musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Avon

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” 

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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…

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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

Upper Lode Lock

My short trip on Goliath opened up a new area for me to explore and answered one question that has been bugging me for quite some time.  To really understand this a bit more you need to look at a map (which I just happen to have handy)

The white arrow on the left hand of this image is where I was today and it is called the Upper Lode Lock. and it is a part of the Severn Waterway. The white arrow on the right in the image is the Avon Lock and I dealt with that one in my “Going through the locks” post in June 2015. Up until my trip on Goliath I was unaware that there was another set of locks close to Tewkesbury, although I was always curious about a sign that I read advertising the “Lower Lode Ferry”. 

I decided that I would approach the locks from the opposite bank of the Severn, crossing at the Mythe Bridge and heading towards Bushley but turning left instead of right. After some hairy cycling I came around a corner and a fox stood in the middle of the road. Unfortunately I was not able to get my camera ready and Reynard cocked a snook at me and disappeared into the undergrowth. This was the 3rd fox I have seen in the UK since I arrived in 2013 and I love encountering them. A bit further on and I was at the lock, and a fascinating place it was.

This landing is where boats would moor until there were enough of them to share the lock transit. Make no mistake, this is a large lock.  I am going to wind forward a bit because on my way back I watched a narrow boat transit the lock system. 

The gates are open and the narrow boat is on its way though them, I am looking towards the lock gates you can see in the image above.  The gates are made of wood and are electrically operated.

Boat is in the lock, gates are closing

If I turn 180 degrees my view would be of the large basin inside the lock. 

My guess would be that it was used as a temporary mooring place for a lot of boats and barges so as to maximise the usage of the lock and it does make sense to have something like this. Unfortunately the amount of traffic using the lock is quite small compared to when the Severn was used to move goods up and downstream. The difference in levels before the lock and after the lock was 4 feet on this day. It can vary considerably depending on the season, tides, rainfall and flooding. With the water in the lock the same as outside the other gate is opened and the boat can complete her transit. It took 13 minutes for the narrow boat to transit, even though she had to wait for 2 paddle boarders before the gate could be closed.

Now that was fun, so let us return to the beginning and carry on with my entering the lock system and onwards.

My walk was taking me in the direction of Gloucester, Diglis Lock is in Worcester, and is about a kilometre from Worcester Cathedral. Gloucester is “downriver” while Worcester is “upriver”

There was a path of sorts that headed off into the distance and and I headed off on it, hoping to find the Lower Lode Inn and ferry. 

A bit further on and I could see the area where the river split comes together, with a weir on one side and the lock on the other. 

Make no mistake, you do not want to try avoid using the lock because the weir will probably kill you.  In the distance I could make out buildings and vehicles and I headed towards it. I had found the Lower Lode Inn! 

But first I had to investigate that classic 1964 Kombie on the right. 

Words really fail me when I try to describe that Kombie and the teardrop caravan parked alongside; it was literally a steampunk dream on 2 wheels.

It really shows what you can do when you have passion (and money). The owner was such a nice guy and I can only compliment him on his creation. It was gorgeous.

This is the Lower Lode Inn in all it’s glory. It is touted as a 15th century riverside inn, and it certainly looks the part. However, it appeared as if I was too early again as it seemed to be closed (or they saw me coming…) 

As for the ferry?

This may be it! I saw him twice on the river and at one point he was approaching the landing stage of the inn, but I cannot confirm or deny that it is the ferry or not. I now need to investigate this area from the opposite bank of the river.  Out of curiosity, I was not able to walk along the bank of the river but walked on what I assume may have been the towpath, there are little walkways down to the bank every few metres, but they were steep and I was not willing to venture down them and end up in the ‘oggin.  There were a number of fishermen on the river too, and apparently they were catching Bream. 

That more or less concluded my exploration and I headed for home, pausing once again at the lock where I watched the boats transit as described above.

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Out of curiosity, the next lock downstream is this one that is at the entrance to Gloucester harbour

It is very beautiful out there and the dominant colour is green, coupled with sunshine and pleasant temperatures it was a lovely day. I stopped at the chippie for a nice piece ‘o cod for lunch and am a happy camper for today, sadly tomorrow is work…  I shall not dwell too much on that.  

