Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I don't have a library as such; I'd be lucky to have two dozen books that I won't part with. If I buy a book I either hand it to my daughter, or take it to the local Op Shop and come home with half a dozen more! I always recycle them as I don't like reading a book twice. If we have house guests, they're welcome to take a book home. On the other hand, my husband has a wonderful library; about 800 piscatorial, as he's a fly-fisherman.

One that I still haven't finished but pick up in between books and read a little more of is Bright Tapestry by Margaret M. Pearson. The first edition was in 1956; I have the second reprint. The frontispiece says, 'The Story of the Stately Homes of England - their History, their Ghosts, Witches, Highwaymen, Mermaids and other Strange Connexions'. It has eight plates in 'half-tone' and nine maps and plans.

Warwick Castle

A Room in Warwick Castle

The inside flyleaf states, 'If anyone needed convincing that history was stranger than fiction they could not do better than dip into Bright Tapestry by Margaret M. Pearson, a book about the personalities behind some of the famous homes of England. For every situation that has ever been devised by poet, dramatist, or novelist, will be found in these pages: murders, abductions, witchcraft, escapes, duels, impersonations, infidelities, bribed witnesses, executions, brawls, all are here and all are part of the bright tapestry background that is the history of these islands.
Readers will discover a link between the Olympic Horse Trials at Badminton and the minstrels of old Tutbury Castle; between the Earl Marshal and Lady Godiva; between Sir Winston Churchill and Sir Francis Drake.
Many of the houses and castles belonging to the families involved are still standing (in 1956), and can be visited. The author has thoughtfully provided information about them after each chapter. The book ranges over the whole country, following the tangled history of some of our most historic houses and their occupants.'

Interestingly, my husband's family owned a farmhouse on the edge of Dartmoor National Park that was said to have been part of the Estate of Sir Francis Drake. Hubby took the above pics.


willow said...

I must see if my library has this book. It's right up my little alley. Thanks for sharing! :)

Coccinella said...

It's an interesting exercise to undertake when you have a quiet moment to go and look for them, 53 years after the book was written. A lot no longer exist.

Raby Castle, Richmond
Corfe Castle, Corfe
Bambury's Alnwick Castle
Barbican, Alnwick
Syon House
Blickling Hall
Hever Castle
Warwick Castle
Hatfield House
Knole, Kent
Wolfeton House
Buckland Abbey, Plymouth
Audley End
Lacock Manor