musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Category: Photo Essay

Ye Olde Medieval Festivale 2018

It is difficult to comprehend that a small town like Tewkesbury played such a pivotal role in the history of England so many years ago, and we are reminded of it because we hold the famous Medieval Festival around about this time of year. I do not really enjoy it because it is crowded and slightly crazy and there is a lot to see, but nothing to see. Its that kind of festival. I have attended all of them since I arrived in Tewkesbury in 2015 but did not hang round for the much vaunted “Battle”.  Last  year’s may be view on the relevant page:  2017 Medieval Festival

The build up started a few weeks back when the banners started to appear in Town, and then the posters and finally on a gloriously hot summers day it all came together and the population of Tewkesbury tripled. Make no mistake, this festival is famous amongst re-enactors, history buffs, curious onlookers, young and old. People come from far and wide to trade, drink, fight and wear cool clothing.  Part of the attraction for me has always been people watching although I do not do crowds too well.

I will not even attempt to explain the battle in this post as it’s beyond my stock of knowledge, but the whole shebang takes place in areas where the actual battle occurred. There may even be long forgotten burials in the area where we were today, but I won’t put my head on a block and say that there are.  I have tried to create some sort of semi-coherent account of the battle in another post

Where to begin?

The site is divided into 3 areas, and the image above is where the stores are set up and the playpark and food and concession vendors are laid out. It can get chaotic but there is a wide variety of bits and bobs available so it is very popular. Although at times it is strange to bump into a knight or ye ladye browsing the edged weapons or waffling away on their cellphone.  Actually the best time to explore this area is when the battle is occurring. It is much quieter. 

It is also a popular time when many alternative lifestylers come out of the woodwork and don their finest, and there were a number of really amazing costumes out there. 

This is just a small selection, and everyone of those who I photographed were amazing. Thank you. Incidentally, “The Green Man” is a regular at these events and seems to have an aura all of his own.

This is the same area at roughly 16H45 and the battle was raging in the field close by.

The field where the battle was happening is literally just over Upper Lode Lane (which connects to the Lower Lode Inn and Upper Lode Locks)

The battlefield is a large space surrounded on 3 sides by the Living History display, which is where you can see “how the other half lived” I could be wrong but many of the re-enactors were camped out in this area with their attendant followers and baggage. It is a fascinating glimpse into the past, and most of those camped here were in period clothing and lived it rough (no broadband?).  

I will say one thing about the people who were living in those tents, they made an excellent job of portraying what a campsite may have looked like, and they put their heart into creating the ambience for the event. This is part of what makes the festival so popular. 

According to my information the battle was due to start at 3pm, but as usual that was incorrect, and while the soldiers suited up there was a demonstration of falconry. It is however not really the sort of thing that works well in a large space because from where I was standing you could barely see the stage although I did manage one image of these amazing birds.

And while the falconry was going on the crowd just got larger and the seating area around the arena got steadily more packed with people in various states of undress. It was a scorcher of a day and the sun was not being merciful at all. I did not envy those who were going to participate in the fighting because that steel armour was going to get very very hot (especially if left outside in the sun).  I fear the knight below melted, leaving his armour behind.

Then there was movement as small squads of knights and followers started to head to the opposite end of the field. They were a ragtag mob, and I suspect many would already be wishing they were at home with a cold one watching the telly.

Do not make the assumption that all of these armour clad foot soldiers were men either. There were a number of girls and women in those squads, and they were not in the traditional camp follower role either.  We were also visited by the two snake oil salesmen with their cart of body parts and assorted bottles of green stuff. They too are regulars and bring some light relief to the waiting crowd. Their cry of “bring out yer dead!” causing many a smile and scared small children from near and far. 

Things were reaching a climax on the other side of the arena too as more men gathered while Sir Gallop-around-alot tried to impress the crowd with his equestrian prowess. Actually he was “scouting”, but the reality is that he was probably showing off. Archers were gathering on both sides too…

And then the archers let fly… the longbow used by the English was a fearsome weapon by all counts, and storms of arrows would reign down on combatants from rows of men especially trained in the use of the bow. Unfortunately if your opponent had similar trained men the advantage was moot. 

