Chalice Well Archives
Blog post, 11 June 2014
The book says rather briefly (Chapter 34) that when Fred and Colleen Rosado became Guardians at the Chalice Well, “They took on new staff, converting old garages to office space, which in turn meant sorting out the mountains of paper and archive material which had never been sorted since the first days of the trust. This led to the setting up of the Chalice Well archive.” This sorting was actually carried out by Alan and Pauline Royce, and Alan has sent me this story:
Pauline had been here for a while and I moved down to be with her after we married in 1995. Having read Patrick Benham’s ‘The Avalonians’ as an entry into the local history, I ended up, at Pauline’s instigation, sorting out the library at Little St Michael’s, Chalice Well. Fred and Colleen seemed to like the results so they gave me some of the older papers in the old garage to sort through.
These turned out to include material on Wellesley Tudor Pole’s great archaeological adventures in Constantinople, so we pointed out that these were historic stuff and needed conserving. In the midst of this process, having found material on Alice Buckton’s period, I took the opportunity afforded by the first ‘candlelit evening’ in the gardens to attempt to use vision to contact the land spirits of the site, to ask for clues as to where more historic material could be found.
A spokesman was finally granted me and he told me to “look in the attics” and he showed me Alice Buckton’s ‘Druid sword.’ Bemused by this, we wondered if he meant the attics of folk in town who had memorabilia from Alice’s time (and whether she had seen herself as a druid!) We were greatly surprised when, a week or two later, an attic hatch was discovered leading into the roof space above where the garage lay. Sure enough, piles of archive material was stacked up there – some of it just beginning to be incorporated into a monster wasps’ nest!
We made an attempt to survey the stuff and even published some of it (in the ‘Chalice Well Messenger’ of 1998 and in ‘Avalon magazine’ No 9, summer 1998). We also put on an Alice Buckton exhibition. Tracey Cutting was inspired to write her ‘Beneath the Silent Tor’ biography of Alice, and we pushed for a permanent archive room for the safekeeping of what had been found. Tim Hopkinson-Ball arrived about then and he and his partner took on the task of cataloguing the material. [The archivist at Chalice Well is now Paul Fletcher.]