Tipperary House, Grantham. Lincolnshire
Welcome to Tipperary House in Grantham. You’ve Come a Long Way !
There’s a well-known Irish story, as old as the hills of Ireland themselves – it goes, that a man was travelling through the beautiful countryside of Ireland, when he came to a crossroads with signposts pointing in all directions but none of the names on the signposts meant a thing to him.
As luck would have it, a local man was strolling by at that moment, so the traveller approached and asked him:
“Sir, can you tell me the best way to Tipperary from here, please ?”
The local man thought about the question, thinking deeply and finally answered him with hesitation:
“Sure, if I was going to Tipperary, I wouldn’t start from here.”
It would be easy to laugh at this and dismiss it as a rather silly answer and an Irish idiosyncrasy of expression, but there’s more to it than meets the casual eye !
Isn’t it the truth, that, given the choice, in so many aspects of our lives, we “wouldn’t start from here” either ?
As an international therapist, healer and life-coach et al, I know that in life, whether it’s applying for a new job, buying a house, maintaining our health, taking up writing or saying something to someone which needs to be said – the truth is, we so often don`t start from an ideal place.
All of us have baggage from the past. Old fears, traumatic memories and the rest. We also have current life challenges whether they are to do with relationships, money, health, family and work responsibilities or a multitude of other things including constraints of time.
All of these conspire to challenge us on the journey to our particular destination, our own Tipperary or Nirvana or Destiny if you like – whatever that may be.
My Tipperary has brought me to Grantham in Lincolnshire and beside the River Witham. This area for me personally is a timeless place with a magnetic quality.
I spent my earliest years up to the age of fourteen growing up in the City of Nottingham which is only 21 miles away as the crow flies from Grantham.
Then in 2011 after my second visit to this magical area of Lincolnshire, I felt completely at home among strangers where I felt a tangible sense of calm and togetherness as I soaked up the vital atmosphere of the place.
I decided then to move from London where I had been located for years and come and live here and work from Grantham and make it my home.
When I came to Grantham in 2011 and bought this beautiful Victorian house on Dudley Road, I decided to call it “Tipperary House” – my Tipperary !
But why you may ask would I actually call a house in Lincolnshire, “Tipperary” just on that thought alone ??
Well here is my full story of the many, many reasons to call it “Tipperary House” and the serendipity of it all:
The name Tipperary is derived from the Irish “Tibrad Ara”, or “Tiobraid Arann” which means “House of the Well or Spring of Ara”.
Ara is the name of the attractive River Ara, which passes through what is now Tipperary Town. A market town set in the heart of the ‘Golden Vale‘, a paradise of rich soil and green pastures in Ireland.
The town originally grew up around this well or spring from the River Ara and later a castle was erected by Prince John (later King John of England) in the 12th Century when he was Lord of Ireland as the Norman invader. Today – the motte, of this motte-and-bailey castle can be seen at the north of the town at the same side of the River Ara as the sacred well. King John`s mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine married to King Henry II of England and who was my great, great, great etc grandmother (direct line) through the Plantagenets. Incidently, King John is the monarch of Medieval England most associated with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
So, I have a very old and historical connection to the beginning of what is now Tipperary and the development of the area after that. Indeed, I ended up with both a very proud indigenous Irish Celtic and Anglo-Norman heritage with a direct and long-standing connection to the County of Tipperary later through the centuries with my father‘s family being a noble family from County Tipperary, having settled there and who were in fact Governors of the County at one time.
The Millett‘s were a prominent family (Irish Norman) for generations in the county of Tipperary and a part of the Protestant Ascendancy of Ireland.
Later, my grandfather (Thomas) married a catholic woman (Hanorah) from the mountain of Slievenamon, beside Killusty Village near Fethard in County Tipperary or (Irish: Sliabh na mBan) which means “mountain of women`.
The mountain is said to have got its name from the ancient fairy women or Feimhin, who enchanted a warrior named Fionn Mac Cumhaill and his followers.
It is said that Fionn decided to choose his bride from the first of these women racing to reach the summit to meet him sitting at the top of Slievenamon. My grandparents Thomas and Hanorah were devoted to each other throughout their lives !!
I spent a number of years myself living in County Tipperary which my family relocated back to after leaving Nottingham some years ago when I was a young teenager.
And it`s interesting too that when investigating its history, County Tipperary was established in 1211 exactly 800 years ago this year when I bought this Victorian house here in Grantham and when I was considering calling it “Tipperary House”. My father is buried in County Tipperary and my mother currently lives there in the principal town (Clonmel) and will in time end her days there too.
