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Visit to the Historic Town of Melbourne

Seventeen people enjoyed a memorable tour of historic Melbourne yesterday (Sunday 20th August) led by historian and historic building expert Philip Heath.

It began with an explanation of how the Royal Castle which once towered over the old market place gradually fell into disrepair until it was ‘mined’ for it’s excellent building stone and now only below ground archaeology survives.

Then on to how the Norman parish church was surrounded by three farms, one of which belonged to the Hall, the origin of which was a ‘safe-house’ for the Bishop of Carlisle, who considered Melbourne to the furthest north it was safe to be from attacks by raiding parties of marauding Scots.

The two hour tour ended with a visit to the site of the birthplace of holiday tour agent Thomas Cook and then the almshouses he built for indigent fellow Baptists.

Following this we were invited to walk through a doorway off a car park to discover, to our amazement, several tables laid out in a wonderfully pretty flower garden, where we were treated to a sumptuous tea party prepared by Philip’s wife Penny and helpers.

A very special experience for which we are immensely grateful to Philip and Penny.


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