Browsed by
Tag: Moats

Lynn – Day 1

Lynn – Day 1

As someone, somewhere, had decided to award us a week of summer weather we decided we'd better make use of it before it disappears so we arranged to go to King's Lynn for four days.

So, on a hot sunny Wednesday, we set off for a 93 mile journey north to north-west Norfolk which took just over two hours and took us through Braintree, Sudbury, Bury St. Edmunds, Thetford, Mundford and Oxburgh. One wouldn't normally go through Oxburgh on the way from Mundford to King's Lynn but we chose the few miles detour because we wanted to see Oxburgh Hall. Built around 1482 Oxburgh Hall is a moated manor which was always intended as a family home and not a fortress as the crenellations are symbolic fortifications rather than actual.

The main entrance and gatehouse is on the opposite side of the view shown above and the house is arranged around a large open quadrangle where the next picture was taken showing the large impressive gatehouse.

The eyesore deckchairs have been provided by the National Trust who must have been desparate for visitors to notice them.

It is possible to go up onto the roof of the gatehouse if you don't mind the climb up the spiral stairway.

The rooms, as one might expect, are pretty impressive as this view of the West Drawing Room shows although one needs to ignore the strange lady at the far end.

The Library is equally impressive.

The Queen's Room is, as you'd expect, quite large.

But off to the left, out of the picture, is another small side chamber and in the floor of this chamber is a small trapdoor which, when closed, blends in with the tiled floor. However, when opened, this trapdoor gives access to the Priest Hole. Because of the Catholic faith of the Bedingfeld family, a Catholic priest may have had to hide within the small disguised room in the event of a raid.

The entrance is just large enough for a person to slip through and this is all that there is inside. I am sitting on one of two benches with the other showing to my left and the brick slope on the far side of the floor is the only way in and out. Calling it a room, even a small room, is stretching the imagination somewhat. Getting in, and out, is not easy and it reminded me of my caving days. When I came out Amanda went in. We both survived.

If the King's men (soldiers) turned up unannounced then any visiting priest would have had to get in here quickly and possibly stay there for a few days. There is no toilet and no light so don't even think about it but it was better than being dead.

On a lighter note there is a very impressive flower border in the grounds.

It was an interesting and enjoyable visit but now we must go onward to King's Lynn. We arrived in King's Lynn at our B&B at around mid-afternoon and settled in then decided to have an initial short exploration leaving tomorrow, Thursday, as our main exploration day for the town.

A short way from our B&B was a public park called The Walks and we knew that within the park was the 15th century Red Mount Chapel. It is unique and no other building like it can be found. It was built to contain a relic of the Virgin Mary but was also used by pilgrims on their way to Walsingham.

Built on instructions from the prior of Lynn the inner core is divided into 3 storeys and there is an additional cross-shaped ashlar building in Ancaster stone on top.

A strange place indeed which Pevsner described as one of the strangest Gothic churches in England.

Moving towards the river to the west end of The Walks we crossed the road into another small park known as Tower Gardens. In this park is the Greyfriars Tower which is all that is left of a Franciscan Monastery. Take no notice of the strange woman at the base of the tower she seems, somehow, to get into a lot of my photographs.

Henry VIII had all such monasteries demolished but the tower at Lynn was left untouched because it was considered to be a useful seamark by sailors entering the town and is still clearly visible on the town's skyline to this day.

You can see from this model just where the tower fitted in.

We moved further towards the river looking for the Tourist Information Centre so that we could get a free street plan of the town. We knew that it was located in the Customs House and eventually we spotted it.

Situated on the edge of Pur Fleet this building started life in 1683 as a merchant exchange but was bought by the Crown in 1717 for £800 and occupied by HM Customs and Excise until their move to a central office at Ipswich in 1989. It is now occupied by the local TIC. Pur Fleet runs into the River Great Ouse just behind the camera.

We'd had enough by this stage so having collected our free street plan of the town we headed back to our B&B. We'll be back in this area tomorrow.