It is interesting that the number 8 as in (800 years) is a power of two, being two cubed, and is the first number of the form p3, being an integer greater than 1.
It is also the highest feminine number, and first and foremost it is about balance. The 8 is the great Karmic equaliser, with an increase in energy and focus – it also shows confidence, it is infinitely looping, but looks you right in the eye !
Anyway, Tipperary Town today is this Irish modern day town and also Tipperary is the name of the county in which Tipperary Town dwells.
Sadly, the original ancient sacred well which really gave Tipperary its name is now closed up in Tipperary Town but it was located near the north bank of the River Ara in Bridge St., just off the Main Street and at which King Brian Boru is reputed to have washed his wounds after a battle.
In olden “Celtic” times, it was important to travellers as they moved between the two most important areas of the region, Cashel of the Kings and the monastery at Emly.
This well was famous throughout history and continued to be highly treasured and prized for centuries by locals for the purity of its waters until about sixty years ago when it was forgotten.
Initially when I wanted to choose a location for a house in Grantham and unconsciously chose this one and bought it – it dawned on me later that this house, the front room bay-window, the front garden and driveway in Dudley Road face out to the street and due West.
I was then reminded of the ancient Celtic and Druidic symbolism and tradition where the cardinal directions, the three realms and the sacred elements were important.
West = (The Beautiful Sea / Water – Muir – phonetically “Mweer”) means emotion, our intuitive being, psyche, spirit oriented, our ancestors, business, energy, it’s our blood and movement.
The front door of the house faces due North = (The Present Earth – Talam – the midworld – phonetically “TAH-luhv”) which to the Celts symbolised home, stability, security and fertility, it’s our body – therefore, a perfect combination and balance for my home and my work which surprised and of course delighted me.
This house was perfect and ticked all the boxes after the event of buying it !
I then thought more of my background and heritage and my parents and their places and locations in relation and direction to the new house in Grantham which faces due West to the street and exactly towards the City of Nottingham where I grew up and again due west beyond that across the Irish Sea (Water) to the town and county of Tipperary where my ancestors and family came from with my Celtic and Irish-Norman roots and the earliest old Irish roots of my mother who came from further west in Ireland which confirmed again the location to be the right position for me from a Druidic, Celtic and Ancestral perspective.
The house therefore is located due East = (The Blue Sky – Air -Nem – phonetically “Nev”) from Tipperary and Nottingham and my long line of ancestors which signifies new birth, as the day starts by the rising of the sun in the East.
It`s interesting to know that County Tipperary, Nottinghamshire and Grantham all share the same precise line of latitude !!
It felt wonderful and congruent, very natural and most appropriate for me to have bought this particular and most beautiful Victorian house in Grantham and now call it “Tipperary House”.
It was meant to be !
Another reason and an amusing one perhaps in calling my new house “Tipperary House” is in reference to the World War I-era song written by Englishmen Harry Williams and Jack Judge (whose grandparents came from Tipperary) “It`s A Long Way to Tipperary” which became popular among the British military as a marching song and the words in the song::
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go,
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly! Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there!
I have left London after being there for 25 years to come and live in this new house in Grantham and metaphorically said Goodbye Piccadilly!
Farewell Leicester Square to come here.
As the song goes ‘it’s a long way to go’. Actually it’s not a long way anymore ! In our modern world which is getting smaller, we are seeing farther.
“Tipperary House” situated in Grantham is located approximately 26 miles south of the city of Lincoln, and approximately 24 miles east of Nottingham.
Grantham stands on the East Coast Main Line railway (London-Edinburgh) and is only just over an hour by train from London`s King Cross.
Originally located on the historic A1 (Great North Road), the main north-south road which was an early northern route used by the Anglo-Saxons (the Old English name for the route was ‘Earninga Straete’) and the Romans (Ermine Street) as the route from London to Lincoln and York. It was later used by mail coaches between London and Edinburgh and is therefore very accessible and not `a long way to go`! ! It would have been the route also of the famous, daring and dashing highwayman,
Dick Turpin who famously rode from London to York on his faithful mare, Black Bess.
I think, all in all, it‘s worth the little extra mileage and you are most welcome to come and find out for yourselves by visiting me, Grantham and Lincolnshire. Why Not ?
But perhaps the main reason now and most confirming one together with the others for naming the house “Tipperary House” was our latest finding which was a huge surprise and this happened shortly after buying the house.
We found an actual well in the garden that was hidden and lost and forgotten in the undergrowth just like “The Well of Ara “ in Tipperary Town !!
