Posts Tagged ‘churches’

And some more photos! Sorry if I’m boring anyone, this is the last lot from this trip, honest. There is another yarn shop if you scroll down far enough ;)

On the Thursday the sky was almost blue in places (which it hadn’t been all week), so I looked at a map, spotted Abergavenny, and pointed the car in that direction. En route I spotted an interesting looking tower, so I stopped to investigate and found that it belonged to Tretower Castle and Court.


It’s owned by CADW, the Welsh version of English Heritage, and is only semi-furnished – just the kitchens and great hall have been set up to give an idea how they would have looked. There’s also a copy of their licence to host weddings, which may be why they’ve concentrated on those rooms!



After that the rooms are empty, which is interesting in itself, as you can see all the construction details. There was no one about apart from the girl in the entrance hut, so I could wander completely at my leisure without being disturbed. P1020988


This would have been divided into four rooms originally, probably bed chambers and suites. Some of the windows (which look out onto the covered walkway) still have sliding shutters to close them – there’s no glass though, it must have been chilly on winter nights. It was cold enough on an early May afternoon!


It’s a pity the weather wasn’t better, I’m sure that sitting on that bench in the enclosed courtyard in the sun would have been idyllic.


Next to the Court is the original home of the family, the castle. I walked across a very wet field in very unsuitable shoes to get there – I’d paid to get in and I was going to see it all! But there’s not a lot left, just a central tower with bits of curtain wall – it seems to have been hacked about quite a lot over the years as the needs of the family changed, before they abandoned it altogether for the house next door.



The water in the field gives an idea of just how wet it was!


The back of the court. The different styles of windows show that this was improved over the years too.


In the grounds was a tree with huge bunches of mistletoe growing in it, I hadn’t quite realised that it does actually grow on the tree – it wasn’t rooted in the ground at all, just growing into the branches. I did sort of know, but I’d never been close enough to see it for myself before.

P1030007 They’ve recreated the Elizabethan garden, which again must be lovely when the sun’s shining.


Anyway, I finally made it to Abergavenny, slightly muddy but I ploughed on anyway, on the grounds that I was unlikely to meet anyone I knew! The main street reminded me very much of Bangor in North Wales, but the people in the shops were generally much friendlier – it’s a long time since I’ve been to a town where I’ve consciously noticed how friendly everyone was. They all kept telling me how much better the town looks when it’s not raining (as it was by that point) and I believe them – one day I’ll go back and have another look at it.


I did manage to find a lovely little yarn shop, called The Wool Croft. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area – it’s not been open long, but it’s well stocked, with the usual suspects as well as some more unusual things. There were two ladies sitting and knitting and chatting, and a customer was getting lots of help choosing colours for a fair isle jumper. I mooched about for a while, but again had to resist the yarns.


What I couldn’t resist was a kit to make a wicker basket – I saw Kirstie Allsopp making a willow tray on her last series and I’ve been fancying having a go ever since, I’m sure that if she can do it I can! So I was fascinated to see kits to make four or five different sorts of baskets, and chose an apple basket one, partly because it has different colours of willow, and partly because it looks like a good shape to keep knitting projects in…


It was raining properly by this time, so I went back to the car via the second hand bookshop, which was also owned by a lovely lady. I drove there and back through the Brecon Beacons, but sadly this was typical of my view for much of the journey.


Next day I stayed in Hay again, but wandered round the edges instead of looking at bookshops. Just behind where I was staying, in Cusop, is St Mary’s Church.



A typical little country church,


with a completely unexpected (and stunning) stained glass window behind the altar.

I had a poke around the graveyard as usual, and was pleased to find this Polish airman in the midst of the Lloyds and Morgans and Joneses.


I spent some time trying to work out how the people in the graves could be connected – there were a lot of family groups. I was also intrigued by this headstone with holes in it.


Next I went into town, to have a look at the main church in Hay-on-Wye.


Again it’s a very typical church outside, although the semi-circular apse isn’t quite so common, but inside was a surprise.


More like a chapel than a church, although I have seen some London churches in a similar style. Sadly they were getting ready for a funeral, so I couldn’t stay, and I wandered round outside instead.


The churchyard at the front of the church is fairly typical, but round the back is a different story – it’s completely overgrown, and slopes down to the river. It’s not that old either, the graves date to the mid 1800s.


I don’t seem to have taken a photo of the most overgrown bits, but there are some impressive tombs round there.


And some interesting gravestones.


You can walk down to the river from the church, past this cute bench being held up by bears.


This is the little stream which flows past the church, just before it joins the River Wye.


That afternoon I drove out to have another look at something I remembered from my first trip to Hay, an old railway bridge on the road that leads to the toll bridge. There’s a track through a field under the bridge, the water under the bridge is just a large rain puddle.


