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Click to enlarge.JOHN BULL AND THE NATIONAL DEBT
In 1812, a seedling from a nearby filbert (5) tree took root inside this abandoned millstone. The tree survived for many years, eventually lifting the millstone in 1863 to a height of around 8 inches to one foot (20 - 30 cm).
The parent stem died in November 1864, to be replaced by a new shoot. However, the tree and millstone have gone. Picture shows Dr. Hobson seated beneath the tree.

There are still filbert trees in Walton Park, several being near the wall adjacent to the Barnsley Canal.

"This fortuitous occurrence and destructive position, as well as the singularly unique altitude for a mill-stone to occupy, coupled with what must eventually be the result of this ponderous, hard, and inelastic mass of dead matter, induced Mr. Waterton to name this extraordinary combination, 'John Bull and the National Debt.' We can not, for a moment, doubt, that this accidental and unnatural union was, for a long period, a great discouragement to the healthy growth of vegetation, simply from its grasping embrace. Nor can we doubt that the weight of the stone has been a most disastrous drag around the neck of the filbert-tree, whatever eight hundred million pounds sterling may have been around the neck of our nation." (1)


The Noctifier The Noctifier (Spirit of the Night or Dark Ages)
The Noctifer, a combination of two nocturnal birds, the bittern and the eagle owl;
described by Waterton as the "the Spirit of the Dark Ages, unknown in England before the Reformation". (2, 3 & 4)

See more of Waterton's creations in Handiworks.


Notes
1. Charles Waterton, His Home, Habits & Handiwork, Richard Hobson. (see Charles Waterton Links).
2. Wanderings in South America, Charles Waterton, ed. Rev. JG Wood, Macmillan & Co., London, 1880.
3. Essays on Natural History, Charles Waterton, ed. Norman Moore, Frederick Warne & Co., Covent Garden, London.
4. Charles Waterton 1782 - 1865, Traveller and Naturalist, An exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary 0f the birth of Charles Waterton. Gordon Watson, Wakefield Museums and Art Galleries, 1982.
5. FILBERT: the cultivated hazel, L. Corylus maxima, bearing edible oviod nuts - the filbert or hazel nut, commonly called the cob nut. St Philbert's Day, 20th August, on or near which day, such nuts (noix de filbert) are said to be ripe. The filbert seedling in John Bull and the National Debt.



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