In the old days of the Richard Vobes Radio Show, a podcast that later became the Vobes Show, and which is still running, Jimmy Hastell and myself took a trip to the very splendid Petworth House and waved our microphone in front of the people at the front gate. They very kindly let us in and we recorded the following podcast.
Petworth House as we see it today is from the alternation in the 1870’s, but the original manor of Peteorde dates back to the Saxon times. It was superseded by the Normans after the Conquest and held by Robert de Belleme, the son of the great Earl and friend of William the Conqueror, Roger de Montgomery. But soon the house passed into the de Perci family ending up in the ownership of Henry Hotspur who dies at the famous Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. His sword that he wielded on that battlefield against King Henry 4th was for a long time on exhibit at Petworth House. I called them up the other day to determine if it was still there, but a rather surprised young lady said that I was the third person inquiring and that unfortunately it was lost.
The house is best associated with George Wyndam, the third Earl of Egremont. He was a very generous man. He collected the mass of the arts works that are now on permanent display and did great works within the Petworth community. More of all these things will be investigated in the forthcoming Bald Explorer episode.
Meanwhile, do enjoy the audio tour of the house with Richard and Jimmy.
Mr. Pegram and I visit the Petworth Cottage Museum. Here is what they say about the place: It’s not really a museum. It’s a house that has been restored, redecorated, furnished and equipped as if it were 1910. But it’s not just anybody’s house. Mrs. Mary Cummings was the tenant of 346 High Street from 1901 to 1930. The reconstruction takes account of the living memories of Mary’s time here, her Irish Catholic background and her work as a seamstress at home and at Petworth House. We have always aimed to make the place feel as if Mrs. Cummings has just stepped out. The range is lit, the table is laid for tea, the kettle is boiling.
We thought it was delightful. A real step back in time. Certainly worth a visit if you are ever in the area. The atmosphere, smells and detail is second to none and will make you appreciate all the mod-cons that we take for granted everyday!
Why not check the podcast and have a listen to the visit:
As part of our research into a video episode of the Bald Explorer I always like to visit a place and get a feel for the location. I love to take photographs and look for the unusual. I took Jimmy with me to Petworth in West Sussex this time and we tramped the streets impressed by the old houses and wonderful architecture. This recording was the second podcast we made that day and towards the end we are in search of the rather grim sounding Petworth House of Correction, the local prison.
I used to live in Petworth some thirty years ago. I wasn’t interested in history then being only a young man of eighteen. I was a member of the local youth theatre and was lodged in one of the oldest streets in Petworth, Lombard Street. It is a beautifully preserved cobbled street leading down from the parish church, St Mary’s, to the market square.
Little really has changed in Petworth I am pleased to say. Perhaps there are a few more antique shops than I remember and a couple of the businesses have changed, pubs closed and now I see they charge for parking in the main car park. (Only a pound for the whole day, so it doesn’t break the bank I suppose.)
There are some lovely public houses, Inns and drinking places in the old town, but one that I had never visited in my youth was the Stonemansons Inn along North Street a little out of town. It stands close to where the old boy’s school once stood, before a stray bomb destroyed it during World War two. (See our other podcast about Petworth).
The Stonemasons Inn is made up from a small row of 17th Century timber framed cottages with each room named after previous owners. It is a fabulously atmospheric building, complete with low beams, charming fire places and plenty of character. Better than all that they also sell local real ale and produce rather lovely food.
Close by was where the old Petworth Toll House would have stood and collected the money from travellers coming and going to the market town. Luckily, these days, you can drove your sheep or heard your cattle along this busy road for free.
One of the notorious places in Petworth and not generally known about is the old House of Correction. It was opened in 1788 and mainly used to house petty criminals, but its treatment was harsh and draconian. The prisoners were given forced hard labour, including many hours on a treadmill (1o hours in the Summer and 7 hours in the Winter) and it was known ‘grinding the wind’ for it achieved in practical terms, absolutely nothing. There was also a handcrank which was turned against pressure for another period of 10 hours. I hope to explore more about this cruel institution in the Bald Explorer episode.
Meanwhile do have a listen to preliminary exploration of this delightful town.
Jimmy Hastel and Richard Vobes, the Bald Explorer, are off to Petworth to explore the history aspects of this wonder old market town for an exciting video that will be coming soon to these pages.
In this podcast, Richard and Jimmy are having a look round a graveyard. Why, you might well ask? It is actually a sad story. During the second World War a lone German bomber had crossed the channel and was trying to either ditch its load or aim to damage the beautiful Georgian property, Petworth House. Well, it missed, and one of the bombs apparently hit a tree and was deflected to a near by boys school. The result was dreadful.
It was the 29th September 1942 when the Petworth Boys School was totally destroyed and 28 children were killed along with the head master, Charles Stevenson and assistant teacher Charlotte Marshall. Many were badly injured.
The mass grave is a poignant sight with his stone memorial at one end dedicated to the lost souls of the school children and teachers. Shamefully, the rest of the cemetery has been mostly abandoned with no one willing to claim ownership and therefore responsibility for looking after it all.
Jimmy and I ventured in to find the graves and the crumbling chapel hidden within. Have a listen to our adventure.
You can check out the fabulous website that has more information at Gravelroots.
I know that some of my followers enjoy podcasts and do not always have time to read the blogs as they go up. Well, I have an answer for that to help them out. I have started a fresh website which lists all my posts and articles but in a recorded format.
By using the services of the very popular AudioBoo podcast format, I am recording the written content in my sound studio and uploading. At the moment I have the free account which permits up to three minutes of recording time. If this proves popular I will bite the bullet, open my wallets and purchase a 30 minute account. I believe this approximately £60 a year, so not too bad.
I would love to know if you like this service or have any comments about using AudioBoo, so do please send any feedback to either the Bald Explorer Audio Blog site or of course to this post.
I have always been intrigued by the name of this property and wondered who the priest was and the history of this attractive timber-framed house in West Hoathly, in East Sussex. In this podcast, I take a visit. My guide is Anthony Smith, who lives there, or at least, in one side of the house.
This is just one of a number of fascinating places cared for by the Sussex Archaeological Society. They also look after Lewes Castle, Anne of Cleeves House, Bull House, the Long Man of Wilmington and Michelham Priory.
The Priest’s House has had a number of distinguished owners in it time, including Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell, Anne of Cleeves, Mary I and Elizabeth the first, although probably none actually lived there.
Furnished with seventeenth and eighteenth century possessions and domestic objects which are scattered to give you a glimpse of how peopled lived back then. These were wealthy people. The rest of the village would have been far poorer, consisting of smaller basic properties and hovels.
The cottage garden is well worth a look at too. Filled with plants and herbs from the period, many of which were grown for medicinal purposes.
I hope you enjoy the tour of the tour. Listen to the podcasts below.