Local history is endlessly fascinating, isn’t it? Just when you think you know it all, something else turns up…
Just this month we have found new information on two local ‘lost’ paintings and one local ‘lost’ photograph.
A local collector got in touch to say that he had just successfully bid at auction for a photo of Paynsley Hall, which used to sit in the fields not far from the southern end of Blythe Business Park in Cresswell. It was (rather ruthlessly!) demolished a few years ago, even though the main chimney (which you can see in the photo) was thought to be of medieval origin.
The hall had a wonderful history stretching even back beyond the English Civil War when it was the scene of a skirmish between the Roundheads and Cavaliers, after which it had to be rebuilt.
Unfortunately, even the seller knew nothing of the circumstances of the photo. Between us, we have guessed that it is 1950s, or 1940s, era, but that’s it. Would the people in it perhaps be members of the Bostock family, a family with a long history in this district?
If you know anything which would help us, and the local collector, find out more about the circumstances of this photo… please let us know (use the comments box at the bottom of this page).
We’ve covered stories of lost paintings of Draycott on this website before – Mick Bettaney is still searching for one created by his grandfather.
But now we have a painting that has been found!
Mike Knowles wrote to tell us that he has a painting of the old Bird-in-Hand pub, which was at the southern end of Cresswell before being pulled down a few years ago.
He reckons it was painted at the end of the 1950s by Michael D Barnfather, a painter commissioned to create it by Mike’s uncle. Why he commissioned it is not clear….
Mike tells us that he thinks the people relaxing outside the pub are his uncle and aunt – Kenneth George Saxton (known as George) and his wife Mabel Saxton (formerly a Kerry). Mike thinks they may even have owned the Bird In Hand at one stage in the 1950s, but he is not sure, as both have sadly passed away. Can anyone help with more information?
Mike has had the work valued (he was told it was worth around £2000) but he is willing to sell it to anyone who collects local historic artefacts.
Again… If you know anything which would help us find out more about this work… please let us know, we will also be sure to pass your message on to Mike.
The most famous lost ‘local’ painting is of course the one mentioned in Father Bailey’s history of St Mary’s Church. Father Bailey writes: “A Mr Walter Draycott, who came to Draycott from Canada in 1911, says he saw an ancient painting of the original Tudor Paynsley Hall, which was then in the possession of a local resident. He described the hall in the painting as having ‘two tall towers resembling keeps and a high wide doorway between the two towers with a gothic archway or entrance’. The whereabouts of this painting is now unknown.”
Wouldn’t it be great if that turned up again?!
And finally, there is the painting that was given as a gift to the Reverend Doctor Healey when he retired as rector of St Margaret’s in the early 70s.
We know Doctor Healey retired to Harrogate and has since died… do his family still have the painting, we wonder…
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