Shotover Park was the home of Lt Col Sir John Miller, who was Crown Equerry to Queen Elizabeth II. In 1888 his grandmother gave the building called the Merry Bells to the villagers as a temperance hotel as she was saddened to see so much hardship caused by drunkenness. Today the building houses a public library and is a social centre of the village. Ironically, it now has a licence to serve alcoholic drinks. [source]
Read The Ballad of Cumnor Hall, with a preface saying “The history of Cumnor would be viewed differently today if a Scotsman had not come to work at the Clarendon Press in Oxford around 1770. Williarn Julius Mickle enjoyed writing poetry and among his published work was the ballad ‘Cumner Hail’. Unfortunately he did not check his facts carefully – he styled Amy Dudley as Countess, a title she never attained as she died three years before her husband Robert became Ear] of Leicester. Nonetheless Sir Waiter Scott read Mickle’s ballad and was inspired by it to write his popular novel ‘Kenilworth’. Thus Cumnor was drawn out of obscurity into the limelight of history.”
So far I can’t find anything about the visit of Dr Johnson and Boswell.
We did this same walk in January 2019 (no photos online). In January 2022 we walked north from Shotover car park, and returned through the park. Photos here.
And if you want to find out more about Shotover, there are lots of leaflets, and even a book, to read.
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