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Return of the urn

RETURN OF THE URN

After many years of neglect, an urn which was erected as a memorial to George William 6th Earl of Coventry, will once again proudly stand in the parkland at Croome, near Worcester.

Thanks to raffle ticket sales the National Trust has been able to raise funds towards the restoration of this important piece of Croome’s history.

“It’s wonderful to see the 6th Earl’s urn - which I last saw in about 50 pieces – repaired and back on its pedestal in the Home Shrubbery. The 6th Earl created the beautiful landscape at Croome in the 1700s and it is right that this memorial to him is back on display” said Katherine Alker, Croome’s Garden and Park Manager.

Over the years, the 6th Earl’s Urn succumbed to the elements with the whole urn falling from the pedestal on which it once sat in the Home Shrubbery. The National Trust started work in the Home Shrubbery in 2007 and found the urn in pieces at the base of the pedestal hidden amongst the undergrowth.

“The 6th Earls Urn had been all but lost in the Croome wilderness,” said Tom Flemons, Cliveden Conservation Workshop Manager. “The pedestal was standing but only just, wrapped in vegetation and undermined by root growth, the urn itself had long ago fallen with fragments all but buried in the surrounding soil. The National Trust archaeologist recovered and recorded the fragments, then the jigsaw began to piece everything together.”

Cliveden Conservation were commissioned to undertake the intricate restoration project. The pedestal formed the first phase of the work with the repairs to this being completed in 2014. The ‘socle’ (the neck or stand) on which the urn sits was damaged but has been carefully set back together. It was possible to rescue, marry together and re-use many fragments of the urns lower and upper bowl sections, but some missing sections had to be hand carved using oolitic limestone from Bath. Details for the entirely missing lid and finial were built up using historic illustrations from William Kent’s initial designs for spiral urns together with details collected from the Pope Urn at Croome. The urn will be re-set with a central stainless steel dowel with traditional lime bound mortars used for the repairs.

An inscription panel on the urn itself can just be read ‘In memory of, G William Coventry’. A larger plaque which was once on the pedestal is completely missing, and no fragments have been found. The wording is known from an early 19th century guidebook to Croome, and the National Trust will be re-instating this once further fundraising has been done.

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 10am until 5.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11am to 4.30pm every day. Normal admission applies.

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome

Photo credit: Cliveden Conservation