Tuesday, 21 October 2014


You may not wish to linger in the village of GOTHAM south of Nottingham when you hear about the antics of the locals, but then it all happened a long time ago, and it explains the origins of The Cuckoo Bush Inn in the village     It actually relates to the 16th century ‘ Merrie Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham,’  which tells of the antics of a crazy group who built a hedge around a cuckoo in a bush to keep it and spring all the year round.  They also tried to drown an eel, put a cart on top of a barn to protect the roof from the sun and burned down a forge to get rid of a wasps nest.  Although referred to as ‘mad men’, their antics may have been designed to deter King John from building a hunting lodge in the middle of such a crazy village!

It is said that man’s best friends is his dog.   Lord Byron certainly thought that about his dog Boatswain, and he made sure that the dog would not be forgotten by erecting an unusual monument outside his ancestral home, Newstead  Abbey.    An urn, which contains the dogs remains, surmounts the fine monument and an inscription reads : 

“ Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence,
Courage without ferocity and all the virtues of man without his vices.”

 Byron also wrote a lengthy ode to his dog which is portrayed on the monument and finishes as follows :

“ Ye! Who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.
to mark a Friend’s remains these stones arise.
I never knew but one – and here he lies. “

In his will of 1811, Byron directed that he should be buried in the vault below the monument near to his dog, but his wish was not fulfilled.
An apple tree which was grown from a pip in about 1805, became famous as the Bramley apple tree.  Fifty years later Mr Bramley, of Easthorpe, SOUTHWELL,  allowed grafts to be taken on the condition that they carried his name and so perpetuated the name Bramley.   The original tree still grows in the garden behind Bramley Tree House at Easthorpe and gives its name to the local pub.


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