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Room 38 - Angarth

All About Angarth

Angarth is a small town in Scotland, not far from the English border. It has a rich and varied history which until now has been largely forgotten. In 2013, Dr James Lattin curated an exhibition based on the town. Many of the artefacts on display come from either the archive of the Angarth Museum or local country house Judley Hall.

One of the key celebrations in Angarth is the annual pilgrimage to Aeppeltun Isle.Visitors may also be interested in Angarth's royal connections throughout the centuries, as well as popular events such as the XY music festival.


Artefacts

The Angarth Hoard: The world's largest collection of one pence pieces
Fragments from Pompeii: Collected by Ambrose Judley on his 19th century Grand Tour
The Harvard Jars: A now-lost collection of jars with a ritual context
Royal Boxer Shorts: Believed to have been left by Prince Andrew at Judley Hall
An Elegy to Patience: Photos of many lost games of patience

Local places of interest

Judley Hall: 18th century country house in a state of decay
The Dark Fort: Reconstruction of a Neolithic earthwork
Aeppeltun Isle: Island with ceremonial significance

History of the town

Angarth is a small town on the border of Scotland and England, with what has been described as a “much-overlooked history”. The earliest records point to a place called An'geard, in the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged. The name originates from the old Aenglish word 'geard' which means the area around a garden or courtyard. The 'an' element is Latin for 'before' giving us a somewhat incongrous meaning.

The earliest written record of a settlement is from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (11th century) which refers to 'residents of Angeard were quick to help the invaders' in reference to a Viking invasion in the early part of that century. What was initially a hamlet consisting of several farms quickly grew into a small village by the time of the Domesday book, where it was recorded as consisting of 'sixteen households, positioned by the River Angeard'. It seems likely that river was given the same name as the village by the Normans, as there are examples of this occuring in many other places in the north of England.

Of course, the border itself has fluctuated throughout the centuries, and Angarth has been part of both England and Scotland at different times. By the time of the Act of Union, the town had around 800 inhabitants and was later described by James Boswell as 'a town in a delightful setting, yet not with much merit as to its architecture'. Boswell goes on to say that he and Samuel Johnson 'found ourselves at much time of leisure in the town and had much discussions with the local people over fine legs of partridge and schilling ale.'

Angarth did not experience much growth as a result of 19th century industrialisation, given the lack of resources such as coal and iron ore in the area. It did however, find use as a storage depot for munitions being transported from the factories of Glasgow to the Western Front in World War One. The town also has a striking war memorial in the form of a bronze soldier overlooking Helmer Street. Other places of interest include the museum, and the Royal Hotel where King George III once stayed. Visitors to Angarth have included Robert the Bruce, King George III, Count Vyacheslav Molotov, Prince Andrew and Kate Moss.