On Sunday 16 October we held our ‘Special Event Run’ with a Drama run from Newport Pagnell to Gayhurst for the action
Stop 1 Trig Pillar
Narrator David J (Social) Debbie (Step Up)
Stop 2 View to Gayhurst House
Estate Agent1 Sheila Estate Agent2 Juliet
Stop 3 Gayhurst Church
Carlile Glen Interviewer Sheila
Stop 4 Sir Francis Drake Pub/Lodge House
Francis Drake Steve Estate Agent Juliet
Stop 5 Side View of Gayhurst House
Narrator1 Emma Narrator2 Juliet
Digby Sheila Policeman John
Bonus Footage – Social Group – Gayhurst Bridge
Director, Social run lead – Martin
Script – Sheila
Filming – Simon B
Step Up lead – Debbie D
Photos – MGB
Stop 1 The trigpoint
Narrator: What is a trigpoint?
Trigpoints are the common name for “triangulation pillars”.
These are concrete pillars, about 4′ tall, which were used by the Ordnance Survey in order to determine the exact shape of the country. They are generally located on the highest bit of ground in the area, so that there is a direct line of sight from one to the next. By sitting a theodolite (an accurate protractor built into a telescope) on the top of the pillar, accurate angles between pairs of nearby trigpoints could be measured. This process is called “triangulation”.
A major project to map out the shape of Great Britain began in 1936. The network of 6,500 triangulation pillars, with accurately known positions, led to the excellent OS maps which we enjoy today. The coordinate system used on these maps is known as the “National Grid”, and it is essential that you are familiar with this system if you are to get the most of OS maps.
Stop 2 View of Gayhurst House
Narrator: Well, here we are deep in rural Buckinghamshire – a quiet spot where not much happens. …. (PAUSE) But what if we delve into the past maybe more has happened than meets the eye.
Over there is our first view of the magnificent Grade I-listed Elizabethan country manor, Gayhurst House. whose grounds were laid out by the famous Capability Brown.
It was built on the site of a Roman villa, was given by Elizabeth 1st to Sir Francis Drake and was later home to the Digby family of Gunpowder plot infamy. But we’ll hear about these later.
It is now separated into exclusive apartments.
But would YOU like to live here and just how much would it cost you?
Estate agent tour – 2 Estate Agents showing everyone round.
Estate Agent1: Hello I’m (Name of actor) from Town and Country Properties. Thank you for coming to this house viewing today. I hope you are ready to be impressed beyond measure
We at Town and Country Properties are delighted to bring to market a stunning property that will challenge the notion that you can’t have it all.
Estate Agent 2: Yes we’re talking about Gayhurst Court (formerly known as Gayhurst House) – a historic, beautiful absolutely stunning Grade 1 listed Elizabethan Mansion which is steeped in History. The earliest house dates from the 1520s.
It is now divided into several stunning properties.
These small number of highly exclusive properties are rarely available and are much sought-after. Located near the village of Gayhurst they are handy for the M1, Newport Pagnell and the metropolis of Milton Keynes.
Estate Agent1: Our property today is a truly impressive 5 bedroom mews house – and my little presentation will demonstrate just how many superlative stunning spectacular and completely over -the-top statements I can actually make in just two minutes.
It is set within Gayhurst Court and boasts 3000 sq ft, a stunning (there’s one) reception room with vaulted ceiling, off road parking, 2 double garages, and very rare private garden.
This property is in the most beautiful stunning (there’s another) open setting situated amongst several acres of beautifully maintained gardens and woodlands, with tennis courts, a historic Church and countryside views and so much more.
Estate Agent 2: Internally this spectacular (there’s a third) property has been tastefully improved. Crammed full of character (did I mention that it was stunning?) it has numerous attractive features which include a spacious sitting and dining area offering views over the formal gardens, spectacular chandeliers, architrave, stunning (there’s a third) open fireplaces, very fine cornicing, high ceilings, impressive windows, some of them shuttered, and historical panelling. and recent redecoration finishes this room off beautifully.
The kitchen and breakfast area benefits from an absolutely spectacular granite work surface and herringbone flooring. There are five bedrooms offering stunning (are you keeping count?) views over the tennis courts and countryside. There are several stunning refitted four-piece bathrooms with separate cloakrooms, all refitted to a very high standard.
Estate Agent 1: If you wish to have a viewing of the inside of the property we at Town and Country Properties can arrange this with the current owners. Mr and Mrs Loadsamunny This property is being sold with no onward chain. Set in an idyllic (some may say stunning) 10 acre plot, it is on the market for a guide price of £1,250,000.
Estate Agent 2: And so Ladies and Gentleman We’ve come to the end of our little presentation. Please feel free to stay and look around at your leisure and if you have any questions just don’t ask us cos we’ve finished for the day and we’re off to the pub.
