11 December 2018

Braintree and Bocking, Essex



A walk around my old stomping ground, a lot has changed, yet much still seems the same....









Sandpit Lane and 'Memory Lane'.....





Where Crittall Windows started out.....


…. is now a shop for the 'well heeled' …..



Where I studied (er hum!) for my 'O' Levels at the Tabor High School … which has now been turned into apartments...


Bocking Place once owned by the Courtauld family and merged with the school in 1938, however, now the house has been turned into apartments and the grounds are a public park.  In the 6th form in this building I really should have paid more attention to my teachers ....


The school gym.... where I gained my love of sports (not!)….





There were many different varieties of tree species within the grounds of Bocking Place, no doubt collected by the Courtauld family over the years, some of which still exist....


And on to Bocking, the name Bocking is said to have either derived from a Saxon word meaning 'the dwellers amongst the Beech trees' or it means 'Bocca's people', Bocca was a Viking god who was worshipped in this area - who'd have guessed!

The public house 'The Black Boy', as was, but now called 'The Retreat', which my parents ran and where I spent quite a few of my formative years..... hic!  Ah, that would explain it then, wouldn't it!....


… and a photo of 'The Black Boy' back when, notice the adjoining house in those days...


The Deanery church of St Mary's, Bocking …..


In 995 a Saxon nobleman, Aether(l)ic, bequeathed the lands of Bocking to Christ Church Canterbury for the use of the monks.  On part of this land a church was built but no trace of that original building is apparent.  Bocking is one of the parishes in the archiepiscopal peculiar (a group of parishes subject to the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury) and the Rector of Bocking, as the commissary of the Archbishop, bears the title 'Dean of Bocking' - and he was the man who married me!




A view of our pub, 'The Black Boy' (now 'The Retreat') from the churchyard....
















Lover's Lane …. to the left there used to be Courtauld's silk mill, now new housing...




05 December 2018

The Children of Calais, a sculpture in Saffron Walden, by Ian Volter

"The Children of Calais portrays six British children as refugees caught in the present migration crisis.  Their poses echo Rodin's famous The Burghers of Calais, completed in 1895.

Rodin's solemn composition commemorates an event during 'The Siege of Calais' in 1347.  The English King offered to spare the lives of the Calais citizens on condition that six of its Burghers would surrender themselves.  Although they expected to be executed, the Burghers' lives were spared by the intervention of the English Queen.

The Children of Calais evokes a parallel narrative: the desperate situation of the young refugees, and the potential of humanity to yet hold sway".
Source:-  Information board on site


13 November 2018

Houghton House, Ampthill, Bedfordshire.....

In a setting high up on the Greensands Ridge and with magnificent panoramic views over Bedfordshire, the ruins of the once grand Houghton House are romantic and as pretty as a picture.  It is said to be the inspiration of John Bunyan's 'Palace Beautiful' in his Pilgrim's Progress. The house was probably designed in 1615 by John Thorpe with alterations five years later, possibly by Inigo Jones, or in his style, for Mary Herbert, Dowager Countess of Pembroke on land she was gifted by James I.  Mary was a well-connected member of the royal court.  The house may stand on the site of the Medieval house of the Manor of Dame Ellensbury.  Houghton House was dismantled in 1794 by the 5th Duke of Bedford.

Just a lovely spot to visit …





Reminiscent of Granada, almost, …..






















Before....


…. and after.....




These people left more than footprints, and I took only photos...












Mistletoe for Christmas anyone?...….

















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