Free Pumpkins Galore; 450 Years On and Which Side Are You?
This year we’re combining our annual pumpkin carving with Weymouth’s 450 celebrations.
Thanks to a generous grant from Weymouth Town Council we can supply 100 free pumpkins to be carved at our All Hallows’ Hoolies.
When you arrive at Radipole gardens queue up and sign in to receive your free pumpkin, one per child.
You’ll then be directed to a carving table with tools, but we respectfully request that parents supervise their children during this activity, after all its good fun to do these things together. Mind you, I do remember a couple of somewhat eager parents last time taking this very seriously, taking over charge of designs and tools to compete with each other!
So what you might ask is the Weymouth Heritage 450 link?
Well, long, long ago, way before your parents, grandparents etc, etc, ect were born Weymouth (of old) and Melcombe Regis were two very separate towns that faced each other off across the harbour. Indeed if you look across Radipole lake today, you’re looking across the very waters that separated these two warring fractions.
Weymouth being the side where the Nothe fort now stands proud on its headland and good old Melcombe Regis, with its golden beaches and Georgian buildings.
As Kings were wont throughout the ages, they gifted great swathes of land hither and thither, depending on who pleased them most at that time. This dealing out land, not surprisingly lead to much friction.
Around 1110 priors and monks of St Swythwyns Weymouth had been granted ‘the ports of Waimuth and Melecum‘ by good old King Henry I (1068-1135), son of William the Conquerer.
At a later date poor old Melcombe Regis could only prove ownership of one half as granted them by King Edward I, aka Edward Longshanks (1239-1307).
Each held the solid belief they owned the whole or part of the harbour and entitled to any monies they brought in.
Records still exist of fierce, and I mean fierce, ongoing hostilities between these two, from threats of ‘murder was like to ensue’ to accusations of ‘rebellious behaviour‘ by Weymouth men, mostly over collecting valuable customs from vessels that entered the port.
Finally, 1571, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, matters had come to such a head and she so fed up of their constant grievances, signed along with her seal a charter, the ‘Acte of Union,‘ created in attempts to unite the two.
(Image Courtesy Weymouth museum)
Failed miserable…but there we go, that’s history!
We however are about to revive that rivalry, in a far friendlier manner of course.
Once pumpkins are carved, named and t-lights added, you can chose which side of the harbour (path) you find your allegiances lies with, Weymouth or Melcombe Regis?
Look our for our own tongue in cheek ‘Orrible ‘Istories that tell this historic story.
With duly situated offerings lined up, they’ll be judged by Weymouth’s own Town Clerk, Jane Biscombe, along with her rather unusual but amiable friend Tilly.
Three prizes will be awarded, one to each age group.
Come 4.50 pm, as dusk is falling, with pumpkins flickering in the fading light, Radipole gardens will become a twinkling delight.
We also have the wonderful Leonard Cheshire folk along with their exciting Awareness and Discovery Trail that’ll lead you through the gardens in search of all manner of items. So many of these lovingly created by the wonderful folk of Weymouth.
Lots to see and search for, plus prizes to be won. Even try your luck at their raffle, where there’s a Halloween fox awaiting his new forever home.
You’ll find them based at the bottom of the Tree of Heaven.
Of course, what would our pumpkin event be without Jon Orell and his apple press?
So gather ye your fruit, be they from the trees or fallers, bring them along (not forgetting your containers) and make a batch of scrumptious freshly pressed juice. Plus its good for a workout.
While you’re there pop into our Heritage tent for a chat, to see old images of this area and view the exciting plans of what’s to become. We’d love to talk to you.
So lots to do, lots to see, lots to discover.
See you Saturday 30th October in Radipole gardens between 3-6pm.
Thank you to Graham Perry and Weymouth museum for all their help with the history side, any mistakes are all my own!
are being supported by the Lottery