On Wednesday 20th September, a few of our members gathered outside the Old Smithy for a visit. Most people have seen the outside many times, but few have ever been inside and explored the interior.
Stella and Kerry kindly provided information printouts as there was no one to tell us about this ancient building although, to be honest, not much is known about it other than that which Roger Lea has recorded in his History Spot. (This can be viewed on the SCLHRG website).
The present owner, David Gilbert kindly showed us around the 2 floors which were, naturally, covered with his collection of art works, but the plaster walls, old beams and the massive 1400's timber cruck could be clearly seen from the upper floor. The huge stone fireplace on the ground floor is now closed off at the chimney and houses some of the smaller paintings; the staircase has been replaced many times over the centuries. There are several hidden spaces leading off the main areas with very old timber doors; but because this is now a private house, these little rooms are 'off limits' to the public.
It was a fascinating visit and had an added 'perk' if, like me, you are interested in the paintings too. I was delighted to find several watercolours by local artist George Maitland Gilbert. David Gilbert (no relation) gave an interesting account of how the Art Auction houses work and how competitive the market is in our present times.
Thank you to all who attended.
Eileen Donohoe Sept 2023