On Saturday, Mr C, my mum and I set off for Droylesden to celebrate my aunt’s 90th birthday. I had recently upgraded our SatNav so that now we have live traffic information and newer maps. This trip was its inaugural outing. I keyed in the destination and off we set on our journey…
Just after Market Drayton the SatNav surprised us by choosing a different route to our usual one, which takes us via Newcastle Under Lyme and Macclesfield to Wilmslow. The suggested route was to head towards Woore and we decided to stick with it and see where it took us. We were taken through Woore, Crewe and right past Jodrell Bank Observatory where the Lovell Telescope looked particularly striking in the sunlight. We rejoined our usual route in Wilmslow and continued into Manchester until we were again diverted from our usual route of Coronation Street roads and houses. Instead we traveled along wide, open roads and past The City of Manchester Stadium.
The new route was a pleasant change and it shaved 15 minutes off our usual journey time. I confess to having momentary doubt when it took us in such a completely different direction than usual. Had I programmed it correctly??
On arrival at my aunt’s, we sat and chatted for a while before heading off for lunch at The Sheldon Arms where we were joined by my brother and his lady. After enjoying a delicious carvery meal we returned to my aunt’s house for a natter. The house was so full of flowers it looked more like a florists shop. At tea time we cut the celebratory birthday cake before it was time for us to retrace our steps and we decided to entrust ourselves to the SatNav once again.
We usually visit on a Sunday so we didn’t give it a thought that there might have been a match on at the stadium… We got caught up in traffic as Manchester City and Toon (Newcastle United) fans were leaving the stadium after the match. The beautiful moon in the sky on our journey back more than made up for the few minutes delay.
Photo from Theatre Severn website
On Sunday evening we went to the Theatre Severn to see Magical Mozart by Candlelight. Prior to the show we ate a pleasant meal in the theatre’s Foundry Restaurant. The show featured sopranos Diana Evgenieva Vasileva and Li Li, baritone David Milner-Pearce and The European Orchestral Baroque Ensemble “SPIRIT”. The music was excellent, the show was good and the artists were obviously having fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
The path of love and the path of insight lead into the same garden.
This lovely timber framed threshing barn built in around 1610 always fascinates me when I visit Hodnet Hall Gardens.
BuildingHistory.org on the history of barns:
Often the dominating farm building is the barn, the storehouse for the grain crop. It can be recognised by its great doors – two opposite each other large enough for a fully-laden wagon to pass through. In between the doors lies the threshing floor, taking advantage of the through draft. The largest barns have two threshing floors with two sets of doors.
Since the lowlands provide much good arable land, while the highlands are generally better suited to pastoral farming, the biggest barns in Britain can be found in Southern and Eastern England. Medieval barns tend to be called tithe barns. Some barns were indeed built to house the tithes due to the local rector, but in other cases the label is misleading. Some of the most impressive medieval barns were built by monastic houses or bishops on manors that they owned; they would have housed the crop from the lord’s demesne.
Grain storage could be combined with other farm uses, such as housing livestock. Cattle could be sheltered in end bays or aisles of single-storey barns, or on the ground floor of a split-level, dual-purpose building (a chall barn in Cornwall). These include the bank barns found in England mainly in the Lake District and parts of Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. In the South-West they were introduced in the late 18th century, but mainly date from the mid-19th century. Bank barns are built into a slope, so that both floors can be entered at ground level. The lower floor provided a byre, perhaps combined with stable and cart shed. Above was the barn.
Historically parishioners were expected to pay one tenth (a tithe) of their yearly income to their local church.
Parishioners gave a tenth of their yearly produce (tithes, or in Scotland teinds) to their church, a system which generated a range of records over the centuries, from national surveys of clerical wealth to parochial glebe terriers and tithe maps.
Many pious medieval patrons chose to grant their church to a monastic house, particularly in the 12th century, when there was a surge of disapproval of churches in private hands. The monastery thereby became the official rector, appointing a vicar (clerical deputy) to carry out parochial duties. A monastery as rector would generally collect the ‘greater tithes’ (those of grain) for its own use, while the vicar had the ‘lesser tithes’ of other produce. After the Dissolution, the rectories and advowsons formerly held by monastic houses were sold, so that there were many lay rectors thereafter. A rectory could include land originally granted to the church (glebe land), as well as tithes.
In Scotland teinds were abolished at the Reformation; in Ireland tithes were abolished in 1869; in England and Wales the process was more drawn out. The Tithe Commutation Act of 1836 substituted a rent for the payment of tithes in kind; it spawned the tithe maps and awards in the late 1830s. The rent charges were abolished in 1936 and replaced by an annuity payable to the State until 1996.
The dovecote is a Grade II listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was built in 1656 and predates the original 19th century hall and is more contemporary with the 17th century Tithe Barn that is situated near by. The current hall is shown in the bottom photograph.
It was built with nesting holes for pigeons, valued for the meat of their young, manure for fertiliser and feathers for bedding. Young pigeons, or squabs, were taken from their nest holes before they learnt to fly, supplying the household with a tender and easily obtained food source during the nesting season (mainly Spring and early Autumn). Dovecotes, symbolic of this luxurious delicacy, demonstrated financial and social prosperity and were generally built in prominent locations. The Dovecote would have been visible to the Old House to the north east, but the evolution of the landscape (the House relocation, new parkland and gardens) has increased the Dovecote’s prominence and significance in this setting, becoming the focal point of the new Hall’s south facing vista.
Changes in cultural attitude in the 19th century meant that many dovecotes were demolished or converted for alternative uses. Hodnet Hall Dovecote had a floor constructed at mid-height; the top half still used for pigeons, but the ground floor converted for holding cattle, with hay mangers installed and lower nest holes bricked up. The north entrance, a small doorway that could be squeezed through and blocked when entering to search for squabs, was replaced by the larger south opening and the brick floor was installed.*
*From a signboard next to the Dovecote
Hidcote Manor Garden is one of those gardens which can only be found in England! Created by keen horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston, on a Cotswold property bought for him by his mother, it is a series of garden rooms with pavilions, clipped hedges, paved paths, topiary and green “doorways” framing one beautiful sight after another.
Divided into small manageable outdoor rooms, each with their individual character and theme, the gardens are filled with established rare shrubs and exotic flowering trees. The herbaceous borders, a typical English country garden feature, are quite magnificent.
Hidcote Manor Garden is somewhere to enjoy in every season. The vibrant primary colours of the spring bulbs give way to azaleas, rhododendrons and magnolias. After the glorious colours of the summer borders have faded, autumn is celebrated in the glorious Red Border.
My previous post on Hidcote can be found here.
This concludes my ‘Winchester Vacation’ travels. I wonder where I will take you next…
GBE KCMG KCVO CB
He commanded the 10th Hussars from 1937 to 1940, and was Colonel of the Regiment from 1949 to 1952. After the Second World War he was head of the United Kingdom Liaison Mission to Japan, and Prime Minister’s personal representative. Between 1951 and 1968 he was Governor of Western Australia and then Tasmania. He died in 1983, aged 85.*
*From information next to the painting