Thank you to all my readers for sticking with me throughout the year. We’ve just celebrated a winter Christmas, but some of you will be celebrating in the warmth of summer, and it won’t necessarily be Christmas.
Talk again soon.
Before we get too far into the winter season, I must show you some photos of a river walk, not along Tweed this time, but along the Swale in Yorkshire. When I lived in Yorkshire for a few years my house was about 100 yards from the upper reaches of the river Swale, but this walk was further downstream, from Easby Abbey up to Richmond and back – a round trip. http://where2walk.co.uk/yorkshire_dales/walks_through_history/easby-abbey-from-richmond/
It was a beautiful day as we drove up from CB’s house to Easby, on my last visit. As we came down through Abbey wood, there were the ruins of the 12th century Easby Abbey, a sizeable group of buildings, destroyed in the 16th century after the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII.
We parked in the Abbey car park and began our walk along a little lane, leaving it further on, to walk down a field, past St Agatha’s House then through the gate onto the riverside path through the trees.
Soon we were approaching Richmond and could see the old church of St Mary’s ahead. When I was little, and we were staying with Richmond friends of my mother’s, Dad often used to take time to travel into Darlington by train to make calls to certain booksellers who sold some of his firm’s publications, such as ready reckoners, contour road books, and even a couple of astronomy books. I was eventually allowed to walk with Dad from where we stayed, down through St Mary’s churchyard and on to the station, to wave goodbye to him as he left on the train for the day in some “shadowy big town far away”. Well, if you were going by train it had to be far away.
The train doesn’t run between Darlington and Richmond any more, the line closing in 1969 and the station with listed building status became a garden centre. A swimming pool was built in one of the railway buildings and nowadays the Station is a sort of an Arts Centre, with two cinemas, a restaurant, various rather lovely retail outlets, a brewery, a cheese maker’s, a heritage centre and art gallery.
Before we reached the station though we still had a bit to walk, under the old Station Bridge (We are looking back at the bridge here, at the side which was washed away by storms some years ago. It’s repaired now and looking as good as ever).and up to where the Gas works used to be, past the falls and on a bit further to visit some friends who live beside the Swale.
Dad would have had some nice views from the train all those years ago. We saw Easby Abbey with Easby Hall behind it across the river but had to walk further along to another bridge then double back to where we had parked the car.
I think Easby Hall is a guest house or Boutique hotel these days. Nice looking building.
So there we were! Back in the car it was only a short drive back home again. I’m enjoying being able to walk greater distances than recently! I wonder where the next walk will be!
Talk again soon.
I’d never been to the village of Hurworth before in my life! In the years I lived in Yorkshire, and since moving back north and visiting CB, I had never had cause to go there, but on Saturday I found myself driving there as the Spar shop was the nearest place to Paddock Farm where I could get cash to spend at their Christmas craft fair.
I followed instructions to reach the Spar shop, a little supermarket at the top of the village, and as I approached it I could see more of the village stretching out beyond. Mainly built in red brick it looked so pretty. Georgian style architecture! I love it!
Let me show you some of the views I took photos of, and where I can I’ll tell you more about it. Apparently just a bit beyond the end of the village there was once a brickworks that obviously provided local builders with their materials. Nearly all the buildings are brick built. On the right of the photo is a stone building, the old church school in Blind Lane, and in the middle of the road junction is what I at first took to be the war memorial, but no… that’s in the churchyard further down the village. This is a water trough fountain thing, erected by two sisters to commemorate the accession of King George V in 1911.
A church probably existed on the same spot as far back as the 15th century with the present church of All Saints being rebuilt twice in the 19th century. In the churchyard is the grave of one William Emerson, mathematician and teacher, one of Hurworth’s better known sons.
To a Scot, such as myself, the ornamental gates to the churchyard are very unfamiliar. They are lych gates, which seem to always have a bench seat beneath the roof. I am under the impression that the bench was used to rest a coffin on while the vicar conducted part of the funeral service before burial..
The Inn at the foot of the village bears the name, the Emerson Arms, named for the above-mentioned William Emerson. There may well have been several inns and pubs in the village in years gone by, but “The Fish and Otter” and “the Bay Horse” are the only others today.
There seem to be several open grassy areas that could be called the Green, but I think this area suits it best. The cream coloured building on the left has a plaque over the front door that seems to indicate that the house’s origins are back in the 15th century and that it was restored in the 1930s.
Alongside the cottages there are several rather large houses in the village . Normally there would be only one “big house” belonging to the chief family, normally the land owners, but here there is a mansion and several other big houses in extensive grounds.
This is the mansion, possibly older than the other two. In the grounds I found the most amazing sculpted tree stump. Not sure what to make of it, but I didn’t like it, despite the detailed work that has gone into it!
The plaque above the doors of this pair of cottages states that they are freehold houses from 1715. Most of the village would belong to the local landowner and the houses in the village would have been built on land leased from the landowner. If the piece of land belonged to the housebuilder, that land would be freehold, so there would be no rent to pay for the land or house. Well, that’s how I understand it, having bought a house on a freehold when I was in Yorkshire.
Most of the buildings are from the Georgian era, possibly rebuilt from earlier buildings. A plaque on one house says that William Emerson lived in a house on the site of the present Georgian house. Of course building has gone on since, through Victorian…..
There’s nothing to beat the solid wooden doors of the Georgian/Victorian eras.
It was interesting to see the physiotherapist’s premises with its pretty bow window, and next door the dentist’s surgery with wisteria growing up its walls.
Altogether an interesting village.
Talk again soon.