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The Baronets Diary March 2024

I had never come across the term “snowbow” until my friends and I were out on the Estate on a snowy day in January.According to BBC weather presenter Richard Davis, a "snowbow" forms when light is refracted through snowflakes in the air. On this particular day it was sharp but obviously not cold enough to be freezing.  The result creates something similar to a rainbow…but rather is called a snowbow. We were fortunate enough to see one over the Bletch Valley as we looked north from Crakelow to Parwich and I managed to capture it on film as if coming out of one my friends’ heads. Fascinating.

I am indebted to my archivist David Holt and his work in transcribing  a diary that I found several years ago in the library at Tissington Hall. The volume dates to 1835 and belongs to Sir Henry FitzHerbert the third Baronet  and describes in detail his thoughts, passions and travels around the country in that particular year.  I gave the diary to David 25 years ago when I found it lifeless in a drawer. The script is nigh on impossible to decipher but with the aid of a magnifying glass and  years of patience the journal recounts Sir Henry’s year. There are many gems in the story that resonate nearly 200 years later   especially the references to ‘planting yews and hollies in the plantation’. As regular readers will know we are at present in  the process of harvesting and re-stocking the woodlands. I will reveal more from this extraordinary find in my future columns.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are not the most exciting subject. However, they are a crucial part of our life on the Estate at present. I have lived and worked at Tissington for 35 years now and I have four properties empty. I want and I need to let them but we have to make sure that they have an EPC of a grade F or higher. To gain a higher EPC we have to install greener and more  energy  efficient solutions. The problem is that I have been trying to do this for ages and have had several brickbats from the planning department at The National Park. Now that all of the Government, the Park and Derbyshire Dales have signed up to a climate emergency we need to make these cottages ‘greener’. To add to that the first cottage that was vacated at the end of October could only commence its new damp proof course at the end of January as the contractors were extremely busy with other work. It is not a situation I am happy about but I hope that by the time you read this at least two will be up to scratch and will be occupied. Fingers crossed.

I posted on the Tissington Hall Instagram account a few photos of an icy morning in the village one cold wintry day in January. It was such a freeze in fact that the ice froze on the inside of the windows. The pictures were emphasis enough as to how cold our 16th century house can be. On the app , people can write messages and one of the chilling posts was from the chatelaine of Haddon Hall, Lady Edward Manners, which read ‘our guest’s toothpaste froze in her bathroom last night’. So, it is now official… Haddon Hall is the coldest house in Derbyshire!

Over two hundred souls turned up to the service of thanksgiving for the life of our organist Martyn Davis at Hulland Church in January. It was a fitting tribute to a lovely man that had played such a large part in the life of our Church, St Mary’s and of our community. With tributes from his widow Anna , his children, the Rector of Christ Church Hulland Phil Michell and his fellow  five-a-side footballers from Derby. In fact, Martyn played with other septuagenarians  right up to just a few months before his death. A fervent supported of Luton Town  we also learnt that Martyn loved his garden and played the organ at a church in Moscow at his son’s wedding . In the village we will remember him as a great guide to wedding couples as they negotiated their personal marriage services and for giving Diana and I tricky hymns to contend with as he tested our congregation with lesser known  tunes. We send our condolences to Anna and the family.

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