Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A History Lover's Treasure Hunt

by Tim Carrington

Years ago I used to organise the occasional Armchair Treasure Hunt for BBC Radio Shropshire. I would provide the clues and their presenter, and I would take calls from people who thought they knew the answers, and so we would ‘virtually’ travel the county during an hour long programme. En route we would chat to locals and find out a little bit more than what my cryptic clues or my own knowledge of the area provided. 

Of course, that was in the days before internet, Google Earth and Wikipedia. So this is an invite to spend an hour or so in ‘Virtual’ England, and perhaps you will learn even more history – or should that be trivia – than you already know. I hope you use both internet searches and Google Earth to help you. The nice thing about the latter is that the sun is always shining.

1.       We start at what local legend tells was Gwenhyfar’s (Guinevere’s) birthplace which was recently the subject of local and on-line protests. One point for the place name IN WELSH. One point for the protest topic. (2 points available)

2.       Now we travel east to the White Tower which now ends in a large weight. Close by there is a wood which may or may not have a connection with the children’s story ‘Babes In The Wood’. One point for naming the family who had to hide in those woods when the nasty Welsh took the castle. One point for knowing the reason so many places end in ‘ton. (2 points available)

3.       Now south to a ‘monarch’s cranium’.  One point for naming that place and another for naming the monarch. (2 points available)

4.       And south again past another heavy weight which does NOT lie to the east. At the cross roads head for the brothel. Yes, there is such a place (by implication) if you look hard enough. Nearby is a castle. But who is the guy who built it? And IS there a brothel there today? One point for the village name, one for the name of the man who built the castle, and one for the brothel connection. (3 points available)

5.       Now we go east to the only place in the WORLD that has Roman numerals in its name. Eleven points for giving me the 11 reasons for its name. (11 points available)

6.       And then south to a highwayman’s hideout. He was a bit of a local hero who robbed the rich to feed the poor – probably to keep them quiet as there was a price on his head. One point for his full name and another for telling me where his family home was. (2 points available)

7.       Now south east to the birthplace of Charles Darwin. One point for giving me his connection with pottery. One point for his father’s occupation. (2 points available)

8.       And while we are here. Did you know that it is in this town where the FIRST English parliament sat where both lords and commoners were represented? One point for naming the king at that time. And three points for telling me the full  name of the unfortunate Welshman who was hung, drawn and quartered as a result of that parliament. (4 points available)

9.       And while we are in this historic town, can you find out who the would-be king was and where he stayed in this town. Two points for that. (2 points available)

10. Finally, a bonus ten points if you can tell me in your own words what happened when the would-be king arrived at the Welsh bridge and asked for passage through the town. (10 points available)

Unfortunately, US law does not allow us to have you "work" for a prize, so we cannot award anything for your efforts. It is all just for fun. Please send your answers to

Have fun!
Tim Carrington

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