Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Snowdrop wood open

For several years a piece of woodland in the grounds of Charlton Place, Bishopsbourne, Kent, has been open to the public on a Sunday late in February, so that the double snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) growing there can be enjoyed. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available in the house, and people are invited to make a donation of at least £2.50 in aid of St Mary the Virgin church, Bishopsbourne.
A poster advertising the event in 2011 invited people to:
‘See 200-year-old double snowdrops planted in memory of the Prince Regent’s white charger, killed jumping from the ballroom window for a bet.’
In 2019 no mention was made of this, but in his 2018 booklet on the history of Charlton Park Jack Wales notes:
‘There is a verbal tradition that, at a party in the ballroom, an officer in George’s [i.e. George IV, Prince Regent 1811-20, King 1820-30] household for a bet jumped a white horse out of one of the ballroom windows. The horse is said to have died. Nothing is known of what happened to the rider.’
According to the booklet, the Prince Regent frequently visited the area in the 1790s to review troops, and from 1819 it is likely that he stayed at Charlton Park when visiting his mistress Elizabeth Conyngham, who lived nearby at Patrixbourne. Tradition suggests that the west wing of Charlton Place, including the ballroom, was built in about 1811 to entertain the Prince.

Photographs taken 24 February 2019.

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