Saturday, 1st October 2011

After yesterday's walk we decided to have an easy morning looking round Mere. Our B&B is a very short distance from the High Street and the first thing we see is the 16th century George Inn which is the (apparently) timber-framed building in the foreground. I say 'apparently' because the George is actually stone built with a facing of timber and plaster. The stone building dates from 1580 but I don't know when the facing was added. King Charles II visited the inn in 1651 when he was fleeing after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester.

Beyond the George, on the opposite side of the road, is the Old Ship Inn with the large rounded archway. Originally built as a house in the 17th century it was reputedly converted into a coaching inn in 1785.

A short distance away is the Church of St. Michael the Archangel, dating from 1091, although little of that original church remains. A lot of the changes, including the tower and nave, were made in the 15th century.

That 15th century tower, as I mentioned yesterday, is massive. Someone in the 15th century had money to throw around.

The South Chapel had a rather nice stained-glass window which threw a coloured pattern on the lower wall and also put some blue spots on the brass of John Bettesthorne who was the benefactor of this chapel in the 14th century.

We left the church (there will be more interior photographs when we add Mere to the main web site) and made our way back to the Clock Tower by the George Inn.

We had a snack lunch then drove to Alfred's Tower which is part of the Stourhead Estate but has seperate access and its own car park.

This brick tower, also known as Stourton Tower, was built in 1772 on the north-western edge of the Stourhead Estate and is a folly: it is a building that arguably serves no purpose. It is 160 feet high with a spiral staircase of 205 steps which we duly climbed for the view from the top.

They didn't provide parachutes so we had to climb all the way down again. We then drove the short distance to the edge of Whitesheet Down, which we saw from Castle Hill yesterday, and promptly started climbing again. Will we never learn?

This is part way up, near the top, but we are aiming for that distant plateau because there is an Ordnance Survey Triangulation Point there and Amanda 'collects' them. There is also an Iron Age hill fort.

There are also sheep and people using hang-gliders. I don't think it's the sheep on the hang-gliders although it's difficult to see at this distance.

And there in the near distance, just poking up above  that spur, is Castle Hill again.

We eventually made our way down to our car and went back to Mere. The end of another interesting day.