Tudor Turrets and Topiary

Tudor Turrets and Topiary

(Note: Click on the pictures for a larger version)

Last Thursday it was raining, overcast and gloomy to the extent that I needed a light on in my study to be able to see properly (this is August remember!). Friday dawned with a clear sky and was forecast to be a sunny day. This is English weather.

We took advantage of the good weather to visit a place that we had been meaning to visit for some time – Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk. The current owners bought Kentwell Hall when some of it was in a ruinous state and have restored it to its current condition; that of a lived in Tudor mansion.

Long Melford is unusual for a village in that it boasts two Tudor mansions. Melford Hall, run by the National Trust, and this one and, having been to both, we think that Kentwell Hall is the more attractive of the two.

Although both mansions exhibit some similar features, such as the typical Tudor turrets, Kentwell Hall has a notable feature that Melford Hall doesn't have and that is a moat which completely encircles the house.

This is a 'moat of note' in that it contains a lot of Carp and these are MEGA carp. If you touch your forefinger and thumb together to form a circle it will be about the size of the mouths of these fish. They seem to congregate near the bridge at the front of the house and as soon as visitors look over the bridge parapet they come to the surface with mouths agape hoping for food. Carp ain't so dim.

Alongside the moat at the back of the house is some unique topiary.

This is known as the 'Pied Piper Topiary' and one can distinguish figures of people, children and dogs.

To the east of the house is an unusual sculpture made from a still standing tree stump.

This is a 60 foot high storm-damaged cedar sculpted by Colin Wilbourne into his interpretation of the Tower of Babel. An absolutely amazing piece of work.

Kentwell Hall has extensive grounds which include some very attractive gardens.

The Pied Piper topiary shows up well against the moat and the walled garden beyond looks very impressive.

I thought that I would photograph this detail in the walled garden in order to 'urn' my keep only to find that the Pied Piper topiary has sneaked into the background once again.

Kentwell Hall used to have two moats, apparently showing it to be of vey high status, although only part of the second moat now remains. It has, however, been used to good effect as part of the gardens.

The inside of the house is equally impressive and includes the expected such as the Great Hall

and the unusual – duet anyone?

I suppose that this is what must be meant by 'toilet humour'.

We decided to finish by looking around the grounds outside of the gardens. I wasn't the only one taking photographs and Amanda took this one of a couple of old donkeys having a chat. I'm not sure which one has the most untidy hair.

There have been a number of new out-buildings built in the Tudor style and it gives a very good idea of what a Tudor building must have looked like when it was brand new.

Very unlike the Tudor buildings we see today with their warped and twisted timbers. Now you'll be able to return in 500 years for a comparison.

We had a very enjoyable and entertaining time here and would certainly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. If you want to see more then you'll just have to wait until the new pages appear on the web site proper with even more photographs unless, of course, you pay Kentwell Hall a visit in person before then.

Hungry? Time for a Sandwich.

Hungry? Time for a Sandwich.

We are off on our travels again and, on our way to somewhere, we called in to somewhere else.

This is what somewhere else looks like:

Note the Mote (That's a clue).

This is one of the rooms:

So where do you think it is? I'll give you another clue – it's within a 70 mile radius of where we live.

After seeing that we drove on to where we are as I write this – 'somewhere'. More of that tomorrow and I've given you a clue to that too.

I can see that nobody, thus far, is prepared to hazard a guess about where we are now. This is two of the various locations we have visited.

We came through a well known cathedral city to get here and we have worn our legs down to the knees walking around. So, where are we. You'll have to hurry we're leaving tomorrow.

Well you people aren't much good are you? I'll spell it out for you.

We left home on Sunday and travelled to Ightham Mote in Kent then moved on to Sandwich, also in Kent, where we stayed until Tuesday morning.

It's amazing what the Royal Mail will deliver these days.

We went home via the cathedral city mentioned above i.e. Canterbury.

That's the Quire.

We are back home and I now have more pages to construct for the web site – some for Sandwich and Ightham Mote and some additional pages for Canterbury.

No peace for the wicked. :evil: