Writing and scripts
If I pull open one of the small drawers in the Carlton House desk in the Library, I find a letter to Lord Grantham. It was one of a few, used as props, left behind after the final series.
Whilst Downton fans may think of it only as where Hugh Bonneville, aka Lord Grantham, used to sit to conduct his business affairs, it is part of Highclere and the Carnarvon family’s delight in collecting beautiful works of art as well as practical pieces of furniture. The desk was made probably by Gillows of Lancaster and dates to the 1780’s. It is a distinctive design, with a superstructure of three tiers of small drawers which curve around the sides. It is made from mahogany and satinwood with brass mountings and a leather inlay on which to write.
The name Carlton House references the residence built by the Prince of Wales (later George IV) in London. It was a white stuccoed mansion with many pillars facing St James’ Park and was furnished with nothing but the best, or the most extravagant, depending on your taste and loyalty at the time. The Prince of Wales was always deep in debt, often immersed in scandal and his physical stature reflected his hedonistic lifestyle. Nevertheless he was passionate about art and supported the best of English furniture. This particular desk reflects the period although the term “Carlton House” was not actually attributed by Gillows until 1796. I might have done the same for marketing purposes…
The question is – how much do we actually write today? I can disappear into the archive rooms to read hand written letters and find that it is not just the words on the page that give so much away, it is also the script and handwriting. Letters from 1916 that are scratchy because the soldiers were writing in pencil to Lady Almina to say thank you for their treatment and shaky because they were writing with their other hand, their writing hand having been badly injured, a common injury as soldiers went over the top in the trenches.
Flowing script races across a page from a lady who had fallen in love with Geordie’s grandfather, letters from builders argue a point in precise and angular letters and the wonderful clear script of the 4th Earl reports in his diary that he “rather liked” the American, Charles Adams. Ledgers with lists of staff help me identify families and names whilst letters which say thank you for a marvellous party make me smile when I read them, as I remember the struggle to teach my own son to do likewise.
I still use headed paper and proper envelopes and, whilst my own letters are often somewhat belated, I hope their recipients enjoy them as much as I enjoy receiving them in turn. The handwritten envelopes are a joy to open whereas the barrage of emails blinking at me saying “not read” is much less enticing.
Currently, the ground outside is so parched outside that I can read the outline of some of the previous buildings in the ground. The photo on the left marks a wall which was a Tudor gatehouse dating from 1370, to which Robert Herbert lined up Heaven’s Gate in 1737. So I am trying to match a written outline from 1370 to what I can now see before me in 2018 – “writing” in a different form but nevertheless there for us to see and find continuity.
Some ten years ago, Geordie and I created our Egyptian Exhibition here at Highclere, based on his great grandfather’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun with Howard Carter. Central to my work on the explanations and guidebook was the surviving written Ancient Egyptian script: the hieroglyphs.
Writing and scholars were much respected in ancient Egyptian life and the written word was an integral part of their society. Post Rosetta Stone, it was equally important to our developing understanding of their world. As a result, 3000 years later, we can get a glimpse of how their lives functioned and the philosophies by which they lived. Obviously, one can write just as well using a keyboard but personally I hope we do not lose our dexterity at uniting mind and hand. Writing itself is an adventure but, to me, hand writing gives one a moment to pause, reflect and think – if only about where to start!
Just returned from visiting castles and manor houses of northern England. Loved Highclere. Beautiful gardens. For visitors the weather was beautiful but could see you badly need rain.
What a lovely post to read at work whilst sweltering in this gorgeous sunshine, although the addition of aircon would be welcome in the office too. Even as a 22 year old boy, raised around computers and technology I still find comfort in the form of a hand-written letter. With family abroad, namely America and Australia, it would be far easier (and inexpensive) to email relatives but when birthdays and Christmases come around we always enjoy the exchange of hand-written letters sent through the post.
