Blog Archives

n letters written home to his wife Katherine while serving in the Revolutionary War, General Edward Hand would address her as “My Dearest Kitty.” Later, as the mistress of Rock Ford, Kitty Hand hosted many elegant teas for family and friends.

During Rock Ford’s family friendly event “It’s Tea Time,” Kitty Hand will welcome guests to an afternoon of tea and sweets. Guests will also learn about historical fashion during a mini fashion show and talk and enjoy activities, games and a craft. Guests are encouraged to wear fancy accessories such as gloves, hats and jewelry.

This event will be held on the first floor of the Rock Ford barn. Cost is $12 per child and $15 per adult. The reservation deadline is April 24 unless the event sells out prior to that date.

This event is recommended for youth ages 5 and up and their family members. Children must be accompanied by at least one responsible adult.

For tickets, please click here.

In celebration of General Edward Hand’s Irish heritage, Rock ford will be hosting Irish Story Time in the Barn. This family-friendly event, designed for children of all ages, will be held on Sunday, March 15, 2020 beginning at 2:00 PM in the Rock Ford Barn. During this approximately one-hour long event, children and their families will enjoy an Irish-themed story time, games, a craft and a yummy treat.

Reservations are required and are limited to a maximum of 50 people. The cost is $5 per person.

Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult during the event.

For tickets, please click here.

Rock Ford volunteers will “plant a maypole” to honor our friend and neighbor, Dr. Edward Hand.  Join the fun!  A bagpiper will lead our procession to where we raise the maypole and Rock Ford’s dancers will lead our visitors in traditional maypole dances.  Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day!

The maypole procession and dancing will commence at 10:30, 12:00 and 1:30.

Practiced for generations in countries such as Germany and England, the maypole dance is a spring ritual long known to Western Europeans. Dancing was done around a pole or slender tree garnished with flowers and ribbons.  The maypole was introduced to Edward Hand’s native Ireland by English and Scottish settlers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  In the early 1800’s, an Irish woman gave an account of maypole celebrations which were held “when a number of persons are desirous, for any particular reason, to honour some of their superiors; as for instance, the tenants of an estate for any act of favour shown them by the landlord, or the like…by planting a maypole before his door.”  The dances performed were “really a very pretty sight.”

As a civic leader, Ireland native Dr. Edward Hand was known to be compassionate and sensitive to the needs of Lancaster’s poor, and he treated many patients without charge.  He was among the community leaders calling for “an act to provide for the erection of houses for the employment and support of the Poor in Counties of Chester and Lancaster.”   The act required the election of six reputable citizens to serve as directors, and Hand was among those elected. The resulting Lancaster Almshouse and Hospital was built of stone and still stands.

Image: A painting circa 1750 in Elmbridge Museum, Weybridge, May Pole Dancing