for last week's three part adaptation on Channel 4 of Barbara Bradford Taylor's best selling novel "A Woman of Substance"? If so you may well have been distracted by the beauty of the background, both architectural and topographical, to the first instalment which was filmed largely in and around the Catholic stronghold of Broughton Hall, near Skipton in Yorkshire.
This beautiful house is the home of Henry Tempest and it has maintained the Catholic tradition, in a gentle but firm fashion, uninterruptedly since the days of Roger Tempest in the twelfth century.
I say "gentle but firm" fashion since the Tempests, as was so often the case with other recusant families, always kept on friendly terms with their Anglican neighbours despite the legal stringency of the penal days.
Excellently photographed were scenes in the magnificent library, as well as the drawing room and dining room and an upstairs boudoir. All very nostalgic for those who have ever visited Broughton with added glimpses of an imaginary "upstairs-downstairs" side of its character.
For scenes in the kitchen and servants' hall were vital to this story of a parlour maid who falls in love with the younger son of the house and then discovers, after she has become pregnant, that she is his half sister. She goes on, after several marriages and many adventures, which practically out-Dallas Dynasty, to become a women of immense power, centred on a department store called Harte's.
By this time the location shooting has moved on from Broughton to Harrods. All compelling television for those who like that sort of thing
(which probably includes many who pretend they don't).
The filming at Broughton was done last spring and this breathtaking part of Yorkshire duly took away breaths. So did shots of the house which was built by Stephen Tempest (to replace an earlier building) in the time of the first Queen Elizabeth. The penal laws had not yet begun to bite hard enough for such an undertakng to be launched.
The present, most charming, lord of the manor keeps up old traditions in the same "gentle but firm" way as that in which the faith was preserved through past centuries.
THE Tempest family has a long standing connection with Mount St Mary's College in Derbyshire, and many Tempests have been "Oki Mountaineers."
One v. as a member of the staff at this famous Jesuit school which started life at St Omer in the penal days. When it came to England in the early nineteenth century, the single cell, as it were, split into two, the other "twin", Stonyhurst, becoming a friendly rival in years to come.
The particular Jesuit 1 am thinking of was affectionately known as Fr "Stormy" Tempest, inevitably enough as his job for many years, before the war, was that of "First Prefect." His disciplinary duties demanded that he hand out corporal punishment by giving the amount of strokes requested by the culprit himself. Such was the established custom.
A wrongdoer, having earned so many strokes was then sent to one of the Prefects to whom he would have to say "Please Father, give me twice nine ferules" (or how ever many had been prescribed by the master lower down).
But Fr Tempest's popularity scarcely suffered. He was liberally endowed with the