Also, the reappearance of demolished walls in the grass is also quite comforting. Seeing that now non-existant structures still mark the landscape – highlighting sights people would’ve once seen and how although things may be gone, they will eventually find a time and way to be remembered.
I was looking for the outline of this gatehouse – I have a description (written!) And suddenly it was there and a later “steward” of Highclere Geordie’s ancestor has taken a line to the far hill and built Heaven’s Gate. I sort of think how shortsighted of me not to have put myself in his shoes and thought about the line of sight. I had been looking to the west of where I saw it.
Dear Lady Carnarvon. My apologies if this is not the correct platform to contact you on. The purpose of this comment is really a personal one for me. My name is Alison McLaughlin. I live with my husband and two daughters in a beautiful town called Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, South Africa. During this lockdown period I took the opportunity and time to start watching Downton Abbey. My husband and I are enthralled in this series, like a million others I’m sure. I have become quite obsessed, literally with your breathtaking beautiful castle, especially the many staircases. Just to let you know that my husband and I are entering a new stage in our lives as both of our daughters have now completed their university education and as the saying goes, on the verge of living our family nest. Big changes and big plans are being put into place for my husband and I to immigrate to England . I was born in England but have spent most of my life in South Africa. But I feel its its time for me to return home. My husband is by my side with our new adventure. Both my girls are just as excited. My eldest daughter Megan is currently doing her articles at an accounting firm in Cape town and is involved in a serious relationship with her boyfriend. So not sure at this stage where life my take the two of them. Sarah my younger daughter is with us and looking forward to a new life in England.
Sorry that I’m going of track with this message but what I wanted to share with you apart from being in love with your castle is that I’m a qualified social worker. I’ve been actively looking at social work positions in and around England. There are quite a few possibilities in West Berkshire and low and behold I could not believe how close your castle is to Newbury town. Even if I don’t end up in Newbury, Berkshire, your castle is top of my list to visit. My dream is to sit and have tea, scones and a stroll in the garden and of course to climb up one of your magnificent staircases.
I’m aware that Highclere castle has not been spared from the hardships that Covid-19 has unleashed. And that you have also had to adapt to the changes that this pandemic has bought about.
I wish you, your family and all your staff at Highclere castle much love. Can’t wait to have that cuppa☕⚘
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
The Carlton House desk in Highclere’s library is just beautiful and I picture you conducting estate affairs there as well as your correspondence. Amazingly, in the United States in many schools cursive writing is not on the curriculum!! I myself love writing handwritten cards and letters to my special friends. They thrill with their arrival as a tweet or email never can and I enjoy the “old ways.”
In my mind, there is very much a place for tradition in this changing world. Highclere very much celebrates the old guard while adapting to the times. Hence this blog, a way of communicating in the 21st century. Your readers love it and it brings so much to us who are in love with Highclere Castle, the real Downton Abbey. Thank you for taking the time to write to us each week!!
Ann Catherine Flood
Thank you for “writing” to all of us. I also appreciate hand written letters but think of how many letters you would be writing to capture all of us reading this today. The hieroglyphics were very interesting. As were the marks left on the land from many years gone by. I enjoy your bloggings.
There is something unique in a letter written on paper that an email can never approach. Not only the words, but the energy and emotion of the writer shine forth in the script itself. I, too, treasure the handwritten missive as a tangible connection to the writer that can be enjoyed repeatedly. Have a blessed day!
You can see the emotion – in my research for Catherine I so remember holding a letter written with words that made me cry and was already blotted with tears because she was crying.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
I so agree with you. I love to go to the mailbox and pull out a handwritten letter. I also get that same reaction when I open my email account and see all the unread messages. How delightful to open an envelope with my name handwritten on the front. I do hope that our young people will once again begin to embrace the habit of putting pen to paper.
It doesn’t seem possible that it was two years ago I attended a Victorian Garden Party at Highclere. We had our picture taken with our new updo’s from the Victory Rollers beauty shop, and then later when I gave you my book, The Art of Afternoon Tea. I keep those photos on my desk as a lovely reminder of a magical day when you and Lord Carnarvon opened your home to so many visitors. I enjoy your book often with a nice cup of tea and I especially enjoy the chapter on tea.
