2007: Memorial to two plane tragedies

A memorial for the victims of two plane crashes has been unveiled at Purbeck.

An RAF Swordfish Mark One aircraft from RAF Gosport crashed near Corfe Castle on March 18, 1938, killing three people.

On June 15, 1945, an RAF Liberator Mark Four aircraft from RAF Transport Command’s 232 Squadron also crashed there, killing 27 passengers and crew.

Bournemouth Echo, Thursday 1 November 2007

2006: Motocross club saddened by farm bike ban

Organisers of a youth motocross club say they are shocked and saddened by the council’s decision to ban the use of motorbikes on a Purbeck farm.

Two clubs have now been kicked off West Hill Farm in Kingston by Purbeck District Council, despite being located in a 2,000-acre site and only held on Saturday afternoons.

One organiser, Vincent Page, of the Off-Road Promoters Association, says he carried out noise level tests to ensure there would be no impact on nearby houses. He said: “We did everything within the rules – we didn’t touch the land, we provided insurance and safety measures. The police are always asking for somewhere for young bikers to go, and this was perfect – it’s ridiculously remote. “Now these kids have nowhere and they’ll just go back on the streets where they are a nuisance.”

The clubs were set up in response to last year’s call by the Local Government Association to seize and crush nuisance mini-motos and hand out Asbos to the riders.

Ady Solomon, who ran a club at West Hill Farm until the council threatened enforcement action against him earlier this year, said: “We wanted somewhere for kids to go that was safe and out of people’s way. “We had all ages and backgrounds, and it was fantastic. But then the council stepped in, and their attitude has been disgusting.”

Purbeck planning board says it received “a considerable number of complaints” about noise and the “principle of allowing such activities in the Area of Outstanding Beauty”. Principal planning officer Alan Davies said: “Who knows how this thing might snowball in terms of car parking, physical and visual impact on the environment and noise? We are simply bringing it under council control. There are places that have planning permission in the area which they can use, with proper facilities, and if they want to submit a planning application it will be considered on its merits.”

The farmer who runs the land, Steve Fry, says none of the complaints actually came from Kingston residents and were drummed up because the council did not like the principle of the club.

Officers say the letters of complaint are private and chose not to discuss where they were from. The letters were not shown to the councillors on the planning board before they voted on the ban.

Bournemouth Daily Echo, Tuesday 12th September 2006

2005: Obituary: Violet Constance Naomi CHAPMAN

CHAPMAN VIOLET CONSTANCE NAOMI. Passed away peacefully at Alderney Hospital on February 20th 2005 aged 88 years. Much loved and missed Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother. Funeral Service at St James’ Church, Kingston, Corfe Castle on Tuesday 1st March at 12.00 noon. Flowers may be sent to James Smith F/D, 60a Kings Road, Swanage. Tel (01929) 422445

Bournemouth Daily Echo – 26 February 2005

2004: Mourners fill church in tribute to popular priest

Hundreds of mourners packed into Kingston church to say their final farewells to a popular parish priest.

The Rev Robert Watton died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 59 just months after taking early retirement.

His eldest daughter Hannah, 20, said: “The church was full and people were standing out in the rain. We were really happy lots of people came as it makes you realise how much of an effect he had.”

Mr Watton spent 13 years as rector of the Parishes of the Purbeck Hills and was chairman of governors for St George’s First School at Langton Matravers. Up to 100 paintings by the school’s children, aged two to eight, were placed on display inside St James’s Church for his funeral. He retired for health reasons in October 2003 and at his new home near Exeter he had been enjoying walks on Dartmoor.

Churchwarden Don Pratt, who worked with Mr Watton for 11 years, said: “The news came as a shock, especially as Robert had been enjoying his retirement. Everyone was saddened and all send their condolences to Robert’s family, including his daughters Hannah, Jess, Susie and grandson Joshua. Robert was a faithful priest and touched the hearts of many by his care and ministry at baptisms, weddings and funerals. He will be long remembered in the villages, and with tourists through the popular summer services he developed at St Aldhelm’s Chapel.”

His funeral service was conducted by long-standing friends Canon Humphry York and Father Kenneth Noakes.

Bournemouth Echo, Thursday 19 August 2004

2004: Obituary: Reverend Robert N K WATTON

WATTON Revd ROBERT N K. Former Rector of Langton Matravers, Worth and Kingston. Died suddenly at home on 4th August 2004. Beloved Dad to Hannah, Jess, Susie and Grandad to Joshua. The Funeral will be held at St James Church, Kingston on 16th August at 2pm. A jubilant Service at Robert’s request, black is not necessary. Family flowers only please but donations for ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres UK’ may be sent to James Smith Funeral Directors, 60a Kings Road, Swanage. BH19 1HR. Tel 01929 422445.

Bournemouth Daily Echo, 11 August 2004

2004: Manor farm up for sale

Well-known Purbeck family, the Scotts, are selling an historic manor house they had planned to make their family home. Rupert Scott, who sold Encombe House, near Kingston, two years ago for a reported £16million, has now put Afflington Manor Farm on the market for an estimated £2.25million. Afflington Manor Farm, between Corfe Castle and Swanage, is a Grade II listed 17th-century manor house set in 360 acres.

The Scott family are believed to be dividing their time between Purbeck and the south of France. The family still owns a substantial amount of land in Purbeck along with a number of properties. Afflington Manor Farm had been the subject of heated debate among planning chiefs at Purbeck District Council over a complex set of proposals for alterations. Objections were raised over the cumulative effect of the alterations but, after months of negotiations, planning chiefs finally gave the go-ahead on plans which included building a swimming pool and converting pigsties into boiler and changing rooms.

