Ursa Major




The Butleigh Revel  !

Old Ralph had pioneered the use of steam farm equipment in Somerset, but the new Squire, Robert, was the real mechanical whiz in the family.

Robert was the first person to graduate with an engineering degree from Cambridge University (it was called Applied Science at the time) in 1868 and helped build England’s Great Western Railway.

In 1875, he designed and built the Grenville Steam Carriage, a three-wheeled monstrosity that took at least two people to operate and which the Squire later drove to social gatherings in the village. Still in working order, the Grenville Steam Carriage is considered the world’s oldest self-propelled passenger-carrying road vehicle.

 Since 2009, it has been housed at England’s National Motor Museum


Above, the Grenville Steam Carriage.

a few years after building the steam carriage, Robert Neville (as he still was then) married Gertrude Agnes Portman and began puttering around the estate, installing steam farm machinery, experimenting with cider production, fish farming and generally preparing himself to take over as Mary-BerkeleySquire.

and it was him funded the Revel


Mary Albinia Berleley, author of the pageant script, in costume for her role as Queen Morgan le Fay.