Summer at Sherborne Castle
The Sherborne Castle Classics and Supercars Event in Dorset, England, on Sunday, 17 July proved a great venue for the Giulietta Register’s Summer get together. Vintage, veteran and classic cars filled the gently rolling lawns surrounding Sherborne Castle. A delightful array of classics, predominantly British, provoked warm nostalgia in so many of us wandering their polished ranks. Pre-WWI and ‘specials’ leviathan racers thrilled onlookers as their huge motors (some aircraft engines!) were each started and gently revved to an informative commentary. Modern Lamborghinis, McLarens and Ferraris competed for hearts not already lost to the older iron.
The Register’s pitch was in a prime position and the line-up of Giuliettas and Giulias was a novel and popular display. Register members enjoyed meeting each other again - some cars and their owners who had not been seen at Register events for some time and some new members with their beautiful cars, original and restored, new to the Register and to the UK.
Having greeted each other, parked with precision, assembled and positioned the club banner, and optimistically applied sun block, we set about exploring Sherborne, seeking out the loos and coffee stalls on the way to the different car club stands, trade stands of model cars, useful and cheap tools, and auto jumble stuff. Possible vantage points were scouted should the promised later arrival of the squadrons of modern ‘supercars’ prove tempting. It was all a pleasantly manageable size, well catered and with an atmosphere of calm enjoyment reflecting good event organisation.
Sherborne Castle is often referred to as Sherborne New Castle to distinguish it from Sherborne Old Castle. The Old Castle is a ruin of a 12th C castle built by the Normans at the time of William the Conqueror. By the time Elizabeth I reigned it was already a ruin. Sir Walter Raleigh, a favourite of the Queen, apparently loved the place (and it’s easy to see why) and Elizabeth leased the estate to him. Rather than rebuild the old castle, Sir Walter built a relatively modest four-storey ‘lodge’ in the grounds for his occasional visits. After Walt lost his head, subsequent incumbents enlarged the buildings adding new wings, but it was severely damaged in 1645 in the Civil War. Rebuilt, it took on the Sherborne Castle moniker, though it really is more a large Jacobean house rather than a fortified castle, as we see today, but actually still pretty old.
Soon enough we all found themselves back at our Giulietta line-up and set about drawing the folding chairs and travel rugs into an ever more elongated picnic circle. The threatening sky delivered a heavy but short downpour prompting hasty erection of hoods, but soon cleared to blue with sunshine for the rest of the day. The picnic was a relaxed, disorganised and hugely enjoyable get together with old friends catching up and new friendships started. Cars were discussed and minor modifications inspected.
Register Chairman, Richard Wigley, continued the light-hearted tradition of announcing fun prizes, awarded only after rigorously superficial scrutiny and secret judging of the cars on show. Doug Whitaker took Best 750 Spider. Best 101 Sprint went to David Roberts, and Phil Gibson’s Spider was recognised as Best New Restoration (even though it was parked opposite with the Wessex Italian Car Club group). Tamara Earley was awarded the coveted Overall Best Car prize for her lovely and very original white Sprint which she recently acquired in Sweden. The car has a fascinating history which hopefully Tamara will be willing to recount in a future article for this magazine.
The socialising continued long after the lunching ended and it was late afternoon before the first cars were packed and headed for home through the beautiful green and rolling hills of the Dorset countryside. It had been another most successful Register event superbly organised by Tony and Jane Ives, whom we thank again, and well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all those Register members participating.