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The Lilliput Lane Annual Fair Visits Shugborough

Mar 31, 2008
2008 sees the Lilliput Lane Annual Fair make a return visit to Shugborough Hall, which Club members may recall was the home to the second Lilliput Lane Fair back in September 1990.

The ancestral home of the Earls of Lichfield, the Shugborough Estate sits outside Milford, just a couple of miles east of teh county town of Stafford and set on the banks of the River Sow.

Enthusiasts of Lilliput Lane cottages should make a note in their diaries of the dates September 20th and 21st 2008. For on this weekend Shugborough Hall will be hosting the 2008 Lilliput Lane Collectors Fair.

Shugborough has a rich and fascinating history. The original eight acres of land were bought in 1624 by local lawyer William Anson and over the next 150 years the Anson family extended the estate to 900 acres of parkland that features a number of intriguing and surprising monuments, many of which could make wonderful sculptural additions to the wonderful world of Lilliput Lane.

Perhaps the most mysterious structure of all is the Shepherds Monument. Built in 1748, this contains a ten letter inscription, which conmtinues to baffle visitorsd and scholars alike. In recent years, it is said to have provided inspiration for Dan Brown's best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code while in 2004, the legendary World War II Enigma Code breakers from Bletchley Park were invited to solve the mystery. Whether the inscription does indeed refer to the Holy Grail or is a coded love message from Admiral to Lady Anson is perhaps not of great interest to collectors of Lilliput Lane Cottages, but either way - it's fun to speculate.

Elsewhere the original servants' quarters are preserved as they were more than a century ago, complete with the only log-fired brewery in the country still producing beer on a commercial basis (incidentally, part of the servanrs' wages in the nineteenth century included eight pints of ale a day!). More recently, the house was the model for JRR Tolkein's 'House of a Hundred Chimneys' in his Tale of the Sun and the Moon, although Shugborough Hall itself boasts a more modest eight chimneys. (I dread to think of the reaction of the Lilliput Lane Cottage Sculptures if we were to tell them to start work on a model including one hundred chimneys - probably unrepeatable I guess.

Today, Shugborough is a National Trust property leased to Staffordshire County Council. It remains vibrantly active as a working estate while keeping right up to date in proudly displaying the work of its most illustrious resident of recent times - the late Lord Patrick Lichfield.

So, as you can see, Shugborough Hall is well worth a visit - and what better opportunity, if your a collector of Lilliput Lane Cottages, than September 2008. You can reserve your tickets by contacting the Lilliput Lane Collectors Guild hotline on 01228 404350.

If you aren't able to attend the event in September, there will be many other Lilliput Lane Cottage events throughout the year, most noteworhty being at Church's China in Northampton in late Northampton.

For further information, please visit our website at http://www.theukgiftcompany.co.uk
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Lilliput Lane collectibles further, please visit our website at http://www.theukgiftcompany.co.uk
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