Wednesday 21st May: Visit to Oakham Castle – organized by the Friends of Rutland County Museum and Oakham Castle. The weather was kind to us, and about 30 members were shown round by Tim Clough, who was Curator for many years.
Friday 13th June : A day in Kings Lynn. Dr Paul Richards, our Blue Badge guide, gave a fascinating and fact-packed insight into the history of King’s Lynn – from its early settlement, built on spoil from Anglo-Saxon salt-making, to its gentle decline with the coming of the railways.
King’s Lynn was England’s most important port in the 14th century and retains many historic buildings which reflect its seafaring activities. We visited the 15th century Hanse House, a former warehouse of the Hanseactic League, and St George’s Guildhall, the most complete and largest surviving guildhall in the country. Even the minster church of St Margaret demonstrates the importance of the sea to the town with its moon clock showing the phases of the moon and also the next high and low tide.
Our afternoon visit to Clifton House, the most complete medieval merchant's house in England, was hosted by its owner, Dr Simon Thurley, historian and Chief Executive of English Heritage. He gave us a wonderful tour, which illustrated the various historic features of the house and emphasised the wealth of the merchants who built it. Following a climb to the top of the five-storey Elizabethan tower we enjoyed tea and cakes in the garden. A splendid day out!
Saturday 21st June: Order for Night Prayer – Compline In the beautiful setting of St Leonard’s Priory members and their guests enjoyed a memorable midsummer’s evening which celebrated the work the Society has done to restore and maintain this important medieval building. The weather was, for once, splendid. As the evening drew towards the close over 60 people packed into the Priory building to attend Compline, the order for night prayer, led by Canon Donald Gray.
Compline is the final church service of the day for many monastic orders, and emphasised spiritual peace after the working day. St Leonard’s Priory followed the Rule of St Benedict and this service would have been one of the important Offices of the day.
For the first time in hundreds of years the Priory resounded to the evocative chants of a choir – or schola – which was led by the cantor, Reverend Gavin Cooper, parish priest of St Mary and St Martin. The singers, who were members of the choir for these churches, enabled the audience to experience the beautiful choral tradition of the monastic way of life.
Tickets are available from the Secretary.
Unless otherwise stated, all talks will be at Browne’s Hospital, with tickets costing £3.50.
Thursday 9th October: The 2014 AGM and Awards evening, at the Town Hall. The AGM paperwork will be sent out with the September Newsletter. There is of course no charge.
Thursday 23rd October: “Bless and Tell” - a talk by Civic Society Member, Canon Donald Gray.
Thursday November 27th: David Pennell, the Estate Director for the Burghley Estate will be talking about the trials and tribulations of looking after the Estate's listed properties in Stamford.
National Trust and English Heritage free day passes
A benefit of our joining Civic Voice is that all members are entitled to day passes giving free access to the majority of National Trust properties subject to a small number of restrictions.
National Trust passes (one day pass per group member) can be obtained by writing to Civic Voice, The Coffin Works, 13-15 Fleet Street, Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, B3 1JP, enclosing a stamped addressed envelope, with contact details and mentioning that you are a member of Stamford Civic Society, which is a member of Civic Voice. This pass is transferable and can be given to friends or family if you are already a member of the National Trust.
[The English Heritage pass has been discontinued.]
The Magic Lantern Slides of Henry Traylen
Dave Baxter, who many of you know as a Civic Society member has digitised many of these slides that are archived at the Town Hall. They have been compiled into a book and the Civic Society has acquired a limited number of these that are available to members as long as our stock lasts at a discounted price of £9 per copy. It is a fascinating collection; it will solve our “what present can we give to our speaker” problem for the next few years!
If you would like a copy, they will be available at the AGM.