Thank you for this lovely post on a subject that is near and dear to my heart.
The ladies from Victory Rollres are back this September for Heroes which I hope will retain the charm of a garden party but offers added thought, remembrance and entertainment!
Dear Lady Carnarvon: How lovely it is to hear of letters that survive after so long a time! I love writing and receiving letters, although with such easy methods of communication as email, true writing seems to be nearly gone. Some of my college students complain that they are unable to read my writing on the classroom whiteboard, since it is what they call “joined-up writing” and is as alien to them as is Sanskrit! Fortunately, though, cursive writing is making a return to some local elementary schools. I adore reading your blog, and have read both the Lady Almina and the Lady Catherine books. Please stay in touch! Sincerely, Reisa
Shall we organise a writing competition?
Thank you so very much for your recent post! I have always felt that a hand written letter or note, particularly if a note of thanks, is the most proper way to give thanks and is more from the heart, rather than a cold e-mail or electronic letter. Unfortunately, this belief has almost gone by the wayside here in the States.
I, to honor my Grandmother’s teachings, will continue to hand write letters and notes.
Blessings to You,
For me, to see the style of writing, brings back for me the romance of the era.
We all have our soft spots in our hearts, and the warmth of someone’s pen, tells a lot about the warmth in there heart!
Have a great day,
Amherst N.Y. U.S.A
What a beautiful desk that is, and what secrets it could tell. What was hidden in those drawers, what was written there, to whom, for what? And mysterious and fascinating are the hieroglyphs you shown, too, as are the ground markings revealing themselves with the parched earth. (‘Really must send you some of our northern Greek weather, we have had the most rainy days for July that I can remember ). I do have a Highclere Castle headed note and envelope from you, Lady C., which is treasured. But so are your blogs with the high tech world and internet, though I do hope writing and paper and pens and mailing via snail mail will never disappear.
I am so sorry to hear of the horrendous fires and tragedy in your country – all our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with you – xx
You are right – I think it is just I hope we do not lose our writing. That and the internet both have a place.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, My husband and I visited on June 23, of this year. It was the best part of our visit to England. I was gifted with your two books and have just finished the first one about Lady Almina Carnarvon. It was exceptional. I found the real families of Highclere had much more interesting lives than the Downton Abbey characters. Your staff was wonderful in helping us to understand the true history of your home. It has been one month today since our visit and I cannot wait to come back again and bring my daughters. Thank you for working so hard to keep us reminded of the important role this estate played in history. As Americans, we do not have nearly as much rich history and coming to visit a place like Highclere was truly and life changing experience.
Sadly the art of letter writing is almost a thing of the past. A have a dear friend and we write letters to each other all the time, it is our way of staying in touch and keeping the tradition alive, even if it is just between two friends.
The Carlton House Desk is so beautiful! If walls could talk oh the wonderful stories your walls would tell!I
Blessings to you and Highclere!
I am trying to help them talk!
Good morning, Lady Carnarvon,
It’s hot here – as seemingly almost everywhere.
I so enjoyed today’s post. I used to be a secretary but they aren’t called that anymore. I was a pretty good typist – but I hate typing with my index finger on this cell phone.
I, too, enjoy the feeling I get when sitting down and picking up my fountain pen (the ballpoint is for business) and letting it put a piece of my heart on a colorful and picturesque note to be touched by other humans on its way to my friend or family.
Business is by its very nature impersonal – I come from a large family of ten children (all grown and scattered) so I see the necessity of email.
But – when I really want to give a little piece of my heart (paraphrase of an old song), I select some lovely stationary and feel the shiny chrome barrel of my pen and watch the ink flow onto the paper.
Then I fold the note and insert it into the envelope, address it, seal it and lastly attach self-adhesive stamp – I just re-entered the 21st century.
