Saturday 30 July 2022

Out and about in Hay


It's been months since I went to Hay - I feel guilty going without Keith because it was always somewhere we went together as a couple, either doing the tiny Fleamarket on a Friday, or as a day out (it has always been our default setting for a day out).  Anyway, Pam had never been there so I offered to show her around today.

Here is the Castle all done up after it's enormous Lottery funding (the scaffolding alone came to a Million pounds apparently).


And from the other side, looking back.  Easy to see which stonework hasn't had the lime mortar replaced  (to the right).

It's now open to the public to wander round, and have something to eat drink now that there is a nice cafe upstairs.  Pam bought us a drink and a piece of cake, and very nice it was too.

View from inside the castle across the town towards Clyro (out of site behind the fields).

A friend's shop - she has some lovely things in there.  We had a chin wag too.

A craft market was being held in the old Butter Market where we used to have our stand at the Wee Flea.

In the Antiques centre was this pretty screen.  (NOT vintage as I bought a tulips one almost certainly by the same artist, at Malvern recently). Remember the pretty one I showed a photo of from Malvern last week too? That was priced at £75 I think. £200 seems just a little steep . . .  

A rather smudgy photo of a Coach Jack, which I'd never come across before and found interesting as my g.g.g. grandfather drove the Exeter coach, back in the day.

Huge Lilies by the wool shop.

Of course, temptation was at my elbow . . . They were £5 each, so I didn't go mad!

Hope you're all having a good weekend.

Thursday 28 July 2022

An afternoon out

 I have had a wanderlust in me this week and needed to Get Out - and also not to garden two days in a row as I was still aching from tacking the overgrowth of undergrowth in the paddock and on the bank.  I have started the summer tidy and got a reasonable amount done, even discovering my wee Crab Apple trees and the grown-from-pips apple trees I bought with me from Ynyswen.  I have given them a good muck-heap feed.

    I took in four churches, heading up the Leominster road a short way and then dropping back to Eardisley.  On the outward journey I stopped off at Whitney Church, familiar to Kilvert of course, and spotted a well-covered blackberry bush in the turning area.

I stopped to buy Cherries (and a punnet of huge Raspberries) at Moorcourt Farm on the junction with the Hereford road, and begged an empty punnet and on my way back, stopped off and picked the best blackberries.

 These cherries are just SO luscious and full of flavour. I got them for Keith, who loves cherries, but I am not averse either!

THE best thing in Eardisley church is of course the Herefordshire Romanesque font.  Lots more details when I do the post on it.

There is an absolutely SUPERB Jacobean table and gilded Reredos at Kinnersley.  There is a castle behind it - not a grey stone type castle but one more like a glorious old house, and this must have come from there.  Keith fell in love with this and we are going to see it again in the next few days.  First I have to get some air in the wheelchair tyre which has a slow puncture.  I said it was a level approach but Keith very wary of even the tiniest incline and so the wheelchair will be in the car just in case we need it.

This was the list of incumbants at Whitney - 1834 - Richard Lister Venables - Kilvert's boss.

Finally, I stopped off at Clyro, Kilvert's church.

Overcast here and threatening rain.  I may tackle the paddock again with my shears before it gets wet .  . .

Tuesday 26 July 2022

In the footsteps of Betjeman - the wonder of St Margaret's Church


This gave Pam's Sat-Nav a real workout, as the only directions I had were in a book, which said "about 2 miles behind Vowchurch and Turnastone (both worth visiting.  Since we were approaching it from the A465, this information was not a lot of use!  Anyway, as you will see, it was well worth seeking out.  In fact, we were walking in the footsteps of Poet Laureate John Betjeman, who wrote of it: "My own memory of the perfect Herefordshire is a Spring day in the foothills of the Black Mountains and finding among the winding hilltop lanes the remote little church of St. Margaret's where there was no sound but a farm dog's distant barking.  Opening the church door I saw across the whole width of the little chancel a screen and loft all delicately carved and textured pale grey with time."

This is the back of the entrance door - hugely solid oak planking, and above it one of the wall texts which were originally added in the 18th C but subsequently restored by Mr Maxwell Jones of Redditch in 1974.

A plain font which I thought at first to be Norman, but it is probably 14th C although it has a very shallow bowl for that date and may be as much as 3 centuries later.

Just WOW!  I know exactly how Betjeman felt on seeing this amazing rood screen.  Pevsner called it "one of the wonders of Herefordshire, deliciously carved" in his book on the county (which I may have just ordered from Ebay!!)

This is as near to wooden lace as you can get.  Superb craftsmanship reminiscent of Llananno, in fact it IS believed to be  a Welsh made rood.  The niches in this column would have once held figures of the Blessed Virgin and St John, and there would have been a large Crucifix above it BUT after the Reformation an order was made in 1547 ordering the destruction of ALL images and nearly every rood in the county was destroyed.   Prior to 1547 these figures would have been dressed with nosegays and garlands for Festivals, but during Lent would have been covered in veils.  It is fortunate that the destruction of the lofts was left to each Parish to decide and  they were obviously very fond of theirs and sought not to destroy such amazing craftsmanship.  But just imagine what has been lost.

"The upper and lower rails of the loft are enriched with running vine foliage friezes and brattishing." (Brattishing is a decorative border often of leaves and or flowers, especially associated with the Tudor period).  This screen would have originally been richly painted and gilded, and must have looked amazing. 

At the intersections of the ribbing are bosses, many with men's heads (one with his tongue out), lions, interlaced knots, foliage and other devices.  I imagine the carver had a lot of fun with these.

The face poking his tongue out!

Old steps and two-plank door to the rood loft.

The Chancel with its beautiful windows.

These stunning Arts &Crafts stained glass windows of St Margaret as a Shepherd(ess) are by Archibald John Davies (1878 - 1953) of the Bromsgrove Guild.  Some of his work is also in Hereford Cathedral (another reason to go back again soon) and there's a book about him.  These are lovely windows.

A shame the sun wasn't out more when I took this photo.

Outside, the churchyard was God's Little Acre, with just a mown pathway around the church and masses of wild flowers - Bedstraws, Wild Carrot, Knapweed,.  Definitely one to seek out if you are in the area (and you can do Kilpeck in the same day, as we did), but be mindful that Kilpeck is currently being re-roofed and so two thirds of the beautiful carvings are surrounded by wriggly tin and can't be viewed.

Details of the church interior taken from the little Church booklet which is well worth spending £1 on.