Category: Memorials and Monuments

Visiting the Bard: Stratford-upon-Avon (2)

Continuing where we left off in Stratford-upon-Avon.

I was ready to leave the area of the Holy Trinity Church, and was very impressed with the church. The churchyard was quite a nice one too and I would have liked to have spent more time in it. 

The one guide at the church  had advised me to look for the Guild Chapel in town as it was an interesting place, so with vague directions I retraced my steps to Bancroft Gardens. It was a hot day and there was a lot of activity on the Avon.

and there was even a chain drawn ferry…

I crossed over back into the craziness of streets and headed down a picturesque street, randomly taking photographs of the buildings.

And then I spotted a likely candidate and headed across to it. 

The Guild Chapel was light and airy but there was a small party of people in the middle of the aisle talking to a guide and I was not able photograph the interior the way I wanted to.

I poked around, hoping to find a leaflet or pamphlet to understand the context but did not find one. However, the internet has come to my rescue:

Founded by the Guild of the Holy Cross before 1269, it passed into the control of the town corporation in 1553, when the Guild was suppressed by Edward VI. The chapel stands on Church Street, opposite the site of William Shakespeare’s home, New Place, and has historic connections to Shakespeare’s family. The chapel was gifted an extensive series of wall-paintings by Hugh Clopton, an earlier owner of New Place, and John Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s father, undertook their defacement in the later 1500s. The paintings have recently been conserved.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild_Chapel)

“The painting above is Doom’ – a large ornate scene which can be seen above the Chancel arch. To medieval worshippers its imagery would have been immensely powerful, and it remains a striking  centrepiece today.

Doom is the Old English word for judgement and the Doom painting depicts the Last Judgement – Christ deciding the eternal destination of human lives. Doom paintings were commonplace in churches and chapels pre-Reformation; there to ensure people reflected on how they were living their lives. In the Guild Chapel’s Doom, Jesus sits on a rainbow in the centre, surrounded by four angels. Mary and St John the Baptist flank him on either side. On the left is the Kingdom of Heaven and all the good souls rising from their graves. On the right are all the sinners being tortured by demons and fed into the Mouth of Hell (depicted literally as a fanged serpentine creature which you can still clearly make out).” (Information from the Guild Chapel Website).  There was a similar painting in St Thomas and St Edmunds Church in Salisbury

It would have been interesting to hear the stories behind the paintings but it did not seem like that would be possible. Besides, it was starting to get late and I really needed to find that bus stop. 

Leaving the chapel I decided to continue with Chapel Street until I hit Bridge Street which was where the bus would stop (theoretically). Looking at Google Earth after the fact reveals that there was a lot more to see in this area so it may warrant a return trip one day.

The Falcon Inn

The Falcon Inn opened around 1655 although the building dates from 1624 and no other building in the town has had a longer continuous history as licensed premises. 

Bridge Street becomes Wood Street and I was now in the right place. It was just a matter of finding the bus stop.

And naturally at that moment the X18 Bus trundled into view and I followed it to where I had bailed out this morning. But, I was 30 seconds too slow as the bus pulled away before I reached the stop. The next bus was 13H05 and that was 30 minutes away. I decided that the time had come to hunt down a loo and take a further look around Henley Street and try solve the mystery of Shakespeare’s birthplace.

If anything the area was even more crowded and that image of the house evaded me. The building below is the Shakespeare Centre, and there did not seem to be a way to find out what went on in it without forking over at least £17.50. I gave it a miss, maybe next time.

It was time to hit the bus stop. If all went well I would only just be able to make my bus in Evesham without a long wait. However, the bus was 8 minutes late and then we got stuck in a traffic jam in Evesham for 10 minutes. By the time I got to my bus stop the bus had left 18 minutes ago and I was stuck till the next bus which left 45 minutes later. Such are the vagaries of of public transport.

