Christian up on the Roof!
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
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 Bells family had been told of the piece
of Fletcher Christians 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
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 Christians mothers 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.
on this speculation.