A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND – A Tale of Two Churches

What can be better than a day out in the English countryside? Spending that day with Vicky and Beth Elliot. Once again donning her guise as local guide, Beth took us for another day out to a few hidden and special places.

Beth and Kristine at Ewelme

Our first stop was the picturesque village of Ewelme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning with the church of St. Mary the Virgin in Ewelme.

The Church of St Mary the Virgin has been a focal point of this historic village for over 600 years, and much within predates the Reformation.

The intricate ceiling within the church.

The highlight of the interior of the church is surely the tomb of Geoffrey Chaucer’s daughter, Alice de Pole who became the Duchess of Suffolk. The alabaster tomb, almost undamaged by time, consists of a canopy of panelled stone, below which is the recumbent effigy of the Duchess on top of the tomb chest which contains her remains; the space beneath the chest encloses her sculpted cadaver, which is viewed through elaborate reticulated arches. Her effigy was examined by Queen Victoria’s commissioners in order to discover how a woman should wear the insignia of the Order of the Garter.

 

The most memorable feature of the tomb is the cadaver, set beneath the tomb chest. It is the only life size cadaver of a woman that has remained intact in England, and the only cadaver in the country made in alabaster.

Above, volunteers spring clean their beloved church.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), author of Three Men In A Boat, lived at Gould’s Grove just southeast of Ewelme. He and his wife Ettie (died 1938) are buried in St. Mary’s churchyard; their tombstone reads “For we are labourers together with God.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

William de la Pole, 1st Duke of Suffolk, Lord Chamberlain of England, and his wife, the aforementioned Alice de la Pole, established the school  and cloistered almshouses from their profits from the East Anglian wool trade in 1437.

The almshouses are officially called “The Two Chaplains and Thirteen Poor Men of Ewelme in the County of Oxford.” The thirteen almsmen have now been reduced to eight due to redesign of the original floor plan to allow for mod cons, but the building is still run as a charity by the Ewelme Trust.

Through the gate above, one arrives at the front door to the school and, across the lane, you will find Ford’s Farm, now run as a B&B.

 

Part Two – and our second church – Coming Soon!

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND – HENLEY-on-THAMES

Since the Wellington archives are closed at the weekends, Vicky and I had another welcome opportunity to spend some time with our friend, author Beth Elliot. This day, Beth took us to beautiful Henley-on-Thames, set on the River Thames in Oxfordshire. Dating back to 1179, Henley has been home to the famous annual Regatta, which began in 1839 and which has been considered “Royal” since Prince Albert became a patron of the race in 1851. The Grade I listed Henley Bridge, above, is a five arched bridge across the river built in 1786.

In fact, historic Henley-on-Thames boasts 369 listed buildings, of which these are but a few –

The Red Lion Hotel, above, began life centuries ago as a coaching inn on the London to Oxford Road. From their website:

“The earliest guest of note whose visit was recorded, was Charles I who stayed in the hotel in 1632 on his way from London to Oxford. The original Coat of Arms, painted above the fireplace in one of the rooms, has been preserved and glassed over following its discovery during alterations in 1889. These alterations included the addition of the porch upon which the effigy of the Red Lion was placed and the building of the central hall where previously an archway had led to the courtyard.

“The Red Lion was, in the old days of slow travelling, the resting place of the Duke of Marlborough on his way from Blenheim to London. He furnished one room which was kept for his command on his stately journey through Henley. His furniture remained in the hotel until 1849 (over a century).”

When it came time for a meal, Vicky, Beth and I chose the Angel at the Bridge, a slightly newer pub, having been built as recently as 1728. The deciding factor was it’s location, directly on the riverside, and the sign below –

Again, the weather was glorious and we relaxed by the water as we ate our lunch, followed by a shared cheese plate and several glasses of Pimms. At last, we roused ourselves and set off for a bit of shopping, author/researcher style.

In the bookshop above, I found a period print of Rotten Row and snapped it up while Beth and Vicky chatted about Venice and French authors with the lady who ran the shop. If you’re ever in Henley, I do recommend your dropping in – it’s just higgedly piggedly enough to make browsing an adventure.

