Monday, 27 September 2021

Llananno - a very special place


St Anno's church at Llananno - we visited it twice, the2nd time with Tam, after going to Oswestry Antiques & Collectors' Fair.

HERE is its page with the Friends of Friendless Churches.

HERE are hisdoryan's superior photographs and write-up.

Other Saints were recognizable by what they carried.  I would have to look them up though!!  The one with the saw is St Simon, the Zealot, and quite  an obscure Saint.

Saints Jeremy and Elija (think it is though spelling slightly different - Eleije).

Not a dragon - note it has another head at the end of its tail, so it's an amphisbaena.

Work at the back of the screen.

Beautiful carvings were everywhere - so intricate.

Even the bits you wouldn't see were beautifully worked - this is the roof behind the screen.

Keith outside of the church.

There seemed to be a fashion for double headstones with the husband on one panel and the wife on the other panel.  

This statement - Death is the gate of life - comes from Bernard of Clairveaux:

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Going by the scenic route


I'm pretty sure this was Saturday's sunrise.  So pretty.  Despite it being a Shepherd's Warning, we had a decent day, and drove up to the Antiques and Collectibles Fair at Oswestry, where we 3 strolled round, and saw a friend from Hay, up there checking it out for potential stock.  We weren't there early enough to find the beautiful Persian plate we saw carried out, along with a super primitive horse weather vane.  Someone made a killing on those, that's for sure.  It's not a huge Fair and has a totally different feel to Malvern, which is much bigger (HUGELY bigger on Bank Holidays) and has a lot more dealers about.  Mind you, not as bad as the old Carmarthen Fleamarket where you practically had to fight to get close to get a bargain as everyone was out to beat fellow dealers to a bargain.

    On the way back we visited the church at Llananno again (we'd stopped on our way back from Plas Newydd last week), to show Tam the rood screen.  I will do a separate post for this.

Just two photos from Oswestry - a lace making pillow, French or Belgian by the shape of the bobbins.  How on earth did they tell one from another?  At least the British ones have different colour beads on or different decorations or made of bone or turned wood.  Below, a 70s hexagon quilt.

Being gluttons for punishment, the following day we all got up early and went to Malvern Fleamarket.  It was much much quieter than the August (Bank Holiday) one - a fraction of the stalls there.  Once again we had a quiet stroll around, chatting to friends, and Keith bought me a lovely horse picture (a print of a Stubbs painting).  

It is the Thoroughbred stallion Mambrino.

Also at Malvern . . . Beautiful, but so fragile and the silk was rent apart in a couple of places.

A shame it had a broken nose, but  I wouldn't want it as part of my decor.

This was so pretty and beautifully sewn, but at £20 it stayed there.

Log Cabin quilt (and I did look at the book but left it there).

Apparently from Novgorod . . .

Lots of interesting things.

Then we bought a leather recliner chair from Ebay, which was for collection just outside Shrewsbury , so that's where we went yesterday.  It was somewhat hefty, having a metal framework for the moving parts, but Keith is very pleased with it and we managed to manhandle it into place. Now we just have to get rid of the spare Parker Knoll armchair . . .

Tam got us set up for using a phone Satnav app which took us, shall we say, the scenic route up to get the chair.  In fact, it took us on the same route as Tam and I took when we went in search of Cascob and Discoed churches earlier in the year.  We came through Clun (where we once viewed a property half a lifetime ago before ending up in Wales).  We viewed one more recently too, which we absolutely loved (Bryn-y-Cagley Hall it was called), but our house stubbornly didn't sell and so we couldn't offer on it.  Mind you, thinking of it now, the garden (over 70 David Austin roses to tend to), big orchard and soft fruit area, would have been too much for me these days, so perhaps it was for the best.  Houseman's "Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun, the quietest places under the sun" still seems to run true as Clun was very quiet and peaceful yesterday.  We passed by turnings to the oddly-named Evenjobb, New Invention, Nind and through the village of Hope, and looked longingly at a turning which led to a stone circle (but probably not possible for Keith to reach at the moment), and drove through the Shropshire Hills and past the turning for the Stiperstones - wonderful walking country.

Anyway, we saw a sign for Machynlleth on the way home - it's years since we were last there and we weren't in a hurry to get home, so we went there and had a wander round the antique shops before coming home on an unmarked road which went "behind" the Cambrian mountains.  Stunning views in places and I got a few photos.

Machynlleth, where it was market day.

What ALL Welsh ladies used to wear, back in the day.

