Several months ago I saw a photograph of Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart’s grave on a Facebook local history page and discovered it was hidden somewhere in the Old Cemetery. This little bit of knowledge set off a search that would take up my Saturday mornings for the whole of the summer. The Old Cemetery is huge and maze like. This summer it was also very overgrown. With no idea of where the grave was it was never going to be easy but a walk in the Old Cemetery is never a hardship. Continue reading Gravehunting, a photographer’s story
A while ago Commando came back from a Sunday bike ride with the fast boys raving about a giant barn he’d seen. John, fast boy, founder of the Itchen Spitfires Running Club, history buff and keeper of interesting facts told him it was the biggest barn in Britain. Commando said he’d take me to see it one day. Today was that day, although I had no idea where he was taking me at the time.
Hythe is a quaint little place that seems half stuck in another, gentler age. The narrow High Street may be pedestrianised these days but the shops with their bow fronted windows look much as they must have when Jane Austin visited back in 1807. Red white and blue bunting was strung across the street and no one seemed to be in much of a hurry, unlike the busy city centre we’d left behind us. Despite its slightly old fashioned air, I knew there were some modern amenities and, once we’d left the pier, we both decided our first port of call should be one of them. Anticipating the journey CJ hadn’t had any breakfast, for fear of seeing it again on the boat, so we headed down the High Street to Costas for croissants and coffee. Continue reading Postcards from Hythe
We’d walked from the top of Weston Lane to the bottom and the closer we got to the shore the more the wind buffeted us. We were now walking on what would once have been part of the Weston Grove Estate. Of course, the whole of Weston once belonged to the Chamberlayne family. The exact history is unclear but in 1424, Alice, the wife of Ralph Chamberlayne, inherited an estate on the east bank of the River Itchen. By the late 1700’s all the land between Itchen Ferry and Hamble belonged to William Chamberlayne, in part inherited from his father’s friend and client, Thomas Dummer.Things have changed beyond recognition since the Chamberlayne family owned this land. What was once the domain of one family is now home to thousands of people and the word Estate has a whole different meaning. Continue reading The lost estates Weston, Weston Grove
The area directly outside the south door of Highfield Church is dominated by a war memorial, dedicated in 1921 to men of the parish lost during the First World War. For such a small parish, there seem to be an awful lot of names inscribed upon it. Their loss must have been a terrible blow to the area. We stopped for a moment to read and think. No doubt, a wreath of poppies will be laid here soon to remember them, although it’s doubtful if there is anyone alive now who knew them personally. Continue reading A postcard from Highfield and a wild goose chase
It was time to leave the little secret garden and head back towards the car park. As it was still a little early for Commando to be back from his Half Marathon run I figured I had time to get a coffee in Costa on the way and maybe dry out my damp old bones. As I hadn’t had breakfast before we left home and the milky hot chocolate I’d had at six thirty seemed a long way off, I might even treat myself to a croissant too. Thinking about it made my tummy rumble. Continue reading Postcards from Winchester Cathedral
Right at the moment we were about to give up on finding the gate to the Boardwalk and head back to the Tide Mill, there it was. This at least proved that I really did know where I was going even if it had taken walking around for ten minutes or more to work it out. When I said as much CJ rolled his eyes and pointed to the sign saying ‘this Boardwalk is due to be replaced during summer/autum 2016 and will be closed.’ If the sign was still there did this mean the work was still going on? If it was would we be able to get through? There was no real way of telling so we went through the gate anyway. Continue reading Bartley Water and a different Boardwalk
On the far side of Eling Causeway we passed the modern sluices that have kept it safe since the 1940’s. These days it’s hard to imagine the tide washing away the bridge across Bartley Water, which is probably a good job or we could have been stuck in Eling for a long time. We’d successfully crossed Hampshire’s only surviving medieval toll bridge, in use since at least 1418, without having to pay a penny, now it was time to explore. Continue reading A postcard or two from Eling church
It seems like ages since I last walked along the river and, with spring bursting out all over the place, I thought a stroll along the Itchen was well overdue. There were bound to be some new flowers to see along the way, maybe even some new leaves starting on the trees. There was an F.G.O. Stuart postcard of Woodmill and I had an idea I knew exactly where the shot had been taken. Recreating it might involve a tiny bit of trespassing but it was trespassing I’d done before so I was fairly confident it wouldn’t be a problem. Continue reading A Postcard from Woodmill
The day seemed to be getting warmer and warmer and, even though I’d taken my coat off and stuffed it in my bag near the start of our walk, I was overheating. After yomping into town, running an errand and wandering all over Andrews Park taking photographs, CJ and I were in need of a coffee. We both agreed to head for Artisan Coffee in Guildhall Square. Maybe we’d even have a cake.