Friday 30 September 2022

Dore Abbey/Abbey Dore


My brain clearly wasn't with it on the day I visited the Golden Valley, as apart from forgetting to take my inhalers (Essential for normal life) I also drove past the turning which took you down to the car park for Abbey Dore, so I ended up parking in a little pull-in close to the other entrance to the church.  At least I got a good view of it from the slightly higher ground. I will have to go back to see the rest of the surrounding area, but Keith would like to visit too so we will wait for a dry (and hopefully sunny) day.

A beautiful entrance.  Upon reading the guide book, I see I missed the wolf-headed terminal on one of the interior hinges of this door.  The Abbey (now the Parish Church of Holy Trinity and St Mary), had its origins in the 7th/8th centuries, when wooden buildings were built on land belonging to the lordship of Ewyad Harold.  The church was surrounded by buildings, gardens and orchards, which served the early Abbey, and were inside an inner court and surrounded by an outer court.

In 1098 the Cistercian Order (a stricter branch of the Benedictines) sought to to the very austere lifestyle of St Benedict, wearing white habits of plain undyed wool to signify purity and also to distinguish them from the Benedictines.  Their mission in life was two-fold: to pray and to work.  It was a daughter house of one of five Cistercian mother houses, and as such Dore was the only one founded here from Morimond.  This was possibly because Robert, Lord of Ewyas, had met the Abbot of Morimond as a result of the Second Crusade and offered the Abbot land for his Abbey. Thus in 1147 the first Abbot (Adam) and his twelve devoted monks began their new life at Abbey Dore, starting with the construction of the Abbey in stone.  The name "Dore" probably derives from the Welsh word "dwr" which means water.  

This is a view of the Crossing and the North Transept beyond it.  You can see the Musicians' Gallery to the left.  The building you see now comprises the presbytery, crossing and transepts of the former Abbey.  "When its nave was still standing, the church was three times as long and the main entrance was through the lychgate near to the present-day farm."

A close of of some of the Medieval tiles.

Re-set fragments of Medieval glass.

The paintings and texts date between 1630-40 and 1700-10.

A Green Man survived the Dissolution, when Dore was sold on 1 March 1537 for the sum of £53, the principal buyer being John Scudamore.   Fortunately the nine monks and 16 servants inhabiting the Abbey at the time of its sale, saw fit to hide the roof bosses (which would otherwise have been destroyed).  These fascinating remains are to be seen within the present church.

Life here is going on as usual.  Gabby (middle daughter) came up yesterday and helped with jobs that I couldn't manage on my own.  Emptying the back guttering of large gobbets of moss from the roof (the hot summer dried it out and it slid down and blocked said gutters), then carrying the loungers up to overwinter in the polytunnel, and carrying a sack of rain-sodden compost across to fill a planter which we put my latest rose in.  This is gorgeous - a gift from my (4th?) cousin - we met via Ancestry I think - and this was the first time we met up. The rose has gold/red tinted buds and the flower ends up a blush pink and yellow centre.  Lovely.

We also changed our bed around so that Keith had the side nearest the door.  A bit of a palaver but it needed doing, though it felt strange to be on the opposite side last night and the memory foam must have the memory of Keith's outline as it felt strange to mine! We both slept deeply, having been awake since 4.15 and up early too as we couldn't get back to sleep.

I steeled myself to go and collect Theo's ashes and not break down in front of the entire waiting room.  There were tears, but I managed to hold most back and the receptionist was very sympathetic.  So now there is a little pine box with a brass nameplate on it on the window ledge in the Library, where he liked to sit and view the world.

Tam is here over the weekend, so that is something to look forward to now. Not sure if we'll get a walk in as I think gales are predicted.  It's been raining steadily for most of the day.

