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Tea clipper ship Tea Clipper Be with you in a minute...
from TeaAntiques.com
Edition One Hundred and Twenty Two

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Featured Antique - 'Flight and Barr' period Worcester Oval Shanked Teapot and Cover, Blue, Pink, Green and Gilt Flower Sprig Decoration, Underglaze Scratched 'B' Mark, c1795

An elegant 'Flight and Barr' period Worcester Oval Shanked Teapot and Cover, Blue, Pink, Green and Gilt Flower Sprig Decoration, Underglaze Scratched 'B' mark, c1795. The Teapot has a beautifully shaped handle with moulded and gilded leaf capping, elegant half moulded spout and a shanked moulded cover with oval moulded and gilded finial.

More details of this item and other tea related antiques can be found by visiting my website at www.TeaAntiques.com.

A Murder is Committed at Hinton Ampner

Hinton Ampner is one of my favourite houses in the National Trust collection. Although it looks like a Georgian House as you approach, it was in fact rebuilt in 1960 following a serious fire that caused extensive damage. A Tudor house initially stood on this site that was replaced with a Georgian House in 1790. The current neo-Georgian style was created in 1936 for Ralph Dutton, the last Baron Sherborne, who re-created the same style following the fire in 1960. He gave the house to the National Trust in 1985 following his death.

The first floor contains a series of bedrooms including Ralph Dutton's own bedroom, complete with en suite bathroom. From his bed he could enjoy the wonderful views across the Hampshire countryside. The first floor, however, is closed during the winter to allow conservation work to take place.

For today's visit we will be exploring the ground floor to solve a murder. Themed around Baron Sherborne holding a dinner party for some friends: Professor Plum, Reverend Green, Colonel Mustard, Doctor Black, Mrs. Peacock and Miss Scarlett. Overseeing the cooking in the kitchen was Mrs. White.

At the ticket office, you are given a 'Case Notes' booklet within which is a map of the house, names of all the guests with some information on each of them and pictures of the suspect murder weapons. There are clues in the Incident Room close to the entrance and just passed the vintage sweet shop - a delight for young and old alike. Here, you can get the lowdown on all the guests, their motives for murdering Doctor Black and their movements that evening.

 

On the back of the booklet is the missing Christmas pudding trail for youngsters to help their adults to solve. The trail round the gardens is for children to help adults answer questions that will lead them to identifying the thief. The Inspector's hands are full solving the murder of Doctor Black, luckily trusty dog Albert is with the Inspector, so, can you help Albert find out who stole the Christmas pudding?

The Marble Hall

The police have arrived and sealed off the murder scene in the Marble Hall  - the body of Doctor Black has been taken away leaving only the outline of the body to mark where it was found. The telephone receiver is dangling on its lead, there is evidence of a struggle - Doctor Black was an elderly man and could easily have been overpowered by a man or woman.

Inspector Grey is already in command and surveying the murder scene looking for clues. Six possible murder weapons had identified - but which one was used and would the weapon have been replaced in the room from which it had been taken that would throw suspicion elsewhere? Hmm...

The Inspector was young but had solved murder cases before and she wasn't going to let this one beat her. There was more than a murder to solve - there was also a Christmas Pudding thief, Mrs. White had left a pudding in the kitchen when she heard screams from the Marble Hall, she rushed to see what was causing the commotion; when she returned there was just... oh, I'd better not say what was left behind!

Yellow Drawing Room

This is my favourite room in Hinton Ampner, the yellow wall hangings reflect light coming in through the double aspect widows which makes it a very light room.

The party is in full swing, canapés are on the side, a champagne pyramid is ready, the drinks trolley is fully stocked and there are cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks are ready and waiting to be eaten. What more could you want?

Colonel Mustard had held the guests in raptures as he outlined one of his military campaigns. He used the furniture to create a battlefield and populated it with toy soldiers, tanks and horses. He was mentioned in dispatches for gallantry in the face of the enemy - you could not get a more upright pillar of society. Yet, Doctor Black didn't like him, in fact they avoided each other all evening.

The Colonel had to leave the room a few times to get more soldiers and armaments - he would not have been seen in the Marble Hall arguing with Doctor Black - or was he seen? One of the murder weapons identified by the Inspector was clearly military in design. The Inspector needs a bit more information - can you help?

The Library

Mrs. White had popped into the Library to check everything was alright and ready for the guests to sit after dinner. She had been rushing about a lot and took a few minutes on the settee to rest.  She kicked off her shoes and relaxed. She knew she wasn't supposed to use the furniture in such a way - but the guests were listening to the Colonel and she didn't think anyone would see her.

The Study

Miss Scarlett was Doctor Black's goddaughter, in fact she was the main beneficiary of his estate. She had been shopping, the carrier bags (paper ones, of course!) are on the floor. It's not clear why she had taken over the Study - it wasn't her room and Baron Sherborne liked to keep it private. Why was she in there? What about the shopping - where did she get the money from? She was always pleading poverty and saying that she was hard up. Was she spending her inheritance early?

 

The Dining Room

The Dining Room is usually dominated by a large mahogany dining table laid out for dinner - on this occasion a giant peacock dominated proceedings. The places were set for each of the guests and dinner was underway by this time. However, a scream from the Marble Hall caused everyone to leave their meals and rush to the sound.

There are some excellent Adam-style mirrors in this room and it is nice to see cutlery in the cutlery box on the sideboard.

 

 

Miss Scarlett has knocked over her chair and lost her shoes - was this in panic because she was the murderer... Two examples of a suspect murder weapon are on show, did she use one to kill Doctor Black and return it to the Dining Room between courses? Or had she eaten too much Christmas pudding stolen from the kitchen earlier and fell over?

 

Doctor Black's place was empty, his stethoscope was on the seat of the chair - he left in a hurry. He had to make a telephone call - the last phone call he would ever make.

 

 



The Butler's Pantry

Mrs. White had been the cook at Hinton for some time and knew how to put on a lavish affair - with the help of the butler. She used the Butler's Pantry to prepare the many courses ready for the footmen to take them to the to Dining Room.

Reverend Green was trying to write his Christmas sermon and sought sanctuary from the dinner party in the Butler's Pantry where he could enjoy the peace and also be sustained with tea and sympathy from Mrs. White.

One of the suspect murder weapons is clearly on show - was it used to kill Doctor Black? What secret was Reverend Green trying to keep quiet? The Reverend had a lot of chances to go to the kitchen unnoticed and steal the pudding - a Reverend wouldn't steal would he? Well, it depends whether you knew his secret that might make you change your mind. A secret only known to Doctor Black.


 

All Saints Church

Within the grounds of Hinton Ampner is All Saints Church. Built in the 13th Century on the site of a Saxon church, it is a simple parish church with whitewashed walls and wood ceiling. The Christmas spirit has been created with a Christmas tree, nativity scene and a display in the 19th century font.

Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hinton-ampner

Map: www.streetmap.co.uk

 

Tea at Hinton Ampner

In one of the outbuildings is the cafe; an organised affair with plenty of excellent food on show. The staff had entered into the spirit of the murder mystery by preparing some gingerbread suspects and mystery cupcakes. Today, my choice was a superb cheese scone and pot of Earl Grey tea.

On each table was a small floral display each of which represented one of the suspects, three of them are shown here. Some extra clues perhaps! The professors spectacles, the colonel's cigar and Miss Scarlett's scarf...

 


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