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Fletcher Christian up on the Roof!

Not many of us can claim to have had Mel Gibson clambering on our roof. But that is exactly what Ann and Robin Bell experienced at their large dairy farm overlooking Cockermouth.
The reason the movie hero came calling at their Moorland Close Farm in the 1980s was to peer at a boot or clog print. The print is in the lead flashing that forms part of the roof gutter to an unusual 18th century summer house at the farm. Tradition has it that the print, with old script initials FC is that of the young Fletcher Christian. Fletcher Christian was born and raised at Moorland Close.
Mel Gibson had been filming In the fifth film version of the well-known story of the Mutiny on the Bounty at the time.
Ann recalls: “We have always known about the footprint and I remember Mel Gibson came and clambered up out of curiosity to see the print.”
Robin Bell’s family had been told of the piece of Fletcher Christian’s youthful graffiti and the anecdote has been passed on down the generations.
Moorland Close is a busy dairy farm with well kept lawns and historic features that would have been familiar to Mr Christian before he sailed off to South Sea islands and infamy as our most well known mutineer.
Ann explained how the summer house is set in a walled garden enclosure that has a series of small arches set in the brickwork. “We have been told they were lighting fires on frosty nights to protect an exhibition orchard that was used for fruit cultivation.” The summer house still has a small upper room with grate, perhaps a place where young Master Christian played before he joined the Royal Navy and followed Captain Cook to the other side of the globe.
While Fletcher Christian’s mother’s grave is in Brigham, the final resting place of the mutineer has always remained an unsolved mystery. Ann recalls: “There were always rumours that he somehow slipped back to England before he died, but who can say.” by David Siddall.
More on this speculation.