Some random images…

DRW © 2018. Created 24/06/2018

Updated: 27/06/2018 — 19:10

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

Blundering around Bushley

The winter weather was decidely pleasant when I set out for the village of Bushley in Warwickshire, I had one CWGC grave to photograph so it was worth the walk to get there.  However, this was really a test to see how well I could cope with an extended walk like this. Unfortunately I have been suffering with unspecific hip and back pain and that has really curtailed my meanderings in the countryside. The church of St Peter is just over 3km away via the Mythe Bridge, which is not really far until you factor in the return walk and the gallivanting I had planned for my return trip. 

The route encompasses the magnificent Mythe Bridge that I had photographed last year, 

crossing the River Severn

and then following the signs until you reach the village which is in Warwickshire as opposed to Gloucestershire.

The church is easy to find too, it is the highest point there.

The church of St Peter was rebuilt in 1843 by Canon Dowdeswell and consists of chancel, north and south transepts, nave and west tower and spire, it is a Grade II listed building and was designed by Dr Edward Blore & Sir Gilbert Scott.

The graveyard is in a reasonable condition and I spotted a number of 1700’s graves in it, which means that there was a church here for many years before the current building was erected.

My CWGC grave was easy to find, and I also found one private memorial.

The War Memorial is affixed to the outside wall of the church and covers both world wars.

I am always curious as to what these parish churches look like inside, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the church was unlocked.

The building inside is much smaller than it looks from the outside, but it is a very beautiful church on the inside.

There are a number of wall memorials to members of the Dowdeswell family and a few floor memorials but I could not get a clear image of those.

 The Font may date from the late 12th century, while the organ was erected in 1908.

Time was trickling away and I needed to start making tracks out of here, I paused at the Nativity scene in front of the pulpit. Christmas was upon us, and it is a very special time in any church.

I returned to the churchyard and took more photographs.  

As can be seen the churchyard is higher than the surrounding pavement, which ties into the fact that there are more people buried here than reflect in the 177 memorials in the churchyard with a total of 352 names.

The registers for the church go back to 1538, and the oldest date on a memorial is 1633.

The churchyard does have an extension next to it, although that is nowhere near full.

Then it was time to head back to the Mythe Bridge for my next bit of exploration.

On the right hand side of this image is the sealed off entrance to the tunnel that runs underneath this road. 

It was part of the former Upton-upon-Severn to Tewkesbury line and I had been looking for the other end of the tunnel half heartedly for some time. I now had a better idea of where it was, I just had to find it. There is a footpath that runs along the bank of the Severn and by the looks of it I would be able to reach the general area without doing too much bundu-bashing.

The footpath was muddy and there was not much to see in the bush, hopefully at some point I would at least find a clue as to where the tunnel entrance was. Eventually I reached a crossroad with gates in 3 directions, the bush had thinned a bit but was still quite thick, but after checking the gps I was probably close to where I suspected the tunnel was. I walked around the one gate and voila… there it was.

It was bricked up and the entrance door had no visible hinges or lock so was probably fastened from the inside.

Sadly the local graffiti artists had expounded on his occupation, but I was kind of cheesed off that they had found this spot before I had, To see inside that tunnel I would need a long ladder and that would not fit in my slingbag.

There was an interesting little brick hut next to the tunnel with a pipe leading to the roof, but I have no way of knowing what it was in aid of, although I suspect it may have had something to do with signalling.

Then it was time to leave this remnant of the railways and head off towards town and lunch. I had achieved what I had set out to do and that was great. I could now plot that railway almost to Ashchurch Station, I just had to find one more illusive item. 

I crossed to the bank of the Avon and took a quick pic of the King John’s Bridge which was commissioned by King John in the late 12th century.

and a strange dredger called Canopus. 

and finally a gap in the former railway embankment that leads to the tunnel. 

and then home was in sight. 