Narrator: Now follow us to the next stop where we will hear about a recent owner of the house.
Stop 3 The Churchyard Narrator Carlile Interviewer
Narrator: So – we’re going to hear about one of the houses more recent owners.
In 1882 William Walter Carlile lived here in Gayhurst House and remained here until his death in 1949.
He was a well-known and well-liked local philanthropist.
In his younger days he loved sporting activities and was a more than proficient oarsman and loved hunting, shooting and fishing. He travelled widely. Gayhurst was filled with big game trophies and interesting relics form his big game hunting expeditions to India and Africa. Some of his happiest hours were spent walking the Gayhurst Estate, with his dog. For 35 years he was chairman of the Stoke Goldington Parish Council.
But don’t just take my word for it – let’s ask the man himself.
The Carlile interview
Interviewer: (Trying to be enthusiastic) So William Walter Carlisle You were born on 15th January 1862 the only son of J W Carlile at Ponsborne Manor, Herts. and you were educated at Harrow and Clare College, Cambridge.
Carlisle: (with a really boring voice) Yes that’s correct
Interviewer: (enthusiastically) So tell us a little about your life in the armed forces.
Carlisle: (even more boring and nerdy voice) Well I was commissioned into the 2nd West York Yeomanry Cavalry as a Second Lieutenant on the 12th of February 1887. About a year later I transferred to the Royal Buckinghamshire Hussars Imperial Yeomanry. Then just over a year later I was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. I resigned my commission on the 10th of May 1897.
Interviewer: (Trying to remain enthusiastic) And you were a lifelong Conservative
Carlile: Yes. I stood for Parliament in 1892 but was defeated by the Liberal candidate, Sir Herbert Leon by 449 votes.
Interviewer: And did that deter you at all?
Carlile: No not at all. In 1895 the situation was reversed and I got in with a majority of 436, then retained the seat in the 1900 election when I got 417 votes more than the Liberal fellow, Mr Beaumont.
Interviewer: (Getting bored) And how long did you remain a Conservative MP
Carlile: Nearly 11 years without a break. Gave up in 1905
Interviewer: And I understand that despite being one of the first MPs to drive a car you maintained your habit of travelling by a horse drawn coach, pulled by four horses most of this time.
Carlile: (Thinking he’s being interesting) Yes well, one day the car broke down when I was nearly at the end of my journey and I had to be towed home by a four-wheeler. Just not reliable
Interviewer: I understand that you became an OBE in 1923 and in 1928 was made a baronet in the King’s Birthday Honours List.
Carlile: Yes the funny thing about that was with the letter there was also a bill for £282 for administration and stamp duty!
(Interviewer suddenly completely changes demeanour and sort of comes out of ‘role’)
Interviewer: No sorry this is boring – (Reading from a list – reciting in a bored way) Let’s just skip a lot of these questions So you were in the army, became an MP for 11 years and lived here for a bit. Got involved in the First World War, got decorated quite a bit and became a magistrate and an alderman and have been an all-round good egg locally. Now If you can’t come up with anything more interesting for the audience I shall have to terminate this interview.
Carlile: (Speaking tentatively and hopefully) Well I was a member of the Gayhurst rowing club in 1885
Interviewer: (incredulous) AND? That’s interesting???
Carlile: Er – My second wife, Blanche, founded the North Bucks Lace Association
(Starts warming to the subject) The object of this Association was to encourage the cottagers to make lace in their own homes –articles such as fichus, lace-trimmed handkerchiefs, tea cloths, fans and children’s frocks. ………
Interviewer: (interrupting ) No, no sorry – that’s just not interesting
Carlile: (Thinking hard) How about – when I retired as an MP, I was presented with an illuminated address book containing the names of over 2000 subscribers, and a large silver bowl with the inscription ‘1895 — 1906’. The Mrs. was presented with a diamond and pearl tiara.
Interviewer: (completely exasperated) Oh come on you do better than that
Carlile: Er….. well I loved all outdoor sports, was great at engineering and I loved music.
Carlile: (tries again) The Gayhurst pack of hounds once killed a fox in the dining room -great excitement.
Interviewer: Now that’s better
Carlile: Another of my interests was conjuring. I was pretty good at it and was asked to join The Magic Circle.
Interviewer: Now – not many people know that
Carlile: …. and I was 87 when I died in 1949
Interviewer: I think you just died here
(Carlile and the interviewer walk off)
Narrator: (Appealing to the audience) Well how else could we have made it more interesting?!!!!!!
And we’re now going on to our next location – so follow me.
