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A Grave Incident

A Grave Incident

Today was forecast to have sunny intervals. I'm hoping that at least one of those intervals will be longer than 5 seconds as we have decided to re-visit Shrewsbury using our little train.

We came out of Shrewsbury Station and up some steps on to a high level walkway which took us over the railway and down to The Dana. The Dana is an old prison dating from medieval times although the medieval building is long gone.

There has been a prison on the site since 1793, the original building being constructed by Thomas Telford, although the present prison was constructed in 1877. The name 'Dana' is still often used for the prison, as well as being the name of the road to one side of the prison and the pedestrian route that runs from near the front of the prison into the town centre via a footbridge over the station which is the route we used but in reverse.

There are prison tours available but we didn't avail ourselves of that option but opted to walk onward. We made our way down to the River Severn and walked along the riverside path away from the town centre. There was supposed to be some sort of weir further down river so we though we'd have a look at it.

As we walked along we could hear a background noise which we decided might be the weir. Perhaps bigger than we though then! As we progressed the noise became louder and when we reached the weir we could see why. It was bigger than we thought.

I wouldn't like to go over that in a small boat.

We turned round and walked back towards the town. When we reached the footbridge shown in the next picture we went up onto it and looked down river. We could just see the change in texture of the water surface which indicated where the weir was. You can probably see it more easily in the larger version of the second picture.

We walked along the riverside until we reached the next road bridge over the river. One thing I noticed immediately was that there were trees growing out of the water like the one on the left. Amanda tells me that it is a Willow and that it is not unusual for a piece of willow to float down stream and get stuck in the mud where it promptly takes root. So now you can see the result.

I also took this next photograph of the same bridge because I rather like the effect the low sun was procucing as it shone through the arches. I imagine it's being reflected off the water.

We continued walking and eventually reached the lower edge of the large park known as The Quarry which we visited on our previous trip. The riverside walk looked really nice in the sunlight.

At the top edge of the park is St. Chads Church which I also mentioned in the blog post of our previous trip ( Sun, Signals and Sabrina ) when I wrote:

"I was hoping to get a photograph of Ebeneezer Scrooge's gravestone in the churchyard but we couldn't find it. Yes we know that Scrooge was a fictional character but the churchyard was used in the making of the film and the gravestone was left when filming was finished. It is still there somewhere."

So we walked up to St. Chads and into the graveyard and this time I found it.

On the way back into town we saw Rowley's House which was built in the late 16th century by the wool merchant Roger Rowley. It is believed to be the earliest building in Shrewsbury to use bricks as part of its construction.

That was the end of another interesting, at least to us, walk. So back home on the train for us.

Castle to Canal

Castle to Canal

Who's a silly boy then? We did this trip at the end of July and I duly wrote it up and I thought that I had posted it on the Blog – but no, I had forgotten that important bit. As you can see I have rectified that mistake and here it is in all its glory! (Well it's only 3 months late).

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Monday 24th July 2017

The weather was borderline and unsettled but we decided to risk it. Approximately 25 miles from home is the town of Montgomery which, although the county town of Mongomeryshire, is really quite small but thoroughly delightful.

This is the town centre; virtually all of it. The view is from the churchyard and where the building on the left stops is the main road. On the other side of the main road is Broad Street, where the cars are parked, and the brick building at the back is the Town Hall

The church is quite imposing and sitting on a knoll makes it more so.

Up near the top of Broad Street is the Dragon Hotel a rather striking 17th century former coaching inn. 

There are some interesting ancient buildings in Arthur Street which runs north from the top of Broad Street.

There is a little lane running steeply uphill from near the Dragon Hotel and when you have puffed your way to the top end you will arrive at Montgomery Castle or, at least, what's left of it. There is not a lot left but what there is remaining is impressive.

The views from the castle are also impressive and it shows what a good defensive position it was.

We left Montgomery and headed further north to Welshpool. We have been here before, once for Powis Castle and another visit to ride on the little Welshpool narrow gauge railway but we hadn't actually looked round the town itself. However, before we do that, we had to have another quick look at the railway and discovered a locomotive that we hadn't seen before waitng in the station. This locomotive looked slightly smaller than the one we'd seen here previously.