Midwest City, Oklahoma
I do so enjoy reading about your written treasures at Highclere ! Nothing is more personal than a handwritten note .
Oh, the New York Times just ran an article on an Irish archaeologist who, having spend decades digging and burrowing, just accidentally discovered, while flying a drone, a 5,000 year old, Neolithic henge (Basically, a fortified enclosure)next to his house in the country. Of course, they’re experiencing an unprecedented drought there, also. go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/science/newgrange-henge-ireland-drone-nyt.html
Thanks for the interesting posting (and, yes, one of your commentators was correct in saying that they don’t teach cursive writing in American schools any longer. Of course, neither do they teach typing (which used to be a year-long course in high-school), every five year old seems know how to do it..
Quail Roost Farm
Perhaps I am just from an old house in an old country but I do feel concern that some children cannot form letters..
Carolyn Dear, Montréal, Canada, July 23, 2018
Letter writing is a dying art, it is so much easier to send electronic mail.
However, I still am an avid letter writer, I carefully choose my paper and
I sometimes use my glass pen with rose scented ink and I seal my letter with
red sealing wax, embossing the wax with a seal. I find that a bit old-fashioned
but rather romantic. Who doesn’t like to receive a rose scented letter?
I enjoyed the article on writing letters.
Dear Lady Carnarvon, I so agree with your assessment of the lost art of written letters. I have the letters my father wrote to his mother during WW2. I have enjoyed reading his thoughts and seeing his dedication to his mother and to me, as he wrote about me many times, asking for her to visit and send him descriptions. I was born 3 months before he was shipped off to India and Burma. We have lost that with this new technology that no one will be able to read in the next 73 years.
Dear Lady Carnarvon. Thankyou for your blog, I enjoy your historical detail. I hope to visit Britain and Highclair Castle someday. It is a shame that the art of handwriting is not taught in our schools in the US anymore! Thankyou again. Teresa Meyer. Seattle, Washington. USA
I find the fact writing is not taught a little sad – the dexterity of our fingers and the pause as you or I look at the pen wondering where to start and the form, strength, flow of the words… each pen or pencil stroke a sound.
Dear Lady Carnarvon thank you sharing. I feel privileged to be able to learn from you about Highclere and Downton Abbey. Again thank you for sharing. God bless.
Time marches on & ‘change’ is not only inevitable, but a sign of life & creativity. As a species we humans are not particularly hardy & only moderately long-lived among the other mammalians in our world. Our ‘gift’, so to speak, is our creativity & adaptability. So along with new ways in the expanding digital world we are trying to harness, ‘script’ is passing. It is useless, & perhaps even stunting, to try to stop this change. Perhaps it would be more useful to figure out a way to preserve the sentiments & composition of the increasingly no longer ‘written’ word–our thoughts. I for one, have a lot of little sub-folders in my Emailer to save particularly interesting or what I consider important missives. But what will happen to all this digital stuff in a computer crash or ‘cloud’ failure?
Meanwhile, I’ve often thought that we, who can still scribble on paper a readable missive, could fund our retirement as scribes!
Good morning Lady Carnarvon,
Reading this blog from you reminded me of a story told by one of my friends. She has a very precocious 9 year old grandson who was just going to celebrate his birthday. So she, with great care, collected her best stationery and carefully wrote out her celebratory message in her best handwriting. When she asked how he had liked the letter he responded rather sheepishly that he actually couldn’t read it because it was in that “joined-up writing”. He had to get his mother to read it to him!
I do a lot of genealogy and love to come across a beautifully written letter or even lists of inventory carefully written in that old script. It is a real shame that many young people will not get to experience that thrill.
I love typing, too, as my handwriting is getting shaky and difficult to form as I age, but there is nothing like a handwritten note.
Thank you for this latest blog – it means a lot.
P. S. I’m hoping each week to see the video of Tressa’s visit!
You will see a video of Tressa’s visit! Justine who sits in the driving seat here in the office is orchestrating edits… we all have to to what she says – normally stay calm.