Stratford-upon-Avon was in the bag and it had been an interesting morning. Return trip? maybe; there are quite a few other places in the town that I would like to look at, and of course there is that War Memorial in Bidford. It is do-able so one day there may be a “Return to” post.  Total image count was 336, and some more are reproduced in the random image collection below.

DRW © 2019. Created 14/09/2019

Updated: 14/10/2019 — 20:03

Oh great! it’s Great Malvern (2)

Continuing where we left off…

The War Memorial is directly in front of the library and has no names inscribed on it. It is described as:

WINGED SEMI-NUDE MALE FIGURE, REPRESENTING YOUTH, WITH ARMS STRETCHED UPWARDS HOLDING A FLAMING TORCH. THE FIGURE LOOKS UPWARDS TOWARDS THE TORCH. TREE ROOTS ARE WRAPPED AROUND THE FEET OF THE FIGURE, WHICH STANDS ON A STONE PLINTH AND FIVE STEPPED BASE. THE INSCRIPTION IS CARVED PROUD ON THE PLINTH.”

The inscriptions read:

12 O’Clock:  “TO THOSE WHO/ NOBLY SERVED/ 1914-1919/ 1939-1945

6 O’Clock: “THEIR LIFE THEY/ GAVE THE LIGHT/ OF LIFE TO SAVE

The memorial is a Grade II listed structure and it was unveiled in 1923 and was made by Captain Richard Reginald Goulden. (Information from Imperial War Museum War Memorials Register).

The rent was paid and it was time to head for the Priory, and I covered that in a separate post which you can find by following the arrow.

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Suffice to say the Priory looks like this….

By the time I was finished at the Priory it was 11H45 and I needed to head for the station if I was going to get my 12H40 train. I had pencilled the cemetery into my itinerary and doubted that I had enough time to do it as well.  Walking back to the station I passed the Malvern Theatres

And  photographed the very impressive Malvern Hills District Council building.

Then it was time to hit the station, although I did detour to photograph Christ Church Malvern.

The railway came to Malvern in 1860 and Great Malvern’s Station was completed in 1863. It was built from Malvern Stone by the architect Edward W. Elmslie.  The interior decoration and the columns was by William Forsyth. Unfortunately it is impossible to get a decent image of the station exterior because of its length and the position of trees and the sun. The interior is amazing though. The steelwork is wonderful and its almost wasted on a station. 

Platform 1

Platform 2 with the train to Hereford

It was a very pretty station inside with an almost holiday-like feeling about it.  

On the way back to Worcester I was able to grab a snap of the River Severn from the train, I had never seen that view before. 

I was back in Evesham by 13H20 and back home an hour later. It had been a long day that stretched from 06H00 till the completion of this post. Great Malvern was a very pretty place and some of the houses were stunning. It is however quite crowded as it has narrow streets and pavements and it is uphill too! If you don’t know how to use a handbrake you will not be able to survive there.  

Great Malvern was in the bag, and it was great!

Random Images

Malvern Hills from the train after passing Malvern Link Station (1024×342)

DRW © 2019. Created 13/09/2019

Updated: 16/09/2019 — 05:19

Oh great! it’s Great Malvern (1)

Great Malvern….  it really is great. I know because on this last day of my leave the weather finally cleared and I was able to get there. How do you get there? in my case I bussed to Evesham and then caught the train I would have returned from Oxford with. It continues its journey from Evesham to Pershore, Worcester Shrub Hill, Worcester Foregate, Malvern Link and finally Great Malvern. The line actually continues to Ledbury and Hereford but this train terminates at Great Malvern. It does not make a lot of sense, but I suspect there is some arcane reason behind it all.

(1500 x 409) Approaching Worcester, with the cathedral in the distance

I am starting this post from when I climbed off at my destination but will deal with the station at the end of the post. Exiting the station I headed for Avenue Road which would take me up into the town itself. However, when I checked the traffic to cross I did a double take and headed for the building below instead. 

