Tree felling and a portrait from the past

Tree felling and a portrait from the past

As previously reported, the dead beech near the Massingberd Arms needed to come down. The tree had shed a branch and we were worried that it might be dangerous to passing walkers as they came across the Parkland. The diseased beech was riddled with porcelain fungus and unfortunately, no part of it could be saved. Last week we told you how the branches facing away from the pub had been sawn off. This was in preparation for the final execution of the tree this week and to ensure that it fell in the right direction. To reinforce this, a V-shape was cut out of the trunk and a rope that was attached to a Leyland DAF 4×4 truck was tied to the tree to pull it in the right direction.



Work beginning on
the dead beech tree


A head for heights
was needed for this job!


As the final chainsawing took place the tree began to crack and then quickly fell to the ground, crushing and breaking the remaining branches as if they were mere twigs.

The long trunk lay on the ground and we went to admire the mighty beast. Andy Hackett, whose company carried out the work, was pleased with how it fell and came back later in the week with his team to saw up the trunk into moveable pieces and to tidy up the branches. We should be ok for firewood for the foreseeable future!



Watch as the old beech finally comes down


Last week, Caron, our Heritage Interpreter and Administrator, got very excited as we acquired a new painting for the Hall. The artist was Edward Haytley. Edward was renowned for painting portraits of the gentry in their Estate setting (often referred to as a conversation piece) during the period 1740-1746. Our new painting shows Miss Anne Massingberd, daughter to William Burrell and his wife Anne Dobson. Anne was born in 1747 and married in 1777. Her husband was the Rev William Maxwell. The setting shows the house with the façade that James Paine designed. He was a Palladian architect who enjoyed the symmetry that this proffered. The pediment, which he put above the bedrooms was later removed and a Doric porch that is still part of the Hall was added changing the look of the building.



Jan with the painting
of Miss Anne Massingberd


One of the two fan
designs from Italy


Paintings from the Morning Room were moved
while restoration work is carried out on the windows


Some of the Morning Room paintings also needed to be moved this week as the painters were busy restoring the windows in there. We carefully covered the furniture and took down the two fan designs sent back from Italy by William Kent, Burrell Massingberd’s protégé. Kent was just an art student on the Grand Tour of Italy at the time. Burrell sent him money in the hope that Kent would work for him. He hoped Kent would design summer houses and garden features for him as well as copy famous Italian works of art and send these back so that Burrell could impress his friends with his cultural links. Kent did this for a while but then found bigger and more important sponsors and rejected Burrell. Lord Burlington and eventually the King became his patron.