Then the armies arrived after a long march, and the Lancastrian forces of Queen Margaret of Anjou  passed within earshot of the audience.  

Things were hotting up as the two parties got together to parley. You can see Queen Margaret in her veil and the King facing the armoured man with the feathers in his helmet. The guy ruining the shot is not checking his email, he is busy reading the instructions on how to use his “gonne” 

(1500×487)

By all accounts the parley did not go well, she slapped him and stomped off, the die had been cast and battle would commence. Firearms were in use by then, although by all accounts they were relatively simple weapons, more liable to explode and kill the user than to kill the opposition. The Yorkists certainly had more guns than their enemies, and they were apparently better served.

Ye loude bange!!

Then battle did commence…

(1500×607)

(1500×550)

It was also time for me to leave the festival. It was obvious that while the fighting was ebbing and flowing in the area I could not see very much. I was also tired and hot and bothered and really ready to call it a day. The real Lancastrians and Yorkists way back in May 1471 were probably equally tired and some were probably wounded and hoping to find sanctuary in the church and town.  

And that was The Medieval Festival.  I am glad I saw part of the Battle, it probably raged long after I had left, and I am sure much quaffing of ale was done afterwards. On Sunday the parade will wobble erratically down the High Street, I covered the parade last year, so all that is left are those random images that I enjoy so much. 

Acknowledgements:

Everybody!! especially those who were involved in the battles and in the supporting role, and of course the organisers and those who manned the stalls and gates and made sure it all went well.  

See ye nexte time.

DRW © 2018. Created 15/07/2018.

Updated: 17/07/2018 — 19:06

The Banners of Tewkesbury

With the much vaunted Medieval Festival just around the corner the town is being festooned with banners. I have very rarely taken notice of it because frankly I know nothing about this period and a lot of the War of the Roses goes over my head. However, seeing as I was in town I thought I would have squizz and see what I could find out. I do not know how many there should be, or what half of them mean, but maybe I will learn more along the way.​ (My post about the 2018 Medieval Festival has now been completed)

I managed to photograph 45 different banners, and I am sure there were quite a few more. Unfortunately I have not been as good with the information sheets that are usually  stuck to the windows of the shops involved.  The “key” to each banner is after the table of images. 

Out of curiosity,  the forces loyal to the House of Lancaster were completely defeated by those of the rival House of York under their monarch, King Edward IV.

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1. Sir William Hawte (Yorkish) of Hawland and Waltham, Kent

2. Sir Richard Culpepper (Yorkist) of Oxen Hoath, Kent

4. Sir Thomas Stratham (Yorkist) of Morley, Derbyshire

7. Sir George Neville, (Yorkist) 2nd Lord Abergavenny, of Birling, Kent

10. Sir John Fortesque, (Lancastrian) of Wymston and Shepham, Devonshire

13. Sir John Skrene (Yorkist) of Olmstead, Essex

14. Sir Thomas Tresham (Lanastrian) of Rushton and Sywell, Northamptonshire

15. Sir John Throckmorton, (Lancastrian) of Fladbury and Haresfield, Worcesterhire

20. Sir Nicholas Hervey, (Lancastrian) of Thurleigh and Eastbury, Godalming, Surrey 

22. Sir William Boteler (Butler) (Lancastrian) of Bewsey, Lord of Warrington

28. Sir Edmund Grey (Yorkist) of Ruthin, Denbighshire, 4th Earl of Ruthvin, 1st Earl of Kent

31. Sir Humphrey Touchet (Lancastrian) of Swaffham, Norfolk

40. Sir William Allington (Yorkist) of Bottisham, Cambridgeshire

43. Sir Ralph Hastings (Yorkist) of Harrowden, Northants

44. John Walleys Esq. of Devon (Lancastrian)

45. Sir John Done of Uktinkon, Cheshire (Yorkist)

46. Sir William Norreys of Bray and Yattendon, Berkshire (Yorkist)

47. Sir Seintclere Pomeroy of Berry Pomeroy, Devonshire (Lancastrian)

48. Sir John Dwnn (Done) of Kidwelly, Carmarthenshire (Yorkist).

 

