August 2023 – The Octagon

Greetings Friends,

Now that we are into the dog days of summer, this constant heat is getting old. Gardens are struggling and gardeners are finding it difficult to keep up with maintenance. However, we should be thankful that we have not had much in the way of fires here in the north Okanagan, although as I write this…smoke is now billowing in.

We have decided to change up our next Fair, and in keeping with Dun-Waters’ Scottish heritage we have put a different spin on it. The Fintry Highland Fair will be held on Sunday, August 20th, on the grounds of the Manor House, with vendors, the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band, Kilt 45, Silent Auction, Steve Smith, Manor House tours etc. This Fair will have the added attraction of some Highland Games events such as Haggis Hurling, a Wife Carrying competition, Welly-boot toss and a Tug o’War.  There will even be a Shortbread judging competition, so dig out Granny’s old recipe and get baking! Bring your shortbread to the Fair in the morning as judging takes place at 1 pm. Check out our website for the shortbread entry form or you can enter on the day. There will be prizes and fun for everyone!

The Fair runs from 10-4pm so bring the whole family and have a fun day at Fintry!  We have two food trucks guaranteed and the Firemen will be dishing out ice cream to keep you cool.

Our volunteers work so hard on these Fairs to make them a success as they are the major fundraisers that help to keep the lights on in the Manor House as well as the general upkeep of this historic site so we really value your support when we organize these events.

With the help of our volunteers and Cole (our summer student) we have been able to open for tours Wednesdays thru Sundays (afternoons) with barn tours Wednesdays through Saturdays in the mornings. We are also very grateful to Ron Chandler, our new Caretaker who has moved into the suite in the Manor House and who has been assisting with tours weekdays, as well as tidying up the grounds and gardens. Living onsite, he is able to do all these tasks that nobody else has the time to do! Thankyou Ron!

Now that we are able to open the Octagonal Barn for tours there has been a steady flow of traffic through this heritage building. Cole does an amazing job sharing the history with our visitors. Next year this barn will be 100 years old!

Our Curator Dan Bruce would like to draw your attention to another item of historical interest within the Manor House.

“Just beside the door that opens from the Trophy Room to the patio outside, visitors will see the figure of Sir George Felbrigg.   This is actually a very well-crafted reproduction of Sir George’s “Monumental Brass” that is in St. Mary’s church, Playford, Suffolk.   Brass plates depicting the deceased were placed either over the grave itself inside the church, or on the wall nearby.   This practice started on the Continent, and subsequently spread to England, where the earliest known example dates from 1276.  The custom declined and came to an end in the seventeenth century.      

It became a popular pastime to travel around to the various churches where these brass plaques were to be found and make wax-paper rubbings.  This involved laying a sheet of heavy-duty paper over the brass and then getting an impression by rubbing black wax over the image.    So many people were keen to do this and make collections of the images, that in several churches restrictions had to be put in place to prevent the brasses from being completely erased.      Here at Fintry, we have an example of such a rubbing, and it hangs on the east wall of the Trophy Room.   It is the monument of a lady, unfortunately of unknown name, that is to be seen in the church of St Helen, Bishopsgate, London, and dates from 1535.

The image of Sir George Felbrigg however, is a Fibreglass replica of the actual stone slab over his tomb with the brass ‘portrait’ in place.  The brasses were held in place by cutting into the stone, so that the brass could be set down, embedded in a layer of bitumen, sometimes with added lead clamps.  His is one of the best known of these monuments, and has been illustrated many times in the literature.   Sir George died in 1400 after a varied career in and around the English royal household.  He was an Esquire of the Household in the last years of the reign of Edward III, when he was involved in some questionable financial and real estate dealings.  Later, during the reign of Richard II he took care to be on better behaviour, and became a trusted and accomplished diplomat.  He was, together with two colleagues, sent to Bohemia in 1380 to negotiate with the Holy Roman Emperor for the hand of his daughter Anne in marriage to Richard II.   This was a successful mission, and Anne indeed became Richard’s wife, and Queen of England.

The image of Sir George shows him in a typical knight’s outfit of the time, notably the ‘aventail ‘ –  the chain mail protection for the neck and shoulders.     Practical experience of such a thing was witnessed at Fintry when the Viking re-enactors were performing at our fairs, every effort had to be made not to get a beard entangled in chain mail. Removal was extremely painful!”

Next time you are in the Manor House be sure to search out Sir George now that you know a little bit more of his history!

Enjoy these dog days because pretty soon the children will be back in school, the hummingbirds will head south and we will be staring fall and winter in the face!

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

2 thoughts on “August 2023 – The Octagon

    1. Hi Elsie,

      Yes unfortunately, Fintry and most of Westside Road was on Evacuation Order. Fintry Provincial Park is still closed, but our neighbours and others living on the delta were able to return home this week.

      All the best,

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