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22 Yards Mapped Out the World

Mapping out Property with a Gunter’s Chain


In a world of GPS, a Gunter’s Chain is a true antique. It’s a surveyor’s tool for measuring a tract of land. It was primarily used from 1620, when it was developed by Edmund Gunter, until the start of the 20th century.

A Gunter’s Chain is a metal chain made up of 100 links and measures 22 yards. At the end of a group of 10 links is a metal tag. Metal detector enthusiasts often find these tags while out hunting for treasures.

The device was used for 300 years, along with a compass, by surveyors to preform their legal duties. These duties included measuring a designated tract of land, drawing a map of the land features and providing a written description of the land.

For cricket fans, here’s a bit of trivia: it is also used to measure the cricket pitch.

Our friend Stephanie pointed out this interesting item on our last trip to England, so, of course, we bought not one, but two!

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Over 600 Antiques Added Today!

We’re full of crazy cool antiques! Come see for yourself. 

Robertson Gallery and Antiques, 1055 S. Glenstone, Springfield Missouri.

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Closed on Saturday, April 8

We have a family obligation on Saturday, April 8, so we will be closed for the day. 

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A River Runs Through the Valley

Looking down on the abbey from the south bank of the River Skell.

Looking down on the abbey from the south bank of the River Skell.

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….

A view from the altar down into the nave.

A view from the altar down into the nave.

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.

Chapel of Nine Altars.

Chapel of Nine Altars.

Philip at the base of Abbot Huby's Bell Tower, next to the ruins of the Church's choir.

Philip at the base of Abbot Huby’s Bell Tower, next to the ruins of the Church’s choir.

Storeroom

Storeroom

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.

One of the many ruins you can explore. This was in the area that was the Abbot's residence and dormitories.

One of the many ruins you can explore. This was in the area that was the Abbot’s residence and dormitories.

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.

Pond at the Water Garden with statue.

Pond at the Water Garden with statue.

The Folly at the Water Garden.

The Folly at the Water Garden.

View of the abbey, as seen from the path at Studley Royal water garden.

View of the abbey, as seen from the path at Studley Royal water garden.

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!

Pheasants!

Pheasants!

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.

 

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600+ Items New in the Store!

The complete shipment from our October shopping trip will be in the store Tuesday, December 13.

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. 

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Preparing for the Holiday Season

We will have limited hours October 4-8 and we will be closed October 10-14 to prepare for the upcoming holiday season. 

Sorry for the inconvenience!

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Philip Accepts Counter-Offers!

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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.

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July Sale Starts July 5

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!)

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English Antiques Have Arrived!


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.


Thanks again to our family for their support!

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Oh Lovejoy!

Philip standing at the entrance of the Clare Priory, est. 1248. We walked through the gardens, ruins, and the grounds around the Priory House and Catholic Church.

Philip standing at the entrance of the Clare Priory, est. 1248. We walked through the gardens, ruins, and the grounds around the Priory House and Catholic Church.

Part IV of our spring antique shopping trip.

Pockets of England hold antique treasures, just as Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Springfield, Missouri are known for antiques. So, when planning this spring’s trip, we looked for “pockets” between Lincoln (our first week) and London (our second week). We found Suffolk and Essex! Lots of shops and centres were listed online, so we did our research.

Clare Antique Centre. Near the trash bin is the footpath crossing over the River Stour and up to the entrance of the Priory.

Clare Antique Centre. Near the trash bin is the footpath crossing over the River Stour and up to the entrance of the Priory.

Once we planned our trip and booked our hotels, we happened upon the BBC Drama “Lovejoy”. “Lovejoy” was loosely based on the novels by Jonathan Gash, about a roguish, but charming antiques dealer who solves mysteries. The series ran for six seasons in England and was shown in the states on A&E Network. Lovejoy, the character, was played by Ian McShane (Deadwood, Pirates of the Caribbean, Game of Thrones). The series was about Lovejoy and his friends helping solve a mystery or a possible murder involving antiques, and usually, they straddle the line between ethical and unethical behaviour in a comical way. Lovejoy and his friend, Lady Jane (Phyllis Logan – Mrs. Hughes, Downton Abbey) dined with the upper-crust in Suffolk and Essex and helped the locals with their antique troubles.  “Oh Lovejoy!” expresses the exasperation of everyone dealing with the cunning, but gifted antique dealer.

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We purchased the first season of the series and watched it before we headed out. For us, the countryside and villages highlighted in the show were a close second to the actual drama-comedy. On our shopping itinerary were the towns of Clare, Long Melford, and Halstead. We found that each of these towns were featured in the series. So, as we toured the area in April, we could easily imagine driving on the country lanes along with Lovejoy. The area is located in the east, above London. It’s lovely, flat countryside, not many hills.

A typical country lane in East Anglia.

A typical country lane in East Anglia.

Huge copper Turbot (fish) pan found at one of Lovejoy's haunts in Long Melford.

Huge copper Turbot (fish) pan found at one of Lovejoy’s haunts in Long Melford.

Our choice proved to be a good shopping area. We attended a fair in the lovely village of Lavenham, visited two centres in Long Melford, had lunch, walked around the Priory and visited a centre in Clare, and visited the mill antique centre in Halstead. When we shopped the large centre at Halstead, we found a framed artwork of autographed cast photos from their filming visit at the centre. Just like Lovejoy, we found treasures galore and our little French rental car was full for the trip to London.

Auction in the Village of Clare. Lovejoy would have been there to spy a fake or buy an overlooked treasure.

Auction in the Village of Clare. Lovejoy would have been there to spy a fake or buy an overlooked treasure.

Halstead Antiques Centre occupy the top two floors of the Townsford Mill, est. in 1710 as a silk mill. Lovejoy filmed there in the 1980s. Do you see Philip?

Halstead Antiques Centre occupy the top two floors of the Townsford Mill, est. in 1710 as a silk mill. Lovejoy filmed there in the 1980s. Do you see Philip?

While we didn’t choose the area to follow the footsteps of Lovejoy, our trip was enhanced and more interesting because we had enjoyed season one of the series. You never know what you’ll find when you’re out shopping for antique treasures. Want to borrow our DVD?

 

We’ve got two more blogs about our spring trip to share with you. Up next, we visit one of the Queen’s palaces.

 

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