DRW © 2018, Created 09/07/2019

Updated: 15/07/2018 — 11:23

Loving Liverpool (9) St George’s Plateau

Still in Liverpool…

The area where the Liverpool Cenotaph is situated is called St George’s Plateau. This is the flat space between St George’s Hall and Lime Street station and it contains statues of four lions and monuments, including bronzes of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria by Thomas Thornycroft, and a monument to Major-General William Earle.

St George’s Hall

Liverpool Cenotaph

St George’s Hall really dominates the space though and right from the start I was curious about what was inside of it. Somebody told me that there were tours of the building available so I decided to try my luck, assuming I could find the door! 

The foundation stone was laid in 1838 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Victoria, and the hall was designed by Harvey Lonsdale Elmes, a London architect. The building would house not only a grand concert hall but assize courts too. Construction started in 1841 and the hall opened in 1854. The building and plateau was restored in the 2000’s and it was officially reopened on 23 April 2007 by Prince Charles.

Until 1984 the Liverpool Assizes (later the Crown Court) were held in the courtroom at the southern end of St George’s Hall. Lower down in the basement are cells for awaiting trial prisoners with a staircase leading upwards into the court. It is quite ironic that a grand concert could be on the go in the hall while down below prisoners were awaiting their fate.  

I was too late for the formal tours of the building but there was a self led tour that took in parts of it and was able to do that one. It was a very interesting place to see.

The Basement Cells. 

A short corridor has cells leading off to the left in the picture, while a whipping chair and flogging frame are against the right hand wall. The cells are all empty apart from displays, but I doubt very much if they looked as good when they were in use. They were mostly used to house prisoners brought from the prisons who were due to appear in court and not used for long term incarceration and have no facilities like sanitation.   

The objects stuck against the walls in the upper left hand image are mugshots as below. These were supplied by the Nottingham Galleries of Justice and are of unidentified prisoners from that era.The unpainted areas in the top right hand image still have graffiti written by the original inhabitants (and a few modern idiots have added their monikers too). The cell on the bottom left was a really a waiting room for those involved in minor cases. The poor soul on the right has probably heard her fate and has been left to await transportation to Kirkdale or Walton Prison.  

Above the wretches of humanity was the assizes court, and it was reach by a short staircase that opened up in the dock.

 

The Judges view

The accused’s view

The bewigged judge would be peering down from his high backed chair and of course various court functionaries and lawyers would be present and probably a few members of the public too. 

The courts were probably more biased towards the law and the luckless individual in the dock was in for a rough ride. Unfortunately a number of innocent people were caught up in this “system” and a vast amount of guilty ones were too. The judge may have even recognised a few of them from previous court appearances. However, justice must be seen to be done and the results are to be seen in the mugshots in the cells down the staircase. Prison was not a fun place, and from what I can read Kirkdale and Walton Prisons were very hard places to serve time in. There were no human rights lawyers waiting to shout the odds, although there were prison reformers who did their best for the prisoners. 

The Judge, having banged his gavel could retire to his chambers behind his bench, while the prisoner would be led downwards back to the cell and onwards transportation to serve their sentence.

Judges chambers

However, parts of this large building are a different world altogether. One of the purposes of the building was the provision of a hall large enough for civic functions, musical concerts,  balls and “society events”, and this was not a part of the self guided tour although you could look down into it from the gallery. It was being set up for a function and I could see quite a lot of what it looked like, unfortunately the huge chandeliers played havoc with the images so they did not come out the way I would have liked. What I was able to see what very impressive and there are places that can show the hall much better than my lousy images https://www.stgeorgeshallliverpool.co.uk

The image below is is an hdr photograph by Michael D Beckwith taken from St George’s Hall during the annual minton floor reveal. Located in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK 5 August 2014, 09:57:34

St_George’s_Hall_Liverpool_England

(Image By Michael D Beckwith [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

There was also a Crown Court in the building and a smaller hall which was being used for a wedding on the day I visited.

