After breakfast I went for a stroll round the grounds. I met a gardener and asked him about the fox legend that I had been told about a few weeks ago by a fox fan at Cattistock. The legend, as I was told it, was that foxes appear at Gormanston Castle only on the death of the current Lord Gormanston, whether he died at the castle or not. The gardener, a local from up the road, was familiar with the legend. He said that a colleague, who had worked there for 30 years, had never seen a fox until, about 3 years ago when, in the Castle, a priest was on his death bed.
The phenomenon started when a Lord Gormanston rescued a vixen and her cubs from the Hunt. He showed me the route the foxes were reputed to take, not to the front door, but through a yard at the side. Dogs and poultry are not disturbed when these foxes visit.
I told the gardener that I had heard there was a second colony of bees in the building. He hadn’t heard of it but we walked round the yard and he spotted them before I did: flying from under the eaves of the building. He advised what should be done about them: “Leave them alone!” was my advice.
He pointed out a series of ladders leading up the side of the Castle and said the view was fantastic from up there. I shouldn’t really go up there but nobody would say anything if I did, he said.
I didn’t take the hint at the time as the first lecture was due and I didn’t want to be late.