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Round Country Kitchen Table. Rectangular Counter Table

Round Country Kitchen Table

round country kitchen table

  • A nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory

  • The land of a person's birth or citizenship

  • state: a politically organized body of people under a single government; "the state has elected a new president"; "African nations"; "students who had come to the nation's capitol"; "the country's largest manufacturer"; "an industrialized land"

  • the territory occupied by a nation; "he returned to the land of his birth"; "he visited several European countries"

  • The people of a nation

  • nation: the people who live in a nation or country; "a statement that sums up the nation's mood"; "the news was announced to the nation"; "the whole country worshipped him"

  • Pass and go around (something) so as to move on in a changed direction

  • wind around; move along a circular course; "round the bend"

  • Give a round shape to

  • from beginning to end; throughout; "It rains all year round on Skye"; "frigid weather the year around"

  • Alter (a number) to one less exact but more convenient for calculations

  • a charge of ammunition for a single shot



The Old Post Office situated in the North Cornwall village of Tintagel was acquired by the National Trust in 1903. One hundred years later, the Trust is celebrating the centenary of the acquisition of this unique and extraordinary building

Originally built as a small manor house in the 14th century, the building is a rare example of such an early domestic dwelling in the south west corner of England. It’s life as a post office began in the
19th century, when Sir Rowland Hill’s introduction of the Penny Postage in 1840 led to the improvement of postal services in remote country places like Tintagel. Until this time, letters for the village had to be collected from Camelford, five miles away. By 1844 the village and surrounding parish were generating 125 letters per week, and so the General Post Office decided to establish a Letter Receiving Office for the district. A room was rented from the owner of the old manor house and a Letter Receiving Office set up. From the 1870s it was run by William Cobbledick Balkwill, who was also the local draper and grocer.
In the late 19th century, tourism reached Tintagel – primarily due to the Arthurian poems written by Tennyson, who had visited Tintagel in 1848. Many of the villages old buildings were torn down, to be replaced by guest houses, shops and hotels.

In 1892 the owner of the Old Post Office decided to sell it for redevelopment, and the General Post Office moved its business across the street. By 1895 the building had become virtually derelict and was put up for auction. However, a group of local artists who had become concerned at the threat to the Old Post Office, decided to act. One of them, Catherine Johns, bought the building for ?300 on the understanding that means would be found to preserve it. This was achieved through sales of prints after pictures of several well-known artists in 1896, and, shortly afterwards, the fabric of the building was repaired by the leading Arts and Crafts architect, Detmar Blow, according to the strict principles laid down by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

In 1900 the National Trust agreed to buy the building from Miss Johns for a nominal ?200, raised by public appeal. The purchase was subject to a lease to Miss Johns for her lifetime and the building was finally vested in the Trust in 1903.


The building is typical of many late medieval manor houses with a central single-storey hall open to the roof, flanked by smaller service rooms and a kitchen (now the parlour) with bedrooms above.
The Old Post Office came to the National Trust empty of contents, apart from a late medieval kitchen table situated in the Hall. The rooms have been furnished with items from farmhouses and cottages in the vicinity. One of the rooms remains as a Victorian village post office, and outside on the wall is an example of the first standard wall letter box of 1857. Only 14 such boxes remain in existence – mostly in the south and west of England. This particular box is characterised by having no hood over the aperture and its door sited in the middle.

The Old Post Office is also home to a unique collection of historic needlework samplers dating from the mid-17th century. The Old Post Office has been at the centre of life in Tintagel for many hundreds of years. It has provided an essential service to the local community during its life as a post office, and now this small but unique building welcomes over 45,000 visitors each year – not to mention the many thousands of visitors who walk past it on their way to see the ruins of Tintagel Castle.

Tintagel Old Post Office National Trust Centenary Notes

The first countryside area acquired by the National Trust was Barras Nose, Tintagel in 1895 and the first building acquired was Alfriston Clergy House in 1896. In 1900 Long Crendon Court House was acquired, then Kymin in 1902. The fifth acquisition was The Old Post Office, Tintagel in 1903.

The Old Post Office was in a very dilapidated state and put up for auction by the owner in about 1892, which meant the post office had to move to a new building opposite.

Miss Catherine Johns, a local artist and her friends raised the funds to purchase the building to prevent the loss of this important medieval building.


The National Trust purchased the building for the sum of ?200 from Miss Catherine Johns, an artist in Tintagel, who saved it from dereliction and redevelopment by raising the necessary funds selling pictures by her and her artist friends.

Miss Catherine Johns referred to the property as "The Old Cottage, Trevena"

On 26 July, the NT leased the building for life to Catherine Johns.


The tithe rent charge on the property due to the Vicar of Tintagel was 9s 2d.


Catherine Johns paid a nominal rent to the NT of five shillings for her life interest and it was open to visitors during the summer at a charge of 2d per person.





A single, precious chapati requires skilled hands and:

Wheat flour
A drop of USA-issue vegetable oil
Water ("amaze" in Kinyarwanda)
White flour to prevent sticking

Anestes, our beloved house worker, rolls a dozen whole wheat chapati every night.
He's getting married October 7, so he's really happy. His bride-to-be is a tall, lithe seamstress down the hill from us, about a 10 minute drive away though they rarely see each other. Outside the small kitchen is a sink ledge on which sits a little black radio tuned to gospel music in Kinyarwanda. Anestes' humility can be seen in every little thing he does, especially in his graceful rolling out of each single chapati. He does so as if it is the first of the night's dozen.

When I first arrived in Kigali and met Anastes, I asked him about his family. In his unmeasured steady way, he gestured with a balletic sweep of his thin hands, "Genocide...all gone..."

Every night as I trudge down the steep hill to our house, I can see the silhoeuttes of
boys such as Anestes, steadily and skillfully working beneath the flouresent flicker in small kitchens. I imagine them each to be like Anestes, quiet, controlled, working endlessly, putting food on other people;s tables, washing other people's clothes, making other people's beds. And in their hearts lives a recent past that has stripped them of land and family--but not of humanity. Anestes' humility is a part of a larger Rwandese humanity that I swear I can taste in every little, perfectly round chapati.

At home in our kitchen.
Kigali, Rwanda. Afrika.
August 4, 2006.

round country kitchen table

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