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Ninebarrow Charity Single for Mind
Ninebarrow Charity Single for Mind 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

‘Hour of the Blackbird’ charity single collaboration –

Dorset duo Ninebarrow with Hart Voices and The Chantry Singers

Oh the afternoon both calm and still
The hedgerow bare beneath the hill
Above the oak tree’s lofty frame
Heavy clouds that threaten rain

But below that lonely darksome gloom
The early daffodils in bloom
From the holly bush above the throng
He greets them with his vernal song

From the other trees across the dell
A choir of voices starts to swell
And banish now the thought of rain
And hail the robin, King again!

Before the world became a place we barely recognise Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere, aka acoustic duo Ninebarrow, had been looking forward to a special collaborative concert in their home county of Dorset next week.

On Saturday, May 23 they were due to join forces with two celebrated chamber choirs – Hampshire’s Hart Voices and Surrey’s Chantry Singers (conducted by Musical Director and St Paul’s Cathedral Choir member Roy Rashbrook) for a special concert in the stunning and atmospheric surroundings of Dorset’s Milton Abbey.

Says Jon: “We’ve performed a couple of superb concerts with the choirs separately and thought it would be fantastic to bring both of them down to Dorset for a double choir spectacular – it would have been one of the highlights of the year but obviously, in the current crisis, it had to be postponed.”

Instead the duo (nominated for the coveted Horizon award (Best Emerging Act) at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards) came up with an ambitious idea to record a charity single together remotely.

They decided on a recording of the Ninebarrow song The Hour of the Blackbird – and will release it as a charity single in aid of Mind, marking Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24). The simple but uplifting song, apt for the times we find ourselves in, celebrates spring renewal and hope and sees the robin crowned as ‘King of the Greenwood’ again.

Says Jay: “Our song seems totally fitting for the current situation – it’s about how male blackbirds will sing together during the afternoon as the days get longer, about banishing darker thoughts and finding happiness in life’s simple things. Something we all need to do more than ever at the moment.”

The project began with Jon and Jay recording a live version of The Hour of the Blackbird at home in Dorset. This was then sent to the choir members (around 50-strong) who each recorded their specific part using their mobile phones whilst watching and listening to the guide track. These were then sent to Ninebarrow via the internet, and 60 hours of audio and video editing – with mixing and mastering input from ‘go to’ producer Mark Tucker – has brought the whole thing together.

Says Jon: “The idea of releasing it as a charity single was one everyone jumped on board with straight away. There’s a huge amount of incredible fundraising taking place across the country at the moment, and we thought it’d be fantastic to be able to contribute to that in some small way – but we wanted to support a charity that maybe wasn’t getting quite so much media coverage, but that was no less important at a time like this.”

With recent media reports citing 50% increases in calls to mental health support lines since lockdown and many people stating that their mental wellbeing is suffering during the COVID-19 crisis, the group felt that doing something to support this emerging mental health issue – something that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds – was a truly worthy cause.

Roy Rashbrook, an experienced composer and arranger, added: “When we finished putting the song together we were really quite blown away with the end result. It’s hard to believe everyone was singing their parts directly onto their mobile phones. So we decided very quickly that we wanted to do something more significant than just putting it on social media.”

This latest initiative from Ninebarrow follows on from the release of three full length albums, the publishing of their book, Ninebarrow’s Dorset and the launch of their walking holidays.

In a few short years, the duo have carved themselves a distinctive niche on the folk roots scene for their immaculate harmonies, delicate instrumentation and engaging songs, relinquishing their jobs as a teacher and GP in favour of a full-time music career – an act of faith that has clearly paid dividends.

Named after Nine Barrow Down in Dorset’s Purbeck Hills they have been described by Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe as sounding like “two halves of one voice”.

People will be able to watch The Hour of the Blackbird video, download the audio track and make donations to Mind at www.ninebarrow.co.uk/mind.

The Mind charity operates in England and Wales offering information and advice to people with mental health problems and lobbying government and local authorities on their behalf. It also works to raise public awareness and understanding of issues relating to mental health.

Conservation Project News
Conservation Project News 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Milton Abbey Restoration Work to Continue.

Restoration work on the historic Milton Abbey in Dorset will continue despite the Heritage Lottery announcing that they will no longer contribute funding to the 1.7 million pound project.