The old railway line seems to be used as a track, but presumably the bridge isn’t strong enough to bear a car, as it veers down into the dip and up again – it’s just that there’s a small lake in the way at the moment!


Apparently you can walk along the old railway line, one day when it’s not so soggy I’d like to do that. There are some sunnier photos and more information on this page.

Next day, with sod’s law working well, I woke up to the first real sunshine I’d seen all week, and it was the day I left!


But this the view from my window – the field was usually full of sheep and lambs, who were very entertaining. If a little rowdy at times!

I drove back via the scenic route, to make a special stop, but more of that in another post. Well done if you’ve stuck with me this long!

I’ll leave you with this sign, outside the Cinema bookshop, which amused and worried me (the small writing at the top says ‘please enquire at reception – just pop up the stairs and in the door then…).


Read Full Post »

Well, I’ve moved into the apartment I was supposed to be in all week, until she made a mix up with the bookings. I’m very glad to be out of the B&B (far too much need to be sociable before breakfast) but the main reason I booked this place was that it had wifi. Which it does, but only in the kitchen, the bathroom, and at one end of the dining table if it’s not raining. They don’t seem to see a problem with this, and I’m too much of a wimp to argue. I’m a bit uncomfortable all round – this was supposed to be a self contained unit, but it’s accessed via a door that leads into their part of the house, and I can’t lock the door to my bit. I’m finding myself sneaking around trying not to bump into anyone. Bah.

But anyway, on Monday I went out for the day – I needed to stock up on food, so I planned to end up in Hereford, but otherwise I just pointed the car and looked for interesting things, some of which I managed to photograph. On reflection, they’re mostly churches, which wasn’t actually intentional. But do stick with me, there are crafty interludes!


This church with a very odd tower was the first thing to catch my eye, in a small village called Kinnersley.


It was a fairly typical English church inside,


but with interesting painted plaster on the walls. I can’t remember seeing anything like that before.


Outside the graveyard was rather overgrown.


And just behind the church was a fascinating looking old house. Sadly there didn’t seem to be any access to it.


I saw a sign to Leominster (pronounced, with typical English logic, Lemster) and found that I’d parked just next to the Priory Church. I gather it’s all that remains of a priory which fell victim to Henry VIII, and it’s a bit of a hotch-potch inside.


There are essentially three aisles, at one side divided by slender Victorian columns,


and at the other side, by chunky Norman arches.


There were a couple of interesting crafty things in the church, firstly this quilted ‘stained glass window’, showing local scenes.


And next this ‘tapestry’, as they described it, with 100 roundels on a background of Ryeland fleece (Ryelands are the local sheep, sometimes called the Lemster Ore, according to information in the church).


There’s also, somewhat bizarrely, an old ducking stool, which was apparently dumped in the church many years ago after its last use and never moved.


Looking out of the doorway of the church.


Leominster itself is a attractive small town, with a mixed bag of buildings.





I stumbled across the folk museum, and wandered in. These smocks caught my eye,


There was no information about them, so I asked the couple who were in charge (presumably volunteers) what sort of date they were, and soon regretted it, as he insisted on not only searching out two books about smocks, but then making me look through them both at length. I did impress them by mentioning Sussex round smocks though, which is pretty much the only thing I know about smocks, and that’s only from reading Elsie Oxenham books.



Other gems of the collection were an original cider press.


And a display of corn dollies.

I was heading back to the car, thinking I’d exhausted the possibilities of Leominster, when I spotted this.


The Sheep Shed, a shop selling locally produced hand spun yarn and hand knitted garments. Actually the website in the link doesn’t actually mention the shop at all, but that’s what’s on the leaflet she gave me! The shop’s at 5 High Street, closed Wednesdays.


All in natural colours.



Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.


I finally made it back to the car and headed down the A49 to Hereford, passing many flooded fields en route.

Hereford annoyed me by directing me to a car park which when I got there turned out to only be open to the public at weekends, and then not telling me how to get to a different one. I drove around for a while, but ended up parking on the street in a two hour space, so I had to rush around, and forgot to take any photos until I got to the Cathedral.






This is a radiator! There are four, but apparently they don’t actually do a lot in terms of heating the huge space.





This is a tiny side chapel with an amazing ceiling.


And outside this chap is forever contemplating the cathedral. I don’t know why or who he is – if there was an explanation I missed it.


And then back to the apartment, where I found that the hitherto empty field outside my window had suddenly become home to a huge flock of sheep and lambs, who are very entertaining if a little noisy first thing in the morning!

Right, now to see if I can persuade this lot to upload on the very dodgy internet connection!

Read Full Post »