A CHRISTMAS HOUSE PARTY IN DORSET
AN INSCAPE RETREAT
FRIDAY 9 TO MONDAY 12 DECEMBER 2016
For our first Christmas INSCAPE Retreat, we will be the most welcome guests of one of the oldest families in Dorset whose ancient home is their small country house hotel. Cosily ensconced in historic book and art-lined rooms, warmed by lively scholarship, good company, central heating and open blazing fires, we will focus on Dorset’s colourfully chequered history as a county of rebels and smugglers. Beginning with Dorset’s earliest documentation in the Domesday Book, we will move through the early middle ages to the Clubmen of the Civil War to shortly after the last battle in England to be fought by an army of Dorset’s proud nonconformist artisans and farmers with pitchforks in 1685. Our special private visits will be to the ancient medieval and Jacobean manor houses of the noteworthy Dorset families we discuss. In our evening readings we will jump ahead to the life and times of native Thomas Hardy, with readings especially from The Mayor of Casterbridge on the 130th anniversary of its publication. We will certainly not overlook Hardy’s evocative reminder of a rural Dorset Christmas in ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’. The poetry of William Barnes, multitalented poet and autodidact, born in Rushay, Dorset, will be the focus for a study of the ancient Dorset dialect. The food will be delicious- its restaurant is one of the finest in Dorset, featured in the Good Food Guide every year since 1978. In the small private Dorset County Museum owned by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, where Nicholas worked 40 years ago, we visit the museum’s excellent collection and the Hardy papers with Helen Gibson, Hardy Curator. Set in Nicholas’ most beloved winter landscape, the mild Dorset countryside, this gentle Inscape Retreat will provide a perfect lull before the distractions and demands of Christmas.
COST £1295 members, £1345 non-members, single room supplement £180, deposit £250. This cost includes three nights accommodation with breakfasts, all dinners with wine, one lunch with wine, all tuition and lectures, entry fees and private tours where applicable, all travel during the tour, all gratuities, VAT. This cost excludes travel to and from the tour.