Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Literary Lectures - from out of the blue

People sometimes ask where the inspiration for the Hall's events comes from. The answer - more often than not - is out of the blue. The Literary Lectures in the Library for example, they idea for those came from a book I was reading at the time. 

I had read Sally Beauman's book Rebecca's Tale (sadly before I actually read Rebecca, but  never mind...) and enjoyed it so much I started to work my way through her other books. The Landscape of Love was the next book, and even before Chapter One began I was hooked - and not necessarily for the reasons you would expect...

Her description of "Wykenfield" and Abbey were truly uncanny:

"The Convent was founded in 1257 by Isabella de Morlaix, heiress, cousin and friend to Winifride of Ely... The Abbey, under the protection of the monastery at Deepden, flourished until the 15th century, when its influence began to decline. By the time of the Act of Suppression less than a dozen nuns remained. Their lands were then confiscated by the Crown, passing to Sir Gervaise Mortland, a henchman of Henry VIII, in recompense for his role in the vicious suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace."

Do you see what I mean? It gets better...

"The remaining buildings were occupied by tenant farmers, finally being abandoned in the mid 19th century. In 1919 they were saved from dereliction, and restored by Henry Mortland, formerly of Elde Hall."

And yet there's still more...

"(Fair state of preservation to some parts of the medieval convent structures... The Cloisters, refectory and part of the Lady Capel (13th century) still remain. The moat that surrounded the nunnery enclosure has been drained. The Squint (c. 1450) in the south corridor is quaint, and unique in the county; the reasons for its irreligious placing are unknown.) Present owner: Mr H G Mortland. Private house. Not open to visitors"

And so I was hooked - by what, on first reading, I could see so clearly as a description of Markenfield! What Sally Beauman's inspiration was I don't suppose I will ever know. The big coincidence is that she used to be one of Mr Curteis's neighbours - long before he had ever even heard of the Hall.

The book it split into two parts - then and now - and dare I say it, Then is an awful lot better than Now...

So thank you Sally - for inspiration you will never know.

Sally Beauman: 25 July 1944 - 7 July 2016

1 comment:

  1. This is truly intriguing!
    I didn't know Sally Beauman died last year. She was born only two weeks before my Mum, who is very well. I did read "Rebecca's Tale" years ago but don't think I came across any of her other books. Thank you for the recommendation!