Eric Dunford, our Trendles Project Treasurer and volunteer, took the Tuesday volunteers on a fascinating historic tour around the centre of Marcham. Despite the unfavourable weather (the only day it really rained that week!) we all set off with raincoats and umbrellas and learnt a lot about the story of medieval and post-medieval Marcham. Highlights of the tour included the story of the eccentric Institute building in North Street (complete with flanking lions and gothic windows). Eric told us how the building was endowed by the Anson family in the 19th century and was fitted with all sorts of amenities including baths for the Marcham ‘unwashed’ poor, but as there was no maintenance endowment (and the unwashed didn’t fancy using the baths!) the building gradually fell into disrepair and is still in limbo now.
We took shelter from the rain in the beautiful church at Marcham and learnt how the medieval structure was substantially rebuilt in 1837. Manfred gave us a hilarious account of the infamous Victorian vicar of the church, one Davy Jones, fellow of Christchurch. We heard how his misdemeanours included drinking, womanising, fighting, refusing to bury certain unfortunate corpses, and possibly even murdering someone! We also had a tour round the grounds of Denman College (currently owned by the Women’s Institute) which was originally built as a home for the local Duffield family. After the tour finished we all felt enlightened, entertained and rather soggy round the edges!