Friday, 29 September 2017

Wales/Somerset/Wiltshire

Some pics from a recent holiday. I spent 4 days in South East Wales and 4 days on the Somerset/Wiltshire border.

Tintern was a cistercian foundation started in 1131. Most of the abbey buildings are gone but the church is fairly complete (it has lost its roof and window tracery). It was "refound" in the 18th century first by the Buck brothers prints, Gilpin's voyages down the Rye from Ross and finally by Wordsworth. Today it is in the care of CADW and scrubbed of the ivy and the stone floors laid to grass. Jenkins dislikes this (Wales Churches, Houses and Castles) I'm not sure I agree but life is about opinions. I must say the site seems a bit hemmed in by the 20th century I wish it was more isolated like Byland in Yorkshire.


The Kymin is a National Trust property I have never visited. It's a picnic house with a kitchen below and banquetting room above. It was built for the Kymin club of Monmouth but anyone could use it at a cost of 6d payable to the housekeeper if you brought your own food or a shilling if you wished her to  serve you tea.

Nelson and Lady Hamilton breakfasted  here in 1802. Nelson was pleased to see himself listed on the temple next to the Kymin celebrating British Admirals.


Raglan castle which is an oddity. Whereas most Welsh castle were established by the Normans to suppress the Welsh,  Raglan was built in the 15th century. Raglan's heyday was the 16th century when it was one of the great renaissance house of Britain. Little remains of that today but you  can see hints. In the 17th Century with the family becoming Dukes of Beaufort the castle was abandoned and the family moved to their other seat Badminton (apparently Badminton's great parlour chimney came from Raglan). Alas Badminton is not open to the public (groups can visit the gardens) Jenkins (him again) suggests it is one of the few great houses you can't visit, I respect the families right but oh I wish.


Lytes Cary is a relatively small property dating from the 14th through to the 20th century. The oldest extant part is the chapel dating from 1343 and the great hall is 15th century. The house was restored and extended by Sir Walter Jenner (he bought it in 1907). It has a nice garden and there are some fine park walks.


There are lots of pre-Warboys road signs in Somerset/Wiltshire..... I rather like them they have character.

 Farleigh Hungerford Castle was built between 1377 and 1383 by Sir Thomas Hungerford who was a steward of John of Gaunt. The castle survived the Civil War but it became unlived in during the 18th century and fell into disrepair. It's chapel (below) was once the parish church and is well worth the entry to see its fine wall-paintings and monuments.



The Courts a small, but lovely, garden in Holt just north of Bradford Avon. It was, I believe, created in the first part of the 20th century.


About a mile or so from the Courts is Great Chalfield Manor. Which is a rare example of an occupied pre-Tudor mansion. The setting with the church is fabulous. the manor was built by Thomas Tropnell around 1470, the current All Saints church was built by Tropnell around 1480. The house was repaired by Major Robert Fuller between 1905-1911. The house is still lived in by the Fuller's who manage it for the Trust. The house is visited by guided tour and there is no photography.




 Montacute is a late Elizabethan House built by Sir Edward Phelips Master of the Rolls and the prosecutor of the gunpowder plot. It is also home to a collection of portraits from the National Portrait Gallery.


2 miles up the road is Tintinhull.

The house was built in 1630 but it was enlarged and reshaped in the 1720's a few rooms are open but the reason for coming is the arts & craft small garden. I really love this garden it is so liveable and I am always happy to wander and sit and read here.



Friday, 1 September 2017

St Mawes & Padstow

A few pics from St Mawes a village on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. Obviously tourism plays a big part it hasn't become too over commercialised








St Mawes castle in the care of English Heritage.... there is a "twin" across the river Fal in Falmouth which I will visit next time I'm in Cornwall.


On another day I went to Padstow. I first visited in 1982 and it was a lovely place. Today it has become famous as the home of celebrity chef Rick Stein as is known as Padstein. As much as I like his TV programmes I'm not sure I approve of the changes to Padstow. It has become overly commercialised with the lovely higgle piggedy book shop going  (I bought the Foundation Trilogy here as well as the first two volumes of Julian May's Saga of the Pliocene Exiles) as well as the small cinema I saw the Wrath of Khan in in 1982!!  I'm sure it has brought in jobs and money but at the cost of a bit of charm,







Monday, 28 August 2017

Boscastle & Tintagel

A few more from my June Holiday in Cornwall.

Boscastle is famous for the flood of 2004...... on a beautiful summers day it was hard to imagine the torrrents of water. It is a fishing port but I imagine it makes most of its money from tourism. Much of the land is owned by the National Trust and there was a tea room for me to tick off!!













I was with my friend Jan and on one of the hottest days of the year I suggested going to Tintagel Castle!! Why the !! becuase it is a top of flipping great cliff!!

Tintagel is famed in legend as the place King Arthur was conceived.









Thursday, 3 August 2017

The ruined Abbeys & Priories of Yorkshire

I've just spent a rather enjoyable week in Yorkshire and I managed to visit 5 ruined Abbeys.

Whenever I walk around these places I can't help but what to see there before the dissolution.

Fountains Abbey was a Cistercian Monastery founded in 1132. Today it is in the care of the National Trust and a world heritage site.



Mount Grace Priory was a Carthusian Priory founded in 1398. Carthusian's live as hermits and each have their own cell (more like a small house). Today it is owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage.



Kirkham priory was an Augustinian house founded in the 1120s by Walter l'Espec, lord of nearby Helmsley, who also built Rievaulx Abbey. This lancet at the east end of the church shows you how impressive this must once have been. When I looked at it I couldn't help but think of the many great churches we lost at the reformation. Can you imagine 600 years time seeing great churches like Selby, Beverley, Chirstchuch Priory and Tewkesbury as ruins?



Rievaulx is another Cistercian Abbey founded in 1132


Byland Abbey was a Savigniac foundation and was originally founded in 1135. It had a troubled start having to move 5 times. At one point it was at Old Byland which is near Rievaulx but Savingnac's and Cistercian's had services at different times and the bells were rung at different times and the monks never knew who was being called to service so it moved. Amusingly the Saviginiac's were absorbed into the Cistercian's and Rievaulx helped Byland establish itself at New Byland.