It had been a long walk, and I am tired and sore. I am afraid I will have to stop taking these extended walks because recovering from them is long. Fortunately tomorrow is a bank holiday so I can take it easy, but I may just head out to….

DRW 2016-2018. Created 26/12/2016

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 16:45

Preserved Ships: MV Balmoral

The Balmoral was not an excursion ship that I ever saw in Southampton, although that she was built for service between Southampton and Cowes in the Isle of White, as well as perform excursions around the South Coast. The MV Balmoral that this post is about is the vintage excursion ship owned by the MV Balmoral Fund Ltd and I first saw her in Bristol in January 2014. In fact I was not even aware that she was in Bristol at the time.

Unfortunately I was on my way to see the SS Great Britain, so did not take too many pics as I was on a tight schedule (which is dominated by the train timetable). I filed the information in the back of my mind with the intention of coming back one day.

Well this day was that “one day”; only it was now over 20 months later, and there was always the chance that the vessel would have shifted. I do know she had been active for awhile, and fortunately she was in the same spot as when I saw her last time. Unfortunately I was not as lucky with the light this time around, it was a grey and dreary day, although the harbour was really bustling as there was a heritage day event going on in the harbour.

There was a lot going on around the vessel, and there was a sign that indicated that you could go on board her. I weighed that up with what I wanted to see (a rare steam engine), and decided to come back to her once I had taken my pics. Time passed and by 13H45 I was alongside the Balmoral once again. I only had 15 minutes to spare before I left for the station, but with luck I could push it to 45 minutes if I caught a different train. The gangway guard laughed when he heard my predicament, he even knew what train I was after! (image below from 2018)

Then I was onboard the vessel, and it was time to look around.

On board she is really fitted out with lounges and seating areas, and while they are not ugly spaces I was not too enamoured with the colour schemes in some of the areas.

 

 

Naturally I headed for the bridge and wheelhouse, but hit a snag. There were at least 6 people in it, and one standing blocking the door, so I could not even get a look into it.

I headed down to the foredeck to look around, hoping that the wheelhouse would be vacated before train time came along, but it did not look as if anybody was going to budge.
The upper decks are not as nice as on Shieldhall, but they are full of the tiddley bits that make ships so interesting

 

 
I have no idea what had been going on on the aft decks, but it was obvious that I was not going to get any further than where I took the image from. I headed back inside again, to the forward facing lounge, and it was not a big space at all. In fact I think it could get very crowded in there.

The engine room was also open, but the doors were shut and a private group seemed to be visiting. I hung around a bit then went walkies again and returned, but nothing was budging in there, and the wheelhouse was still full of people so realistically there was not much else to see, unless I could get into some area where I was not allowed. It was time I took my leave. I was already running a few minutes late, so really had to leave now or hang around for how long waiting to get to the bridge or engine room.

The “Famous Bow Shot” above was taken in 2014 from the bridge that is almost in spitting distance of the ship, the bridge was undergoing refurbishment at the time and a temporary walk way enables people to cross the river. The image below is from 2018 and the vessel had been moved from the position by the bridge to further down the harbour

My images were dictated by the weather, but it does give me incentive to return to Bristol to rectify the situation, hopefully next time will not be 20 months away.  If I had the opportunity I would definitely go on her for a short jaunt, although I think it could be very crowded on a busy day.

Farewell Balmoral, I hope to see you again soon.

**UPDATE 21/07/2018**

I was in Bristol once again for the Harbour Festival and was hoping to get on board her. She was not in the space where I had last seen her last but berthed almost opposite the Great Britain. Unfortunately the woman who was at the gangplank was not ready to let me see the wheelhouse, and insisted that I have a guide with. The only problem being that the guide was standing at the opposite rail watching what was going on. She was not willing to call him and neither was I able to persuade her to let me go  on board and grab the guide and get it done with. The problem with waiting for more people to pitch was that I would still have the same problem of too many people in too small a space. I gave up and left and have now closed the book on the ship.  

© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 02/05/2016. Some images replaced 22/08/2018 and page updated.

