National Geographic : 1948 May
along the winding Windrush to see Min ster Lovell. Nothing is left of the castle but walls and turrets with stairs leading nowhere. Stories told about the old ruin clothe it with mystery that attracts thousands. Novels have been written about Minster Lovell, the most fa mous being The Blan ket of the Dark, by the late John Buchan (Lord Tweedsmuir, formerly Governor General of Canada). The book tells of the adventures of Peter Pentecost, who fought against King Henry VII at the Battle of Stoke in 1487, and, escaping, hid out in the Minster Lovell dovecote. But the story that draws most visitors to this castle shell is the mysterious disappear ance of Francis, thir teenth Lord Lovell, who also fought and lost at Stoke. Escaping, he dove his horse into the Trent and was never seen again. Many legends grew up about his disappear- To Keep His Free Loaf, He Must Turn in a Bread Unit ance, but one held Back in 1743, Sir George Fettiplace left £13 ($52) a year to buy ten sixpenny S(10-cent) loaves of bread each Sunday for the needy of Swinbrook's church. through the years. But he willed the parishioners "must be present at divine Service to receive it." Lovell was rescued To this day loaves are handed out, but rationing demands "BU's" in return. from drowning and hid den in a secret room in his castle by a trusted Just before the train pulled out, a girl servant. But this retainer died with the secret, rushed up on her bike. "Better run, Anne! and Lord Lovell was entombed alive. I will park your bicycle for you," the station When repairs were made in 1708, workmen master called calmly. She did and he did broke into a hidden chamber. Seated at a an example of Cotswold courtesy. writing table was a man's skeleton with a Driving on, I called upon the author, Mrs. dog at his feet. Though it was never identi- Muriel Groves, in Shipton under Wychwood. fled, many felt that the relic was the great Nobody knows the southern Cotswolds better Lord Lovell, who had "starved like a rat." than she. I was pleased that she could accom Next day I took Alan to the station in lovely pany me on several motor trips. Ascot under Wychwood. From the brow of "I have lived in Wychwood Forest for 300 a hill overlooking the Evenlode we saw the years at least!" Mrs. Groves greeted me. London train puffing down the valley. I be- "Many of my family, the Hambidges, are came alarmed that he might miss it. buried just outside Swinbrook Church." "Don't worry! Plenty of time. They will In the old days the Wychwood was a large hold the train if they see anybody coming," royal hunting preserve. Its trees covered the Alan said. hills between the Evenlode and the Windrush.