Our old chum William Bowland, 16th Lord of Bowland, put on a sterling show when he delivered a public lecture at Browsholme Hall on Tuesday evening. His erudite lecture on the history of the Lordship of Bowland took place on the occasion of the formal swearing in of Clitheroe land agent Michael Parkinson as Chief Steward of the Forest of Bowland, the first such steward since the 1922. Proceeds from the evening went to the Slaidburn Archive to support its work recording and preserving Hodder Valley history.
To their evident surprise, William told rapt listeners: “The future matters more than the past. My lordship may date back a thousand years but today, my job as Lord of Bowland is to provide a marketing opportunity. Let’s celebrate the Lordship of Bowland as a part of our heritage just as we might celebrate an historic landscape or a beautiful building. Let’s use it to help protect, preserve and promote Bowland in all its uniqueness. The 16th Lord of Bowland should be regarded as just another feature of our wonderful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, no more, no less”.
Is this really what we expect from an overlord? Whatever happened to good old-fashioned pomp and ceremony? Once upon a time, you could always depend on a feudal grandee to wear a silly hat. Alas, it seems, no more ...
I took Margaret Panikkar (local historian, renowned cheese making expert etc etc) along last night and we were 'shushed' twice for whispering by a member of the audience who was hanging on every word. I expected withering questions from the audience but William dealt with them all deftly. One lady asked if Sir Walter Urswick (pronounced Werswick) might have anything to do with the village of Worswick. 'Almost certainly' was the reply to that! There was a pause and then another lady asked in serious tones 'What about my rights?'. At last something controversial! Unfortunately this was not some latter day Flora Poste and if there was 'something nasty in the woodshed' we still don't know what it is. The lady was actually enquiring about mineral rights in Grindleton and after a quick check with Michael, William confirmed that they were probably held by the Assheton family. A thoroughly entertaining evening.