World Book Day – Libraries & books of National Trust Midlands

My kids say they are too old to dress up for #WorldBookDay so rather than create a costume I have been looking through photographs of books, book shelves, libraries and snugs of National Trust Properties in the Midlands area.

National Trust Baddesley Clinton

National Trust Belton House

National Trust Calke Abbey

National Trust Charlecote Park

National Trust Hardwick Hall

National Trust Packwood House

Packwood house May 2014 DSC_0341

National Trust Stoneywell

National Trust Sudbury Hall

National Trust Upton House

National Trust Wightwick Manor

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Wassail at Woolsthorpe Manor

I read that National Trust Woolsthorpe Manor, Lincolnshire were Wassailing in their Orchard and decided the event was not one to be missed.
What an amazing first experience at Wassailing this was going to be, not only to Wassail but to do it around the 400 year old Flower of Kent Apple tree which inspired Sir Isaac Newtons thoughts on gravity.

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The traditional ceremony of Wassailing involves singing and drinking to the health of fruit trees, to scare away evil spirits and to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn. Wassail is a hot spiced fruit punch with a Wine, Cider or Ale base adding fruit and spices although this Wassail drink was a non alcoholic version, but very tasty and warming.  Traditionally pieces of bread or toast were soaked in Wassail and buried or hung from the trees, this was said to keep the tree spirits content and feed them until next harvest.

The volunteers and staff were fantastic, handing out pieces of cake and Wassil to toast the trees, followed by leading the Wassailing song & encouraging everyone to take part and join in.

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The Woolsthorpe Wassailing Song

1. A-wassail, a-wassail, all over the town

Our cup it is white and our ale it is brown.

Our cup it is made from the white maple tree

With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee,

Drink to thee, drink to thee,

With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.

2. We hope that our apple trees prosper and bear

So we shall have apples at this time next year,

Our wassail is made from the good ale and cake,

Some Nutmeg and Ginger, the best we can bake,

With Nutmeg and Ginger, the best we can bake.

3. We wassail at Woolsthorpe by Newton’s old tree,

An apple fell on him by pure gravity,

O send us soft rain and shine on us some sun

So fruitful and prosper’d the trees shall become

Trees shall become, trees shall become,

So fruitful and prosper’d the trees shall become.

4. Our tree it is nearly four hundred years old.

Stand out in the orchard in sun and in snow,

It bears and it blossoms, a Great British Tree

With a wassailing bowl, we’ll drink to thee

Drink to thee, drink to thee,

With a wassailing bowl we’ll drink to thee.

Traditional with additional material by A.Blackett

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Sir Isaac Newton was born in this 17th century farmhouse on 4th January 1643, date using our existing Georgian calendar. However this calendar was not adopted until 1753 so Newton is sometimes reported to have been born on 25th December 1642. As paper was expensive Newton did sketches on the walls, some can still be seen today. There are also drawings to keep out Witches and evil spirits. Sadly photography was not permitted inside on the day of my visit.
1655-66 he returned to Woolsthorpe after studying at Cambridge and instead of keeping watch and tending to the families flock of Sheep, was to be found in the Orchard under the apple tree reading & making discoveries of gravity.

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SGP_8655 Susan Guy_WoolsthorpeManorSigns of Spring are starting to appear in the Orchard, Snowdrops are peeping their pure white heads through the grass and Catkins laden with pollen are blowing in the breeze.

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Up on the roof at Tattershall Castle

The magnificent Tattershall Castle appears to erupt from the flat Lincolnshire landscape, a magnificent 15th century building looked after by the National Trust.  Built by Ralph Cromwell (Lord Treasurer of England) between 1434-1447 to display his wealth

SGP_4378 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4355 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4354 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyThe Christmas fayre was being held in a large marquee &  inside on the ground floor of the castle. These dried fruit wreaths smelt amazing and I intended to buy one after exploring the castles six floors but completely forgot to go back!
SGP_4245 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyFlemish tapestries in the Audience Chamber –  depected here are Alexander and the daughter of Darius, Jephthah greeted by his daughter and Eliezer presenting Rebecca to Abraham.
4271 4272 4282 4286 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyLord Cromwell had a plaster purse pictured on the castles huge fireplaces so no one forget about his wealth
SGP_4265 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4264 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyCertainly didn’t imagine an 18th century Dovecote would be on one of the floors.
SGP_4279 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyLeaded light casting a beautiful glow across the weathered brickwork

SGP_4297 Tattershall Castle Lantern_Susan GuyIt was easy to imagine the hustle and bustle of people in the castle going about their business in the huge rooms, hearing voices echoing down the beautiful brick corridors and seeing the stunning stained glass window colours illuminated on the floor.

SGP_4253 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4248 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4290 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyWith sunken handrail for assistance the 149 spiral staircase steps beckoned to be climbed in order to reach the roof. I couldn’t help but pause occasionally to read old graffiti.

7SGP_4345 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4345 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4344 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyFog which accompanied our day had almost cleared giving great views across Lincolnshire. According to signs you can see Boston Stump & Lincoln Cathedral,  so on a clear day the view really must be amazing.
SGP_4310 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyAround the battlements
SGP_4301 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4319 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4337 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4312 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4321 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4330 Tattershall Castle_Susan Guy SGP_4334 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyAfter exploring and feeling a little windswept a warming bag of freshly roasted Chestnuts from one of the traders at the Christmas fayre was required, at least that’s what our children informed us
Roasted Chestnuts at Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyAs there are only 38 days until Christmas I can’t help but share a bit of twinkle

4361 4363 4364 4368 Tattershall Castle_Susan GuyQuick glimpse of the church seen in the aerial photo from the tower, hopefully on our next visit we will see inside
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The castle is open during weekends for the Winter months