Monday, 8 August 2022

The Judge's Lodging, Presteigne and the Kilvert connection

 The car boot sale yesterday was held in the grounds of Baskerville Hall at Clyro (which Kilvert would have known well).  Our first walk along the one row of sellers didn't look very hopeful, but I bought a modern horse painting made to look as if it were 200 years old. On the way back, more stuff had been put out and I found several items including some French enamel ware, a lovely little straw-work box and a big heavy clear glass vase for flowers which daughter Gabby was looking for. Worth getting up early for.

Yesterday Tam, Gay and I went to Presteigne yesterday to visit the Judge's Lodgings, which is a museum I had intended to visit for a long time, but just a bit too far from Carms.  Here it's only 20 miles away.   The building is painted in the original yellow colourway that they discovered during renovations.

The building is a combination of the grand accommodation for the circuit judges and the Court they worked in, and a good exhibition downstairs about the Radnorshire Constabulary.  This leather Scotch cap was worn by prisoners during the Separate System in mid-Victorian times.

There were a good selection of photographs of shops in the town in former times - this was one of sevefral compilations.

In the hallway was this enormous and very grand heavily-carved mahogany Victorian sideboard.  I would lay money on it that this piece hasn't moved since it was put in place!

Poor Mary Morgan - the last person to be hung in Wales.  She was only 17. More of her later . . .

Hah! Another connection with Kilvert - the Reverend Richard Lister Venables, Vicar of Clyro and JP for Breconshire.

The dining room which had plate warmers, a huge wine cooler and all modern appurtenances.  Very grand.

Here is the great man's bedroom , very sophisticated for the time, and  next door was his dressing room and next door to that, his bathroom.

Now, the very best bit of all, the kitchens, larder etc.  Lit by gas, as it was back in the day, it was very atmospheric but I bet they couldn't see that well on a mid-winter afternoon, let alone at night-time.

Note the use of an old flannel Welsh quilt across the table.

Great Aunty's bloomers!

The biggest dresser I've ever seen - wall to wall across the room.

Isn't this gorgeous?!  I could be SO at home here.

Reflective lighting, like they used when lace making.

On the left of the sinks is a Victorian water filter.

Bottle jack and spit, for cooking joints of meat.

I will do posts on our perambulation of the town and a visit to St Andrew's Church in further posts.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Early morning

 I couldn't sleep from 3.15 onwards -I shall blame the two glasses of wine I had.  Anyway, I finally gave in and came downstairs. Went back up to put makeup on (we're off to a car boot sale shortly, the first one I've been to this year) and I couldn't resist taking some photos of the view from the bathroom window, with the river mist striating the landscape.

Will be busy this week with my friend here, but will try and pop in when I can.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

What BRAVE Swallows!


I was indoors tidying up today and heard SUCH a racket outside, birds twittering angrily, so I went out into the yard, only to see a Buzzard perched in the Sycamore tree at the end of the stable block, and 4 Swallows angrily "buzzing" it. As I went out, it flew off, with the Swallows in hot pursuit.  It didn't matter than it was 30 times bigger than them, it was too near their nests and they wanted it to shove off!  It just shows what parents will do to protect their children, whatever manner of creature they are.

I went to Llandod to do some shopping today as I have a friend of many years standing arriving tomorrow for a week, so if I go quiet, it's because we are out and about.  It will be so good to see her again and I have some nice outings planned.

I went to the Charity shops and found a top I liked, and a little leafy design jug which is perfect for putting a rose or a sprig of something from the garden in, and I was choosing a book - only to find it was 3 for a pound, so got a couple for Keith too, and he was reading one this afternoon, something I've not seen him do for a long time. 

I finally remembered to take a few photos of the area in the paddock I sowed the wildflower mix last year.  Lots of Wild Carrot looking beautiful at the moment and attracting lots of insects.

One beautiful pink Mallow in the mix.

Rosebay Willowherb - I'm gradually cutting it down with the shears, but could do with some moral support up there!  My excuse at the overgrowth up there is I garden for nature!!  Actually, having to stay away from the garden in June is what does it every year - it suddenly explodes and it is soon beyond what I can tackle by hand.

Discovery has several fruits.  I know you are meant to pick them off the first year, but I didn't as I couldn't get to it because of the long grass (and pollen). All the trees have thrived, and even the plum tree which came with barely a root at all, is FINALLY starting to put out leaves, so I am glad I have saved it.

Of course, Ghengis came to supervise.

Close up view of the hills we an see from the house, barely visible in that top photo -  these are just above the Hundred House road I think.

Keith is certainly having to rest up now - he's really gone backwards after several days of walking - truly 3 steps forward and 2 back.  We will be seeing the Physio on Monday, so he will be able to advise Keith of the best way forward (I hope).

