The highwayman Humphrey Kynaston was a bit of a Robin Hood character – robbing the rich to give to the poor. But who was he and where did he live?
I am the Bald Explorer, from UK television’s Community Channel and I am on the trail of this notorious blackguard. He had a fortified manor house in the village of Myddle in Shropshire, but at the beginning of the 15th Century he was outlawed for murdering a man and was forced to live in a cave.
Follow the other explorations of Richard Vobes as he goes around Britain in search of its myths and legends, history and heritage. Travel the UK and visit some of the places in the films he makes.
Richard Vobes, aka, The Bald Explorer is running a project on the crowdfunding website, Kickstarter.com. The idea is to raise enough money to make a television programme about Britain’s hidden heritage. The series is already showing on the not-for-profit UK TV station, Community Channel.
In this video update, Richard informs his backers about the influences that gave him the idea for the programme and the appeal of visiting Britain’s unknown towns.
Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, is one such town that interests the Bald Explorer. There is the high town and low town, the River Severn, the castle, the market hall and the funicular. The heritage line, the Severn Valley Railway has one of its stations at Bridgnorth.
Crowdfunding is a way that supports can pool their contributions together to get projects funded. Even pledging a small amount can help.
I am Richard Vobes, the Bald Explorer, and for the past three years I have been self-funding a series of films exploring Britain’s wonderful heritage. Community Channel, a not-for-profit digital TV station, has been broadcasting these programmes on their network which have now been enjoyed by thousands of viewers.
Following this success, it seems I now have an audience who would like some more. However, being a charity funded organisation Community Channel cannot commission me, and I do not have the funds to make these programmes myself anymore.
Log on to the Kickstarter website and find out more. There you can pledge money and explore our rewards for your support and backing. Kickstarter Project
Rather than trying to fund the whole series in one go, we just want to raise enough money to make the first episode. If successful, it will be broadcast in the New Year on Community Channel and repeated many times thereafter – and your name could be on the credits!
And, of course, all of our Kickstarter producers will have advanced downloads of the episode the minute it pops out of the edit room!
The First Episode – Bridgnorth, Shropshire
The reason we have chosen Bridgnorth is simple; it is one of Britain’s gems. Tucked away in the Midlands, it is found next to Ironbridge; birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. It lies on the River Severn, above Worchester and below Shrewsbury, and is at one end of the Severn Valley Railway – which still offers a fantastic heritage steam service. There is more to it than that, of course. It has a unique funicular; a Victorian Cliff Railway, the steepest in Britain; a church designed by the great civil engineer Thomas Telford; a castle keep, which is currently tilting at a greater angle than the leaning tower of Pisa; cave dwellings, once the home of the poor; a hermitage; and was also the scene of dramatic skirmishes during the English Civil War.
Hopton Castle in south Shropshire is a medieval tower house which thanks to the funding from the National Lottery the old ruins have greatly been preserved for future generations. The remains, a subject of the Channel Four TV programme Time Team is looked after by the Hopton Castle Preservation Trust.
Richard Vobes, aka The Bald Explorer meets up with local historian Tom Baker to learn about the story of the castle from his construction by Walter De Hopton to the dreadful and bloody siege during the English Civil War in 1644.
‘I have always been fascinated by medieval castles in England and Wales. We tend to think of these buildings always as being made from stone, but some of the early fortifications were in fact simply earth works and then later timber forts. After the motte and bailey castles were deemed to be easily destroyed with fire, bigger and more stronger defences were required. This is where the stone castle came into its own, although these were often attacked successfully by mining underneath the thick seemingly impenetrable walls.
Hopton Castle, although called as such is not really a castle in the true sense of the word. It is a tower house of square design. It wasn’t designed to withstand much of an assault, although put up a pretty good defence against the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. However, the siege that took place in 1644 ended up in tragedy with many deaths.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Alec Clifton-Taylor made a series of programmes with the BBC entitled Six English Towns, Six More English Towns and Another Six English Towns. He was principally interested with showing off the wonderful survivors of beautiful architecture that was available to discover in our towns across England. Although a simple premise of looking at buildings, he did it with such charm and authority, it became a landmark series. That was thirty years ago. Much of what he showed us still remains, fortunately, but in that time towns have expanded enormously and a lot of our heritage has been swallowed up and tucked away behind the commercial hoardings, large plate-glass windows and new utilitarian constructions; what survives nowadays is often ignored or taken for granted.
I am planning to go in search of my own six towns to explore the hidden gems that are under our noses and often overlooked. To fund this, with the help of the Community Channel, a Kickstarter fund-raising project will start towards the end of June this year. (More information on that will announced soon.) This will mean, with a small TV crew, I shall be making a jaunt in the autumn and spending one week at each of the following towns:
Lyme Regis – Dorset
Lyme Regis is a coastal town in West Dorset, England, situated 25 miles west of Dorchester and 25 miles (40 km) east of Exeter. The town lies in Lyme Bay, on the English Channel coast at the Dorset–Devon border. It is nicknamed “The Pearl of Dorset.” The town is noted for the fossils found in the cliffs and beaches, which are part of the Heritage Coast—known commercially as the Jurassic Coast.
Barnstaple – Devon
Barnstaple or is a former river-port, large town, civil parish and the capital of the local government district of North Devon in the county of Devon, England. Since 1974, it has been a civil parish governed by town council.
Monmouth – Monmouthshire, Wales
Monmouth is a traditional county town in Monmouthshire, Wales. It is situated where the River Monnow meets the River Wye, within 2 miles of the border with England. The town is 36 miles north-east of Cardiff, and 127 miles west of London
Bridgenorth – Shropshire
Bridgnorth is a town in Shropshire, England, situated on the Severn Valley. It is split into High Town and Low Town, named on account of their elevations relative to the River Severn.
Newark-on-Trent – Nottinghamshire
Newark-on-Trent is a market town in Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands region of England. It stands on the River Trent, the A1, and the East Coast Main Line railway.
Sandwich – Kent
Sandwich is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in the Non-metropolitan district of Dover, within the ceremonial county of Kent, south-east England. It has a population of 6,800.
I do hope you will support our fund-raising efforts, tell your friends and family about the project and following the progress here on the website and on Twitter (@BaldExplorer #BaldExplorer) and of course Facebook too.