During this last month my husband and I took a tour within the conservation section of our state library here in South Australia. We followed the preparation of digitising early documents from various aspects of colonial life here. It appears that even though the current generation are so IT savvy, they are totally at a loss when it comes to decoding the “ancient” form we now as cursive! They simply cannot read it, let alone write a script in accurate Copperplate. At 63 years of age I felt quite special knowing that volunteering to decipher this “ancient” text would be an asset to the conservation process of document sharing online. So we await an assignment happily and with a slight smurk. As computers tookover, I encouraged Calligraphy courses for my girls. My parents had such beautifully crafted handwriting and feel sad that this art is disappearing daily. Thank you for more of your words and the time you share with us all, for our benefit. Long live Churston Deckle.
Dear Lady Canarvon
I cannot, cannot, cannot imagine the dryness the photograph contained in your blog depicts. It is the antithesis of what I saw while visiting April 9th week! Everything was completely water logged from weeks of incessant rain–however, it did not diminish the beauty of your home or the kindness of your staff. We are always at the mercy of the weather regardless of generation or birth.
I was enchanted, delighted and deeply privileged to have 3 days at Highclere & it’s mystery resides deep in my heart.
Thank you for your generosity of spirit in sharing and caring.
One extreme to another!
I really miss getting handwritten letters – I have a group of friends that still send thank you notes after our birthday parties and I save them for awhile – as I have saved any letters written to me by my Dad – thanks for all you do – so enjoy reading your blog – it is pretty much the only item in my email that I don’t delete!
I am behind on filing but have drawers full of thank you’s – they remind me of moments I had forgotten ..
I had a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye when I gave my 10-year old Great Grandson his Birthday Card with I thought would be a sweet note. He handed it back and said I cannot read this because it is in cursive. I thought
when these young people try to read notes we left behind they will
be missing out on their history.
Wish we could send you some of our rain to feed your lawns. It has rained almost every day here.
Love reading your Blogs, Thank you!
Brevard, NC, USA
Dear Lady Carnarvon, Thank you so much for sharing these incredible stories. They are truly a gift. I am newly introduced to your blog by Sally Martin. I so enjoyed meeting Sally and can only imagine that her enthusiasm and admiration for Highclere Castle are shared by everyone on the team. What fun! Exciting reading ahead – Cheers
Hello! I so very much appreciate your comments!!
I am also so very appreciative that you continue sending us information about Highclere Castle. I know I will never have the money to actually see Highclere in person, (live in Oklahoma, US) but I will always love watching Downton Abbey and dream of the day I will be there in person. Again, thank you for your sharing.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
While I do write a hand written note for the most special of occasions such as a special birthday, anniversary, or event a letter of sympathy, I find I enjoy perusing your country’s stationary stores. I think the British have the most delicious sense of humor and it is evident in the cards displayed in those shops. I must buy 10-15 every summer while I am there and then get a thrill over the course of the year writing to the person a long note inside who I think will get a kick out of the British humor. As you can see, I am easily amused. I send some to my grandchildren who in turn I hope will take the time to write back. I would hate to have the art of a hand written note disappear as it seems to be doing.
Many thanks for your delightful blog once again.
I do like cards as well! I agree with you.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I have just been sent (via email) a copy of a letter from 1921 written by my Great-grandmother Mary. I too look at her “scrawl” with wonder and delight. She was 84 when the letter was written, but her love of the recipient reaches out over the decades to touch my heart today.
Thank you for this information which adds another dimension, and bless you – from Australia. Anne.
It is unfortunate that the art of writing a letter on paper has deminished,.The other day I had found some sationary with my pervious address on the letter head on it . I can remember writing letters to my friends who I had my freshman year of Carolmont high school, which was in San Carlos, California. We would write letters to one another after I had moved to Fallbrook, California and finished my high schooling there. We would exchange comic strips and tell one another how much we missed each other. Since we had gone to college, which kept us pretty busy, we lost contact with one another.
