After a family project involving the study of the monument to WF Gamul Farmer (1812-1860) positioned at the East Entrance to Nonsuch Park – we decided (as a group) – to see if we could locate the grave of this local gentleman, despite the fact that he had died 162 years ago! After about half an hour of looking around St Dunstan’s Church with no success, I remembered that the Church used to encourage the idea that wealth and status could guarantee a place in heaven – providing that this wealth and status was used in favour of the Church in whilst the individual concerned lived on earth! My hunch proved correct. Usually, the graves of the good and the great are located if not very close to the exterior of the Church wall – then actually in the interior of the Church (buried under heavy flagstones engraved with the details of the deceased). The problem was that by the mid to late 1800s, all the interior space of the Churches had already been paid for and occupied – and so this left the only ‘premier’ spots for the here after to be located outside the Church wall positioned at various distanced from the East-facing Altar!
Willian Francis Gamul Farmer married one ‘Matilda Farmer (nee ‘Wilkinson’) [1815-1889] and produced eleven children with here – seven boys and four girls. The names of his children were William Robert Gamul Farmer, Thomas Allix Farmer, Matilda Frances Farmer, George Lancelot McLean Farmer, Margaret Anna Farmer, Emily Mary Farmer, Charles Edward Farmer, Revd. James Edmund Gamul Farmer, Henry Lowth Farmer, Catherine Augusta Farmer and Francis Colebrooke Farmer. He inherited from his grandfather when aged 26 years old (in 1838) and again from his father – William Meeke Farmer (1778-1840) – when he was 28 years old in 1840! This is why he lived the care-free life associated with the landed gentry. Willian Francis Gamul Farmer was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for Surrey before reaching the Office of High Sheriff of the County of Surrey – when he received his appointment in 1849 (when he was around 37 years old). Indeed, so important a person was he – that an oil painting was commissioned to record this important event – which seems to show him around 37 years old (although I cannot find any verification for the date or the name of the artist, etc).
We met Mr John Hawks (who owns Toby the dog) who personally introduced my daughter – Mei-An to a computer screen and keyboard featuring a Minecraft programme relating to the exhibition! Mei-An skilfully navigated the challenges and completed all the tasks without a hitch and with John Hawks watching! All very impressive! We were also pleased to meet other Chinese people visiting amongst the multicultural crowd! Please enjoy the following photographs and happy learning!
Anyone who interacted, stroked, played with or threw a stick for ‘Toby’ – the resident sheepdog – was presented with a beautiful postcard of this well-behaved and genteel Sheepdog! He appears to be the pet of resident archaeologist – Mr John Hawks – the Curator of Chapter House, as he was the person who presented the postcard and seemed to know ‘Toby’ the best! Mr John Hawks has been featured in a number of articles about this very important ‘dig’ which has received a boost recently with the Priory ‘arched’ wooden gate being added to the already amply exhibition! There is much to see – such as the UK’s oldest Parliament and Lord Nelson’s Chest!
Abbey Mills has always seemed to be a busy commercial area of South London and has a long history – like much of this area. In the old days, much of the UK was covered with Catholic monasteries, churches and many other similar buildings, Following the dissolution of the monasteries during the late 1530s, all this Catholic dominance came to a sudden, dramatic and violent end when Henry VIII decided he would no longer recognise the dominance and authority of the Pope! This single act changed the world forever and ushered in modernity, individualism and capitalism! The Old Church was replaced with a ‘new’ version that was then spread throughout the world through British (and European) colonialism! The point is that we are all the product of history – that is ‘of what came before’ – and that these strata of our being lies primarily buried beneath our feet and awaits rediscovery! Experts, governments, individuals and special interest groups can argue about the provenance of these finds, but one point everyone involved in this debate agrees upon is that history is undoubtedly beneath our feet!
Hopefully, these random videos will assist people all over the UK (and the world) to understand and appreciate this wonderful exhibition of 12th century British history! Furthermore, we want to assist the elderly, the vulnerable and people with disabilities and difficulties to experience this exhibition ‘remotely’ – so that they are not excluded from the sharing of British history – which belongs to us all! After teaching Chinese martial arts this morning, we drove from Sutton to South Wimbledon (a distance of 3.9 miles) which took about 30 minutes to achieve! We then walked a slightly longer way around the supermarket and along the river until we reached ‘Chapter House’ – a place we did not know exactly where it was! However, the day was sunny, we were happy and time was on our side!