You’ll get a Poldark preview if you come to The Sharpham Trust’s Heritage & Spring Garden Open Day on Sunday April 9.
Musician Jon Dyer is due to appear in the next series of the BBC One drama, alongside screen heart-throb Aidan Turner.
Jon will be performing music from the 18th century when he appears at Sharpham’s open day – just like he’ll be doing in the hit TV series about Captain Ross Poldark – a redcoat returning to Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War.
Jon said: “We’ve done the filming and I’ll be appearing in three episodes: in two as a peasant playing a whistle and in another one a lot more dressed up with a wig, playing a flute.”
He even got a chance to speak to Aidan Turner. “I’m only an extra as such but Aidan came over and had a chat. He’s a nice guy.”
Jon will be performing on the open day with his regular musical colleague Alfie Gidley, playing Celtic music, English tunes and the odd Klezmer or Balkan melody.
They will join in with The Penguin Band on the day, playing 18th century dance tunes including quadrilles, bourrées, jigs and hornpipes. They’ll do a number called Quick and Merry, which will feature in Poldark.
Jon said: “It’s an old Cornish tune which was collected in 1780 – it’s a proper tune from the Poldark period.”
A full day of history and culture
The music is just one part of the busy programme at Sharpham’s Heritage & Spring Garden Open Day.
The annual event has been given more of a historical feel and will feature stories, imagery and artefacts drawn from the Sharpham Archive.
“Thanks to our team of volunteers, we’ve begun collecting and organising Sharpham’s history in our archive,” said Maya Herbolzheimer, Volunteer & Engagement officer for the Trust. “Now we can begin to share some of the fascinating material – from maps and old pictures to anecdotes and memories.”
There will be a display of archive material, talks, tours of Sharpham House, gardens and grounds.
The kids can explore the gardens, solve clues and hunt for hidden eggs on Sharpham’s Easter Trail too.
Sharpham House Café will be open during the day for teas, coffee and lunch.
The event runs from 10.30am to 4pm and is free entry, although there is a £4 charge for parking. If you’re travelling from Totnes, consider walking or cycling along the Carriage Drive foot and bike path, or take the free shuttle between Sharpham and Totnes run by Bob The Bus. A timetable is on the event’s web page.
The day is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Heritage & Spring Garden Open Day is a great way to celebrate and share the history surrounding Grade 1-listed Sharpham House – an 18th Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart.
Sharpham is an ancient place and people are known to have lived here from at least 1260. The name exactly describes its situation in the Saxon words schearp (meaning sharp) and ham (referring to the bend in the river). Thomas de Schearpham was the owner of the original manor house that was located here in 1260.
The house has been expanded and redeveloped throughout the centuries during which it has had a number of colourful owners. One, Captain Philemon Pownoll, a captain in the Royal Navy and a high seas adventurer, made his name in 1762 by capturing a Spanish treasure galleon. With the wealth he accrued from securing this treasure, Captain Pownoll engaged the architect, Sir Robert Taylor, to incorporate Sharpham’s existing Tudor mansion into a new villa.
It was Sir Robert’s love of mathematics and geometry that helped him create this outstanding example of English Palladian architecture. His genius is most evident in the House’s optically floating, elliptical cantilevered staircase – one of the most dramatic in England.
Pownoll also commissioned paintings of him and his wife Jane from the famed society portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds, copies of which hang in Sharpham’s Music Room. It is thought that he also commissioned Capability Brown to landscape the grounds.
Sharpham House was the family home of Maurice and Ruth Ash – founders of The Sharpham Trust, a charity that hosts mindfulness retreats and courses and events that help people connect to nature.
Can you help?
If you’ve got Sharpham memories or artefacts to share, The Sharpham Trust would love to hear about them.
We’ll be collecting Sharpham memories on the day and archive volunteers will be on hand if you’ve got something interesting about Sharpham to share.
We’re also looking for volunteers to help on the day – contact Maya on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
There is more information on their website: www.sharphamtrust.org/calendar/course/heritage-gardens-open-day
(from a press release)