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Posts Tagged ‘villages of england’

One of my favourite and most prolific categories in Project 101 is visiting places named in the 1066 Domesday Book; a survey undertaken by William the Conqueror after he invaded England and defeated King Harold and his forces during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and men from other French provinces, all led by the Duke of Normandy later styled William the Conqueror. Ref wikipedia

Usually I find that the towns and villages especially, have some way of advertising their links with 1066, either in the form of a village sign or remnants of their links are noted in a book or some historical objects.

Nettlestone, Isle of Wight

In the case of Stoke Gabriel, its a tree – a first! I initially noticed this on Google when I was researching the village prior to my visit a few months ago.

Domesday Book tree – alive before the 1066 Norman Invasion
Domesday Book tree, St Mary & St Gabriel Church, Stoke Gabriel
Domesday Book tree

Of course as soon as I could, I made haste to see this for myself. Its quite extraordinary to be in the same proximity as a living, breathing creature that was already well established before the invasion even took place nearly 1000 years ago.

How you might wonder is it that much a thing remains….so

Domesday Book tree

Why does every churchyard have a Yew tree? The answer has to be that the early Christians built their churches on the ancient Druid and Pagan sites of worship and the planting of yew trees in modern churchyards reflects the early assimilation of the old religions into the new religion.

I’m guessing that because they live in churchyards they’ve survived progress by living on sacred grounds. I found a fascinating article about yew trees that you might enjoy, and from which I noted the information above in italics : why does every churchyard have a yew tree Their contemporaries were not as lucky…and as usual were destroyed by progress….

The longbow (so called because it is 6’ in length) was the premier weapon of the middle ages and made from yew. The volume of yew wood needed for war archery from the early 13th to the late 16th century was far too great to be supplied by from trees grown in churchyards. After all of the yew stands in Britain and Ireland had been depleted, the English crown began to import yew wood from all over Europe including Austria, Poland and Russia.

Nevertheless, this marvellous creature remains to remind us of history and our mortality…whether it does or does not thrive on the bones of the dead is irrelevant, its here for us to enjoy and be amazed.

Domesday Book tree – arms spread wide
Domesday Book tree, thriving on the bones of the dead ☠☠

Some of the events this tree has lived through:

Domesday Book tree – it has seen historical events come and go

I followed the instructions, but unfortunately no-one was there to witness my endeavour

Walk ye backward round about me 7 times…

In fact the tree is even older than the church by a few centuries…

The interior of the church was no less interesting

Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Beautiful carving on the pulpit
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel, Devon

The church building was originally constructed in the early 13th century, of which only the Norman tower survives today. In 1268, Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter dedicated the church to St Gabriel, resulting in the name change of the parish from “Stoke” to the more distinctive “Stoke Gabriel”.

I often included the churchyard in my many daily walks around Stoke Gabriel and occassionally I forgot about adding kms to my virtual challenges and instead I just sat on one of the benches or under that glorious, ancient tree and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

And I shall once again include it in my walks when I return to SG later this month…

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My latest assignment has not taken me too far afield this time and I find myself in the depths of Kent. Not too far from where I’m located are villages familiar to me; Charing for instance….I stayed there on my pilgrimage to Canterbury in September. 🙂 so that’s been a fun discovery. I am of course familiar with Faversham having stayed there in 2017 during my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, as well as which I finished my latest stretch of the English coast there last Saturday – from Whitstable to Faversham. The Sun Inn; 14th century inn, was the perfect place to stay and I’d love to stay there again sometime.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – 14th century inn with the best room and bath ever

However, the house where I’m working is toooo far from Faversham for me to do any proper exploring, but I have a few country roads I can follow and so far I’ve had 2 good days to get out and about. Of the 5.5 days I’ve been here so far, 1,5 produced rain and 2 produced fog…so I’ve only managed 2 proper walks since arriving on Monday 4th. The sun looks like its burning through the fog so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for walking.