Updated: 22/07/2018 — 16:40

Tottering around Tewkesbury

On Monday the 15th I did my first bit of tottering around in Tewkesbury. I had to take in the sights before I started work just in case the job went phut and so did I. 
It is not a large town, it is smaller than Salisbury, but like that town it is rich in history and tradition. If you approach it from the railway station (Which is not called Tewkesbury) the town really is more of a cursive Y shape, with the Abbey being the best feature of the place.

The station by the way is called Ashurch for Tewkesbury, and not too many trains stop here. It is closer to Cheltenham than to Worcester, but sadly trains are few. Once this was a thriving railway junction, with tracks heading in all 4 directions. Today it is empty.  Thank you Mr Beeching!

The map above shows how large the Ashchurch Junction was, Tewkesbury is on the left and the line heading to the left would run up to the town and then to Upton on Severn. Today parts of that line are the cycle path.

Back at the town I really only planned on looking at the Abbey, which is a magnificent structure and which I will be visiting again as I have two war graves inside of the church. Interestingly enough the Abbey is actually the parish church and is probably the most ornate parish church you could ever want for. I will be doing a proper blog post about it at a later stage.

 
Having visited the abbey, my next port of call was the local cemetery. And it was not a very impressive one as far as these things go, although it did have a really nice chapel building.

I had heard that there was also a small graveyard by the old disused Baptist Church and that was my next destination, although finding it in the veritable warren of alleys and courts was difficult, but eventually I found it and it was a gem.

tewkesbury 345

It has a surprisingly interesting burial in it too, 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. Unfortunately I was only able to find one (Thomas), but will keep it in mind for the future for a revisit.  I did a revisit in December 2017 as part of my “Cemetery in the Snow” mania,

The town has a lot of wood framed buildings in it and it is really a pretty place, although not too large and prone to flooding. There are more images from Tewkesbury at my Best of Tewkesbury gallery.
There are two rivers next to the town, the Severn and my old friend the Avon. They are the source of the flooding and I must bear that in mind if I decide to settle here. 
 
That glorious iron bridge may be Thomas Telford’s Mythe Bridge over the River Severn, although I was not able to get close to it to double check. (I did eventually find the Mythe Bridge and wrote about it later) In fact the whole marina area is almost impossible to access, although I did not go too far as I was starting to tire.

Methinks I should look at getting myself a narrowboat.

In case you wondered, there is a War Memorial in the town, although it sits in a very awkward place which is very difficult to photograph because of the traffic. In fact the traffic in this small town is terrible, there is really only one main street and everybody goes past or around this memorial. I believe this junction is called “The Cross”

Don’t blink now, that was Tewkesbury.  Actually there is much more to the town that these few images, but I did not go over the top imagewise and will add to this as I go along.

The Town Hall

 
tewkesbury 027

 

The White Bear

Ye Olde Black Bear. Supposedly the oldest pub around (est. 1308)

The former livestock auction house and The Albion pub

Former hospital, now flats

Former hospital, now flats 

 

The railway line used to run up this road to the mill

Bridge over the Avon

Bridge over the Avon

Churchwise there are a few, although the Abbey makes everything else look like nothing. The Holy Trinity Church has somewhat of a modern feel about it, although there is a graveyard so it may be older than it looks

 
Tewkesbury Methodist Church

Tewkesbury Methodist Church (aka “the Messy Church”)

From a shopping point of view there is a Morrisons, Aldi, Poundland, Tesco Metro, WH Smith and quite a few others that I don’t usually shop at. Unfortunately though the town is 45 minutes walk from where I lived at the time of writing, so any expedition I made to there had to be worth my while. A quick walk through really did not reveal too much, but I may have missed seeing a lot of what is under my nose.
 
The town has gone down in history as being where one of the decisive battles fought during the War of the Roses was fought, and in time I will go look that area up, but suffice to say, eighteen year old Edward, Prince of Wales, the last legitimate descendant of the House of Lancaster, was killed either in the battle or during its aftermath and is buried in the Abbey.

Next month is the Medieval Festival and hopefully I will pop along and have a look at it. Who knows, there may even be a blog post about it. (blogpost created 2017)

However, at the end of the day Tewekesbury is only famous for 3 things:

  1. It flooded in 2007
  2. It has a Medieval Festival
  3. Tewkesbury Abbey

and now I live there.

