The Baronets Diary

Written By - Sir Richard Ranulph FitzHerbert, 9th Baronet.

Baronets Diary December 2018 - Features Include, Old Friends, On Target and more

By the time you read this we will have opened our Christmas event for the two final weekends of November and the first in December. This year we are turning Tissington Hall into the fantastical world of Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, The Lost Boys and that crocodile… What has exercised David Walker and his magnificent team most in dressing the Hall is: how large a cannon can you put on a pirate ship? The galleon that is The Jolly Roger carries Hook and his dastardly shipmates around the islands in the story but should the cannon be the size of a loo roll tube or rather bigger? On a walk in the fields with the dogs Fiona and I happened upon the much heavier bigger cardboard rolls that serve the wrapping on silage bags! To my mind these were much more the howitzer-size that I had envisaged on this plundering seafaring vessel! Come and see what we second star to the right... did and transport yourself to the world of JM Barrie’s 1911 novel.........

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Baronets Diary November 2018 - Features Include, Judgement Of Wessington, Derbyshire Day and more

It is not often that I am asked to act as a wine-tasting judge in a small tent in a mowed orchard in Wessington late on a Sunday afternoon in September… but that is exactly what I was invited to do by wine buff Barry Lewis for his ‘Judgement of Wessington’! The session was to blind taste a selection of champagnes and English sparkling wines in order to contrast, compare and collate the best in the business – such is the rise in the popularity and consistent quality of English viticulture. Barry had gathered a crack foursome of local connoisseur Will Armitage, Jean-Claude Schmitt (the French, independent wine merchant and owner of The French Wine People in Matlock), Andrij Jurkiw (Derbyshire resident, wine reviewer and writer for Great British Wines), and me (a wine merchant prior to my inheritance). Faced with 14 wines to sample, we set about our task with alacrity and excitement. The wine that came out top was the 2004 Chapel Down Pinot Reserve from Tenterden in Kent.........

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Baronets Diary October 2018 - Features Include, Forbidden fruit, Back on track and more

The Hall guides and I have always explained that the original structure, built in 1609, was joined to a secondary building (known as the Servants’ Wing) around 1902 as per drawings that have survived by architect Arnold Mitchell. There is a plaque on this wing, which we now call the Staff Wing, that I recently had restored by Middleton by Wirksworth stonemasons L Petts & Son. The restoration has revealed an interesting Latin inscription stating the edifice was actually built in 1811. This is fascinating as it reveals that the grandiose building schemes on the Estate were mostly taking place in the early 19th century as the Victorian baronet took over. Now 200 years of weather and grime have been removed and the stone is legible again.........

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Baronets Diary September 2018 - Features Include, Sending out an SOS, Open Mic and more

The theme of one well at this year’s Well Dressings at Tissington has attracted the attention of one of the nation’s greatest naturalists and braodcasters. Yew Tree well’s design was based around the pollution of the seas by debris and waste, even featuring plastic bottles at the bottom. It was picked up on, through social media, by a researcher on Sir David Attenborough’s programmes who forwarded it to Sir David himself. Sir David kindly wrote to the designer, Sarah Allen, saying that he hoped his programmes had inspired the people who created the dressing. His letter is now framed and in pride of place at her home. This year we were delighted to welcome over 30,000 visitors to our celebrations and the teams are already looking forward to next year when Ascension Day takes place at the end of May.........

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Baronets Diary August 2018 - Features Include, Park Life, End Of School Blues and more

It is not often that a zebra turns up in the Arboretum at Tissington Hall but that is what happened on a sultry sunny afternoon in June when Wealth Management company Investec brought Debra the Zebra to their tea party in our grounds. The zebra is the logo of the firm and 20 such animals are kept in a West Midlands store shed from where they are summoned to attend various functions. The Sheffield Investec office entertained over 200 local clients with tea and a garden tour from historian Alison Moller, who has recently completed a dissertation on Tissington Hall Gardens 1600–2000. The event was sparked by our association with the yellow book National Garden Scheme which raises over £5million each year for parklife cancer charities with Investec being their lead sponsor. We hope to welcome these four-legged friends (and their bosses) to Tissington again in the future.........

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Baronets Diary July 2018 - Features Include, Tissington On TV, Community Award and more

In late May we were lucky to host the actor Larry Lamb and his Radio DJ son George atTissington as they filmed a Channel 5 show entitled Britain by Bike. In each episode, George and Larry face a fresh two-wheeled challenge, from crossing over difficult countryside terrain, stopping at remote pubs and hearing tales of highwaymen and dastardly sheep farmers, to cycling past the look-outs on the coast where soldiers kept watch during the war and hearing their stories of bravery. In our episode Larry, well known to viewers of Eastenders, arrives at Herbert’s tearooms in the jalopy (a 1929 Model A Phaeton) of Stephen ‘Toad of Toad Hall’ White from Vintage Adventure Tours of Winster whereas George turns up on his push bike tissington on tv and they settle down for a delicious cream tea! From Tissington the pair toured on to visit Buxton and Poole’s Cavern. Watch out for it on your screens this winter.........

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Baronets Diary June 2018 - Features Include, Sitting Room, Lost and Found and more

Each year the Chairman of the District Council hosts a Civil Service in the Dales. This April Cllr Steve Flitter chose the charming village of Tansley as the venue for his service at Holy Trinity Church. With the congregation representing the wider area of the Dales we were addressed by the incoming Archdeacon of Chesterfield the Venerable Carol Coslett about the value of community and partnership in both our private and formal lives. After that we repaired to the village hall for refreshments at which the Chairman presented three of his Community Awards to unsuspecting recipients who had ‘given outstanding commitment and service to their communities over the past few years’. One such recipient was Janet Pinder from community awards Matlock and the photo shows her receiving the Award from Steve alongside the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire Col John Wilson. Quite a lady, quite an award!........

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Baronets Diary May 2018 - Features Include, Our Church Heritage, Pedal Power and more

There was real irony in the village as ‘The Beast from the East’ finally relented in mid-March and the weather began to thaw. This contributed to a great many burst pipes and teams from Severn Trent were reported to be ‘working through the night’ to get things fixed . The residents of Tissington went without water for one day, then another, and after three dry days our concern turned to complaint with numerous calls and texts to ‘the helpline’. It is sad to report that no one seemed to listen to our particular problems and after six days I resorted to using my local contacts, namely Cllr Barry Lewis, Leader of the County Council. Cattle without water was the worst problem but a word from Barry brought the Severn Trent cavalry with bowsers, technicians and pallets of bottled water. The true irony of this sorry water, water, everywhere episode was that as the village of ‘The Home of Well-Dressing’ (celebrating the life-giving water from natural wells that have never dried up), we had reverted to collecting bottled water from the car park in Ashbourne! Let us hope we are all better prepared next time......

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