This beauty was built as the Imperial Hotel and was designed  by famed architect E.W. Elmslie. It opened in 1862 and was apparently connected to the station via a tunnel. The building was taken over  for use as a school by Malvern Girls’ College in 1919 and it is currently known as Malvern St James Girl’s School. Distraction over it was time to head towards town. I had two destinations in mind: the War Memorial and Great Malven Priory. Everything else was incidental. Fortunately I had some sort of map but also found this handy map on an information board near the station.

As you can see it is not a large town and restricted on one side by the steep Malvern Hills.  I was not too sure whether I wanted to tackle those though, it was one of those wait and see things. Theoretically the War Memorial would have been the first item on my agenda as it was situated in front of the Library. The Priory I would do second as it was still a bit early in the day. I had planned for a 3 hour day, although I did have information about a later train if my schedule fell behind

It is literally uphill all the way to town and you can see the hill in the distance. It made Bredon Hill look like a pimple.  Eventually Avenue Road merged with Church Street and I was in an area of very pretty buildings, many of which had lost their original context. 

To get to the library I should have turned right at this intersection but decided to just keep on going till I bumped into a hill. 

That road is steep! I was now on the pavement that bordered the Priory churchyard and not too far from the hill.  

The road curves to the right and runs parallel with the foot of the hill, it is marked as A449 and called Worcester Road.  The images below were all taken in the road.

Holly Mount United Reformed Church

It was time to turn around and see whether I could find the library from one of the gaps in the buildings but that was a waste of time. My intention now was to backtrack to Church Street and then go in the opposite direction towards what is known as Belle Vue Terrace where I saw Sir Edward Elgar looking down at the traffic in Church Street.

He lived in the town for 13 years and established himself as a composer of international stature. I also encountered him in Worcester

Seeing as I was in the area I decided to at least make an effort to “head for the hills”, although it was turning out to be somewhat of a warm and sunny day and that would make extended climbs difficult.

There was a park next to this creeper covered building (Mount Pleasant Hotel), and I headed towards it. 

I was finally able to get a better view of the Priory from here. 

I could only admire the statue of the two buzzards by Walenty Pytel which was unveiled in 2013. It is an awesome piece of art!

And then I was going uphill! (via 99 steps I may add). 

(1500 x 590)

The view was amazing but the slope was getting steeper all the time. Those 99 steps were not even the end of the start!  The path just kept on going upwards. Eventually I came across a small building that called itself St Ann’s Well Cafe. 

Inside the building was a small ornate fountain. Unfortunately a sign on the door read “The water from this spring has failed bacteriological tests and should be boiled before use!”

And that pretty much encapsulates one of the things that Great Malvern is famous for: Spring Water and the “water cure”. “Rainwater filtering through cracks in the rock emerges from over 100 springs around the hills. in 1085, Benedictine Monks founded a Priory here, benefiting from the pure water. Centuries later, a fashionable Victorian water cure made Malvern a magnet for wealthy visitors. Facilities were built as a result which, with the town’s natural charms attracted writers, artists and musicians….” (Text from an information board).  So, the only water I was going to get would be from the bottle that I filled up from my kitchen tap in Tewkesbury! 

Ever upwards!

But by now I was starting to tire. There was no way I could tell how far I still had to go before I hit the top and I was not going to commit myself to more of this so decided to call it quits and head back down the hill, pausing for a look at the view. There are actually very few places where you can see the view from as the hill is quite heavily treed. 

At some point of my descent I came to the road and had the choice of where I wanted to exit the area from and I decided to take St Ann’s Road. 

And then I was almost back where I started and headed towards the War Memorial and library.  I was glad to be out of the hills though. It was a killer! Having said that I am going to start a new post because there are too many images for a single post. Use the arrow to turn the page.

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The library building

DRW © 2019. Created 13/09/2019

Updated: 16/09/2019 — 05:16
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