The difference between the basement and main area of the building is astounding and I wonder how often the attendees of functions here ever gave a consideration to the misery down below; or how often prisoners would hear the magnificent organ in full blow up the stairs. It is an interesting contrast between the haves and have nots. The organ itself is a magnificent specimen, and is actually the 3rd pipe organ that I saw in Liverpool.

Finally, the lower areas of the building are interesting because the building had a very primitive air conditioning plant in the basement. It was devised by Dr Boswell Reid, and was the first attempt at providing air conditioning in a public building in the United Kingdom, Air was warmed by five hot water pipes which were heated by two coke-fired boilers and two steam boilers. The air was circulated by four fans 3m wide. It was controlled by a large number of workers opening and closing a series of canvas flaps. The operating levers are still to be seen in the cell block. 

And of course those areas far below make for interesting photography if your flash can penetrate the gloom.

It was a fascinating building, and make no mistake it is huge. It dwarfs the cenotaph and makes most buildings around it look small. Although those on the one side of it are equally old and beautiful in their own right.

It must have been spectacular when it opened over a century ago, especially when viewed as a member of society. “Underclasses” probably had a different view of it altogether. 

St John’s Gardens.

Behind St George’s Hall (1 on the map) is St John’s Gardens (2)

It is a very pretty place and quite a popular place to rest your feet surrounded by greenery and history. 

The statue that interested me was that of the Kings Liverpool Regiment as it commemorates the Boer War, although it would probably make the Boers upset. 

And that really sums up St George’s Hall. A mighty space it is indeed, although I do feel it is somewhat too large and heavy, it really needs some colour and windows. I hope to see inside it again one day, who knows, I may be adding an update in the future.

You can continue to the next page or have a squizz at my random images.

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Random Images.

DRW © 2018. Created 13/06/2018. Image of interior of St George’s Hall by Michael D Beckwith [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

Updated: 27/06/2018 — 19:10

Retrospective: Woolston and Weston

This is yet another of my retrospective posts about my time in Southampton. and it really encompasses the area I lump together as Woolston/Weston/Southampton Water and of course the River Itchen. I grew up in a landlocked city so never really had the opportunity watch the tide come in; Southampton has an unusual phenomenon known as “Double High Water” and frankly I am not qualified to explain how this works because there are so many factors that come into play. If you are really interested please go read up at the Associated British Ports website where it is explained in detail. The important thing to know is that it results in unusually prolonged periods of high water which makes things easier for large ships (of which there are quite a lot) calling in Southampton.

My exif data has 4 separate dates for the images I took in this area, so I am really going to lump them together as one.  To understand where the images occur you really need to see the River Itchen from the bridge. The area I am dealing with is on the left of the image just past the pier that juts out from the land.  Southampton is to the right of the image. 

The ship underway is the Arco Dee, and I did a whole series of images about her transiting the Itchen Bridge en route to Southampton Water.  Our story really starts at Woolston Station, which is below.

Actually I cheated by crossing the bridge and not using the train.

The line extends all the way to Fareham and onwards to Portsmouth.  I then took Victoria Street to get to my destination. Woolston is really a village and is rich in maritime and aviation history, but unfortunately the Vosper Thornycroft yards closed in  2004 and when I was in the area the site of the yards was being redeveloped. ​

 

The Woolston Millennium Garden  was completed in 2002. Its focal point is a 10-metre tall metal and recycled glass feather intended to signify Woolston’s history of flight and sail. The garden is divided into three areas, signifying the earth, the sky and the sea. Many of the crew of the Titanic came from Woolston and there are bricks in the pathway through the garden that are inscribed with their names. Unfortunately I did not realise that the bricks did have those names otherwise I would have photographed them too. Many of those who died on the Titanic are remembered on graves in Southampton Old Cemetery.

