Sunday, 26 September 2010

Ruminations and Colour

No sign of Autumn colours yet in my garden but there are some reminders of Summer with a late flush of Roses. Nothing like the great show of June but still enough to stop and enjoy

Tuesday and Wednesday the temperature rose to 75f but by Friday we were lucky to have it reach 57f which made it feel like summer was behind us.
One of the noticeable benefits of Winter here is that tv programmes begin to look up and I was not disappointed tonight to see the first 90 minute long installment of a new costume drama. 
Downton Abbey by the same script writer as Gosford Park has me hooked already. There could be no better location than Highclere, one of our countries finest houses with some of our best actors and a riveting storyline so far.

Amongst my ruminations I must make mention of the recent visit of the Pope to England. I am not a Roman Catholic but was absolutely thrilled the way he brought Christianity to the forefront and the challenges he put before people which even had our Prime Minister speaking about faith and morality.
There has been much positive comment in the media since.

This morning our house church was back 'doing church' at our local hospital and much prayer went up in and around the whole place before fellowshipping with coffee in the restaurant

Alan and I took advantage of one of the beautiful warm and sunny days this week and spent the day in Cambridge.  Having taken 165 photos I will certainly have quite a number of posts on this very interesting city as soon as I can get to sorting them all out.

So stay tuned, they will eventually be up 

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Ingatestone Hall

Ingatestone Hall is one of those places that is so near to home that we have never bothered visiting before and we were pleasantly surprised when we decided to rectify that a few weeks ago

Ingatestone Hall is a sixteenth-century manor house built by Sir William Petre, Secretary of State to four Tudor monarchs; Elizabeth I spent several nights at the Hall on her Royal Progress of 1561. Sir William's descendants still live in the house which largely retains its Tudor form and appearance (including two priests hiding-places).On display in the house are furniture, family portraits and other pictures accumulated over the centuries, together with memorabilia of fifteen generations of the Petre family, such as the Fourth Lord, who died in the Tower, falsely accused of complicity in the Popish Plot and whose wife is described by Samuel Pepys as "an impudent jade" and the Seventh Lord who spent six hours every day dressing his hair and who was the inspiration for The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope.

We will begin our visit through the archway and as Alan is fluent in German he tells me that the wording underneath the clock says "Not Without God". It is also worth noting that the clock has only the hour hand. This is because the estate workers of old only needed to know the time on the hour for finishing work. My mistake here, sorry. Alan speaks a number of languages to differing degrees and I had thought he said German when he had actually said it was French. Thanks to my annonymous commenter I was made aware of this and hubby confirmed. The full translation is: "without God there is nothing" Shows how good I am at languages!!!!!!!!

We enter the innder courtyard  and make our way to the tearoom where we decide to have lunch before taking a tour of the house (no photos I am afraid). The latest Lord Petre still lives here with his family and it was interesting to hear the squeals of the children and their laughter as we passed the private living quarters of the house.

House tour over we now begin our walk around the gardens and grounds

I love looking through gates wondering what I am going to find on the other side

Once out of the formal gardens we take some 'wildside' walks

This particular one is called the 'nut walk'. I loved it as the ground was covered in Hazel nuts which crunched underfoot.

More into the wild areas now with lots of wild life and here we see a Partridge scuttling away.

A seat for the weary before returning to the tearoom just in time for afternoon tea

Cottages in the grounds on the way out

Here we see The Stone Hall scanned from the guide book and if you are still interested in more history of this interesting place then read on

This house has been lived in by the Petre family since 1500 A.D.

In about 950 A.D., King Edgar granted to the Abbey of our Lady and St. Ethelburga at Barking lands at Yenge-atte-Stone (where we get the modern name of Ingatestone). As one of the principle manors held by the nuns of Barking, it subsequently also became known as Gynge Abbes.

In 1535, Henry VIII ordered his chief secretary, Thomas Cromwell, to put in train the process that was to lead to the Dissolution of the Monastries. Cromwell’s Proctor, or assistant, a young lawyer from Devon called William Petre, had the job of visiting the monastic houses of Southern England to draw up a record of their possessions and to persuade them to surrender to the King. Among the Abbeys he visited was that of Barking and he was immediately attracted to it’s manor of Yenge-atte-Stone and took a lease of the property. One of the attractions was, no doubt, its Latinised name – Ginge ad Petram – which made it sound as though it had belonged to the family for centuries.

In 1539, the lands of the Barking Abbey having been surrendered to the Crown, William Petre purchased the manor for its full market price of £849 12s 6d. This transaction, together with the purchases and grants of other former Monastic lands, could well have been constructed as the plundering of Church property, but a Bull of Confirmation issued by Pope Paul IV exonerated William Petre from any such charge and absolved him from the Interdict of Excommunication imposed on Henry VIII provided he endowed an almshouse foundation for the poor. The almshouses he accordingly founded may still be seen in Ingatestone High Street

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Marks Hall Gardens

Off we are going today to walk around Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum. Quite a varied walk even though the Summer colours have ended and the Autumn colours not yet out, as this was a few weeks ago.

Wild flowers in abundance on this part of the walk

and many different trees  as we take the woodland path

In coming upon this old Oak tree I have learned something new. Apparently it takes an Oak 300 years to get established, another 300 years to mature and 300 years to die. This tree apparently has about 100 years left.

This part of the garden is laid out in the shape of different countries which are planted with the fauna of that country. Obviously I cannot give you a sense of that from my camera level.

Do you think he is sending me a message!

A very ancient iron bridge

It's lunch time so the 17th century coach house is our next stop

then off to walk the 18th century walled garden which is displaying it's own colour for this time of year

and a walk through the lime tunnel, missing out the Arboretum as Alan was still recovering at the time.