What a lovely surprise and I believe – pure serendipity !
Has the “Well or Spring of Ara” been reborn again in my new home in Grantham ?
Or is it the “Well or Spring of Witham” that has been discovered and been waiting for me ?
(The River Witham is across the street).
Only time will tell, I guess !
A friend of mine asked ‘forgetting the metaphysical, isn`t Tipperary a strange name for a house in Lincolnshire all the same – purely on a cultural and historical level` ?
I disagreed completely because originally we were all Celto-Britons and inter-related tribes in these islands. Both regions share Celtic and later Norman and Anglo-Norman heritage. Grantham, Lincolnshire and Tipperary are the same – the same roots, history, ideals and culture with the same traditions.
Apart from its important early Celtic influence like Tipperary, Lincolnshire is steeped in Norman history with its castles and cathedrals and Tipperary is the same with its castles.
The River Witham is directly across the road from my house on Dudley Road and running right in front (North – South) and cutting directly across the entire property into which my well is connected just like the River Ara and “House of the Well of Ara” in Tipperary Town.
Importantly, it was here in the River Witham that the Celtic Witham Shield was found in 1826 directly linking the two places from very early times on a heritage, historical and cultural basis.
The shield was found in the vicinity of Washingborough and Fiskerton outside the city of Lincoln up river from the house in 1826.
It is the finest example of early La Tène Celtic Art from Britain. The Witham Shield has been dated to 400-300 BC and is now in the British Museum in London.
Indeed, in this area around Fiskerton up river from the house on Dudley Road, hundreds of artifacts of Celtic and later Anglo-Saxon origin were found including a wooden causeway.
At this place, at this time, the river was tidal and the evidence suggests a trading and metal working centre with trading connections to northern Europe and other parts of Britain and Ireland too.
So, therefore there is a very strong old Celtic connection to this area as well as Norman and Anglo-Norman and subsequently a continual historical and cultural link to Tipperary, its Norman heritage and of course, Tipperary`s Celtic Cashel of the Kings – a county and landscape that was the ancient and actual main seat of the high Celtic Kings of Ireland.
Even the borough of South Lincolnshire that Grantham is located in is called South Kesteven, The word Kesteven is derived from two root words: the Celtic ced meaning wood and the Old English stefna, a meeting place.
Tipperary and Grantham even share the same `colours`. Blue and Gold !
The Grantham arms were recorded at the Visitation of 1634, and are derived from the blue and gold chief or checks from the arms of the De Warrenne family, Earls of Surrey, who played an important role in the local history.
The De Warrenes came over with William the Conqueror (William and I share the same great, great etc. grandfather – direct line) after the Normans defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
William De Warenne, 5th Earl of Surrey was present at the coronation of King John of England on May 27th, 1199, the same King John (my great, great, great etc grandfather) who signed the Magna Carta on June 15th, 1215 and who built the castle in Tipperary where the town grew into an Anglo-Norman settlement.
The trefoils on the Grantham arms are likely to be a local symbol which is a very popular celtic symbol – the issue of infinity, while the green trefoil is considered by many to be the symbol of Ireland.
The trefoil is a symbol of perpetuity, with the three leaves representing the past, present and future.
It is also sometimes a symbol of fertility and abundance.
For those that might be interested – on another historic and perhaps more personal connection to the actual town of Grantham itself is the noted Grantham Eleanor Cross. My great, great, great etc. (direct line) grandmother was Eleanor of Castille through my great, great, great etc. grandmothers, Elizabeth de Mortimer and Phillipa of Plantagenet. Eleanor was the wife of Edward I of England.
They were devoted to each other and the couple were rarely apart.
When Eleanor died in 1290 at Harby in Nottinghamshire which is 8 miles from the City of Lincoln with Edward at her bedside, he spoke of her as the woman, “whom living we dearly cherished, and whom dead we cannot cease to love”.
Edward followed her body to burial in Westminster Abbey and erected large and elaborate stone memorial crosses at the site of each of the overnight stops between Lincoln and Westminster. The “Eleanor Crosses” stood at Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Westcheap and Charing which later became known famously as Charing Cross. Charing Cross is said to be the centre of London from which all distances are measured. Only 3 of the Eleanor Crosses survive and none in entirety.
The current Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross which can be seen in the foreground of the Charing Cross Station (London) forecourt is a replica.