The Great Stare Project, one of the largest historic restoration projects in the South West, aims to carry out vital repairs to the 14th century Abbey and develop it as a visitor attraction with links to the surrounding landscape that was designed by Capability Brown.

John Simmons, the chairman of the Milton Abbey Heritage Trust, (MAHT) the charity set up to oversee the project said:  “The Heritage Lottery Fund have informed us that they will not be giving us any new permissions. This means that we shall be finishing the work started under existing permissions and then we will need to re-bid for the next phases of our plans.

The Trustees of MAHT are determined to build on the very considerable progress achieved over the last three years. News of our plans will be published on the website as they develop”.

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Bishop Karen at Milton Abbey 26th November 2018
Bishop Karen at Milton Abbey 26th November 2018 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Bishop Karen will preside at a

Foundation Eucharist at The Abbey at Milton

for the Benedictine Companions of The Abbey at Milton

On Monday 26th November at 7pm

 

On Monday 26th November 7pm at The Abbey at Milton, Bishop Karen will preside at the Foundation Eucharist for the Benedictine Companions of the Abbey at Milton.  This is an important moment in the life of the Abbey and the newly formed Companions who would be delighted to welcome anyone, especially Friends, Members and Patrons of the Abbey to come together for this celebration along with the people from the communities in which the Companions live and work.

The Companions are a dispersed community who seek to live their life according to a common rule in the spirit of the rule of St Benedict, supporting one another as well as enriching the life of the Abbey and life of their communities, where they spend most of their time.

If you would like to find out more about this service or the life of the Companions, please contact us by email: companions@theabbeyatmilton.co.uk

 

Volunteer Stewards Recognition Event 2018 Season
Volunteer Stewards Recognition Event 2018 Season 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Volunteer Stewards joined together at the Milton Abbas Reading room on Tuesday Evening 18th September to celebrate another successful Summer Exhibition “Athelstan’s Dream – A Saxon Tale” at The Abbey at Milton and also this year at St. Catherine’s Chapel which was open every day of the Summer.

Brian Larcher, The Abbey Development Manager, thanked everyone for giving so freely of their time to cover shifts every day throughout July and August and in particular for the very warm welcome they gave to our Visitors.  This, he said, had been noted by many and recorded in messages in the Visitors book and on the Questionnaires handed in by our guests. Some of which he read to the group.   Visitor numbers were up on last year and considering the fact that we had decided to move to encouraging donations rather than selling tickets income was good too.  He felt that an important factor in the increase in positive feedback was the quality of the Steward greetings and their shared enthusiasm for the place and its values.

As the Abbey Trustee Custodian Helier Exon added his thanks to all on behalf of The Milton Abbey Heritage Trust and shared something of the background to next year’s Exhibition which focuses on the Benedictine Years at the Abbey.  He reminded us that it was because of the removal of the Monasteries by her father that Queen Elizabeth had to create new laws for the protection of the Poor. Since the Benedictines and others had previously been the carers for the communities which had risen up around their Monastic centres.  Without which The Milton Community would not have existed and therefore not have been there to be moved by Damer!  Both Brian and Helier wishes to thank The Local History Group in general and Bryan and Pamela Phillips in particular for their considerable help in the research and formation of this years exhibition and to share with everyone that the same team were already hard at work on the 2019 event.

Historic Milton Abbey announces Athelstan’s Dream – A Saxon Tale
Historic Milton Abbey announces Athelstan’s Dream – A Saxon Tale 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Milton Abbey invites you to its free Summer Exhibition, Athelstan’s Dream – A Saxon Tale.

A feature exhibition at Milton Abbey Historic Church Summer 2018, in the Abbey and St. Catherine’s Chapel From 4th July to 31st August.

Milton Abbey open daily 10am until 5pm.


Historic Milton Abbey set in a glorious Capability Brown landscape and surrounded by the countryside of North Dorset is staging a free Summer Exhibition from 4 July to 31 August that focuses on the Anglo-Saxons and the fulfilment of one man’s dream: a united kingdom of Britain. www.miltonabbey.org

In a story that resonates today, King Athelstan dreamed and then achieved the unification of mainland Britain. The Summer Exhibition traces Athelstan’s dream and the journey of this unification, showing how much of the Abbey’s heritage reveals the answer to many questions surrounding the mysteries relating to King Athelstan, the grandson of King Alfred the Great.