Of course, we also stopped in at several antique shops. In one, I found the display below. If only I knew a highwayman, I could have gotten his Christmas present sorted on the spot.

There are many more adventures with Beth to come, so stay tuned!

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND: MORE GATES AND DOORS

The Roman Baths, Bath
Bath, England
Townhouse,, Bath
Bath, England
Royal Oak, Corsley Heath
Naval and Military Club,, St. James’s Square
Castle Hotel, Ryde, Isle of Wight
Appuldurcombe House, Godshill, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Albert Cottage, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Osborne House, Isle of Wight
Oxfordshire
Caversham
Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
St Mary the Virgin Churchyard. Ewelme, Oxfordshire
Dorchester
The George Inn, Dorchester
Beaulieu
Beaulieu
Beaulieu
Salisbury Close
Salisbury Close
Arundel Castle
Arundel Castle

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND – CAVERSHAM

Following the Number One London Georgian Tour, Vicky flew in and met me in London for a night before we headed off on our epic research journey, visiting three Archives that hold documents related to the Duke of Wellington. Our first stop was the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading. We had booked a hotel in nearby Caversham and our good friend, author Beth Elliott was kind enough to pick us up at the station.

You’ve heard me speak of Beth here on the blog before. She’s the sort of friend who is a comfort, a joy and who also happens to be very funny. In an understated English way. So, Beth collected us at the train station and drove Vicky and me to our riverside hotel, where we met a gaggle of other local residents.

Later that evening, we all went out to the nearby carvery and indulged in that most comforting of British food, the Sunday Roast, even though it was actually a Wednesday.

Next day, Vicky and I headed off to the Museum of English Rural Life.

We had ordered the documents we wished to see in advance, one of which was the Marriage Settlement between Richard, Marquis Wellesley and Maryanne Patterson, below. You’ll see that the Duke of Wellington was one of the executors of the Settlement. Between his brother and his former mistress. Yes, you read that correctly.

We spent the entire day reading historic documents and attempting to read Wellington’s handwriting. Boxes and boxes of letters and documents. Naturally, by the end of the day, Vicky and I were ready for a drink. And when we met up with Beth later that evening, we told her we’d love to have a plate of roast beef for dinner. Again. So we did.

Afterwards, we strolled through historic Caversham, which, as Cavesham, was mentioned in the Domesday Book and which sits on the north bank of the Thames.

Good friends, good food and good Wellington documents. As you can imagine, it was a wonderfully satisfying day. And one I’ll always remember. More to come . . . .

A TOUR GUIDE IN ENGLAND: THE FOOD

 

Room service breakfast, Sloane Square, London

 

Cheese board, Grenadier Pub, Wilton Mews, London

 

Sunday roast, The Albany, Great Portland Street, London

 

Steak platter, The Herd, Pulteney Bridge, Bath

 

Cheese platter, our Townhouse, Bath

 

Afternoon tea, Richoux, Piccadilly, London

 

Steak, Castle Hotel, Ryde, Isle of Wight

 

Pea soup, Osborne House, Isle of Wight

 

The table is laid, the Durbar Room, Osborne House

 

Moules, Albert Cottage, Isle of Wight

 

Cheese board, Albert Cottage, Isle of Wight

 

Sunday roast, the Green Man, Great Portland Street, London

 

Sunday roast, the Carvery, Caversham

 

Pimm’s riverside, Henley

 

 

 

 

Sunday roast, the Duke of Wellington, Southampton

 

Latte and cookie, Mottisfont Abbey

 

Pimms, The George, Chichester

 

Hot chocolate and scone, Vintage Tea Room, Chichester

 

 

The table is laid, Arundel Castle, West Sussex

 

As seen in a cheese shop in Arundel, where Vicky instead bought us some Stinking Bishop, which was certainly aptly named. I almost passed out in the cab while bringing it back to our cottage. Subtle it is not.