Thursday, 9 January 2014


My former posts fall into one category or an other. This post will feature some miscellaneous oddities which do not fit into other categories.
Romulus  and  Remus
At the side of the A39 road north of Wells in Somerset, near to its junction with the B3135,on the boundary of Beechbarrow House at St Cuthbert Out, is a strange monument.  Two carved pillars with a platform top, support a she wolf suckling two babes – the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus  and  Remus.  It was built by Gaetano Calestra, an Italian prisoner of war during WW11 to reflect the kindness shown to the POW's. It is now a Grade 11 listed building.

The  Angel  of  the  North
Erected in 1998 alongside the A167 road overlooking the A1 near Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, The Angel of the North monument was erected to commemorate the millennium at a cost of some £800,000.   The 65ft high monument has a wingspan of 175ft.



The naked man and the naked woman 
SETTLE in North Yorkshire is a small dales market town. The ever popular Ye Olde Naked Man café is named after a plaque on the building with the date 1663 and the initials IC and what appears to be a naked man holding a joiners plane. Little is known of its origin but if seems to relate to a joiner or maybe an undertaker. The building was formerly an inn.
A similar plaque can be seen on a house at nearby Langcliffe possibly depicting a naked woman with the date 1660 and initials LSMS. It is said to be the sign of a former inn which closed in 1862, the name of which is unknown. Apparently the initials refer to Lawrence and Margaret Swainson .

The Warwick Vase


A special conservatory was constructed in the 18th century in the grounds of Warwick Castle by George Greville, Earl of Warwick to house The Warwick Vase, and it now houses a replica.

The Vase, of white marble and circular in shape, was found in 1770 in the silt of a lake at Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli near Rome and was acquired by Sir William Hamilton, then English Ambassador at the Court of Naples who conveyed it to England and passed it on to his nephew the Earl of Warwick.

The Vase has two large handles formed of interwoven vine branches from which the tendrils, leaves and grape clusters spread around the upper part. The middle of the body is enfolded with the skin of a panther with head and claws above which are heads representing Satyrs. When found the Vase was in pieces and had to be restored. A curious thing is that just one of the Satyr’s heads was replaced by that of a beautiful woman said to be in the likeness of Sir William’s wife, Lady Emma Hamilton, who is best known as Lord Nelson’s mistress. It is said that as the result a quarrel between Lady Hamilton and the Italian restorer, he gave the head a Fawn’s ear!

An inscription in Latin is translated as: “This monument of ancient Rome art and magnificence, was dug out of the ruins of the Villa at Tibur, which was held in delight by Emperor Hadrian; the Knight William Hamilton, Envoy from George 111, the Great British King, to the Sicilian King Ferdinand 1V, caused it to be restored, and despatching it to his country, dedicated it to the Father Genius of Fine Arts in the year of Our Lord 1774”

The orginal Vase was acquired by the Burrrell Collection in Glasgow in  1979.



A  Victorian  sideboard


In the 18th century Grosvenor Hotel in Shaftesbury in Dorset is one of the finest pieces of carved furniture to be seen anywhere.  It is an enormous  Victorian  sideboard,  carved from a single block of oak in the 1860’s by Gerrard Robinson.  This fine piece depicts the events immortalised in ‘The Ballad of Chevy Chase,’ an ancient border song dealing with the rivalry between the English Earl Percy of Northumberland and the Scottish Earl Douglas.

The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond
The song 'On the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond' is a well known ballad which is based on a true story. One version is that during the Jacobite uprising of 1745 when a rebel was waiting to be executed in Carlisle, he wrote the lyrics of the song.  It appears that he and his brother were both captured and the cruel Hanoverians decreed that one of them would be executed and the other would walk free - the decision as to which was which was the brothers decision. The 'low road' in the song referred to that of the dead whilst the 'high road' was for the living. 
Lands End
" The very idea of standing at the end of our seagirt isle may bring a touch of wonder into the dullest mind."
So said Arthur Mee in his King's England.
This is the place that the English mainland comes unmistakenly to an end - Land's End, 874 miles from John O Groats on the northern tip of Scotland.


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