Like I have said before, please don’t stop writing your blogs,as I enjoy reading them.
Thank you – I am happy writing them !
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This is such a beautifully written essay about writing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. My sister and I visited Highclere yesterday (Sunday, 22 July) and as I stood in the corridor that runs up from the Egyptian Exhibition, you walked out from the kitchens and up the stairs (at about 3:30pm). It was wonderful to see you there, as I was the only other person in the corridor, but I became completely tongue-tied. Please allow me to write the words I wanted to speak aloud to you: Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for opening your home to all of us, and bringing such personal joy to this appreciative Californian.
I wish you had. I was struggling with legal documents and probably prevaricating and getting some tea!
Sadly , cursive writing is no longer taught in American schools. Beautiful scripts that are so characteristic of the writer belong to the era of history.
It was a very good idea to have a writing competition. Why dont you translate it into reality with a topic handpicked by you?
I will give the idea of a topic some thought
I just love writing letters but can’t remember the last one I wrote or received. When I was a child we had pen pals. It must be the best thing to discover all the letters you have tucked away around your home. I would never get bored…..
Thank you so much for your wonderful Blog. I have recently joined your group and I am really enjoying it. I am a obsessive Downton Fan and I love reading about all the history and adventures At Highclere I hope to visit you sometime in the near future Thank you again from Canada
I hope you will visit!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I was not able to read your blog until this evening here in Florida. But the contents struck a chord with me as I see it did with so many.
I have Grandchildren and Great Granddaughters who are not being taught cursive in school anymore. It is a travesty!!!! I, too am doing research into my genealogy. When I come across an old document, usually from a Church record in England, I am captivated by the beautiful script they produced. It is ART! Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when the schools will teach courses that should be left to the parents, but will not teach what parents send them to school to learn? Shameful. Just shameful. I still send our Christmas Cards to our friends. I get very few in return, but I send them anyway. I totally agree with you that the written word hold power to evoke emotion. I pray our children do not lose this gift of words.
Thank you for sharing so generously. This will go into the Highclere file on my computer. I love reading them over again!
Linda Sue Smith
It is art and our art started around old bibles with ornate letters.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I enjoyed you blog his morning and the thoughts of how the computer has taken over etiquette makes me squeamish at times.
The conversation came up recently with my daughter over how she planned to address the envelopes of her wedding invitations. I voiced my opinion about not appreciating receiving wedding invitations or Christmas cards addressed with a label made by a computer. She acknowledged my opinion and no discussion pursued. When it came time to having her invitations addressed, she handed the box of invitations to me with the list of names and addresses, with great big smile and a kiss on the cheek. Some people would be horrified of this action but I am delighted to do this job.
Please keep continue your musings of Highclere, between your blog and the books you have written, I enjoy sharing your knowledge with family and friends.
I think you think about each person as you write their name on an envelope..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a beautiful post on the art of letter writing! Your post struck a chord with me today.
How much do we, as a society, write? Sadly, very little. Schoolchildren are only taught handwriting from kindergarten through the third grade. Christmas letters or cards are professionally printed by Shutterfly nowadays. (Although they are gorgeous, it is such a pleasure to read a heartfelt handwritten note too!) Business documents and children’s report cards are all signed electronically.
During a recent visit to Seattle, my aunt and I looked through an old family scrapbook with photos taken in Scotland, Canada and the USA and especially enjoyed seeing the letters. The photos were stunning – cousins dressed in WW1 nurse uniforms, a young child playing the bagpipes and beautiful family portraits. Then I discovered a Scottish cousin’s handwritten letters from 1944. What a revelation! Her letter gave me a glimpse into her life during the war years. It was so interesting to read.
In the future, let’s hope these beautifully written letters don’t become as antiquated as Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Woodlands, Texas
P.S. This is one of my favorite posts!! I love the writing competition idea!
Thank you I hope our writing does not disappear!
