Tony's Other Woman
21st March 2012
is another woman in Tony’s life.
has nothing to fear as the aforementioned lady has been
dead for over 300 years.
who know him will realise immediately that I refer to
the redoubtable Lady Anne Clifford. Born
at Skipton in 1590 and, as a child, a favourite of Queen
Elizabeth, she was disinherited by her father in favour
of his brother.
It took two marriages and two
widowings before she achieved the wealth and independence
to which she believed herself entitled.
From then on, in her sixties, she
had a profound effect on the north of England, particularly
in the stretch from Penrith to Skipton.
Discover Eden booklet
has long been an admirer of hers and as there were no
available this week, he suggested we went on the trail
his motorbike, Tony could easily have covered
The Lady Anne Clifford Heritage Trail in
one outing but on foot that was far too
much of a challenge.
we decided to focus on those relevant sites
just south of Penrith and in doing so chanced
upon a Discover
trail covering much the same territory around
that we might also find the odd hostelry en-route, we
decided that train was the favoured means of transport
to the start at Penrith.
much of this report was written before we set off. The
rest I am writing on our return through something of
an incaholic hoze (Shurely shome mishtake? Ed.) How
wise it was to travel by train. How well I know
started sedately enough. A wander through Penrith,
past the castle which disappointingly was unexpectedly
closed. Tony discovered later it was because some idiot
louts had set fire to the Castle Park Bowling Club-
causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
what will our justice system give them? Transportation
to Mars? Removal of offending limbs? Or
a week's supply of Mars Bars? Answers on a post
castle, fortunately, was not our objective. We
passed through Penrith to the river at Eamont Bridge-
an old village with many interesting doors- then followed
the left bank, past the strange garden of a house for
sale. On the other side of the river we had our
first view of Brougham Castle.
pool for sale
first target was Lady Anne's Countess Pillar,
erected by her in memory of her mother Margaret Russell
Clifford, Countess of Cumberland, on the site of their
last parting in 1616. On one face there is a sundial,
on another the Clifford and Russell coats of arms.
was Brougham Castle, described by Lady Anne as "verie
ruinous and much in need of repair" so she set
about restoring it in 1658. It's time for her
to start again! In the distance, it looked quite
splendid albeit ruined. Unfortunately, it was
closed midweek until Easter so we were unable to make
a detailed investigation.
this point we met a large group led by a young
lady. Engaging them in conversation, it transpired
that they were injured firefighters and that there was a
rehabilitation centre for them at Eamont Bridge. They
were on a "return to fitness" walk.
Hall was a total surprise. I had expected a large,
albeit historic, private house open to the public
as a commercial venture. It is variously described
as "The Windsor of the North" and the "Playground
of Princes". It was a regular stopping over
place for Princes and Kings, up to and including Edward
VII. It was also the place where Churchill met
Roosevelt for a secret meeting during World War II and
where some highly confidential military development
had been taking place.
further surprise was that until 1237 the land here was
on the border with Scotland.
What was a total surprise was
that this obviously fine building dating from the 14th
century had, in the forty years following that meeting,
dilapidated to such an extent that there had been a
planning application to tear it down and build houses
on the site.
Brougham Hall Grounds
Fortunately a more enlightened view prevailed
and the hall is very slowly being restored but our impression
was that it needed more than a few well intended volunteers
to make a go of the massive amount of work this historic
had lunch in the structure shown below right which carries
a plaque dedicated to:
memory of the Officers and Men who served at Brougham
between July 1942 and June 1944 on the development
of the then top secret canal defence light tank project
in World War II.
secret tank plaque
is so much to see here, a lot of it still derelict but
with many descriptive notices. Well worth a visit. Entrance
is free but a donation is requested.
to the Hall is a small chapel, the Church of St Wilfred,
but sadly it was closed. We were told that it belonged
to an obscure Anglican sect and, despite requirements
to make it more accessible, they only opened it to the
public for 15 hours per year. If, as we were told,
it had not been opened for six months or so, it must
be dilapidating fast which is a great shame. Lady
Anne pulled down the previous chapel and built this
one in 1659. Soon it will need a modern day Lady Anne,
if she exists.
the Hall is a field where the last pitched battle took
place on English soil, Often referred to as the
battle of Clifton Moor, the two sides- those of Bonnie
Prince Charlie and the Duke of Cumberland, lined up
to commence hostilities.
historical journey next went back some three thousand
years. Tony was aware of "King Arthur's Round
Table"- a huge circular "henge" just
outside Eamont Bridge but had never previously examined
it. It is half of a large double structure, the
other part of which has disappeared under road and buildings.
Arthur's Round Table
Mayburgh Henge centre stone
far away, past the large Millennium Stone, is another
an even older structure- the Mayburgh Henge, a large
mounded circle with a central stone. For some
strange reason, Tony wanted us to hold hands and hug
the stone to commune with mother nature. As there
were only two us, circling the stone was a bit of a
problem. I think he just wanted to hold my hand
as a second best to Lady Anne.
now, we were almost historied out (as I am sure you
are, dear reader) so strolled back
into Penrith, wondering how we might kill the couple
of hours before the train arrived.