Stop 4 The Sir Francis Drake pub Narrators 1&2 QE1
Sir Francis Drake Estate Agent
Narrator 1: We’re standing outside the lodge that used to be the Sir Francis Drake public house – named after the famous sailor. It’s now a private house again.
In 1581 The Gayhurst Estate was given to Sir Francis Drake by Elizabeth I in recognition of his famous circumnavigation of the world which took him 3 years.
After 3 years, long given up for dead, the Plymouth residents were amazed to see Drake and the small ship return into Plymouth Harbour. He landed the Golden Hind full of treasure and jewels, worth the equivalent of half a billion pounds in today’s money, at nearby Saltash, and in the process became one of the most famous men in the world.
Narrator 2: The journey remains one of the greatest voyages in history. On a ship barely 100 feet long, weighing 120 tons, with rudimentary navigational aids, Drake had sailed right around the globe and brought back almost unimaginable treasures.
Now take yourself back in time – about 440 years. It’s 1581 and Sir Francis Drake is talking to Queen Elizabeth 1st. It might have gone like this:-
Queen Elizabeth: (very posh) You have done well Francis. One is pleased with one.
Sir Francis: Well, I do me best, your maj
Queen Elizabeth: One is very pleased that you have managed to go all of the way round the world and returned to us even though it’s took you 3 years.
Sir Francis: Thank you, your maj
Queen Elizabeth: And am I right in saying that you were in one of those boat thingys that are very popular nowadays.
Sir Francis: Yes, that’s right – The Golden Hind it was called – largest one of the 5 that left – 120 tons of it!
Queen Elizabeth: Even though you’re the only one of the boaty things to actually return, one will turn a blind eye to that.
Sir Francis: Very good of you, your maj.
Queen Elizabeth: The Golden Hind you say. I see and this boat was HOW big?
Sir Francis: 100 feet long, your maj
Queen Elizabeth: This ‘cruise’ of yours – was it easy?
Sir Francis: Oh no your maj. The hardship we endured! Overcrowding, primitive conditions and 36,000 miles. Only bought 56 men back with me.
Queen Elizabeth: Well, that was very careless of you. Just don’t make a fuss. And I hear you went to India and Madagascar – (an afterthought) wherever they are
Sir Francis: Certainly did your maj. Couldn’t come back the quick way – the Spanish were waiting for us so we had to go looking for the North West Passage.
Queen Elizabeth: Oh yes -The Northwest passage. And did you find it?
Sir Francis: Oh no your maj. It doesn’t get charted properly for another 250 years.
Queen Elizabeth: That is indeed a problem.
Sir Francis: Had to go across the open Pacific Ocean to Japan, past the north coast of Australia, Indonesia and the Spice Islands, India, Madagascar and around the African continent via the Cape of Good Hope.
Queen Elizabeth: One is getting very bored with this list of countries.
Sir Francis: well you know I always say ……..
‘It isn’t that life ashore is distasteful to me. But life at sea is better.’
Queen Elizabeth: I shall remember that – that is a great saying. You may be remembered for that – by some in the future – but, judging by the audience, not many.
And remind me just HOW much gold did you bring back?
Sir Francis: half a ton your maj
Queen Elizabeth: Good
Sir Francis: Oh yes and 26 tonnes of silver
Queen Elizabeth: Very good
Sir Francis: ………………….and thousands of coins
Queen Elizabeth: Very, very good
Sir Francis: ……………….and pieces of jewelery and jewels
Queen Elizabeth: (annoyed) alright don’t go on about it.
(back to posh smarminess) I see One is VERY pleased VERY pleased indeed. I’m going to give you a reward. I am going to give you Gayhurst Hall and all the buildings and land around it
Sir Francis: Well thank you very much your Maj. Much appreciated. I will look after them well
Sir Francis Drake: Right, I need an estate agent immediately. Are you an estate agent?
Estate Agent: I am
Sir Francis: Just how much is the property worth?
Estate Agent: A very large sum indeed Sir Francis but surely you want to keep it since the queen bestowed it on you.
Sir Francis Drake: (Thinks a bit – very briefly) No no – I’ll sell it. How quickly can you arrange it?
Estate Agent: Well, it just so happens I have an interested buyer. Tomorrow any good?
Sir Francis Drake: Done
Narrator 1: The facts are correct just maybe the actual wording not! Queen Elizabeth DID give Gayhurst House to Sir Francis Drake as a reward for circumnavigating the world and, yes, he DID sell it the very next day – that’s just how grateful he must have been!
He actually sold it to a William Mushlo whose daughter it was that a man called Everard Digby married – but we will hear about that story at our next stop.
Stop 5 Everard Digby 2 Narrators Digby Policeman
Narrator 1: In 1596, Everard Digby married William Mushlo’s daughter, Mary, who brought with her Gayhurst House.
