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A Week on the Estate: Sunset Oats, Spicy Pears & Provocative Books

We enjoyed a few warm days this week as summer bids us farewell, but autumn is definitely with us, our harvest is nearing completion and we’re planning for the winter to come.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, we combined the spring oats. Like many growers, we’re down on yield having lost a percentage of the crop on the floor to wind and rain. We’ll bale the straw to bed the Lincoln Reds in the winter months. Straw is in short supply this year but we hope to have enough for estate use. The spring oats were finally finished on Wednesday evening under a red sunset, leaving only the winter wheat to be harvested.

Last weekend, the Saturday Club decamped to the Old Rectory. The team got stuck into some useful work; weeding the driveway, removing fallen twigs and branches, picking apples and clearing away windfalls (helped by plenty of hungry wasps!). They also enjoyed a history talk and a tour of this handsome building, finding out about the prominent characters for whom the rooms are named.  The Old Rectory’s garden must be doing well as both grapes and figs were spotted.

Jacqui Rhodes made the most of a fine crop of tasty pears. We’ve enjoyed pear frangipane and pear & cinnamon scones, and we’re looking forward to preserved pears in light syrup with a hint of spice. We had enough pears left over to box them up as winter treats.

Last week, we surveyed our readers and they were clear on how they wanted our new beef jerky to taste. Salty Tang was their clear favourite over Smoky Heat by a factor of 4:1. Gabrielle McCree suggested that we combine chilli and salt which might please more than a few. All suggestions will be taken on board by our beef-unit apprentice, Keira Rhodes, and we’re grateful for numerous generous offers to taste the goodies!

While thinking about our recent features on the English Civil War, we came across a set of 300-year old tomes in South Ormsby Hall’s library.  Together, they comprise an early 18th-century edition of ‘The History of the Rebellion’ by Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674). A moderate Royalist who supported constitutional monarchy but opposed revolutionary Puritanism, Hyde served as senior political advisor to Charles I during the First Civil War. He was exiled in 1646, returning in 1660 to serve the restored Charles II as Lord Chancellor.

In 1667, Hyde’s career was ruined by a series of disasters: the Second Anglo-Dutch War, the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of London. He spent the rest of his life in bitter exile and busied himself re-writing his great history. What had begun as a defence of Charles I became a frank and scathing work which criticised the follies and failures of all concerned.

The work was published in 1702, 28 years after Hyde’s death, as part of an ongoing literary battle between Tories and Whigs over the rights and wrongs of the war. It was exploited by parliamentary Tories to ensure that only Church of England conformists could hold political office. The presence of these volumes on our shelves suggests that the 18th-century heirs of Sir Drayner Massingberd were keen to acquire this provocative political memoir, penned by a key player in the war that shaped their world.