Then the scenic route home a we noticed the sign for Llanidloes just as we were leaving the town.  Up through the mountains, and so beautiful . . .

A little sun to give a splash of colour.

One of the ubiquitous wind farms on the Welsh uplands.

I missed the best view which is of the reservoir up there - Nant y Moch.  Next time!  However, here is a pool instead . . . 

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Plas Newydd Part II


There were some carvings which absolutely fascinated me and I am going to endeavour to do some research on them.  Above and the next two photos below.  The squareness of the figure, the bare breasts, long hair . . . what year were these carved, and who is it meant to represent?  I'm not going to find these in my Medieval Bestiary!

Update: just been doing some research and it is possible that this is St Christina who, amongst many of her terrible tortures, had her breasts cut off. The carving above shows her with a breast in her hand, and the one below shows her possibly holding a knife and both breasts still in place ...

More fragments of late Medieval glass, this time with faces.

Above and the two below: more very strange carvings.  Another bare-breasted figure draped in what looks like a Toga!, with a banner? above her head.  Below - a jester-type figure - looking at the serrated edge to the jerkin and a Beastie below him.

I don't know if the head-dresses are significant in this and the "pair" to this carving (above) and again, another Beastie, this one "gurning"!

More colourful fragments of glass built into windows.

Some needlework which one of the two Ladies made.

They were obviously cat-lovers, but not sure if the stuffed cat at the bottom was one of theirs . . .

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Nearly 100 photos later . . .


My birthday this year was, again, in Lockdown and so I decided to defer my Birthday Day Out until later in the year.  I was beginning to think it would be forgotten, when K and I decided we needed a day out, and Tam was away at a friend's wedding (with her young man).  We booked to go to Plas Newydd at Llangollen in Denbighshire. It's about 2 hours' drive from here. It's somewhere I've always wanted to go - in fact, since I was in my 20s, so it's only taken me nearly 50 years to get there!  K and I had lunch there too - cheese and ham toasties which more than filled us up until teatime.  They have a little cafe in the old stables and stable-yard.

As you may have guessed, the new header photo is Plas Newydd in its beautiful setting, and up above it on the hill, is Castle Dinas Bran.  Plas Newydd is famous for being where the Two Ladies of Llangollen lived.  They were very close friends who escaped from a boring family life - Coflein says they "eloped together" but apparently there is no evidence that they were actually lesbians and it was something they vigorously denied when someone suggested it in later years.

Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler began renting what started out as a fairly ordinary Welsh 2 story Welsh cottage called Pen-y-Maes in 1778, and over the years improved it by getting a craze for the Gothic and embellishing almost every surface with carvings from churches and old furniture, which was available when churches were demolished or fell down from lack of maintenance.   Many of the carvings were gifts from visitors and friends, but they were also able to buy cartloads of them cheaply and a local handyman put them together as best he could fit them.  

This door was put together and like all the outside pieces, weatherproofed by painting black.

In some areas, painted leather had been used for decoration.  I've seen this at Hellens, an old house at Much Marcle which were visited on another birthday outing some 15 years or so back now.

You know when these carvings are bestiary beasts, as they have forked tongues. These look like Maned Slugs with Attitude!

I loved this engraving.  I think it may be a bear on the left (but don't quote me on it) but I stupidly got in too close so didn't get the entire panel.  On the right is a Lion.  When this was carved, I think there was a verbal instruction, "OK, I want a Lion.  Yes, I know you've never seen one, but just imagine a very big pussy cat with a cross face, and lots of hair on its neck and shoulders."  I just love its expression - it looks like it's seen a ghost!

Part of another Lion, and beautiful carvings up the staircase.

A Wainscot type chair completely made from carvings.  I like the fierce face at the top of the back beneath the canopy.

Another beastie with a forked tongue.  There were quite a few in various guises through the house.

This was the stained glass insert in the window of the Ladies' bedroom.   Fragments (some of them early Medieval) were used throughout the house, and the photo at the top of the page here, was taken up in the attic bedroom of their servant, Mary Caryll, who had helped them escape from Ireland and was loyal to the end. She is buried with them.

A Satyre I believe.

A pair of matching solid Walnut chairs in the Ladies' bedroom.  Keith loved these (work  in solid Walnut is SO rare - there must have been a fallen tree someone put to good use).  He was even measuring them up and saying, "They work just as well in Oak" - and we happen to have some big oak planking here . . .

Finally, for today, a painting of the Ladies towards the end of their lives.