Branch Meetings
Articles from pages 3 and 6 - 8 of Dickon Independent issue 35

Balloon Debate - November 13
An account of this interesting meeting appeared in "Dickon Independent" issue 34 on pages 16 - 18. You can read what Perkin Warbeck had to say for himself before the audience reluctantly threw him out of the balloon, by joining the branch.

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Tewkesbury Abbey - September 11 - Update
When we visited the abbey we noticed that the wrong date was given for Clarence's death on the plaque near his tomb and in the guidebook. I wrote to the abbey on behalf of the branch and received a reply to the effect that they could do nothing about the plaque in the abbey, but the guidebook would be corrected when next reprinted. I replied to ask if they knew when that would be, and wondered if a correction could be placed on another plaque or notice in the abbey, or if the plaque could be corrected. The branch could pay for a correction if not horrendously expensive. Both Elizabeth Nokes and Peter Hammond know about the idea of our branch paying for a correction or something, and if anything comes of this I shall let you know.

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The following reports are all quite brief as I don't know if anyone was asked to do a write-up for any of them, and I don't want to tread on anyone's toes! There will be plenty of room in the next issue if anyone wants to do a more detailed report on any of these activities - or on anything else of interest to Ricardians.

Christmas Lunch - December 5
Another excellent feast courtesy of Pat and all the others who took food along. Pat's Christmas pudding is gorgeous. It was nice to relax and linger over a meal for a change and talk to fellow Ricardians.

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Carol Service At Fotheringhay - December 12
A minibus load of Worcestershire Ricardians attended the annual carol service, meeting up with another member who now lives much nearer to Fotheringhay. Sarah Cottrill did one of the readings in what was another excellent service. The choir are very good. I only wish they didn't sit next to the displays as it makes it difficult to look at these before the service, when they are rehearsing!

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Ralph Richardson on Richard III - January 8
Ralph made us all think about Richard's appearance and reputation from the few facts handed to us by contemporaries. Needless to say withered arms and hunchbacks weren't mentioned while he was alive, and Ralph looks perfectly normal with one shoulder higher than the other. So many awful things have been said about him since he died that the mud has stuck, and most people don't bother to investigate further to find out how ludicrous most accusations are, or how unfounded. The ones who do are members of the society!

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Fund Raiser - February 12
A highly enjoyable and successful afternoon which raised over 100 for branch funds. There were many activities to part us from our money, including cakes, guess the location of the castle, find the body, a tombola, a white elephant stall, who wants to be a Ricardian?, cross-stitch kits, bingo, and of course the essential cups of tea and coffee. Thanks to everyone who came along and contributed. We all enjoyed spending our money that day.

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Great Malvern Priory - March 11
Unfortunately the banquet had to be cancelled due to lack of interest so Jane Tinklin volunteered to take us round Great Malvern Priory instead. Only a handful of people went though which is a shame as Jane has thoroughly researched the priory and was full of interesting facts. She confirmed what we both suspected from a previous visit, that the boar on the misericord is a nineteenth century creation, when twelve extra misericords were added to the usual twenty-four already in the priory. (See "Dickon Independent" issue 30, pages 9 - 12).

Despite having my binoculars with me I couldn't see Richard's boar supporters in the clerestory glass this time, but one window was covered up. This glass was originally in the west window which Richard presented to the priory when he was Duke of Gloucester and married to Anne Neville.

The priory was saved after the dissolution because the people of Malvern bought it for 20 from Henry VIII, to replace their parish church which was in poor repair. Outside there is evidence of building at different times, and the Victorian porch suits the priory well. It houses the clappers from the old bells, fixed to a piece of very old oak.

The pools in the Winter Gardens are the remnants of the fish ponds belonging to the monks. Inside the priory is a marvellous collection of medieval tiles, the magnificent misericords and the windows, and an organ which made conversation very difficult! So we left and examined the old abbey gateway which was once the entrance to the priory, then went to find a teashop.

Pam Benstead, Editor

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