So who is or was Everard Digby?
Narrator 2: Everard Digby was one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. The Gunpowder Plot was hatched by disillusioned Catholics, upset with the new King James who had pledged, but failed, to ease restrictions and punishments for practising Catholics. After assassinating the King by blowing up Parliament during its opening session, the conspirators planned to kidnap the child Princess Elizabeth and install her on the throne as a Catholic Queen.
Narrator 1: Everard Digby became involved through a chance meeting in October 1605 with Robert Catesby who asked him to swear an oath of secrecy before telling him about what later became known as the Gunpowder Plot.
So Digby came late to the plot, and it is not completely clear exactly how much he knew. His main job was to organize the group who were to capture the Princess Elizabeth at a so called ‘Hunting Party’ he was to arrange.
Narrator 2: As we know the plot was foiled a few days before it was due to be carried out when authorities received an anonymous letter informing them of the plot.
Around midnight on 4 November Guy Fawkes was discovered guarding the gunpowder the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords, and arrested.
The remaining conspirators all took flight to hide.
Digby is arrested (Knock on the door and Digby opens it)
Digby: Good day, officer.
Police: Everard Digby?
Digby: Yes that’s me. How can I help you?
Police: We’ve had a complaint from the man in the local hardware shop. He says (looks at his notebook)
‘The man was very, very annoying and wasted a lot of my time’. Is that right
Digby: No… No…. It was just a misunderstanding.
Police: Did you or did you not go into his hardware shop last week and ask for ‘four candles’?
Digby: Yeh that’s right four candles. Needed to light up a dark cellar. Only he said to me ‘What do you mean handles for forks?’ So I said ‘No four candles’. Weren’t my fault he’d already got the handles for forks out of the back room.
Police: And did you or did you not then say ‘I’ll have 3 boxes of matches too’
Digby: Yep, you’ve got me there. Obviously needed to light the candles – among other things.
Police: And would those other things happen to involve the gunpowder you then asked for?
Digby: No no no no no …. yes
Police: And then did you proceed to ask for (looking in note book again) ‘O’s’
Digby: That’s right ‘ose.
Police: Was this to make a sign outside this very dwelling … a sign like ‘Mon Repose’ (although I notice that there is no ‘O’ in Gayhurst Hall – but then strangely there IS in Gayhurst Lodge)
Digby: No no nothing like that. I wanted ‘ose
Police: I see. And did you watch while the man climbed into the loft to find his box of metal letters and then when he came back tell him that it was ‘ose you wanted
Digby: Yeh well that was a mistake too. Thought that’s where he kept the ‘ose – you know like tights – for me legs. Had Robert Catesby and my old friend Guy Fawkes arriving and my old ones were laddered.
Police: Oh yes Fawkes We already have him in custody and
Catesby has come to a sticky end too
Digby: (Shocked) Why what’s happened to him.
Police: Never you mind, my man. And just what were you going to
DO with all these things?
Digby: Er no not ME. I got them for someone else.
Police: Oh yes and who might that be
Digby: Oh it was them gentlemen in the cellar- you know under
the Houses of Parliament. Oops – I wasn’t meant to say that.
Police: That’s all we need to know sir. Now, I shall have to ask
you to accompany me to the station and then on to the
Tower of London.
Digby: It’s a fair cop.
(Policeman arrests him and they go off)
Narrator 1: He was the only member of the Gunpowder Plot conspiracy to plead guilty. He was captured on 8 November in Warwickshire. And, yes, taken to The Tower.
Robert Catesby and 3 other conspirators were killed by the Sheriff of Worcester’s men on the same day.
It appears that Digby was fortunate not to suffer the fate of Guy Fawkes, who was tortured on several occasions while in the Tower.
Narrator 2: He was tried the following January and found guilty of high treason. Three days later was hanged, drawn and quartered. Not a pleasant thing to have happen.
Details you say??? (Feigning reluctance) Oh alright then.
Narrator 1: Throngs of spectators lined the streets as he was strapped to a wattle hurdle was dragged by horse to the western end of St Paul’s Cathedral. Churchyard. Digby was the first of the four fellow conspirators to face the executioner.
He was stripped of his clothing, except for his shirt. He climbed the ladder and was hanged for a short period. The executioner cut the rope, and Digby fell back to the scaffold, wounding his forehead. Fully conscious, he was taken to the block and castrated, dis-embowelled, and quartered.
Narrator 2: Well you did ask…!!
Digby has no grave; in keeping with custom for executed traitors, his body was placed on public display outside the Tower of London, after which the remains would have been thrown into the Thames River and lost forever.
Narrator 1: And so to the split in our run. The social run will carry on and the step-up run will turn and retrace our steps.
See you for coffee!