort the words into 4 groups and say what connects the words in each group?
Missing vowels – Identify the words or phrases by replacing the missing vowels.
- Mottos: WHS FRD / DMR MVL LDPL / PLCH RTDTS LBRTS / FRF DLT YNDFR DM
- Live entertainment: THRS HW / PLP RTS / BCHPL / BBMB
- Reading matter: DL YCH / GDBK / PLD VRT SR / SC LMD
- Poole pub crawl: NGL / BTL RN DHPS / BRM DTRN GL / BLBR
Good luck and happy Christmas Jenny
The 15th century was a time of recovery in Dorset as elsewhere after the ravages of the Black Death and later plague outbreaks and the destruction of the hundred years war. This recovery is the theme of a talk at Poole Museum next Wednesday 16th November at 7.30 pm from Mark Forrest of the Dorset History Centre (all welcome).
Town cellars 15th century front wall with earlier masonry in the foreground
As far as Poole is concerned, it was in the 15th century that the town constructed its defences, the ditch, walls and towngate, and that Scaplen’s Court was built on the site of an older house. The town cellars building was also partially rebuilt as can be seen in its walls to this day. The rear wall dates from the early 14th century while the roof and most of the front wall is over 100 years later. Some of the older masonry can still be seen at the eastern end of the later front wall.
These repairs may not just have been normal maintenance or a response to more prosperous times. There is evidence that Poole suffered a devastating French / Castilian raid in the early years of the 15th century, leaving wrecked and burnt out buildings and probably many dead. It may have taken decades for the town to recover. See: http://poolemuseumsociety.wordpress.com for the full story.