The church I associate with Woolston/Weston is the Holy Trinity Church. there is one Second World War casualty buried in it’s churchyard. There is also the grave of Ada Maria and Charles Valentine Clarke,  2nd Class Passengers on board the Titanic. Ada survived while Charles was lost.  
 

   
   
   

Eventually you will come to a sewerage plant. You will probably smell it first though. Carry on a bit further and  you will run out of land unless you start following the road to the left. It was here that I spent some time observing the tide and exploring the area. This is also the route I took to reach Royal Victoria Country Park in August 2013

The Domesday Book has the following to say about Woolston:

  • HundredMansbridge
  • CountyHampshire
  • Total population: 6 households (quite small).
  • Total tax assessed: 1 exemption units (very small).
  • Taxable units: Taxable value 1 exemption units. Taxed on 0.12.
  • Value: Value to lord in 1066 £0.5. Value to lord in 1086 £0.3.
  • Households: 3 villagers. 3 smallholders.
  • Ploughland: 1 men’s plough teams.
  • Lord in 1066Tovi.
  • Overlord in 1066King Edward.
  • Lord in 1086Reginald (Cnut).
  • Tenant-in-chief in 1086Reginald (Cnut).
  • Phillimore reference: 59,1

It was a hot day, the sun was strong and the sky blue, that water looked very inviting. Fortunately I am not one of those who dash into the water flinging clothing aside and then doing a swan dive into it. 

The ship at Ocean Terminal was Queen Mary 2, and this image I took on a different occasion. (1500×443)

That is the Itchen Bridge in the distance.  I found the water fascinating, and the yellow boat was on the slipway when I arrived and was afloat and heading out to sea when I left. I wonder where it eventually ended up?

The movement of the water really transforms the shingle beach, it creates a whole new submerged environment that is inhabited by numerous critters that depend on the tide and the ecosystem around it. Dogs however are not included in that equation, like me they are casual visitors.

And of course the comings and goings of cruise ships do not affect the dogs but they do sometimes cause people to shade their eyes and stare, wishing that they were on board and looking at the shore. This is Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth in Southampton Water (1500×707). 

If you continued to walk and follow the road through to Weston you would see the buildings that comprise a housing estate. These buildings sufferer some of the problems that are associated with this type of housing, but Hampton TowersHavre TowersOslo TowersCopenhagen TowersRotterdam Towers and Canberra Towers are a very distinctive landmarks when viewed from Southampton Water. Just imagine what the view must be like from there…. The recent fire in a tower block in London has thrown the spotlight on fire safety in buildings like this, and I suspect a lot of rethinks will be required to sort out any potential issues in these buildings.  

The final oddity I wanted to add in here is called “Fox’s Monument” and it may be found in Mayberry Park.

This memorial is a tall unadorned obelisk on a square base commemorating Whig politician Charles James Fox. It was erected in 1810 in the grounds of Mayfield House by his admirer and friend William Chamberlayne of Weston Grove. Charles Fox’s name does not appear on the memorial but there is an inscription that reads: “The Earth is the Lord’s, and the Fullness Thereof“. 

That concludes this disjointed diatribe, it did not quite turn out the way I would have liked, but I hope it does leave some sort of impression on what the opposite bank of the Itchen River looks like. I am hoping to do a similar sort of post about Northam, but not today. Bits and pieces will be added to as and when I get the urge. 

DRW © 2013-2018. (Domesday image and data available under the CC-BY-SA licence, with credit to Professor John Palmer and George Slater, (Opendomesday.org)

Updated: 13/04/2018 — 08:38

Snowed under

It is now the weekend and Tewkesbury is trying to recover from under the snow that we had on Thursday evening and Friday. It really feels like a major disaster happened although it was really just unseasonal snow (soon to be accompanied by rain). Chaos did reign though and I am sure the highways were bogged down with stuck cars and accidents. I havent been biking to work since Wednesday but hoofing it to work and back. Fortunately I do not live too far away from work.