foggy day in kent
a foggy day in Kent

In the meantime the two walks have unveiled some gems as far as churches are concerned and some amazing houses…..some of which date back to the 15th century. In fact the house I’m working in was built in 1435!!! It’s pretty awesome with some fabulous beams and a huge fireplace. The floors are really wonky and sink in the middle and without heating, its VERY cold!!! I’ll let the photos do the talking

country walking
the long and winding road…..
first world war throwley airfield
Throwley Airfield 1917-1919
the old school house
The Old School 1873-1935
houses at Throwley Forstal

Although I haven’t been able to get out that much, I have walked far and wide, clocking up 16.3 kms over 2 days. Its something of a challenge to find different routes when you’re limited to long stretches of road and a 2 hour break. If I had longer, I’d walk to Faversham for sure. It’s only 5 miles away but would take 1hour 35 minutes to walk there and no time to return before my 2 hours is up!!

I have though seen 2 beautiful sunsets and enjoyed the lengthening shadows of the graveyard. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fine weather so I can get out again…

p.s. there may be a problem with the photo galleries…..if there is I will fix them later…..they look fine via my computer, but on my phone there seems to be an issue….sorry for that.

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I started a new assignment today and the house…well cottage actually is a 15th century abode.

It’s got a massive fire place, wonky floors that slope down in the middle, low door frames and tricky stairs.

The ceilings are held up by fantastic wooden beams older than methusela, and the walls are held together by more fantastic wooden beams.

There’s a working well in the garden and we’re so remote that I can hear and see absolutely nothing….makes a change from the b&b I was staying at the last 12 days.

The food freezer is in the garage and I have to use a torch to navigate.

As luck would have it the heating has failed in a few of the radiators and its absolutely freezing in some rooms of the house.

My room is upstairs and all I have between my head and the sky is a thin sloping roof through which I can hear scuttling…I’m guessing its mice. Now and then I hear the thud of a bird landing…

The room is lovely and I have a small sitting room nook with a tv which is a luxury, but the mattress is probably older than Noah’s ark 😝😝 and sinks in the middle. I’m guessing my back is not going to be too happy.

The client has lived in the house for 50+ years and I can’t even imagine what that must be like. The longest I’ve ever lived in one place is 3.5 years.

So tonight our feckless PM put the country into lockdown again and of course it’s the fault of everyone/everything except himself for not listening and acting on the advice of the sciences.

I read in the papers that

“…..even takeaway services are shuttered in an attempt to beat the new Covid variant.

More than 550,000 business will be forced to close in England as of tomorrow, according to real estate adviser Altus Group, which includes 401,690 non-essential shops, 64,537 pubs or restaurants, 20,703 personal care facilities and 7,051 gyms or leisure centres”.

This is going to absolutely devastate commerce. Who knows what sort of country we’re going to be left with after this.

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Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song. (Edmund Spenser, 1596) One of the things I’ve missed most in this time of lockdown is being able to walk along the banks of the River Thames. I’ve whiled away many an hour of my retirement strolling along the river, mostly stretches between London Bridge to […]

A Thames Journey: (1) From the Source to Cricklade

I’ve just discovered this fantastic article and felt I really had to share it. Firstly the writer has a wonderful way with words, some terrific photos and he’s writing about my favourite river…the Thames. Its been a dream of mine for years now to walk the Thames from source to sea….just the very words ‘source to sea’ conjures a feeling of excitement and adventure and has certainly captured my imagination. I love that the writer and his companions started this walk in midwinter and his description of the early morning evokes a sense of wonder….and I could feel myself transported to the very moment of that crispy ground underfoot.

It’s a lovely read, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I’m off now to read some more, and the book is on my Christmas wishlist 🤶🏻🎄

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When the agency phoned me to take on an assignment in East Sussex I groaned. I’ve been to East Sussex numerous times and wanted to work farther afield, but since that was what was available, I accepted.

As usual I did a bit of research on the place where I’d be working and was delighted to discover that Lindfield was in fact a Domesday Book village. Hoorah!! Suddenly my perspective changed LOL

Lindfield is a charming village with apparently over 40 black and white houses, although I’ve only found 5 so far.

There’s a house on the main street that was built in the 1300s and restored in the 18th century.

Other than that, there’s the fabulous Toll House dating from 1630.

The high street is lined with some fantastic houses, covering architecture from the 14th century through to the 19th.

There’s a lovely pond as you reach the high street which makes for some marvellous images.