The courtyard manor house is believed to date from 1620 but the building is currently stripped internally in preparation for a complete renovation.Some of the original features are still intact including flagstone floors, shuttered windows and exposed beams. The building had been extensively remodelled during Victorian times and little had changed since. More recently it was used as accommodation for farm workers. The sale is being handled by FPDSavills

Daily Echo (Bournemouth) published Friday 9 July 2004

2004: Victorian stairs to be ripped out

A Victorian staircase at an historic manor house in Purbeck is to be ripped out despite calls from conservationists that it should be saved. Purbeck district councillors approved the plan after a visit to Afflington Manor Farm at Corfe Castle, once an important property in the 17th century which oversaw the manor of Afflington. The grade II listed building has undergone alterations over the centuries but had fallen into disrepair in recent years.

It has been bought by the Scott family – former owners of Encombe estate which they sold in 2002 for a reported £16 million. A complex planning application seeking a series of alterations to Afflington Manor Farm had already been approved by Purbeck district’s planning committee. Planning chiefs have now agreed to a separate application seeking permission to remove a nineteenth century staircase to allow the creation of a void for new stairs to give the impression of a ‘grand hallway.’

The scheme was opposed by Purbeck district council’s conservation expert along with English Heritage and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. Conservationists argued that the staircase was worth preserving to show how the house had developed over the centuries. At a planning committee meeting to decide on the application, Cllr Fred Drane said: “It does not appear to me to be something of great importance. I would suggest we allow the staircase to be removed.”

Cllr Malcolm Shakesby said: “There is nothing in what we have got here that recommends me to think it’s worth preserving – it has got no beauty in my mind at all.” After hearing that English Heritage had not visited the house, Cllr Shakesby commented: “If English Heritage are going to make these sorts of decisions they should take the trouble to investigate it.”

Daily Echo (Bournemouth , Wednesday 3 March 2004

2003: Family wins approval for manor house work

Well-known Purbeck family, the Scotts, have won permission for a series of alterations to an historic manor house they hope to make their family home. The former owners of Encombe House, which was sold for a reported £16 million, plan to set up home at Afflington Manor Farm between Corfe Castle and Swanage.

Proposals for a complex and wide-ranging package of alterations have been the subject of 18 months of negotiations with planning officers at Purbeck district council. The grade II listed former manor house was originally a 17th-century courtyard house – it was more recently used as accommodation for farm workers. Members of the planning board agreed to the removal of 19th-century partitions – provided they are surveyed and recorded – to make way for a “manorial chamber”. Permission was also given for a swimming pool, with the conversion of pigsties to boiler and changing rooms. Members of the planning board visited the site before making their decision on the cumulative effects of a wide-ranging series of proposed alterations.

Cllr Elizabeth Rudd said: “I think we are really lucky to have an applicant willing to spend the money and the will to do this. This building has been vacant for a month and there is already damp in it,” she added. “There have been lots of historical and archaeological reports and negotiations that have been going on.” Several councillors raised concerns about the building’s current three-storey staircase but it was not part of the set of proposals needing their decision. Cllr Julie Wheeldon said: “I was amazed how shambolic (the house) was and what a tremendous task it is for the people having to restore this.”

Daily Echo (Bournemouth), Tuesday 2 December 2003

2003: Golden Reunion

Old memories were relived and stories shared when a golden couple took a step back in time to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

The entire wedding party who watched Greta and Terry Hardy from Kingston marry at Betchworth in Surrey in 1953 reunited to commemorate the couple’s 50th anniversary.Even the bridesmaid Ann Robinson, pageboys twins David and Christopher Taylor – who were just three at the time – and best man Michael Hillier attended. The appearance of London-based Michael at the bash at the Springfield Country Hotel proved to be an extra-special surprise for the couple who had not seen him since 1954.

The idea of celebrating their golden wedding in the presence of all of their old friends and family was the idea of Terry. And despite the hard work that he put in trying to locate the whereabouts of all of the 85 guests the couple believe it was well worth the effort.

“It was absolutely fantastic, really superb,” said Greta, 70. “It was a beautiful evening and we were amazed that so many people made the huge effort to be there. It was an occasion to get all our family and friends together again which so rarely ever happens.”

Bournemouth Echo, Tuesday 14 October 2003

2002: Listed estate house bought for £16m

One of the most expensive country estates ever to come on the market in Dorset has been sold.

Encombe House, which lies in a secluded valley in Purbeck, is believed to have been bought by successful American merchant banker Charles McVeigh for £16 million – £1 million more than its asking price.

charliemcveigh3

Charles McVeigh

It is only the fourth time the grade-II listed country house set in 2000 acres of magnificent coastal grounds famed for its shooting opportunities has changed hands.

The estate includes St. Aldhelm’s Head, Chapmans Pool and Swyre Head, three lakes, 60 acres of formal garden, 12 cottages, swimming pool and a Grecian style temple.

The house includes six reception rooms, a galleried hall, library-cum-snooker room and 12 principal bedroom suites.

Prestigious estate agents FPD Savills were called in earlier this year to sell the property for the Scott family who had owned the estate since 1807. [The accompanying photo showed the previous owners Rupert and Sophie Scott.]

A Savills spokesman confirmed the house had been sold but refused to confirm the new owner. She said: “Because of confidentiality agreements we are legally bound not to make any comment on who the new owner is but we can definitely say it has been sold. We can also say there was considerable interest in this property.”

However national newspaper reports have revealed it to be Mr McVeigh who is one of the longest serving and most popular merchant bankers in the City. He began trading before the Big Bang date when the stock exchange was computerised. He is now co-chairman of Schroder Salomon Smith Barney.

Bournemouth Daily Echo, 9 August 2002