Saturday, 25 May 2013

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Very tricky this week, much to research and therefore lots of fun. Near as I can figure it, the most likely answers seem to me to be:

Q1. Bridgwater

Q2. The Alfred Jewel

N.B. for question 2, this item is sometimes known as 'Alfred's Jewel'

The initial clues place us in the county of Somerset, specifically the town of Bridgwater, where a cleaning product which sounds like a city a ways to the north ie the Bath Brick, was manufactured. According to some sources, this was made from clay and was patented c1823 by William Champion and John Browne. Some of the references claim that 24 million of these were produced there. A tea merchant and museum founder, who was born in Bridgwater c1835,  is most likely  Frederick John Horniman. The firm W.H & F.J. Horniman was said by one source in 1891 'to be the largest tea firm in the world'.

Around four miles (ish) south east of Bridgwater lies a hamlet called Burrowbridge and it is here that a hill with a ruined church on it (St Michael's) lies, which is known variously as 'Burrow Mump', 'St Michael's Mump' or 'Michelborowe'. I found some references which claim that the mump is around 24 meters or 78  feet high. There are some references which say it may have been a fort of King Alfred c 9th century and a treasure which was found, five miles or so to the north north west in Newton Park, North Petherton c1693, is most likely to be 'The Alfred Jewel', which is believed to have been some kind of ornate pointing device used in ancient powerpoint presentations.

Four miles or so west of North Petherton, lies the 'lost garden' of Fyne Court. It is described as 'lost' because they have done something amazingly sensible and let it return to nature. The Manor house at Fyne Court is said to have burned down in 1894 and was the home of a polymath and poet called Andrew Crosse. The references I checked say that he was known locally as 'The Thunder and Lightning Man', because of his experiments involving electrical discharges from Leyden jars and Voltaic piles. Crosse does seem to have strung copper wires all over his estate in a bid to measure the polarity of the atmosphere during different weather conditions . His poetry was believed to have been inspired by an area of outstanding natural beauty called 'The Quantock Hills'. Samuel Taylor Coleridge is said to have had a cottage at Nether Stowey, which lies around five miles north north west-ish from Fyne Court.

Link to the competition

Where Was I?

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