My camera was working overtime though, and as usual I have been taking pics galore. I am sure everybody has seen the same old places in my pics, so I tried for different ones for a change. The wind was very strong on Thursday evening so some very interesting shapes were to be found in the snow drifts and wind driven snow.

 

And of course I was also fortunate enough to spot an “ice giant” lurking in the undergrowth….

He is just waiting to swallow us all!! Run away run away! 

What I did find interesting is that parts of the Carrant Brook are frozen, 

I suspect we are not finished with this lousy weather yet, rain is forecast for today and tomorrow, and that could cause the snow to freeze which will make things very dangerous. I am hoping that the cycle path will be more navigable during the week so that I can fetch my meds, of course assuming that the pharmacist pitches up for work.

And that was the weather. We now return you to our regular broadcast.

DRW © 2018. Created 03/03/2018

Updated: 04/03/2018 — 08:28

Again? Snow Again?

It is the 27th of February and theoretically Spring is close. This is however only a theory because this week (26/02 – 05/03) is seeing temperatures plunging and snow all over the UK. Now make no mistake, I love snow, it is awesome, but it is downright dangerous and extremely disruptive of everything. It is even worse when you are at work and all the white stuff is falling and you cannot go outside to see it! I believe they are calling this cold spell “The beast from the east” as it originates from Siberia. I see a conspiracy in the making there. 

At roughly 12.35 it was really coming down, although parts of the sky were bluish. These are the pics I managed to grab when nobody was looking.

Outside it is supposed to be -4, well that’s what my celery says, and how does it know anyway? it hasn’t been outside since I left home this morning.

It will be interesting going home as it is supposed to be snowing at quitting time. I will keep everybody in suspense for now…

Home time has come and gone and the sky was blue and no snow in sight. Tomorrow? your guess is as good as mine.

28/02/2018

-4 outside and my head is frozen, so much so that I have a headache! to exacerbate things there is a freezing breeze blowing and that is making it much colder. It has been one heck of a miserable day with flurries and clouds and sun and everything inbetween, although no cats and dogs yet. Shortly before quitting time we had quite a bit of snow that was sticking, and I managed to navigate my way to the shops and back in the snow on my bike! It was hairy though, one sneeze and I would have been toast.

Watch this space, I believe its going to be fun tomorrow.

DRW © 2018. Created 27/02/2018

Updated: 04/03/2018 — 08:28

Photo Essay: Eurocopter EC135

I love helicopters, there is something about that transition between sitting on the ground with your rotors spinning and taking off that really tickles me pink. This morning, the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity Eurocopter G-HWAA landed outside and I had the chance to have a really good look at it. 

I have seen her and a sister before though, at the Tewkesbury Classic Vehicle Festival in 2016 and 2017, but there were always crowds around her. Whether you like it or not, a helicopter landing or taking off is a moment that is worth standing in the cold for. And, it was cold.. I know because I dashed out there sans woolly hat and big jacket. But, it is always worth the discomfort to have a good look at machines like this. This particular helicopter is a Eurocopter EC135 T2, and according to the manufacturers plate it was built in 2005 in Germany.

so without further ado… here are the pics.

 

Unfortunately by the time I had found my camera and keys she had already landed, but I have seen two of them in flight before.

G-WASC. 2016 image

And when she took off I could not get a clear image of her because of the large trees and the need to stay out of range of the downdraft. I was originally in a better position to take pics but left because of the cold, and by the time I got back it was too late to be on the sun side of the chopper. Bah humbug! 

G-HWAA

And that concluded our excitement for the day.  The Midlands Air Ambulance Charity is a worthwhile cause, and it is probable that today another life was saved by men who gave up their Sunday to shave time off the golden hour that is all the time that is available in many cases.  Since 1991, the charity has responded to more than 43,000 missions,   and that is a large number when you consider how many helicopters it operates. Maybe one day I will be able to read about this particular one.