We then went on to the Montgomery Canal on the otherside of Welshpool. If you look at the following link it will show a map of Welshpool that gives an idea of where these various places are. Powis Castle in the bottom left corner, Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway middle left and the Montgomery Canal roughly in the middle. Don't confuse it with the river further right which is very wiggley; the canal runs further left.

http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=322510&Y=307508&A=Y&Z=120

We walked across the bridge and came down to the canal at this point.

There was a further bridge or two before we arrived at the lock outside the Powysland Museum (second picture).

We went across the canal to the Powysland Museum. Next to the canal you may be able to make out the two metal sculptures of Herons on the bank with a close-up in the second picture.

I took the picture above from on the bridge shown in the picture below.

Inside the museum are a variety of interesting artifacts ranging from a stash of ancient roman coins to old kitchen equipment.

A final view of the Town Hall in High Street and we decided to call it a day.

 

Black and White Villages and an Arrow – Part 2.

Black and White Villages and an Arrow – Part 2.

We drove the 2.5 miles from Pembridge to Eardisland and, as in Pembridge, we crossed the River Arrow again although, this time, it was on the far side of the village for us. The bridge dates from around 1800.

Once again there is a free visitors car park on the main road through the village almost opposite the Dovecote and there were plenty of spaces but, unlike Pembridge, no public toilets. The Dovecote, dating from the late 17th/early 18th century is shown below and is open to the public. It functions as an information and exhibition centre for the village offering interesting historical displays and information on the area alongside a shop selling local produce. There is no entry charge.

Moving to the right of the Dovecote we can see the side of the Manor House with a front view below.

The Manor House dates from the 17th century with what appears to a a geogian extension added to the front. Turning to our left, away from the side view of the Manor House, we look back past the Dovecote towards another road bridge.

If we go into the Dovecote we see at the back of the interior a small staircase and going to the bottom of the stairs and looking up will show a small part of what we could see if we went upstairs.

Arriving upstairs we can see the whole point of the place; a huge number of nesting places for the doves and I understand that they numbered well over 600 although there are no doves there now.

Amanda is trying to asses, from the depth of water, what would happen if she fell in. In the background is the 17th century Millstream Cottage and the water is, naturally enough, the mill stream.

Dating from the early 13th century is the Church of St Mary the Virgin. Some parts such as the Chancel and South Porch were built in the 14th century. The original Tower, of probable 15th Century origin, collapsed in 1728 and was replaced by the present one in 1760. The whole church was restored in 1864.

Eardisland turned out to be very pretty little village and well worth a visit. Unlike the church we haven't been restored so we will now have to return home for a rest.

 

Black & White Villages and an Arrow – Part 1.

Black & White Villages and an Arrow – Part 1.

There is an area in Herefordshire known as the Black and White Villages and there is also a Black and White Villages Trail which is meant for motoring not walking. We last visited about 12 years ago on a day trip from Ludlow and the results from that are already on the web site. That previous visit was before the blog was started so there is no blog entry for it. This time it was a 30 minute drive from home so we were able to have a much more leisurely look round especially as we were re-visiting only two of the villages.

Both villages, Pembridge and Eardisland, are situated on the River Arrow.

Part 1.

We started in Pembridge and we had to cross the River Arrow to get into the village and this is the bridge we used. It is not very old having been built in the 19th century but is attractive nevertheless.

There is a small, free, car park with access down the roadway next to the King's House in East Street and there was plenty of room. There is a small sign, easily missed, pointing to it from the main road and there are also public toilets in the car park which had disabled facilities and were nice and clean.

The entrance to the public car park can be seen on the right. The King's House is a restaurant, not open on a Monday when we were there of course, and dates from the 15th century. This building is a sign of things to come. This next picture is in East Street looking towards West Street and showing the front corner of the King's House on the right. You should be able to see a number of black & white timber-framed buildings.

I think we'll need to do a bit of exploring don't you?

How's that for a start? The building on the right is the New Inn so called because it was new when it was built in the 17th century. Can you think of a better reason?

A market charter was granted to Pembridge in 1239 and just behind the New Inn is the early 16th century Market Hall.

Standing in the Market Square it doesn't look like a hall as it isn't enclosed but that's because the upper storey was removed at an unknown date. Pity really as it would have looked pretty impressive with an upper storey.

