Exploring Exeter in Devon

Back in 2010, when full of steroids, after an important eye operation, I travelled to the beautiful city of Exeter, in Devon. I took my camera and I made a short film about it. It was a bit simplistic and not really what I would call a Bald Explorer programme. However, that aside, it has proved quite popular on Youtube and I thought I would post it here on the BE website.

I am fascinated by towns, particularly market towns – hence my films about Lewes in East Sussex and Petworth in West Sussex, and hopefully many more to come, if I can find funding to make them.

Anyway, if you have never been and thinking of visiting this lovely west country city, then have a look at my short effort and enjoy the fabulous scenery and architecture. (And please excuse the puffed up fat face as the drugs cushion the important work of the eye surgeons.)

Crumbling Churches Preview 3

Rector, John Gay, tells Richard Vobes about the problems with the roof of his beautiful church in Itchingfield, West Sussex in this preview of the new Bald Explorer episode coming soon to the Community Channel in 2013.

Wendy Dorkings, the church warden at St. Nicolas, allows the cameras in to see the wonderful and rare priest house that stands in the church yard and shares some of the fascinating history.

Itchingfield is home to a group of dedicated bell ringers who enjoy practicing the traditional art in the extraordinary timber built bell tower.

This is just a preview of the episode that will explore the problems the rural parish churches faces as congregations decrease and ancient buildings begin to need attention.

You find out more and watch full episodes at www.CommunityChannel.org.

The Battlefields Trust

As part of my Bald Explorer episode about our crumbling churches I have been working with Julian Humphrys from the Battlefield Trust. The reason was to explore a rather nasty clash between the Roundheads and Cavilers during the English Civil War (1642–1651) at a church in Alton in Hampshire. I further wanted to find out more information about the Trust and their work so I popped over to see him at his house in Surrey and filmed a short interview.

Julian suggests that nearly everyone in the UK lives within half an hour’s drive of a battlefield. Some, like Hastings, Bosworth and Culloden, are familiar to most of us. Others are relatively unknown. Yet the battles fought on them all played their part in shaping the way that we live today. How much do we know about these important fields where dreadful battles were fought, arguments were settle and Kingdoms were won and lost.

More information about the trust and how to join can be found on their website: The Battlefields Trust

Episode Five: A Rural Town

Richard Vobes is the Bald Explorer, dashing about Britain discovering the history of its towns and villages. In this episode he is off to Petworth in the heart of West Sussex, close to Chichester and not too far from London. It is a very rural town renown for the beautiful mansion-house, upon land that once belonged to the Roger de Montgomery and later the de Percy family.

It was the third Earl of Egremont who had a vested interested in the town of Petworth. He supplied the money to build the boys school, which was later destroyed by a stray German bomber during the second World War. It was the Earl who brought water from the near by Rover Rother into the town centre and whose land it was the grim House of Correction was built on for convicted offenders from all over Sussex.

One of the prettiest streets in Sussex can be found in Petworth, complete with old shop fronts and cobbles on the ground and the Bald Explorer reveals that he once lived there.

Back in the 19th century, many of the poor were assisted out of poverty and given the chance of a new life in Canada thanks to the local rector. Also, many do not realise that a special kind of stone, Petworth Marble was mined from this area and made into all sorts of wonderful objects.

Of course, most visitors , if not travelling to see Petworth House, go to hunt around the abundance of antique shops that flank the roads or take refreshment inside the independent tea rooms. And lets not forget the beautifully restored old railway station that is now a fabulous bed and breakfast establishment with genuine Pullman Carriages to stay the night in.