Friday, March 31, 2006

The Twelve Apostles

If you cross the M6 just past Kirkby Lonsdale and drive west along the A590 for longer than you would have believed possible, you come to Barrow-in-Furness, isolated industrial town to the south of Cumbria. And nearby is the old village of Rampside.

In the seventeenth century, the story goes, a fairly rich and very aspirational gentleman of Rampside wanted to find an even wealthier wife. Around Rampside there was none suitable, and because in those days Rampside must have been even further beyond the back of beyond than it is now, he needed to find the means to lure any potential wife back from the soft South to the remote and undiscovered North.

He hit on a strategy, and began some building work.

“Celia,” he said, some months later in London, “marry me and move North to glorious South Lakeland.”

(She may not have been called Celia. But she probably was. He probably didn’t call it South Lakeland, for that is an invention of the Tourist Board, but that was what he meant.)

“But, William,” she replied (probably not his name, see above) “what kind of dwelling would I find in the remote and undiscovered North? Surely a mean hovel is the most I can expect?”

“Oh no, my dear,” said William with confidence, “there are many fine houses in Rampside. Why, I have just had a new mansion built, Rampside Hall, and it has twelve chimneys.”

“Twelve chimneys? It must surely be a house of tremendous size and status.”

“Well, I don’t mean to boast, but - - will you marry me, my darling?”


And here is a photograph of Rampside Hall. The chimneys are known locally as the Twelve Apostles and for many years it was customary to have them all smoking on Christmas Day.

Celia did marry William and move to Rampside Hall. Her remarks when first she saw it are unrecorded.


Blogger John said...

Boreatton Park, designed by Williams Clough-Ellis I think, is supposed to have 30 chimneys for the days of the month, 365 windows for the year, seven staircases and such. Though I might have it all wrong. The place is now owned by PGL Adveture and run as a big outdoor centre. I designed their activity brochure when they first opened.

11:39 pm  

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