The replica was finished in 1863 and has eight statues of Eleanor with kneeling angels at her feet. The original was attacked and destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s forces and the Puritans and was sited where Whitehall meets Trafalgar Square. Their purpose was to remind passers-by to say a prayer for the soul of the “Queen of Good Memory”, as Eleanor was called. The Eleanor Cross at Grantham was built on what is now St. Peter’s Hill on the High Street which is five minutes walk from my new house over the River Witham and around the corner. The Cross isn`t there anymore now as it was destroyed again by Oliver Cromwell’s forces later in the 17th century.
I like to remember as well that the Druids and “Celts” of the British Isles or a better name is the Anglo-Celtic Isles, were the indigenous people that wrote poems and stories, made music and pictures.
They were the wise ones, they did healing and practiced well-being, which bypassed the mind, and connected straight to the heart.
It must be mentioned that they weren`t actually called Celts (a semi-political name) until the 18th century.
Celts or Celtic are ethnic labels like Britishness – all rather nebulous which doesn`t mean much and has no real depth.
(British is a fully political term) which was born in the 18th century too and revamped and pushed and promoted again in the late 20th and early 21st century. It is culturally or intellectually ‘imagined’ and is protean and unstable.
However, it does have some practical use as a way of living and a state of mind in helping people to integrate into the social fabric of our society, feeling a sense of attachment and a degree of loyalty.
Therefore, the truth is that the name “Celts” is a ‘modern’ and `semi-political` name and is used to collectively describe the many original, indigenous and distinct and inter-related tribes and traditional society of people living during the Iron Age in Britain and Ireland and later as well through history, and of course through their descendants.
These people were originally Iron Age islanders and like their very close cultural cousins, the Angles, Saxons, Normans and Norse – for many of us – they are an important part of our ancestry and who we are today.
The “Celts” moved the good people towards transparency and the truth – that eternal, never-ending struggle between what is right and that which is wrong which is so very important and especially relevant now in the times we live in 2011 ! !
We ALL need to look deep inside ourselves to purify our consciousness and connect with the `basics` and our `ancestral energy` (powerful teachings) again whatever that might be for each one of us – given our backgrounds and history and from wherever we originate in the world !
These powerful teachings for ALL of us will be the same and universal, re-awakening our sense of interconnectedness and interdependence with nature and recognising the equality and full humanity of all men and women.
It is through that recognition and respect that we can reclaim our “inner divinity” again which is our identity, wisdom, compassion, autonomy and independence and ultimately our dignity with less political brain-washing and this modern consumptive lifestyle that’s so prevalent around the world today, a lifestyle that is undoubtedly unsustainable.
This will allow us to love with gladness, live with honour and know with strength. Through this, we will reclaim our shared humanity and know more the things we have in common with others regardless of cultural and racial differences by recognising the intrinsic value of the whole, and see everyone as an important part of that whole.
We will know that ALL the peoples of the world are indeed similar, connected and are ultimately ONE – devoid of the dominant `controls` and discourses that surround us like organised religion, politics, globalisation, pc and the political science of social engineering.
We, therefore can wake up and become `conscious` again, where our spiritual understanding and empowerment of ourselves and others can only deepen.
One of the features too of Druid / Celtic cosmogony is inspiration from the sacred land and from ancestry whose myths and mysteries are our wellspring together with the power of place.
Certain places possess power that is curative and regenerative. This power of place in Ireland and the “Celtic” World is an essential element of the sacredness of the holy well and I believe I have found mine here which I want to share with people and where I wish to continue my work to help, heal, restore, support and ultimately empower others.
Grantham, Lincolnshire and the River Witham is without doubt, one of the most spiritual places you could visit. If you get a chance, come here and find that delicate special magic for yourself.
Welcome to the many reasons for “Tipperary House”, for Grantham and Elevated Therapy. Coming full circle or perhaps the perfect triangle or both !
The story and journey continues…
A well and my very own well – my Tiobraid in the garden of this lovely Victorian house in Grantham depicts this as a symbol of connection, rebirth, continuity, community, purification and healing, an outpouring of grace – my ‘forever‘ house – my ‘Tipperary‘ home.
Ní tá teach sa bhaile mura bhfuil sé ar bia agus tine don aigne chomh maith leis an gcomhlacht !!
© 2011 by Dr. Michael G Millett, Elevated Therapy ®. All rights reserved
Map and Directions Area: Getting Here
Main Elevated Therapy International ® website: Welcome
Staying at Tipperary House: Boutique Style B&B Accommodation for Clients & Trainees
Michael`s Creative Project “The Diaries of Mary Ann Wennell“
The Millett Ancestors: Here