DRW © 2018. Created 07/01/2017 

Updated: 04/03/2018 — 08:29

The Musings Advent Calender 2017

I started this in 2015, so this is really the 3rd year in a row I have done it. Hopefully some of the pics will not have been seen before. The snow that we had on the 10th really left me many opportunities to get stunning images, and these will probably dominate the calender for a few days.

24 December

23 December

22 December

Fighter from Battlestar Galactia

21 December

A “hooty bird”

20 December

A £ for a lb

19 December

18 December

Eclectica

17 December

Cast iron water tower in Yeoville, Johannesburg. One of all time favourite structures

16 December

Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria

15 December

Part of a model train layout

14 December 

Seen locally, a Shetland Pony

13 December

12 December

11 December

10 December 

Yep, we had snow. Image opens in the snowy blogpost

09 December

I headed to our local cemetery to see whether it was affected by the frost, and it was only really affected where there were no overhanging trees.

Tewkesbury Abbey

Cemetery Chapel

 

On 8 December we had snow in Tewkesbury although I missed seeing most of it as I was at work, and the pics from my camera do not show very much. However the temperatures are low and it is predicted that we will have snow/sleet on the 10th. The pics I took for 8 and 9 December will be weather related as a result.

Sunrise, the field is really covered in frost.

 

07 December

Fountain in Cheltenham

6 December

Roof in Birminham

5 December

Spotted in a church in Weymouth.

4 December

Shop window in Poole

3 December

Seen in Hythe near the Hovercraft Monument

2 December

Spotted in East Cowes, Isle of Wight in 2013. Explanation on the right

1 December

Donkeys at the seaside in Weymouth

 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created between 01 and 24 December 2017. 

Updated: 24/12/2017 — 18:25

Cemetery in the snow 2017

In 2015 while I was in Basingstoke we had an overnight snowfall and I headed off to my local graveyard for some photography. That was quite a large cemetery and I spent a lot of time in it. Tewkesbury Cemetery is on the opposite end of town from where I live so any excursion to it in snowy weather on foot was not really a clever idea. However, apart from the churchyard of the abbey the closest cemetery was technically the old Baptist Chapel, which is literally over the road from the abbey. Unfortunately I can never remember where it is so had to backtrack a bit to find it. In fact, this post is going to backtrack all the way back to 2015 when I first arrived in Tewkesbury, because I have never done a post about the chapel before. This post covers the chapel and it’s associated burial ground and I am using a mix of images from my other visits as well as my Dec 2017 visit.

Situated at the end of one of the many alleyways in the town, it is one of those places you could miss unless you were actually looking for it.

The alley leads into The Old Baptist Chapel Court and the chapel is situated to the right in the image, while the burial ground is just past the building. A sign above the entrance to the court gives a brief history of what is within this small space.

I was fortunate enough to get a “tour” on my one visit so at least I know what it is like on the inside. The history of the chapel is quite interesting too.  

The old Baptist Chapel started out in the mid 15th century as a Medieval hall house and it is thought that by the mid 1700’s it was the meeting place for the Baptists, who were another of the many non-conformist groups who held clandestine meetings of their faith. In the 18th century it was transformed into a simply decorated chapel with a pulpit, baptistery and pastor’s room.

The trapdoor on the right is the Baptistery, and water was presumably  led or carried from the river at the bottom of the court. Prior to 1689, Baptists were persecuted by the authorities leading them to perform baptisms in secret at the nearby Mill Avon. The Baptistery was installed once the persecution ceased. 

However, the property is much higher than the river, so I do not know how they got water to it. Although who knows what it was like 2 or even 3 centuries ago.  

Most of the images were taken from the mezzanine level around the chapel and I seem to recall that there was a bricked up window that has a long story behind it. Unfortunately I no longer remember what it was  (stare too long at the window and you loose your memory perhaps?). 

In 1805 a new chapel was built and the old chapel was subdivided into two cottages with the remains of the chapel in the middle. The chapel may be amongst the earliest Baptist chapels in existence in the UK, and it was restored in the 1970’s to look as it did around 1720. It is almost impossible to get an exterior view of the building due to the narrowness of the alley at that point.  

