St Nicholas Church
The church is set in the Moreton Estate which has been in the Frampton family since the 14th Century and even today apart from six of the residences all the houses are still owned by the estate.
The person responsible for the current church was William Charles Frampton who rebuilt the church in 1776 and was Rector for 57 years. It is a good example of early Gothic revival and was built on the earlier mediaeval foundations.
The church has 2 claims to fame as the burial place of Lawrence of Arabia and is almost certainly the only church in the world where all of its thirteen (13) windows are clear engraved and etched glass.
On 21st May 1935 T.E. Lawrence’s (“Lawrence of Arabia”) funeral service was conducted there and he was buried in the nearby churchyard. He was a cousin to the Frampton family and a frequent visitor to their home. He lived for several years nearby in a small property once owned by the family called Clouds Hill. It is now owned by the National Trust and can be visited. The funeral was attended by many elder statesmen and politicians.
On the 8th October 1940 a German bomb damaged a significant part of the church. For the next 10 years the church services were held at Moreton House or in the Estate Hall until the church was rebuilt. The church was rededicated in 1950 after restoration and the replacement new windows were of semi- opaque green glass which many of the parishioners did not like. With a War Damage Grant, suggested by a visitor, Laurence Whistler, a talented glass engraver, was commissioned to provide five (5) Apse windows with a striking design that included biblical symbols, Christmas lanterns, vines, medallions, candles, landscapes, stars, lightning, local scenes and much more. The windows were installed in 1955 and etched by Whistler. Later, in 1974 and 1975, two more windows were commissioned privately. Further additions were the Trinity Chapel Window in 1982, the Galaxy Window 1984 and the Lightning Window in the Vestry.
After our lunches the party split into two with a number staying at the gardens to enjoy them and further explore the village whilst the rest of our group proceeded to visit nearby Dorchester to either visit one of its many museums or have a general look around the town. After returning to Moreton to pick up the members who had stayed, we returned to Andover in good time after a very pleasant day in Dorset.
Subsequent discussion centred on ways of storing photographs ranging from CDs to the Cloud. Also the current changes from camera producers in the near future with the disappearance of some SLRs in preference to mirrorless cameras as well as some manufacturers (Panasonic and Canon) abandoning the pocket camera in the wake of increased sales of Smart Phones with improved camera capabilities.
It was suggested that another field trip be organised in September – the consensus being a trip to Winchester – date to be confirmed.
Pam and Mike Liberson were ‘volunteered’ to give a short presentation at the next indoor meeting of their (2) holidays in Egypt
After a warm welcome by two of the reception staff and being very ably helped with check in, members viewed a short introductory video show about the history and content of the museum. Next on the agenda was a short period for refreshments after the 1 ¼ hour journey which was most welcome.
We then met up with our volunteer guide, Michael Sands who would lead us on a 1-hour tour of the primary exhibits of the museum. Michael proved to be an outstanding guide who presented us with so much more information than we would otherwise have gleaned on our own. He was also wonderfully entertaining and amusing in his presentation style. Michael and the Questers so enjoyed the tour and had so many questions and answers during the tour that it lasted for just over 1 ½ hours. A wonderfully enjoyable and informative experience.
Most of the Questers then had an enjoyable light lunch at the Sunbeam Café on site. The food was good and plentiful and all staff were friendly and helpful.
After lunch Questers were free to re-visit any of the exhibits, halls or hangers that had caught their attention during the tour or to explore the few other parts of the museum that had not been visited.
It was an amazing experience to see actual motor cars, motor-cycles and aircraft directly associated with Brooklands and which had played a major role in the evolution of motoring and aviation in Britain over the last century and a quarter. Examples being the 24 litre, 12 cylinder, W engine Napier-Railton Special which holds the Brooklands track record of over 143 mph set in 1935, the Vickers Vimy which won the Daily Mail non-stop trans-Atlantic flight competition in 15 hours 57 minutes in 1919, the Harrier jump-jet which was used by the winner of the Daily Mail London Post Office Tower to Empire State building in New York record in 5 hours 57 minutes just 50 years later in 1969. And there were so many more fantastic exhibits to explore.
All those Questers who were on the outing, including the many ladies, were thrilled with the experience and felt it had been a most enjoyable outing which had been well worth while to participate in. Another successful Questers outing.
Visit to Gold Hill Museum, Abbey Ruins and to enjoy Shaftesbury Fringe Festival
Once again, the AHA Group found itself in the position of having to cancel the above scheduled visit on Friday 22nd July.
Sadly, it seemed as though everything was against us! The weather was extreme for us Brits and we could not take any risks with some members who have health issues, in addition, two of group tested positive for Covid.
But we will not be defeated! There is no group visit for August, which has been our annual practise. We will be back for our September visit to Devizes, a tour of the Museum followed by a guided tour of the town. As per our normal procedure, we will be sending out details of this event.
Theresa Twitchell spoke, initially, about portraits she had taken recently of her grandchildren emphasising the need to vary the angle, shoot from below (and above) and be aware of the serendipity of ‘catching the moment’ illustrated by a capture of a furtive/cheeky look from the grand-daughter taken from above at just the right angle. Subsequent discussion prompted her to show some more photographs with some descriptions of how the photographs were taken – concluding with her favourite photograph of a rose, lightly sprayed with water using a black board as a background. This made the rose ‘pop’. It was interesting to view the varied preferences for the photographs that showed the differences in personal tastes!
On Friday 24th June we met our Blue Badge guide and old friend of the AHA Group, David Richards. He was in his usual good form for the planned visit to Stratford-sub-Castle.
We were there to learn about the roguish Pitt family and their connection with the old Rotten Borough of Old Sarum, which was only abolished by the Great Reform Act of 1832. He started by explaining the chequered history of Jack ‘Diamond’ Pitt who, after 3 very profitable periods working in colonial India both against and for the British East India Company, managed to acquire a huge uncut diamond. This very large diamond was sold to France to initially embellish Napoleon’s sword hilt. It was subsequently removed and placed in his coronation crown. The remains of the uncut diamond ended up in Russia as part of their crown jewels. At this time, Pitt turned his attention firstly to buying influence in the form of the Rotten Borough of Old Sarum and then to buying properties and farmland (a lot of it). Indeed, to this day, certain members of the Pitt Dynasty remain prominent landowners.
Diamond Pitt’s original elegant home, which he had built remains a sizeable property in Stratford-sub-Castle as do a few other old houses in the village. The village would remain (apart from post WW2 developments) largely recognisable to Pitt the Younger. The dynasty produced two prime ministers, both of whom relied upon the Rotten Borough system for their power and influence. During the walk around the village, we saw the site of the old Parliament tree under which at election times the few eligible electors would gather to bargain their votes, which usually went to the highest bidder. However, in the case of Old Sarum, Diamond Pitt had all the important votes in his grasp well in advance of any election.
Apparently, Pitt the Younger did not become Prime Minister in his twenties via talent alone. He knew how to fully exploit patronage to his personal advantage, being schooled in his corrupt ways by past generations of his family, who were extremely adept at the art. The old church was a delightful building, located close to glorious, thatched cottages and a few elegant houses which must have been built for wealthy families.
As usual, David was a complete master of his subject and was able to answer our many questions with humour and precise information. The tour lasted about two hours, by which time we were in need of some refreshments. Taking our leave from David, we journeyed to the next village Lower Woodford for lunch at the Wheatsheaf, thus concluding yet another very successful AHA outing.
Prepared by: Ron Bryan - AHA Organiser
Anton u3a Group News
Reports and records of Groups' activities.