British Heritage: May 1997 Letters

9/23/1997 • British Heritage Archives


The ‘Is That A Fact?’ department (December/January 1996/1997, page 70) states ‘There is no way to prove that theheart [found under the Melrose Abbey chapter house] belonged to Bruce.’ That is not a fact. DNA analysis coulddemonstrate with a very high degree of probability (the scientific version of ‘proof’) whether the Melrose heart camefrom the individual buried at Dunfermline Abbey, presumably the person whose skull has been knocking about themuseum in Edinburgh these many years (and, one assumes, the source of Mr. Hill’s cast). The archaeologists atHistoric Scotland know about this, and scientists at many British universities are quite capable of doing theprocedure. Whether Historic Scotland wants to try the experiment is another matter. An entertaining speculation:suppose DNA analysis showed the heart, the buried remains, and the skull came from three different individuals?Now that would let the fox in amongst the chicks!

Christian E. Hauer, Jr., Ph.D, FSA
Consulting Archaeologist
Huntsville, Alabama



The letter from John T. Butler (December/January 1996/1997, page 4) brought back memories of wartime England and especially of BBC Radio programmes. I recall Gillie Potter and his little lectures, though I don’t remember the subject of any of them. My age during those years was a single digit! If memory serves me, Gillie Potter was featured in a regular never-to-be-missed programme called ‘Monday Night at Eight.’ The introductory jingle went something like this:

It’s Monday night at eight o’clock.
Oh, can’t you hear the chimes?
They’re telling you to take an easy chair;
And settle by the fireside,
Get out your Radio Times–
‘Monday Night at Eight’ is on the air.

Several characters appeared regularly on the show. I seem to remember Harry S. Pepper’s ‘Puzzle Corner’ and a man with a rich north-country accent who would begin each monologue with, ‘The day war broke out, my wife said to me. . . .’ I’m sure that Mr. Butler has jogged better memories than mine, and I hope you’ve been hearing from many readers who can recall those radio characters who played what may appear to have been an overrated role in our lives in those days.

Molly Stockton, Tucson, Arizona


REMEMBERING GILLIE POTTER I am old enough to remember Gillie Potter from when I lived in England; however, I do not recall ever hearing ofthese lectures published in book form.

I would suggest that John Butler (December/January 1996/1997, page 4) writes to the BBC or asks Britishbookseller, such as Hatchards of Piccadilly, or W. H. Smith and Sons. Even more likely, ask Barnes & Noble (inAmerica) who seem to be very adept at routing out old British publications.

Cyril Lavender, Houston, Texas

Editor’s note: Hatchards can be reached at 0171 437 3924; W. H. Smith at 0171 730 1200, and BBC LondonRadio at 0171 224 6868.


For many years I lived and worked in the Eastwood area and was a member of the Nottinghamshire Constabularly. I was shocked to learn from the heading of the article ‘D.H. Lawrence Country by Linda Hart (October/November 1996, page 48) that Eastwood in Nottinghamshire has moved to Derbyshire. While Derbyshire is the next county, the county border is at the bottom of the hill from Eastwood at Langley Mill (near the railway station).

The author failed to mention Law- rence’s book Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Locals will tell you that Lawrence apparently had a ‘bone to pick’ with Major Sir Phillip Barber, a decorated handicapped First World War veteran who was said to be the model for the husband of Lady Chatterley. The Barber family owned the local coal mines (prior to nationalization) and considerable lands in the area. My father worked for the Barbers and lived in a tied cottage on their estate.

My wife and I were married in St. Mary’s Church at Greasley, an edifice built in the late 1200s. Buried in the churchyard is one of the sailors who accompanied Captain James Cook on his round-the-world voyages. The area is also rich in historical locations that have connections to our favourite local hero, Robin Hood.

Colin Hayes, Ontario, Canada



I was delighted to see the review of the CD Beethoven: Folk Song Arrangements for Vocal Ensemble from Arabesque Recordings (December/January, page 58). I have an old Richard Dyer-Bennett LP titled Beethoven Scottish and Irish Songs, badly worn from many years of playing, and have long sought to replace it with a tape or CD. The old LPs in my collection were issued by two sources: Dyer-Bennett recordings and the Archive of Folk Music. I haven’t been able to discover whether or not either company is still in business.

Fran Hopkins,, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Editor’s note: The reference to Eastwood being in Derbyshire, we’re sorry to say, was not the author’s errorbut our own. Fear not, if you return to Lawrence Country, you’ll find the town right where you left it, inNottinghamshire.


With reference to the interesting letter from Mary English (February 1997, page 4), I am a native of Bolton and shareher passion for ‘mushy’ peas along with the traditional fish and chips. As for the Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, it isusually obtainable at any of the British food shops, many of which advertise in British Heritage. Most of them alsostock the whole dried peas used to make the ‘mushy’ peas. I prepare them regularly; as a ‘Lancashire Lass’. Fish andchips are never quite the same without them, along with a generous sprinkling of malt vinegar!

Kathy Lloyd, Fort Pierce, Florida


Editor’s note: As Ms. Lloyd mentions, Tate & Lyle’s Golden Syrup is readily available in North America. Inaddition to scanning this issue’s advertisers, British Heritage’s ‘The Best of British Food and Drink'(December/January 1996/1997, page 33) provides a listing of a number of retail and mail-order shops thatsell British products in North America.


A previously published letter (December/January 1996/1997, page 8) was helpful to me in acquiring a video film I had been searching for. I was very pleased, after a long unsuccessful search, to obtain a video film of Three Men in a Boat, from Movies Unlimited in Philadelphia.

At the time, I enquired at Movies Unlimited about the film Genevieve with Kay Kendal and Kenneth More. Sadly, they were unable to supply it and said it had been discontinued. It is a delightful comedy set about the London to Brighton run of the Antique Car Club of Great Britain. This past November saw the 100th running of the London to Brighton and it would be appropriate to re-issue what should be a classic of the period during which British studios produced so many entertaining films from the late 1940s through the 1960s.

I would be grateful to hear from any of your readers who might know where to obtain a video film of Genevieve.

Robert Bredin, Flat Rock, North Carolina



I was thrilled to see the recent cover photo of Corfe Castle (February 1997) with the wonderful article within (page35).

During the Second World War, I was stationed with the Royal Air Force as a WAAF at a radar site a few milesaway. We had a few bikes available to us and one day a friend and I cycled to Corfe Castle; we also went to a smalllake known as the Blue Pool near this village. The water appeared to be inky blue and quite unique. We werebilleted in Swanage in what had been a school called ‘Sentryfields’.

The summer of 1943 was lovely and we spent many happy hours on the beach, climbing though the invasion barriersto swim in the sea. We had to change out of our uniforms right there on the beach and it was quite a chore with the’ack-ack gunners’ (anti-aircraft artillery) positioned on the cliff behind us with their binoculars at the ready!

Thank you for bringing back happy memories.

Joan Donkin Nicholas, Brownwood, Texas


In ‘Rob Roy Country: Balquhidder’ (February 1997, page 46), we mistakenly reported the mausoleum in the glen tocontain the caskets of the MacLaren chiefs. Mrs. Adele MacGregor-Blain of Balquhidder kindly wrote to inform usthat the vault contains the graves of the MacGregor clan chiefs and chieftains. We apologize for the error.



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