Long Marston, Stratford-upon-Avon: Drawings for Robert Fisher Tomes 1870s

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This interesting series of drawings depict manor houses, churches and chapels local to the Long Marston area near Stratford-upon-Avon. Long Marston is known as one of the ‘Shakespeare villages’; the local architecture depicted in these 19th-century drawings - at Broad Marston, Cleeve Prior, Weston-on-Avon, Dorsington, Lower Quinton and Stratford-Upon-Avon itself - is evocative of the Bard’s country.

The series was produced for Robert Fisher Tomes (1823-1904) of the prominent local Tomes family, and the drawings represent the houses of families connected by marriage with the Tomes family. Robert Fisher Tomes was a farmer and zoologist, specialising and ornithology and bats: he described a number of new bat species, with his writing included in Thomas Bell's History of Quadrupeds and the two Victoria County Histories. His collection of mammals was sold to the Natural History Museum, and his bird collection was bequeathed to the museum in Worcester.

Tomes was also clearly interested in local history; these drawings are evidence of the way in which the architectural fabric of a place tells the stories of past lives. Many of the drawings are titled with the names of the local landowners - Goodwin, Bushell, Haines, Dewes - providing further interesting historical record. Tomes’s manor house itself at Long Marston has a particularly interesting past, providing refuge for Charles II in 1651 when he escaped incognito as a servant to Jane Lane, Lady Fisher, following the defeat of the army at the Battle of Worcester.