Have a lovely weekend all.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

The Thomas Shop, Penybont


Pam and I went to the nursery near Crossgates last week and then popped down the road to The Thomas Shop at Penybont, for a cup of tea and a piece of home-made cake (Victoria Sponge, very good it was too).  This is the back of the shop - I said to Pam, I can remember having a bath in a tin bath like the ones on the wall.   The coal fire would be burning warmly, and the bath filled up and the folding clothes horse put around it, draped in a blanket to keep off the draughts.  MUCH better than the icy bathroom!  Note that wooden panel in the top window - perhaps  it was the children's room and if it got hot in summer they would open that to let air in, but the children still couldn't escape!  Never seen its like before.

Downstairs is a little cafe, and upstairs books for sale, 2nd hand and a few new.

Then through into the Wool Emporium which has displays of locally made crafts, including patchwork too.

One corner housed a loom and a spinning wheel.

Isn't he fun?  A proddy Tiger (rag rug).

Patchwork corner.

A lovely hand-made hurdle, polished smooth.

Then across to the Museum. Originally the shop and much stock was left there, but people have also donated all sorts of old curiosities from their homes.

I slept badly so am absolutely tired out today and resting up.  I'm weepy too as a kind gesture from the vets brought the tears back.  A little note saying they knew how much I lived and cared for Theo, with a small packet of Forget-me-nots to plant, and his paw prints inside the card.  That finished me off completely.  I collect his ashes later this week, which will be difficult. I think I shall just sit and read and watch something easy on the tv.

Saturday 24 September 2022

Us out gallivanting - Llwyn Celyn - plus photos now


Here we are then, a VERY rare photo with ME in it as I am always the one behind the camera!  Yesterday we went off gallivanting to Llwyn Celyn, a fabulous historic (c.1420) Landmark Trust property.  We had the place pretty much to ourselves and the people volunteering couldn't have done more to facilitate Keith's access to every room.  This was taken by one of the volunteers - a lovely lady.  I will do a proper post later this evening, but thought I would share this with you all.

Llwyn Celyn in the sunshine.

There was a lovely kitchen with a beautiful refectory table down the middle.  I didn't take a photo of that as it was covered in big photo albums and information about the work on the house.  It was apparently in a VERY bad way when the Landmark Trust took it over and began work. Two brothers had lived a very basic life in it and weren't bothered by what sounded like an open drain down the centre of this room!  It sounds like it dealt with the water run-off from the hillside behind it when there was heavy rain. HERE is a link to the history of the house and how it was improved.

Wonderful old woodwork fronting the cupboard under the stairs (and Henry Hoover).  On the back, you could see the plank and muntin boarding.

There was beautiful antique furniture throughout, all totally appropriate to the age of the building.  This Cwrt Cupboard looked  absolutely right for the room.

A lovely wainscot chair in a corner (note blocked in drain!!)

A wonderful view across the yard.

A charming cupboard in the wall, and a beautiful late17th C chest of drawers.  I loved the repurposing of the stoneware flagon into a lamp base.

This was the one piece we would have dearly loved to have smuggle out.  It is STUNNING.  That carving.

A lovely headboard for that bed.

Upstairs - this beautiful room used to be the Solar  and was added in 1690 when extensive improvements to the farm were carried out.

A Master Carpenter has carried out good honest improvements where needed - no covering over with stain of the diamond-shaped infills or the pegs.

The base of this lovely lamp has been made from part of a four poster bed.  Perfect repurposing.

I think this cupboard is probably Italian, but just perfect for the room.  All that amazing carving.

Another bed just perfect for the ambience of the house.

Downstairs again, and beautiful carvings over two doors leading off the hallway.

The back of the house, and then (below) across to the Cider House, which offers further accommodation with a big bedroom and wetroom.

The Skirrid (486m) - sad for us to look at this and think just 5 years ago we all climbed this  - Keith to the lead.  That same year he and Tam climbed Pen-y-Fan too.  886 metres.

Finally, in the bunkhouse (formerly a threshing barn) a cleverly woven owl overhead.

Hoping you've all had a lovely weekend.