The parish council runs the show and as a result, small independent stores and shops are flourishing…no Tesco, no Boots, no Starbucks, no Costa and no charity shops that I’ve seen as yet. There is however a CoOp.

Within a short walk is a pretty little nature reserve, although I haven’t yet explored it too much since I don’t fancy sploshing through mud…. I’ll save that for my Winchester to Canterbury pilgrimage LOL

I’ve managed a few exploratory walks around the neighbourhood, and Lindfield is a tad more than just a village now….more like a smallish town, but it is very pretty with some beautiful gardens and houses.

Lindfield is the 117th Domesday Book village/place I’ve visited. Well exceeding my Project 101 target of 101 🙂

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Following up on my post from a couple of days ago, these are a few more of my favourite villages in England. The Channel 4 programme, Village of the Year is absolutely fascinating. I shall have to watch them again…get some more ideas of places to go – as if I don’t already have a list longer than I could do in 2 lifetimes…but hey, I might live to be 100….LOL

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East Grinstead, West Sussex

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Farnham, Surrey

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Kennett, Suffolk

Kennett – Domesday Book village

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Kentford, Suffolk

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Lavenham, Suffolk

Lavenham – Domesday Book village

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Lower Bourne, Surrey

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Marston Magna, Somerset

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Midhurst, Sussex

Midhurst had it all….a castle, a mill, a river, and quintessentially English cottages

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Moulton, Suffolk

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Newton-Ferrers, Devon

Newton-Ferrers is probably in my Top Ten favourite village of England. It was so gorgeous and the views of the river were stunning. At night it was quiet and peaceful with skies so black and stars so bright, you can’t imagine.

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The weather had been pretty grim my first week in Oxted, with some snow flurries on the following Sunday, not enough to impress but just enough to get excited about….it soon melted and didn’t return. However, not to be deterred by the weather, on Tuesday, the afternoon after my arrival, I set off to explore and my meandering took me through the town of Oxted and along the streets and roads and on to a delightful medieval village called Limpsfield. What a treat!! The High Street is lined with houses dating from as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries.

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some of the quintessentially English houses lining the streets of Limpsfield; a Domesday village

Quintessentially English houses built of local quarried stone lined both sides, looking absolutely charming. I discovered the little church; St Peter’s, constructed in the late 12th century and a Grade I listed building.  As I was entering the church I noticed that it was in fact a Pilgrim church!!! Thrilling. In alignment with my Camino this year I am hoping to gather some stamps before I set off on my walk. There was a stamp hanging on a board at the door, so I’m planning on ordering my Camino passport as soon as possible and when I return to the assignment at the end of March I’m hoping to be able to add that as the start of many I plan to collect on my journey. The church is also famous because the English composer Frederick Delius and orchestral conductor Sir Thomas Beecham are both buried in the village churchyard. Although I looked very carefully I never did find Delius’s grave.

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St Peter’s Church, Limpsfield – a pilgrim’s church

Situated at the foot of the North Downs, Limpsfield would have been on the ancient Pilgrim’s Way that stretches along the base of the downs between Winchester and Canterbury. To my delight on researching the history I discovered that Limpsfield too was a Domesday village: and appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Limenesfeld and held by the Abbot of Battle Abbey, Sussex.

Limpsfield’s High Street is named as a conservation area with 89 listed buildings along the street and in the immediate locality; one of which, Old Court Cottage in Titsey Road, (formerly the manorial court of the Abbot of Battle), is Grade I listed building and dates from c1190-1200 (including aisle posts and arcade plates) with alterations in the late 14th century, and a 16th-century crosswing. (ref wikipedia). Unfortunately I didn’t get to see this building, but the Post Office/village store was just charming so I stepped over the threshold and bought some stamps and a chocolate 🙂

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Limpsfield High Street

I spent some time photographing all the buildings and meandering about the church and churchyard. I love these old ancient places and often wish I could just knock on the doors of the houses to see inside 😉

At the entrance to the village is a delightful name board – I love finding these!

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Limpsfield, Surrey

Limenesfelde 1086 (db). ‘Open land at Limen’. OE feld added to a Celtic place name or river-name

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