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


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Strange But True

  • list arrowThere's nothing like a nice private shower!

    Having a shower in Victorian times meant a line of maids passing water up a ladder to the final one who poured it over your head whilst you stood in your metal frame or tent contraption - you can see one at Erdigg, an historic house near Wrexham, North Wales.


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