Although these villages are known as the black and white villages, with good reason, not all of the buildings are black and white. This next picture shows a row of black and white buildings broken by one cream washed, jettied building.

The picture above shows a timber-framed building with red brick infill and the one to its right, an early 15th century hall house known as West End Farm, has a pinkish cream wash on the walls. This was one of the earliest domestic buildings in Pembridge. The multitude of other timber-framed buildings in Pembridge date to the 15th century.

The church here is also unusual in that it has a separate bell tower which dates from the 13th century. The current church dates from the 13th century with alterations in the 14th century century.

The bell tower has to be seen to be believed. The main timbers are enormous and from the look of them they are whole trees squared off.

The church also has some very interesting interior features. There are mason's marks in the picture below – can you spot them?

There are also some medievel wall paintings. One on the wall behind the organ and one on the wall of the nave. Not in the best of condition but they are visible in spite of being around 600 years old.

Just outside the church door is a delightful view across the churchyard to the village and the hills beyond.

That is the end of part one covering Pembridge. Part two will be Eardisland.

 

Sun, Signals and Sabrina

Sun, Signals and Sabrina

We have been to Shrewsbury twice before and I have blogged both trips as you may remember. On each of those occasions it was cloudy but today was forecast to be sunny intervals. We have experienced forecasts like that before where we have two minutes of sun followed by two hours of cloud so we weren't hopeful but decided to risk it. So we started off on our third trip to Shrewsbury on the train and it turned out to be third time lucky.

I have shown you pictures of our little one carriage train before, but from the outside, so here's a picture of the inside.

You may notice that it is very popular, especially at this time of year as between 1st October and 31st March old people like us who have bus passes may travel free. This covers the whole line from Swansea in the south to Shrewsbury in the north; a total trip of around four hours. Our part of the trip from Knighton to Shrewsbury is only 50 minutes.

This is a picture of the signal box outside Shrewsbury Station. I took it from the train as we flashed past inasmuch as our little train can flash past anything. "But wait", I hear you cry, "why are you showing us pictures of a signal box.? We don't want to see pictures of signal boxes." Well, you do, but you just don't realise it yet.

This signal box was built in 1903 and is the largest mechanical signal box in the world which is still working. There, you can't fail to be impressed by that can you? When I first saw it I thought it was big but I didn't think it was THAT big.

We emerged from the station into a sunny Shrewsbury and headed south east along Castle Gates. We hadn't gone far when we realised that we had just passed some some steps and we thought 'I wonder where they go?'. Well we had to find out didn't we? The steps led us up to a higher level walkway and I spotted this view.

What do you think that building is? A stately home, a museum perhaps or even a prison. Nope! None of those. It is, in fact, Shrewsbury Railway Station. Quite impressive for a railway station eh? Built in 1848 it is now designated a grade II listed building.

We went back down the steps and after a short walk entered Shrewsbury Castle grounds. Bearing right along a path which was sloping upward we eventually arrived here at the top of a knoll. This is Laura's Tower built by Thomas Telford, in 1790, for Laura, the daughter of Sir William Pulteney, as a summer house.

There are some impressive views to be had from the top of this knoll although some of them are obscured by trees. Luckily for us it was March and there were no leaves on the trees so we had some lovely clear views such as this one along the River Severn. Incidentally the steps and walkway we decided to follow earlier would have taken us across that footbridge but we didn't want to spend time going that far today.

After a surfeit of views over the town we went back down to ground level and continued our walk through the town along Castle Street then Pride Hill where we turned into Butcher Row and saw this fine timber-framed building.

The timber-framed building shown below is at the south-east end of Butcher Row and on the corner of Fish Street which runs across the top of Grope Lane which I have mentioned in previous posts. This particular building still has its original frontage with the deep window sills on which the merchants would have displayed their wares.

We went back along Butcher Row and turned left along Pride Hill heading south-west. We eventually reached St. Chad's Terrace where we found (you've guesssed it) St. Chad's Church. Built in the 1700s, so not that old, but quite an impressive and unusual church. It created a stir at the time because it had a circular nave. 

I was hoping to get a photograph of Ebeneezer Scrooge's gravestone in the churchyard but we couldn't find it. Yes we know that Scrooge was a fictional character but the churchyard was used in the making of the film and the gravestone was left when filming was finished. It is still there somewhere.

