Saturday, 19 July 2014

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. George Edmund Street

Q2. Wareham

внимание друзья! There seem to be two churches in Kingston, one commissioned by the first Earl of Eldon, which was built in 1833 and one by his grandson, the third Earl, which was designed by George Edmund Street. It does not seem likely that the first Earl (appointed Lord Chancellor c 1801), who died c 1838, would commission an architect who was born in 1824, to design a church for him ( the architect would have been 14 years old), so the Eastender is taking a punt on George Edmund Street being the designer of the later church, which the third Earl built in memory of his grandfather. The church built by the first Earl, may have been designed by his son in law, George S Repton (born 1786 , died 1858).

The initial clues seem to place us in the vicinity of Wytch Farm, in Dorest, which is said to be one of the largest onshore oilfields in Europe. The donkey reference may refer to the type of pumps which are used to extract the precious hydrocarbons, which are known in the trade as 'Nodding Donkeys'. The puzzle author is likely looking east towards Brownsea island, in Poole harbour, which is listed in some sources, as being 500 acres in area.

According to some of his biographies, the painter Augustus John (born c 1878), once lived a mile or so north of  Brownsea island, in a bungalow called 'Alderney Manor', in the Parkstone district of Poole. Augustus John seems to have been a pretty conventional artist, until he hit his head on a rock and subsequently became an eccentric genius. His painting 'Fraternity' shows one soldier lighting the cigarette of another, during WWI.

A lord chancellor appointed c 1801, may be John Scott, First Earl of Eldon, who in some references is said to be buried in the hamlet of Kingston, in Dorset. It is said that his grandson, the third earl, commissioned an architect called George Edmund Street (born c 1824), to design the church (St Jame's) there. Street is also thought to have designed the Royal Courts of Justice in London (which have a hall that is two hundred and thirty feet long). The first Earl also built a church in Kingston, which seems to have been completed c 1833 but how likely is he to have used an architect born c 1824, to design it? (which seems to be what the clues are implying).

Wareham does not look to be anything like eight crow miles from Kingston but nevertheless parts of it sit between the rivers Frome and Piddle/Trent and the OS map does show Saxon walls there. It also seems to be the location of the burial site of king Beorhtric of Wessex (died ad 802) who was married to king Offa's daughter, Eadburh. There are various stories surrounding the death of Beorhtric, some say he was whacked by Vikings, after mistaking their longships for trading vessels and inviting them round for drinks, others say he was poisoned by his wife or died in battle. The Anglo-Saxon chronicles claim that Beorhtric was buried in Wareham. There does seem to have been a fire in Wareham, which destroyed large parts of the town, c 1762


  1. Some sources suggest that John Scott, 3rd Earl of Eldon (1845-1926), and who appears to have commissioned G. E. Street to design St James Church in Kingston, (built sometime between 1873 and 1880), may actually have been the great grandson of the Lord Chancellor, John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (1751-1838). The 2nd Earl, John Scott, (1805-1854) appears to be the grandson of the 1st Earl, since his father the Hon. John Scott b.1774 died within weeks after his own birth in 1805. It would therefore not be a complete surprise that the puzzle author might have become confused as to which Earl of Eldon was which!

  2. I'm not surprised he's confused...... (he's not the only one)..... ;-)