Robertson Gallery and Antiques, 1055 S. Glenstone, Springfield Missouri.
In a small valley, in Yorkshire (midway between London and Edinburgh), a river runs quietly and peaceful. People have been here for a long time. This couple from Missouri visited in October 2016. There are several abbey ruins on our bucket list and we chose to visit the National Trust site of Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden, near Harrogate. Because there’s a friendly antique centre full of our kind of treasure at Harrogate! It’s the Harrogate Antique Centre at Crimple Hall. Anyway back to the story….
Thirteen monks were given land in the valley, where the River Skell runs, in 1132. Here, they founded an abbey. Originally part of the Benedictine order, the monks switched their alliance to the Cistercian Order. The massive abbey grew, built from the white sandstone that lined the valley. Many workers laboured for years. Wood buildings went up and then, down, replaced by marble and stone. The storeroom, cellars and latrines were thoughtfully situated over the river, to make use of the cool river temperature. The abbey became one of the most wealthy abbeys in England.
A mill was built next to the river and provided a source of income for the Order. As the conflict between Henry VIII and the Roman Catholic Church ramped up, most abbeys fell to the crown. The Fountains Abbey was abolished in 1539 by edict from the crown. The little mill on the river was saved due to the income it produced. It is the oldest 12th Century cornmill in all of England. It was still operating in the mid-20th century and it is the only original complete building on the grounds.
As the abbey’s land was divided between important families, two massive country manor houses were built on adjoining land. The Fountains Hall was a Jacobean House. Construction began on it in 1598 and builders used stone from the abbey ruins. The other mansion, Studley Royal began in 1452. A medieval mansion, it burned down twice and was rebuilt. Now, it is a private home. The Studley Royal owners used the river and began to make plans for a Water Garden. The work on digging the canals, lakes and ponds began in 1716 and they still exist today. A folly temple tempts the visitors a little further down the path. It’s easy to imagine characters from a Jane Austin novel strolling around the ponds. In 1767, the owner of Studley Hall bought the Fountains Abbey estate, once again combining the estate, and the abbey ruins became a focal point for the water garden. The work on the Water Gardens foreshadowed the landscape work by Capability Brown and set the stage for known English landscape gardens.
Nowadays, tourists visit the river and the valley. If they are like us, they miscalculate the acres as they walk down from the visitors centre, past flocks of sheep, to the ruins and onto the water gardens, descending down into the valley. Distracted by the quiet beauty and the sounds of the pheasants rooting in the underbrush. Then, they are suddenly aware how long the path is once they start back to the car. A 10 minute walk down to the river and a 45 minute walk back up hill. We highly recommend you visit the designated Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had great fun exploring the ruins and imagining the quiet life of the devout monks. Lots of rooms and ruins to discover!
On a side note: Near our hometown of Springfield Missouri is Assumption Abbey. The Trappist monks, who reside there, are part of the Cistercian Order. The same order that lived in Fountains Abbey. According to Damian, our substitute while we shop, they make the best fruitcake ever! Something for your Christmas 2017 list.
We want to take a moment and wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas! Thank you for following our adventures and information on the store. Our stories will continue into 2017 and we can’t wait to share them with you.
In October, we visited England for the second time in 2016. Besides our usual shopping in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, we spent some time in Yorkshire; particularly York, Harrogate and Fountains Abbey.
We’d been to York before as tourists, but this visit we focused on shopping for the store. We visited a few antique centres; nothing special to report. Prices were higher than we are accustom to paying. We were in York on a Saturday and so were thousands of other visitors.
At the end of our visit, we found what Philip was really seeking….a candy store. In fact, there were two directly across from each other and he shopped both. At Cocoa & Sweet, he scored big. Located in a Georgian building in a lane across from the York Minister (which is amazing!), Cocoa & Sweet features high-end chocolates, either bars or local chocolates from a case. It’s a beautiful little shop with enticing displays. We bought Montezuma bars (from West Sussex) for gifts for the family back home and Philip chose several wonderful local pieces from the case.
Theresa found the cutest Sugar Mice. According to the owner, Sugar Mice are a Christmas tradition in England. They are given to family members in their stockings. Traditionally, they are white or pink and have string tails. We’re guessing that they are purchased at candy stores or made at home. We purchased a few because who wouldn’t want a sugar mouse in their stocking? What a fun tradition!
We took over 1/3 of the items yesterday, another 1/3 today and the remainder tomorrow morning. Stop by any time! And help the big man in the red suit find something extra special for you.
Philip is super excited about all the new inventory and he’d love to show it to you.
The July Sale is in its last week and it’s time to move some inventory. So, Philip’s ready to accept your counter-offer on sale items! Come on in and make a tempting offer and watch Philip grin and bear it!!!
Think about all the Christmas presents you can buy this week at ridiculous prices. We’ve heard we have the best English antiques in town.
We’ve been marking down stock like crazy, so it’s time for a “crazy price” sale. It’s cash only so bring your big, fat wallets and buy like crazy!
Philip’s been rubbing his forehead, so you know this is a ginormous sale (some of his favourites are on the chopping block!)
Doors open at 10:30 Tuesday, May 31 for you to browse over 500 antique and vintage pieces. The Spring shipment from England arrived last week and we’ve tagged everything (hopefully!) and brought it to the store at 1055 S Glenstone Ave, Springfield Missouri.
Conclusion of our spring antique shopping trip reports
In April, we visited many new-to-us shops, centres and fairs over a two-week period. We concluded our trip in London, where we visited IACF’s Monday Market at Sandown (Esther UK) and Sunbury Antique Market (Sunbury UK) at Kempton Park. Both are located at horse racecourses in urban areas and both have an array of antiques, vintage and collectibles outside and inside the grandstands. Both are close to Heathrow.
The IACF’s Monday Market at Sandown Racecourse is the smaller of the two. We finished it in less than two hours. It opens at 8 a.m., so we recommend getting there right at 8 a.m. to avoid Monday rush hour traffic. They won’t let in before that time. Parking is $5 per car. The outside pitches didn’t offer much, but we found some wonderful Black Forest pieces inside the grandstand. There is an indoor café. It’s a small relaxing collectors’ fair with a few bargains.
In comparison, Sunbury Antique Market is not relaxing and finding a bargain requires effort. It opens at 6:30 a.m. (before the sun comes up) and the sellers start packing up by noon. It’s very crowded. Parking is free. Come early and line up at the entry gate, where once the gates are open, there’s a mad rush to be the first one to buy the great piece. As we stood in line, we chatted with a young man who was there to buy some mid-century and over-sized furniture pieces for his recording studio. Not the typical antique buyer, but we’re betting he found it. Nevertheless, we found some great pieces of art and some interesting smalls. The indoor pitch space seemed to be completely full and there were tons of outdoor pitches. We saw one food truck. There is no signage and it’s hard to distinguish one row from another. Our advice: if you have to leave your purchase to be picked up later, count the light poles around the track and note the location of the pitch to the nearest light pole. It will help you identify the pitch later.
We hoped you enjoyed our reports. It was a great trip and we can’t wait to show you the one-of-a-kind treasures that we found for our wonderful customers! Keep a watch on our Facebook page to find out when the new items are at the store.