Monday, 18 September 2023

A Hidden Gem

Our small town museum is housed in a 17th century Grade 11 listed Cotswold stone mansion house once the home of a local wealthy wool merchant. The museum houses a great variety of interesting artifacts. They reveal a rich, and diverse history about the people who have lived and worked in the surrounding valleys from the earliest settlers through to the present day. With over 4,000 objects on display there is something of interest for every age. There are locally found dinosaur and mamoth bones, Roman remains, the world's first lawnmower,  invented locally, historical paintings and importantly the story of wool that brought great wealth to the area courtesy the backs of the "lion" Cotswold sheep. According to a 12th Century saying, "in Europe the best wool is English and in England the best wool is Cotswold". The Golden Fleece' obtained from the long-haired Cotswold Lion breed, thought to have be introduced by the Romans during their invasion, was widely renowned for its heavy wool clip.

The market towns in the Cotswolds would have been bustling with wealthy wool-merchants from rich cloth-making towns abroad who flocked to these hills to buy the wool. The enormous wealth engendered courtesy wool was responsible for the large number of fine "wool" churches, grand mansions, and civic buildings.

The museum is set in a charming wooded parkland filled with a huge variety of specimen trees. However, hidden away behind the mansion is a delightful walled garden which is free for all, as is the museum.

It was a beautiful balmy September day, the recent humidity having departed, so we decided to visit the garden, buy ourselves an ice cream in the Museum shop, and take a wander through the garden.
The garden was restored a few years ago, and is now solely maintained by several local volunteers, who do a great job.
A patchwork of Michaelmas Daisies - Symphyotrichum yield a colourful display. Usually associated with cottage gardens, they also work well in contemporary settings too.

"A final hurrah" from a Sunflower for this summer.

"The grasses beyond the garden wall are waist high, the September flowering of Michaelmas daisies heralds Autumn's arrival. But there was no autumn in the air today; the sun was still August, albeit calendar August was just a memory."