This is really the best that you can do. The chapel is the timber framed building.  

The burial ground.

Layout by Tewkesbury Heritage (1024×252)

The earliest identified memorial in the burial ground is that of Mary Cowell and is dated 1689, with the newest dating from 1911. 

That is the extent of the burial ground, it is not a large area at all, and is hemmed in by houses on either side and the river beyond the trees. 

The Shakespeare Connection.

One of the more  interesting burials in it is that of Joan Shakespeare, who was William Shakespeare’s younger sister. She married into the Hart family, and one of the Hart descendants moved to Tewkesbury. John Hart was a chairmaker, and so was his son, and there are two Shakespeare Hart burials in this tiny plot.

Thomas Shakespeare

Will Shakespeare Hart

Somewhere amongst my photographs is a sign that pointed to a boat builder called Shakespeare in Tewkesbury but naturally I cannot find it at this point in time.

Curiously there is a grave in Cheltenham’s Prestbury cemetery with a Shakespeare connection too:

A list of the interments in the burial ground may be found at the Gravestone Photographic Resource,  (and I believe there are records in the chapel too). According to that list the oldest identifiable headstone dates from 1777 and they identify 11 graves with 23 individuals. I doubt whether that list is complete.

Generally speaking many of the headstones are in a remarkable condition, and there are some very fine examples with intricate carving on them.​

 

If you stood at the river end of the court and looked towards  the chapel you can get a much better idea of the crowded area. The entrance would be on the top right of the image.

It is amazing to see how different the same space looks when it is blanketed by snow.  

And having revisited the burial ground it was time to head off home. It had been an interesting visit, and at some point I must compare the images that I have with what is on that list. And of course find that sign from the boat builder. I will return here again one day to have a look at those registers because I would like to document the individual graves. My existing images are from 3 different dates and they really show how a relatively undisturbed plot of ground does change with the seasons, although Winter left its mark on this chilly day and of course there was however one occupant that I did not see on this visit, but I expect he is curled up somewhere warm.

 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 10/12/2017. Some text originated from a Tewkesbury Heritage information board at the burial ground. Updated with new image 10/06/2018

Updated: 11/06/2018 — 05:37

Let there be snow!

Yes it is true, it is snowing outside. We had our first flakes on Friday but it was not a significant amount. But the weather forecast for the UK predicted snow wherever you go for today!

I woke at 7.30 but it was too dark to see much and I managed to bounce my flash off the flakes outside. It looked very promising and when I made my usual call home it was belting down outside. Here are some of my first pics. 

And yes, it is cold, and no I do not have snow boots and yes my hands are frozen. But… I am chuffed. I will periodically post new pics as I venture out. I am not likely to take a long trip because I do not want to get caught in it and it does appear that snow will be with us for most of the day.

11.55.

I went down to the Abbey to see what it was looking like, I was too wary to use the bike, and considering the slush on the roads I am glad I did not. Ugh, what a mess!​

 

The Abbey always presents interesting photographic opportunities, and just think how many snow storms it has seen during its long existence.​

 

My real aim was to do another “Cemetery in the snow” post, similar to the one I did in Basingstoke in 2015, but the cemetery is quite a long walk away and I was not going to tackle that! Instead I headed across to the old Baptist Chapel and its associated graveyard. I have not done a separate post on the chapel so will do that after I am finished playing in the snow.

11/11/2017

10/12/2017

And then it was time to wend my way home along the cycle path. It is hard to believe that this was once a railway line 

And that was the day, or should I say morning. It is still snowing outside although the weather forecast is for sun tomorrow. We will see when we get there. Will I use the bike tomorrow? probably not. I am not that confident with the inevitable slippery roads, and because of the low temperatures there is no way of knowing what conditions will be like out there in the morning, or in the evening. We will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday 12 December.

The leftover snow is still on the ground, the pavements are ice rinks, the temperatures are low but the light is fantastic. I took these on my way to work this morning.

And that concludes the weather. We now return to our regular programming. 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 10/12/2017

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 17:01
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