Explore the fascinating world of the Victorian judges at this award-winning historic house.

The elephant that never made it?

Victorian circus poster - Tregaron elephant?For years now ,The Judge's Lodging has displayed a Victorian circus poster, which always attracts much admiration.  Advertising Batty's Amphitheatre Show, performing in Presteigne on 31st July 1849, it boasts acrobats, animals, a re-enactment of St Geroge's battle with the dragon amongst other spectaculars. But what is attracting attention now is the mention of three elephants, reported to be the smallest in the world.

We thought nothing of it, until a university student contacted us today regarding it. We'd seen in the BBC Wales news that an excavation was being started in a pub garden in the Mid Wales town of Tregaron, where archaeologists are searching for evidence to support the local tale that a circus elephant from Batty's died in the town in July 1848. It's beginning to look likely that Presteigne never did get to see the three little elephants at all - that perhaps only two made it.  Staff at The Judge's Lodging are now on a hunt to find any contemporary local newspaper reports of the show to verify just how many elephants our predecessors saw!

You can see the original BBC story on the dig here

If you visit our neighbours over at Kington Museum, you will also discover some bones and photographs from a circus elephant who died there.  If you can't get there, you can always see them on their website here for the bones and here for photos



April 2011


Forthcoming Events

Strange But True

  • list arrowHow did Victorians try out a new invention?

    Test it on the servants of course! That's what happened in 1860 at The Judge's Lodging, when gas lighting was put into the basement and not the Judge's rooms. They wanted to see if they got sick from the fumes. The servants were fine - that's why we got the lights working again.

Historical Handy Hints