News Round Up

AN article in the Daily Express newspaper says that mystery surrounds scribbles discovered among

ruins at the 7th century Tintagel Castle, which has links to the legendary King Arthur.

They have been found on a two foot stone at the medieval castle in Cornwall and features a mixture of Christian symbols, Latin writing and Greek lettering.

Michelle Brown, a writing expert from the University of London, said: “The lettering style and language used, as well as Christian symbols exhibiting Mediterranean influence and contacts, all reveal precious clues to the culture of those who lived at Tintagel in the 7th century.”

She added: “The text suggests a high level of literacy and an awareness of contemporary writing styles associated with the early illuminated manuscripts of Britain and Ireland.”

 

 

The Guardian reports that there are doubts over a landmark sculpture in Somerset after a crowdfunding campaign fell short of its target.

The 12 metre high Willow Man next to the M5, which was built at the turn of the century, has become a familiar sight both for local travellers and holidaymakers heading to and from Devon and Cornwall.

Creator Serena de la Hey launched an appeal to raise £75,000 to rebuild the figure, but only £16,000 has been pledged.

She told the Guardian that the nature of the material used meant Willow Man was originally envisaged as a temporary piece, which would stand for only about three years.

“Back then three years seemed enough to be going on with. But it has become part of people’s lives and has also become part of my professional and personal life. It is my calling card and it will be difficult to let it go.”

 

 

The historic Hadrian's Wall has been damaged by metal detectorists who have been blamed for more than 50 holes found around the 1,900-year-old Brunton Turret section, near Hexham, Northumberland.

According to the BBC, Historic England reckons those responsible were searching for loot such as Roman coins and military regalia.

Mike Collins, the organisation's inspector of ancient monuments, said: “We know that the majority of the metal detecting community complies with the laws and regulations regarding discovery and recovery of objects from the land.

“But the small number of people who steal artefacts and damage ancient sites are breaking the law and robbing us all of the knowledge and understanding that objects from the past can give us.”

 

 

The Guardian says that a portrait of Queen Victoria, showing her with” brutal realism as an ageing, pouchy cheeked woman with tired eyes” has been saved from export at a cost of more than £1m.

The bust was sold last year to an undisclosed museum in New York, but the government delayed the granting of an export licence in the hope that a UK institution could match the price.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge used a recent bequest, and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of over £260,000, to raise the £1,077,607 price and it will now go on display in the museum.

The marble portrait was carved by Sir Alfred Gilbert – best known for the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus – between 1887-89.

 

 

According to the BBC, around 9.500 people gathered at the Neolithic monument at Stonehenge in Wiltshire for the summer solstice..

The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

WE don't get many in the UK but when we do, the newspapers give it full attention.

An article in The Guardian says that Lincolnshire suffered a 3.9-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in Grimsby.

The British Geological Survey (BSG) said the seismic event took place at a depth of 18 kilometres (11 miles), with its epicentre in the north-east Lincolnshire seaside town. No serious damage is thought to have been caused.

 

 

According to the Daily Star, divers have found the 330 year old remains of Britain's richest shipwreck.

The merchant ship President sank near Loe Bar, Cornwall in February 1684 laden with a precious cargo of diamonds and pearls from India with all but two of her crew dying.

The Star reports that recent storms may have shifted sands, revealing the wreck to Cornwall Maritime Archaeology divers David Gibbins and Mark Milburn.

David said: “Loe Bar is usually a dangerous place to dive - the entry and exit are treacherous even with the smallest of waves. The recent period of calm weather has allowed us to get in for the first time in months.

“During our dive we were thrilled to discover seven cannons and an anchor at the site, only a few metres from shore in less than seven metres depth.”

He added: “We were exploring an area where artefacts had never previously been recorded, and we realised we were looking at new finds.”

 

 

Liverpool will get some of its greatest treasures out of storage for nine days in August to celebrate the Biennial arts festival including the 30,000 Minton tiles of St George’s Hall, one of the most spectacular surviving Victorian floors.

The Guardian says that other treasures being celebrated include “Waterloo teeth” harvested from the battlefield for sale as dentures; the Allerton oak, believed to be about 1,000 years old; centuries of art treasures from the Walker Gallery, from Giovanni Bellini to David Hockney; the civic silver collection including a mace once part of the regalia of Charles II; and the Central Library’s copy of Audubon’s Birds of America, one of only 120 elephant folio copies in the world.

 

 

The Independent informs us that the last polar bear in South Korea is to spend its retirement in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster.

Twenty four year old Tongki, who currently lives at the Everland theme park, just south of Seoul,

is to be the latest addition to its Project Polar reserve in at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, joining their

other polar bears – Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby – in November.

 

 

Wildlife warning via The Independent.... the populations of much-loved British mammals including hedgehogs and water voles have dropped by up to two-thirds over the past 20 years, and many more are threatened with imminent extinction.

These findings come from a review carried out by the Mammal Society and Natural England - the first of its kind to be conducted in more than two decades – which shows that pesticide use, invasive species and road deaths have all taken their toll.

 

 

James Bond fans might be interested to read a story in the Daily Express which says that a brooch worn a character from the iconic spy films – Miss Moneypenny – is to be sold auction.

The bug brooch was worn by actress Lois Maxwell in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Octopussy in 1983.

The turquoise brooch's design features wings set with diamonds, ruby eyes, and a polished stone body mounted in 18-carat gold and has an estimated value of between £2,000 and £4,000.

It will be sold by Ewbank's Auctions in Surrey on Wednesday, June 20.

Reference list:
The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Star (www.daily star.co.uk)

ACCORDING to The Guardian, a 10-year-old Hermès Himalaya Birkin with a diamond-encrusted white gold lock is expected to become the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction in Europe when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London.

It's likely to exceed its estimate of £100,000-£150,000, putting it in line to top the highest price paid for a handbag at auction in Europe, which stands at £155,000.

Christie’s handbag specialist, Rachel Koffsky, commented: “Only three of these particular bags have ever come up for auction. We don’t think there are many of them out there. I have my fingers crossed that we will break records with this bag.”

WE don't usually get big storms in the UK, but last week was the exception.

The BBC reported that around 15,000 lightning strikes were recorded in four hours after thunderstorms and torrential rain swept across parts of southern Britain.

Stansted Airport reported delays to flights after a lightning strike briefly left its aircraft fuelling system "unavailable".

A Guardian story tells us that DNA sampling techniques may help provide answers to the legend of the Loch Ness monster.

Prof Neil Gemmell, a scientist from New Zealand leading a global team of researchers, said: “I’m going into this thinking it’s unlikely there is a monster, but I want to test that hypothesis. What we’ll get is a really nice survey of the biodiversity of Loch Ness.”

The mission will involve genetic code being extracted from the lake over a two-week period to determine the types of creatures that live there.

And then samples will be sent to labs in Australia, Denmark, France and New Zealand to be analysed.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that we will find new stuff, and that’s very exciting,” said Professor Gemmell.