The moat around the Bishops’s Palace was designed to divert water from low lying ground around that caused flooding around the palace:
Ralph of Shrewsbury saw through an ambitious building project to transform this damp, unstable site. He channeled the water from the wells into a moat surrounding the Palace, which acted as a reservoir. It was now possible to control the flow of the water, to limit the risk of flooding, and to power water mills.*
The moat is home to the Palace swans, they have been trained to call for food by ringing a bell at the gatehouse.
Their story begins in the 1870s, when one of Bishop Lord Arthur Hervey’s daughters first taught the swans to ring a bell at the gatehouse. You can see the bell just beneath the window on the left of the gatehouse and a chain hangs from it for the swans (and sometimes the ducks) to pull.
New generations of swans learn to ring the bell either from their parents, or from the caretakers who live in the gatehouse.*
*From the Bishop’ Palace guide to the Palace and Gardens
This cope is part of a High Mass set which includes: a chasuble, stole, maniple, burse and a veil. It was made by Watts & Co. for Downside Abbey.
Silver (Japanese) metal threads have been used and couched in double rows using grey thread and surface couching. The tips of the petals have been raised using a thin string as padding. This three-dimensional effect infuses life into the design.
Roses and crowns are emblems of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The fifteen petal rose echoes the five joyous mysteries, the five sorrowful mysteries and the five glorious mysteries of the rosary.*
This dalmatic and stole, together with the rose silk chasuble displayed alongside were designed by J.L.Davenport for Watts & Co. of Westminster, and believed to have been made before WWI.
The Latin script on the dalmatic reads: Gaudette cum Laetitia (rejoice with gladness), and Letare Jerusalem (Rejoice of Jerusalem).
The design of the set was based on a dalmatic worn by St. Lawrence, Deacon of San Lorenzo and Martyr, in a fresco by the Italian artist Fra Angelico (c. 1447-9). The fresco is housed in the Niccoline Chapel in the Vatican, a copy of it can be found at Downside Abbey.*
The orphrey and hood were made by the Benedictine Nuns of the Convent Of Our Lady Blessed Assumption, Brussels, for the silver jubilee of its foundress, Lady Mary Percy. The ophrey and hood have been added to a 19th century cope. The embroidered hood depicts a scene worked in silver and gold metal threads, using a couching technique know as Or Nue (shaded gold). Or Nue is a fiddly technique and this example shows great skill. You can see how the mutual threads in the main body of the embroidery have been worked horizontally, whereas the embroidered arches have been worked vertically.*
This evening I left the office a few minutes earlier than usual because Mr C was working from home. I knew Mr C would have finished his work and I didn’t have to wait for him to travel from his office to home.
I joined the always busy roundabout, that needs a bit of due care and attention to navigate around. I was waiting patiently for the traffic to move when I heard a crunch at the rear of my car. A sickening crunch that takes a few moments to process and realise that is you that has been hit… I moved my car as best I could out of the way of the other traffic trying to navigate the roundabout, so that I could exchange details with the young man in the other car.
Most importantly neither of us were hurt apart from a little bit of shock!
I have just come inside from watching the stars and planets twinkling and rotating above my garden. The heavenly bodies were accompanied by a bat flitting about catching insects in the twilight. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.
It was Mr C’s birthday and we spent the day at Chester Zoo. The weather was perfect (glorious sunshine) which meant that some of the animals were more sensible that us humans, they were hiding in the shady parts of their domain. One of the animals that I was privileged to see was a newly born Zebra foal. I had no idea it was so young and wondered why there was a camera crew in front of the enclosure as we wandered past. Then Mr C overheard a comment about the lovely young Zebra being one day old.
After our day out we considered stopping off for dinner on the way home but dismissed that thought and decided ‘fine dining’ on the patio would be a more enjoyable option. It led to planets, stars and the occasional bat