THERE'S a chance to discover a great Dorset medieval manor house with a talk in Dorchester on January 26.
Martin Papworth, regional archaeologist for the National Trust, will tell the story of the historical and archaeological detective work that led to the rediscovery of the original Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne.
The present Kingston Lacy was built in the 1660s just a few hundred metres from the site of a far more prestigious range of buildings.
This once great manorial complex was owned and visited by lords and kings from the 12th to the 15th centuries.
There is a lot to discover about Kingston Lacy House at the Dorset History Centre.
It holds archives from the Bankes family, which date back 700 years are are housed in 800 boxes.
The archive tells the stories of the family, but also of the buildings, landscapes and the thousands of people who lived and worked on the estate over hundreds of years.
The collection includes the work of William John Bankes, the most prominent of the family, a friend of Byron, MP and collector of repute.
He travelled the Middle East between 1817-1819 and his correspondence and large portfolios of sketches, watercolours and drawings are an important element in the development of Egyptology.
Some interesting facts can be learnt from the Bankes account books.
They show that in 1883 the gardener was paid a grand total of one pound 11 shillings and six pence for two weeks work!
The book lists names occurring in the farm and manorial rents which can tell us how long a certain person or family lived in a particular place, and how much rent they paid.
Over the course of a few years, you begin to notice people moving within the area, from farm to farm, or moving into family homes.
To complement these books are the series of vouchers, which are the receipts and invoices raised by the estate for any given year.
They demonstrate who the Bankes estate employed to do various things.
For example, the repeated use of Edward Lodge: Hosier, Glover, Shirt, Belt, Stock and Brace maker by the family in 1840, or Lincoln and Bennett: Hatters from London who were responsible for the supply of livery and best hats to the family.
The talk will be held at the Dorset History Centre in Bridport Road from 2.30pm and admission is £3.
Tickets are available from the Dorchester TIC, call 01305 267992.