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

A busy day


Currently a work in progress - hoping to finish it for rehoming at Builth Antiques Fair. I enjoy sewing hexi's - nice mindless sewing when tv is on in the background.

. . . and here's one I made earlier, which just happens to go perfectly in the kitchen now.  I use it as a table runner for cakes and plates when we have guests.

I had a lovely walk along the old railway line this morning.  I'm too early for the big juicy "maincrop" blackberries, but these ones (I always called them rainberries - not much flavour, but fat juicy fruitlets) will be fine for jam or an early blackberry and apple crumble.

I realized today that I had chucked out my old and much-used linen jelly bag as it had gotten fousty in storage.  So I checked out what was on offer at Lakeland and bought a combined stand and jelly bag - having realized I don't have the big beam I used to use at Ynyswen for the jelly bag.  We do have a beam here but right in the middle of the room, so no good for juice straining!

Mating Silver-washed Fritilleries.  I am amazed I even got the dots in their eyes!  Sadly, in trying to get even closer, I startled them and they flew away, still, ahem, attached.  The caterpillars live on Wild Violets which I have growing in profusion in my lawn.

The stunning Delphinium I bought at Malvern - just couldn't resist it.  I have it planted in the long border now.  I hope it flowers this well next year, but will have to keep it well-watered and fed.

I am eagerly awaiting the Pevsner book on Powys, having found a sensibly-priced copy at Abebooks.  I am NOT going to pay £50 - £60 (or MORE) for one on Fleabay . . .

Keith is currently resting up as all the walking has made his neck very sore and his legs were complaining yesterday too.  I'm trying to persuade him that a lightweight foldable wheelchair would be a good idea, especially going church bothering, as he can't take a mobility scooter into a church!  I want to try and get out with him before the summer is over . . .

Monday, 1 August 2022

In which Keith goes church bothering too . . .


This is the church of St James at Kinnersley, on the Leominster road.  I visited it twice last week - first on the Wednesday when I did my tour of four churches, and then again on Friday because Keith was very keen to see the amazing Jacobean altar table and gilded reredos, with its amazing carvings.  We had driven past this many a time, thinking each time, that looks an interesting church.  Immediately behind it is situated Kinnersley Castle, a beautiful Elizabethan house dating to between 1585 and 1601 and built by Roger Vaughan, but Pevsner concludes it "must be a remodelling of a true castle, as e.g. the existence of the five-storeyed embattled tower proves."

The earliest parts are the blocked Norman west doorway,  and the string course with rope moulding above it, and there is another string course above the N. aisle.  The window above the blocked doorway is Perpendicular.  Most of the church dates to the 13th C. although Pevsner thinks the impressive NW tower with its saddleback roof is a little later.

I nearly missed this old sundial on the wall.

Renowned Gothic Revival architect George Bodley (a pupil of Gilbert-Scott's) was responsible for the updating in the 1870s when Frederick Andrews was the Reverend. Since Bodley married Minna Reavely in 1872 (her family lived at the castle) his involvement was no great surprise. He was also responsible for the fairly massive organ case, the castle side of which has attracted various initials and dates to be dug in with penknives down the years!

The most amazing memorial to Francis Smalman and his family, Lord of Kinnersley and Letton, who died in 1635, and his wife Susan.  They are shown kneeling and praying with a cherub fanfare above the canopy.  The eight kneeling figures of their children have individual dress and facial features, and are Francis (predeceased as holding a skull), Jane, Jone, William and Alfie Smallman, plus John Clarke, William Clarke and Susan Clarke.  Susan Clarke was Francis' 2nd wife.

Brass in memory of William Leviot, a former rector of Kinnersley in the 15th C - he died in 1421.

The rood screen was "amended" after the Reformation one assumes, but has several beautiful contemporary carvings which were placed along the top rail.  I especially like the heart-shape with spirals above, which looks a little like a mazed owl, and also appears as a true heart in quilting patterns.

The painted ceiling and supports, designed by Bodley.

THIS was what Keith was so keen to see, the beautiful carved and gilded Jacobean reredos, and the equally carved and splendid alter table in front of it, clearly a gift from the Lord of the Manor.  I took many detailed photographs of the carvings, but will include just a few.

This wee bird turns up regularly in church carvings - love it's tail being bitten by something scaley with Sharp Teefs!!

There were two of these little windows to the outside, with their wooden shutters - we wondered if they were for the distribution of dole?

A pretty stained glass window.

Another amazing sculptured memorial, this time to Dame Ann Morgan.

Finally, a glimpse of the beautiful Manor House.  You can just make out the castle tower behind the trees.

Well, I began writing this just after 5 a.m. this morning, but had to go back to bed - definitely woke too early.  Keith and I are about to go for a walk.  He managed 1/4 mile yesterday which may not seem much but considering he was struggling to just cross a room not that long ago, it is REAL progress.  We are working on it but won't see the Physio until the 8th. August.