The location has a number of beautiful walks and it is easy to imagine the truth of one tradition which tells how Athelstan camped with his followers on the hill to the east of the Abbey and while sleeping there had a dream that he would prevail in a forthcoming battle against the Vikings and their allies who were seeking to conquer Mercia and Wessex. It is said that Athelstan on his return from the battle remembered his dream and founded a minster here in thanks for his victory.

With the study of the Anglo-Saxons firmly set in the school curriculum for pupils aged between seven years and 11 years (KS2) the exhibition will cover a whole range of topics including: Discovering the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Life, The Age of Heroes, Weapons of War, The Warrior King, Landscape and Farming, Language, House and home, Food and drink, Clothing, Art & jewellery, Transport, Trade, The Status of Women, Marriage, Children, Health & Hygiene, The influence of Anglo-Saxons on Literature today, King Athelstan’s Dream, The gift of a Minster and The Abbey today.

The Summer Exhibition is a “must see” for anyone with an interest in the Anglo-Saxons. The last few years have seen a surge in enthusiasm for literature inspired by the Anglo-Saxon period such as J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Tolkien was Professor of Anglo-Saxon studies at Pembroke College, Oxford.

George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones series was influenced by Tolkien and the Andals who later invaded and conquered Westeros are loosely parallel to the Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain during the fifth and sixth centuries. The legends of fictional heroes like King Arthur and Merlin took their inspiration from Anglo-Saxon history. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is an epic story also referencing some aspects of Anglo-Saxon literature.

Bernard Cornwell was inspired to write The Last Kingdom by the real events of Alfred and Athelstan’s reigns as well as by the works of Tolkien and George Martin. The books by Bernard Cornwall resulted in the popular BBC series featuring Uhtred, a fictional character but with all the ingredients of an Anglo-Saxon hero.

On 23 June the Summer Exhibition opens at St Catherine’s Chapel, on land thought to be the location of Athelstan’s army camp 1080 years ago before the warriors moved on to fight the battle of Brunanburh. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles this battle decided the fate of Britain and Athelstan won a great victory against the combined forces of the former tribes of the Britons and the Scandinavian settlers of Britain and Ireland.

Three years previously a Minster had been founded by Athelstan at Milton in AD 934. Thirty years later, in 964 King Edgar, impressed by the revival of monasticism in England, established a community of Benedictine monks at Milton under Abbot Cyneward. This monastic community continued its work of prayer and service for 575 years, until its dissolution in 1539

Athelstan worked hard to bring everyone to Christ. He appointed bishops, gave grants to monasteries and breathed new life into the church after its depredations under the Vikings. He tried to give all his people safety, shelter and a Christian outlook – his charters stipulate that no one should starve, and that charity was a key responsibility of the church. He also set about reforming the administration of justice, control of the coinage, and the development of burhs.

Athelstan died in died in Gloucester in 939AD at the age of 47. He is buried at Malmesbury which is also home to the Athelstan Museum.

Photo and Image Captions:

  1. Historic Milton Abbey set in a Capability Brown landscape
  2. Athelstan is shown giving the minster to the people after his dream of victory was realised
  3. Depiction of how the minster would have looked

For more information on this and other events taking place at Milton Abbey, please visit: https://timecounts.org/miltonabbey or telephone: 01258 881235

For further press information and hi res images, contact Jane Adkins, A Head for PR, T/: 01935 813114 or E/: jane@aheadforpr.co.uk

May 2018 (MA 02)

Saxon History Comes to Life at Milton Abbey’s Re-enactment Weekend
Saxon History Comes to Life at Milton Abbey’s Re-enactment Weekend 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

(Come along to a Free Family Weekend on 14 & 15 July, provided by Milton Abbey Heritage Trust and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund)

This magnificent location in North Dorset is bringing a slice of history alive across one weekend in July. The glorious rural setting of Milton Abbey is the “must see” venue for KS2 pupils (aged between seven and 11) studying Anglo Saxon history as part of their mandatory educational syllabus.

On Saturday 14 July and Sunday 15 July families coming to Milton Abbey to visit the new free Summer Exhibition, Athelstan’s Dream, can expect the thrill and spectacle of re-enactments staged by an authentic re-enactment group known by the Norse name of Hildsvin.

