I was planning a trip to Lamport for this afternoon, chiefly for its connections with the writer and illustrator Denys Watkins-Pitchford (or "BB" as he signed his books, reserving his full name for his illustrations - BB was a grade of shot used by wildfowlers).
BB wrote natural history books and also wrote stories for children. He got a mention in my Masters dissertation because when his heroes run away to live in the woods in Brendon Chase they are careful to take a copy of Richard Jefferies' Bevis with them. And Watkins-Pitchford's illustrations, often using scraperboard, are very much to my taste.
His books now change hands for a lot of money. I remember thinking back in the early 1980s that he was a writer whose books would soon become more sought after; unfortunately, I did not have the money to stock up with them in those days. I also seem to recall that he came to Market Harborough quite regularly in those days. (He died in 1990 at the age of 85.)
Planning today's trip to Lamport, I picked up Pevsner's Buildings of England for Northamptonshire (as one does) and looked at the entry for Lamport. There was plenty of interest there, but my attraction was drawn by a note at its end referring the reader to another page for details of Shortwood Lodge.
Turn to that page and you find the following:
Hawking Tower: A three-storeyed tower of c. 1720 with two-storeyed wings, their two storeys being as high as the ground storey of the tower...That sounded agreeably eccentric and there is a connection with BB there too. The BB Society website tells us that:
Shortwood, the home of Lady Susan Farr with its medieval hawking tower featured in Wild Lone BB's classic tale of Rufus the Pytchley Fox.Pevsner makes it clear that the tower is not medieval, but this reference made me still keener to see it.
And writing this post tonight I have realised that Lady Susan Farr must the the widow of Sir John Farr, who was for many years the Conservative MP for Harborough. (Shortwood Lodge is more than five miles into Northamptonshire and was thus not in his constituency.)