I had to respond to your recent post about writing letters as I was writing one just this morning to my son who is in training for a new job. His wife posted a request on Facebook to send him cards/letters since he was leaving his seven month-old son for awhile and it would be difficult for him. This particular son of mine used to write me letters in college and enjoyed receiving them as well. It’s a lost art, but I agree, we can’t lose it completely.
Thank you so much for being one of the wonderful people who takes care of Highclere! I hope to get there some day. In the meantime, I’ll keep watching the Downton Abbey series and reading your blog!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am in total agreement with you about writing, both in skills, and in
being able to express the meaning of which you have set out to accomplish.
I had an instructor in my Secondary years – very strict about women and printing. She insisted the female sex should only express themselves with a flowing cursive. In the end, although not my favorite teacher, I did learn from her, and actually enjoy both printing and cursive. I was always under the impression that if I wanted to truly get to know someone well, we should write to one another and express our feelings. It really does work, at least for me. I have always felt that I could say more with the pen, and hopefully, the reader will understand me as a person.
It’s wonderful that you’ve found those letters, and also are continuing to further the study of your husband’s ancestors. I think that is very important work.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON,
AS ALWAYS I HOPE YOU’RE HAVING A WONDERFUL DAY AND THANK YOU FOR JUST BEING SO GRACIOUS AND ENCOURAGING TO YOUR HIGHCLERE FANS.
A very nice read this morning with coffee. Thank you for sharing. The pictures of the parched lawn look much different from when I visited Apr4th this year when visitors cars were parking on the sodden lawns! The rain did not dampen our spirits tho.
Lady Carnarvon, I love the way you appreciate history and write about it. You make it so interesting. I know what you mean about sitting down and reading through old letters. I have inherited boxes of them from my mother, her mother, and some even older. We have Queen Victoria programs, news clippings, letters, postcards, photos, albums, etc. It is fun going through them and remembering how simpler life used to be. I fear the future will not have the same opportunity to learn about our lives and times. Our written words will be “deleted.”
A fascinating post~I miss the age of written correspondence, especially through postcards. I have several postcards and letters to and from my grandmother that date to the early 1900’s.
How wonderful to have that letter from the Downton Abbey series! That is a treasure.
I am sorry for the lack of rain, but it is fascinating that the old gatehouse footprints emerged! Thank you for sharing that photo. I have been watching the weather with interest and I see that the London area has had some rain recently. I am so pleased!
Dearest Lady Carnarvon:
I have been dreaming of Highclere Castle ever since I saw a special on English Manor Homes on 60 Minutes a number of years ago. I long to visit England and come to your Castle! I did watch all of Downton Abbey so that I could see the house, but of course, we only see a few of the rooms, but it was wonderful to see anyway! I am pleased that having Downton filmed (and other productions) there has helped to restore this historic building. It was so sad to see the condition of some of the upper rooms in the CBS special.
It is fascinating how the browned grass is showing where other structures once stood. It is exciting that you were able to discover what some of them were.
It is true that hand writing is no longer valued in our society, it was something that I was taught and I have beautiful penmanship. This blog entry has inspired me to start writing notes again to loved ones and friends.
I hope I can visit one day, it is a dream of mine.
Excellent post. Our handwriting is a the history of our life. It is absolutely true that there is something about those yellow tinted envelopes that make us curious. For those of us that were born in the 20th century; most, believe in writing. We must move with time but only if we learn to use our minds to learn computers later. Instead of buying pre-printed cards, I write my own message every time I can. If I cannot write letters, I write notes, and a diary. … and messages. My uncle on my aunts side was a poet. And, another special person whom was also a writer and poet. If only more people would express there emotions on paper the way it is done on your summary.
I hope you kept the “letter to Lord Grantham” prop! Do you have a box or scrapbook or other specific place for your keepsakes from the Downton Abbey filming? I think that would be another special legacy or box of memories for future researchers!
I rather agree – good idea