The Summer Exhibition runs from 4 July to 31 August and focuses on the Anglo-Saxons and the fulfilment of one man’s dream: a united kingdom of Britain. www.miltonabbey.org

The exhibition covers a whole range of topics including: Discovering the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon Life, The Age of Heroes, Weapons of War, The Warrior King, Landscape and Farming, Language, House and home, Food and drink, Clothing, Art & jewellery, Transport, Trade, The Status of Women, Marriage, Children, Health & Hygiene, The influence of Anglo-Saxons on Literature today, King Athelstan’s Dream, The gift of a Minster and The Abbey today.

At the Re-enactment Family Weekend there will be displays of costumes to show the types of garments worn in what was known as the Dark Ages (the period of time after the Romans left Britain and before the Battle of Hastings in 1066). Some dressing up clothes including tunics, dresses, jewellery, belts and hats will be available for children to try on and immerse themselves in the history of the time.

Thanks to specialists in Viking and Saxon history educationalists The Longship Trading Company, there will also be an array of both Viking and Saxon artefacts, weapons and armour displays plus replicas of archaeological finds like the Jorvik helmet, Sutton Hoo helmet and a Vendal Helmet from Sweden. Most of the exhibits can be handled and tried on by visitors, and there are some coin dies for those who would like to make a copy of a period coin to take home. Children will see how prior to the modern era, coin dies were manufactured individually by hand by artisans known as engravers.

Other activities taking place across this free weekend in the living history village include a working kitchen set-up displaying Saxon foodstuffs with working fire pit; an apiary display (without bees) with a skep (domed basket) as well as candle and wax production; various soft crafts, such as tablet weaving and embroidery; a Lord’s tent and a green-wood working set-up, with shave horse and pole lathe. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous Hildsvin raven and a few tame wolves (dogs!).

All of the activities will help towards an understanding of life in the times of King Athelstan who, in a story that resonates today, dreamed and then achieved the unification of mainland Britain.

The main Summer Exhibition at Milton Abbey traces Athelstan’s dream and the journey of this unification, showing how much of the Abbey’s heritage reveals the answer to many questions surrounding the mysteries relating to King Athelstan, the grandson of King Alfred the Great.

The location has a number of beautiful walks and it is easy to imagine the truth of one tradition which tells how Athelstan camped with his followers on the hill to the east of the Abbey and while sleeping there had a dream that he would prevail in a forthcoming battle against the Vikings and their allies who were seeking to conquer Mercia and Wessex. It is said that Athelstan on his return from the battle remembered his dream and founded a minster here in thanks for his victory.

Athelstan worked hard to give all his people safety, shelter and a Christian outlook – his charters stipulate that no one should starve, and that charity was a key responsibility of the church. He also set about reforming the administration of justice, control of the coinage, and the development of burhs.

Athelstan died in Gloucester in 939AD at the age of 47. He is buried at Malmesbury which is also home to the Athelstan Museum.

Milton Abbey is located in North Dorset, post code: DT11 0BZ.

For more information contact Michael Ford at Milton Abbey Heritage Trust: admin@maht.org.uk and visit: www.miltonabbey.org

For further press information and hi res images, contact Jane Adkins, A Head for PR, T/: 01935 813114 or E/: jane@aheadforpr.co.uk

June 2018 (MA 05)

Milton Abbey announces commemorative installation of four iconic life size Tommy silhouettes
Milton Abbey announces commemorative installation of four iconic life size Tommy silhouettes 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Historic Milton Abbey set in a glorious Capability Brown landscape and surrounded by the countryside of North Dorset is the first location in Dorset to have Installed four six foot high Tommies as part of the There But Not There project created by the charity Remembered. In fact there are only four venues sporting these life size Tommies in the whole of the South West.

The silhouettes were designed by artist Michael Barraud to commemorate the fallen and to educate all generations, particularly today’s younger generation, to understand what led to the deaths of 888,246 people from Britain and The Commonwealth.

The Tommies at Milton Abbey are positioned in the north transept of the Abbey around the magnificent Damer Memorial.*The location is particularly fitting because one of the representative figures pays tribute to a particular soldier from the Damer family who died in the First World War.