A visit to
the parish church, St
Andrew's, helped considerably.
I know it's even more history but it is an interesting
building with its two tiers of seating (although you
are not allowed upstairs).
Andrew's Church interior
the back was where Tony began to lead me astray,. After
a brief flirtation with The George, which was very old
but far too smart for us, we went into a small old pub, The
Woolpack, which would have
been very pleasant had it not been for the two televisions
blaring away different channels to the interest of nobody
(there only being us, the barmaid and her friend there).
must they do that?
was the Duke of Gloucester, possibly the oldest pub in Penrith, which
had been recently renovated as far as possible given
that, being a listed building, they were not allowed to do anything with the internal
structure. A good thing as it retained its old appearance
and character. Plus a friendly, if slightly over-polite,
Duke of Gloucester
quite the Duke and Duchess
was getting tight so we moved closer to the station
but not before we downed a swifty in The Agricultural
On the train, we engaged in conversation with the
adjacent couple. We explained what we had been
doing. The man was fascinated. It turned
out that his surname was Clifford but he knew nothing
about Lady Anne so I gave him my brochure. What
he did know was how to holiday. He told us of
the many exotic place they had visited and today they
were off to the Cabo Verde islands off the coast of
Africa. When he got older, he kindly said, he would
like to explore the Lake District.
these two old men arrived at the Station which, for those who do not
know the area, is at Oxenholme, just outside Kendal,
Tony phoned for his chauffeuse, Pat, to come
and pick us up.
for any misunderstanding but I thought you would by
now realise that the Station is a licensed premise quite
close to the railway station and we just had time for
another pint before he made the call!
day had been a rather different experience to a normal
outing- perhaps a forerunner of that to which we might
have to become accustomed as limbs and other body parts
refuse to perform sufficiently adequately to take us
up the hills!
she arrived to drive us home, I was able to reassure
Pat that, despite his infatuation with Lady Anne,
Tony was returning home with his virtue intact; a fact
that I am sure would remain equally true had she (Lady
Anne, that is) been born 300 years later!
21st March 2012
day, we may follow more of the Lady Anne Clifford trail
but meanwhile there is a remarkable tribute to her life
to be seen in Kendal.
the Abbot Hall art gallery hangs a triptych,
known as The Great Picture which shows three phases
of Lady Anne's life. Painted in 1646, probably by Jan
van Belcamp, it hung for years at Appleby Castle but
after the building fell into hands that are thought by some to be unsympathetic to the heritage,
the painting was moved to the Abbot Hall in Kendal.
For too long, the central part then lay unseen in
the storage warehouse as it was too big to be brought into
the building. Thankfully,
a large window was temporarily removed, enabling
the panel to be reunited with its side pieces
and, for some of us, is now one of the main attractions
in the gallery.
Lady Anne Clifford Triptych
is a wealth of detail in the picture referring to many
aspects of her life. For further information about
the painting and her life, see The
is also a detailed chapter dedicated to her life in
Clement Jones' 1948 book:
Tour in Westmorland.
would you pronounce Brougham?
Bruffam? Brigham? Or Broom?
Brougham is pronounced "broom".
its origin is the Roman word BROCAVUM meaning "the
place of the badgers".
what is a common name for a badger? Brock, of
presumably once up on a time it was pronounced Brockham
and over the centuries became abbreviated to Broom.
thrown on (and by) the Tank
shows my ignorance. I assumed that the refernce
defence light tank was
to a an armoured vehicle that did not weigh very
L, hoewever, was more enlightened and referred the Brougham
Hall plaque which commemorated
then top secret canal defence light tank project".
a former colleague of ours, the remarkable Dr Phil Judkins,
amongst whose many talents is an expert knowledge of
World War II technologies.
Moonlight, as it was termed, arose from the use of powerful
tank-mounted searchlights with the beams reflected off
low cloud or mist (pretty common around rivers) to give
the attackers a kind of moonlight in which to cross
rivers; most famously, they were used in the crossing
of the Rhine. Generally older tanks like Matildas etc
were used to mount these lights, and one survives at
the Tank Museum, Bovington.
Canal Defence Light Tank
castle iilluminated by Light Tanks
is quite a bit of info if you Google "CDL tank"
as the search term. I came across the notice [about
the CDL tank] when I was excavating a Roman graveyard
near Brougham in the late 1960s, which stimulated me
then to find out the above - but no Google then!
then added from hias research:
seems to be opposite views as to whether this 'funny'
was a war winning device or a complete flop
was nt just an indirect source of light but also
a weapon in its own right - although as it was classed
as highly secret; the military commanders didn't know
about it, so never used it
Castle was also used in this experiment. Allegedly
about £20m spent to create the biggest concrete
caravan park in UK !
find more, see Canal
Defence Light and a for rather fuller account,
CDL tanks at Lowther Castle
21st March 2012
climbed in feet:
Castle, Brougham Hall
Round Table, Mayburgh Henge Penrith
routes ares put online in gpx format which
should work with most mapping software. You can follow
our route in detail by downloading BB1211.
see which Wainwright top (excluding Outlying Fells)
was visited on which BB outing
For the latest totals of the mileages and heights see: BB Log.
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