Bacton, is a short hop NW of Abbeydore. The Hoskyns family lived in the village at Morehampton Park which is now a farm, and it is believed that James 1 enjoyed entertainment here in the form of twelve morris dancers – all aged over 100. Now that would have been quite a sight!
The church stands in a glorious position overlooking the Golden Valley and the River Dore, and within there is a magnificent monument, for Blanche Parry. She was the Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Chamber and was keeper of Her Majesty’s jewels as well as being her confidante and she also carried out very important duties. She was actually eventually buried in St. Margarets, Westminster, but had earlier expressed a wish to be buried at Bacton and the monument was made in the late 1500s with this in mind. Although empty, it is hugely important because it is the earliest known depiction of Elizabeth 1st as an icon, as Gloriana.
Blanche is shown kneeling, with Queen Elizabeth in the role of Saint Faith.
Blanche donated a beautiful silk altar cloth to the church
A snapshot of time in the mid 1800s – this gives a glorious insight into life at that time.
“Bacton Villa near Abbey Dore was the scene on Friday last of much festivity on the occasion of the coming of age of Mr. J.H. Hamp. A mixed brass band arrived at Bacton about half past seven o’clock and the bells of Abbey Dore and Bacton commenced ringing, continuing with the fire of cannon, throughout the day. Some time since a Committee was formed to collect subscriptions, which which were purchased an ox, a wagon load of bread, a quantity of cider and two fat sheep.
A procession was formed at the Lion Inn, and accompanied by the band, with the ox ready for the spit, bread, five hogs heads of cider in three wagons drawn by 15 grey horses richy caparisoned with rosettes etc., advanced to the residence of Mr. Hamp where it arrived about twelve o’clock. The concourse of persons on foot and horseback was numerous and the procession was a mile in length and it is calculated that there were two to three thousand persons present. There were several flags with the procession and at Dore were two triumphal arches having the words “long life and happiness to John H. Hamp Esq.” surmounted upon the one, and on the other which was very tastefully decorated, and placed at the entrance to the lawn, “Welcome!”
Eventually, after lengthy speeches……..
“The beef and mutton, with the accompaniments of bread and cider, having been satisfactorily disposed of, a succession of all kinds of rustic games took place – girls running races for bonnets and gown pieces; boys for hats; others leaping the brook, climbing a greasy pole, bobbing for sixpences in a tub of water etc. In the afternoon there was a dance upon the green, with Mr. Hamp leading off with a lady from Ross and the visitors at Bacton joining in the animated throng.
At night a brilliant display of fireworks took place, after which again there was a dance within doors and a healthy enjoyment was kept up until morning.!
If any dear reader has a specific interest in the Hemp family of Bacton, then I have a great deal of information on them – just ask!