A surviving relative, Edward Dawson-Damer has confirmed that his great, great uncle 2nd Lieutenant The Hon George Seymour Dawson-Damer (10th Royal Hussars) was killed at Monchy-Le-Preux near Arras in April 1917. Prior to transferring to the 10th Hussar he was an Officer in the Queens Own Dorset Yeomanry (QODY) and served at Gallipoli with them.

Brian Larcher, Development Manager from the Milton Abbey Heritage Trust said, “When Milton Abbey heard about There But Not There we immediately wanted to be involved as a quiet and beautiful location, a former home to Benedictine monks and somewhere people from across the South West could gather and remember the sacrifice of those who took part in the First World War.

“At this iconic North Dorset location we have very close links to the forces with Blandford Military base close by and there are long associations with families, residents from nearby villages and visitors to the Abbey who come here to remember those who have served and gone before them. With the installation of four six foot high Tommies in the space around the stunning Damer Memorial inside the Abbey we are able to offer a space for reflection and contemplation.

In fact There But Not There sits particularly well with the Benedictine edicts of Service and Community. In serving others we meet Christ and grow in love of each other: “People are not to pursue what they judge best for themselves, but instead, what they judge is best for others.” And Community: We grow as individuals through a life of inter-dependence. “They should each try to be first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behaviour”.

The Tommies have also been designed to help heal all those suffering from the hidden wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder and other lasting legacies of combat, by raising funds for our beneficiary charities.

Milton Abbey is located in North Dorset, post code: DT11 0BZ.

For more information contact Michael Ford at Milton Abbey Heritage Trust: admin@maht.org.uk and visit: www.miltonabbey.org

For more information about There But Not There, visit: https://www.therebutnotthere.org.uk/

For further press information and hi res images, contact Jane Adkins, A Head for PR, T/: 01935 813114 or E/: jane@aheadforpr.co.uk

Editor’s Notes:

Joseph Damer acquired the Abbey in 1752 and commissioned the Italian sculptor Carlini to make a monument to mourn his late wife Caroline Sackville, daughter of the 1st Duke of Dorset, who died in 1775.

July 2018 (MA 06)

Media Interest
Media Interest 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Milton Abbey is a truly unique venue, but don’t just take our word for it. We have received a lot of attention from the media recently, both online and in the traditional press. We thought we would share a few links to recent coverage here.


Fine Times Recorder
http://www.theftr.co.uk/athelstans-dream-at-milton-abbey

Milton Abbey Coverage – There But Not There
https://raring2go.co.uk/bournemouth/articles/placestogo/remembered-charity-comes-to-milton-abbey

Sherborne website featuring Milton Abbey
https://www.sherbornedorset.co.uk/around-about/milton-abbas

Visit Dorset website
https://www.visit-dorset.com/whats-on/milton-abbey-summer-exhibition-p2507343

Dorset Magazine – August 2018
Click here to read the article

The Conduit
Click here to read the article

Days Out South West
Click here to read the article

Blackmore Vale Mag
Click here to read the article

Milton Abbey Historic Church and There But Not There
Milton Abbey Historic Church and There But Not There 150 150 Milton Abbey Church and Landscape

Milton Abbey Historic Church and There But Not There, the 2018 Armistice project for the charity Remembered.

Why Milton Abbey is supporting this very special nationwide commemoration.

When Milton Abbey heard about There but Not There we immediately wanted to be involved as a quiet and beautiful location, a former home to Benedictine monks and somewhere people from across the South West could gather and remember the sacrifice of those who took part in the First World War. At this iconic North Dorset location we have very close links to the forces with Blandford Military base near by and there are long associations with families, residents from neighbouring villages and visitors to the Abbey who come here to remember those who have served and gone before them. With the installation of four six foot high Tommies in the space around the stunning Damer Memorial inside the Abbey we are able to offer a space for reflection and contemplation.

In fact There But Not There sits particularly well with the Benedictine values of Service and Community. In serving others we meet Christ and grow in love of each other: “People are not to pursue what they judge best for themselves, but instead, what they judge is best for others.” And Community: We grow as individuals through a life of inter-dependence. “They should each try to be first to show respect to the other, supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behaviour”.

A short video introduction to There but Not there https://youtu.be/PUMi9dyVfs4