Actually you can now add: “The great snow of 2017” and “The water shortage of 2017” to that list

© DRW 2015-2018. Images migrated 01/05/2016

Updated: 15/07/2018 — 10:04

Chippenham churnings.

This semi fine morning I had to make a trip to Chippenham for a job interview. It was a grey sort of day, in fact its been a grey day since the beginning of the week, so not much has changed. The town is situated on the London Paddington-Bristol Temple Meads line with First Great Western, and it was quite an expensive way to waste money on train fare.

 

Traveling through Didcot Parkway and Swindon, Chippenham was the next stop. It is really quite a sleepy sort of station though, and I will come back to it. 

However, the area I needed to be in was in the opposite side of the station to where the city centre was. I was running about an hour early so headed off towards a church spire that I could see from the station. This was however not the church that I had seen from Google Earth.  
 
Called St Pauls, it is a wonderful old building with an enormous spire that sticks out above everything else. It also had a wonderful churchyard with 9 CWGC graves in it.

 

The graves had been photographed before so I am not too worried about missing some of them. Unfortunately there was some sort of group on the go when I was there so I could only grab one quick image before I headed off to the taxi rank and my interview.

 

After my interview, (which went well, but which did not land me the job) I headed back towards the station, although aiming for an area that looked interesting beyond the station. Fortunately I did not have to worry too much about train times as it was still reasonably early.

 
As is to be expected, the closer you get to town, the older the houses become, and from what I can see Chippenham is more residential than commercial. The railway line runs on one side of the town, and it runs over one of those beautiful bricked arches that I have seen in a number of places.  I always marvel at the interior brickwork of the arch, there are so many of these structures all over Britain, and they are all reasonably old, so they were built to last. I did however miss the Brunel Railway Viaduct, but did not know it was there until now.

 

I had more or less arrived where I wanted to be, but discovered that it was not where I should be to see what I wanted to see, so headed off towards the town centre which was 10 minutes away. This is where you get to see the age of the town, and some of the architecture that is still standing today.  The town centre sits more or less on a hill, and the river Avon meanders through the town, I suspect this is the same Avon that I encountered in Bath, Bristol and Salisbury. 

  

The small roofed structure is the Buttercross, and it has somewhat of a chequered history, the original having been erected in 1570. Once past the Buttercross I was almost at the top of the town and my destination was in sight. 

 
 
 
The spire probably gives it away, and the structure on the traffic island is the Chippenham War Memorial.  The church is known as St Andrews, and it is one of those old churches that seem to originate many centuries ago and that have undergone so much restoration and modernisation that it is difficult to know what part is original. Unfortunately, I could not get inside, but the graveyard is reasonably intact and has the largest collection of chest tombs I have ever seen in one spot.
 
It does however stand in an awkward space, so getting a decent image of it is very difficult. However, the buildings behind the church are really beautiful, and I just wish I had better photography weather. 

 
And then it was time to start heading back to the station.
 

 

 
Crossing over the river once more. I more or less knew where the station was now so headed in that general direction.  There were still many pretty buildings to see, but I was starting to tire and really wanted to be on my way home.
 
Is that part of the Brunel Viaduct? it is possible, but I cannot be too sure.

 

The local Class 153 pulled into the station shortly after I arrived, and that was pretty much the sum total of trains that I saw at the station outside of the FGW fast inter-cities that I had come here on.  These towns must have really been something to see in the heady days of steam, although they would have probably been much dirtier and full of smog.

  
Alas, all we have now are dirty diesels.
 
Random pics.
Don’t blink now, but that was Chippenham. It was an interesting diversion, but rationally it was a waste of money. A whole days wages is not to be sneezed at, although at the end of the day I need to go for interviews, and hopefully one of them may pay off. Unfortunately in the case of this one I never heard from the agency again, so the odds are I never got the job. It is doubtful that I will come through here again, which is a pity because I suspect there is much more to see here than meets the eye. 
 
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