The circular nave is unique, with pews arranged like a maze and Charles Darwin was baptised in St Chad’s Church.

Just across the road is the Quarry park which incorporates the Dingle. Dingle, apparently, is another name for a Dell. Either way it's a very attractive garden and there were plenty of blooms in spite of it being the middle of March.

This view shows St. Chad's Church, with its very tall tower, in the background.

This statue of Sabrina was created in 1846 by Peter Hollins of Birmingham for the Earl of Bradford. A folk etymology developed, deriving the name from a mythical story of a nymph, Sabrina, who drowned in the River Severn nearby and Sabrina is also the goddess of the River Severn in Celtic mythology.

That, however, is not the only Sabrina, as there is a boat called Sabrina which takes visitors for a cruise around Shrewsbury on the river. It was very convenient that it happened to come along as I was photographing the river.

After our last two visits Amanda wasn't particularly enamoured of Shrewsbury but she says now that she is really beginning to like it. We are, of course, planning to come again in the warmer weather when the leaves are on the trees.

We caught the train back home where we arrived without incident.

I suppose that that was our first 'proper' trip of the year. More trips to come I hope.

Houses, Water and Fungi

Houses, Water and Fungi

Houses.

We have lived in Knighton for eight months now and I have walked past this house on the main road through the town centre many times without noticing it at all. That may seem unbelievable but it is set back from the road in a narrow little courtyard so perhaps I might be excused. Even so it is the oldest house in Knighton dating back to the fourteenth century and I managed to miss it until now. sad

The facade was actually replaced in the 17th century but the house behind it is a Cruck-framed construction from the 14th century. I have no idea how large, or small, it is inside. I have now also added this to the the Knighton web pages.

Water

About a week ago we had some heavy rain. I mean HEAVY! It went on for a day or two and the stream which runs alongside our garden changed a little in that time. This it what it looks like under normal conditions.

After the rain stopped it was like this.

We are not in any danger of being flooded but it was moderately impressive all the same. It seems worse when you can hear the rushing water as well. The weather is a bit different now. Clear sky and sun this morning but one pays a penalty for that. Last nigh was the coldest that we have experienced since we've been here at, according to the weather forecast, 27F. Amanda looked at the Min/Max thermometer in her greenhouse and that read 20F. We don't want too much of that.

Fungi.

This is an 'Inkcap' fungus soon after it appeared above ground. So why 'Inkcap'?

After a few days it starts to open up from the bottom when you may see why it has that particular name.

A few days later it has progressed a bit more.

And then a bit more.

Until the final stage. Not a pretty sight.

Medieval Mischief

Medieval Mischief

First of all let's set the tone of this trip before we do anything else.

This little alley dates back to medieval times so, knowing that, if you think that you know why it was given that name then you are probably right. They were fairly blunt about names at that time so we will leave it there. 'Nuff said.

Here are some more pictures of that alley:




So where is it and what were we doing there?

It is Shrewsbury and we went shopping. Not only that but as we have a railway station in Knighton we used the railway to get there. The sneaky part is that travelling cost us nothing and I'll explain why. In Britain, when one is over 60, one can apply to the local council for a concessionary travel pass which permits travelling on buses free. In Wales that same pass can apply to some railway routes and one of those is the Heart of Wales Line. Now guess where that line runs through. Yes – Knighton.

The Heart of Wales line, which runs the 120 miles between Swansea and Shrewsbury, could not be described as 'Mainline' and is, in fact, very very rural. This is our train waiting in our station and, as you can see, couldn't be any shorter. It has just one carriage and no locomotive because it is a diesel railcar with engines under the floor.

It may be small but it provides some very nice landscape views.

So back to Shrewsbury.

We were wandering around the town looking at the shops, of which there was a great variety, with an occasional foray into places of interest which was when we found ourselves in the grounds of Shrewsbury Castle.

The original castle was built by the Normans but, apart from the gateway, very little of that building survives. Much of it was demolished during the rebuilding and strengthening of the castle around 1300 when an outer bailey was also added. It was never used as a fortress after that and over the centuries fell into disrepair until the civil war when further alterations were made.

We didn't actually buy very much in Shrewsbury although I did get a new pair of shoes. We plan to go back on further visits.