Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

More of Winchester and on to Sussex

This was my favourite building of all those that I saw, it's Cheyney Court in The Cathedral Close, it dates from the late 16th century and that period of history is the one I find most attractive as far as buildings are concerned. The home of my dreams would be a small Elizabethan manor house somewhere in Sussex in a fold of the South Downs.

This is The Kingsgate, it is one of two medieval gateways that are still standing in Winchester and the stairs in the small building to the right lead up to the tiny church of St Swithun which is actually over the city gate. I didn't have the time to go inside unfortunately but that is something to look forward to on another visit. Just think of all the scenes of daily life that these gates must have witnessed, they are of Roman origin and must have seen not only the Benedictine monks coming and going (they are an order who mix with the community to some extent I believe),but merchants, labourers, Cavaliers and Roundheads and above all the great Anglo-Saxon and Norman kings such as Alfred the Great, my King Ecgbert, Henry III ,Edward I and almost certainly Charles II who was a regular visitor to Winchester for the horse racing! I've always had a soft spot for Charles II, there's never been any doubt about whether I was a Royalist or a Cromwellian! From the Kingsgate I walked down College St where I saw the house in which Jane Austen spent the last few weeks of her life. Roz, in her blog Autumn Cottage Diarist has a very much better photograph of the house than this one.

Jane actually lived with her mother and sister in the Hampshire village of Chawton and the house is open for visitors to look round. That was one of my detours on a previous visit to Sussex and it is well worth going to see, it's a lovely house with a delightful garden and it's a pretty village too.Jane only came to Winchester during the last few weeks of her life when she became ill with Addison's Disease. Right next to Jane Austen's house is Winchester College which was founded in 1382 and is the oldest public school in England. There are guided tours to the College but that is also a treat for a future visit for me.

From here I followed the path by the River Itchen and eventually came to the City Mill. The first mill on the site was built over 900 years ago and the present one bears a sign saying that it was rebuilt in 1744!

Lastly on my way back to the car park I passed this lovely old building called Old Chesil Rectory which dates back to 1450 and is one of the oldest houses in Winchester, now in a new role as a restaurant.

After a fascinating afternoon I continued my drive to Midhurst in Sussex where I was to stay for the next three days at the Spread Eagle Hotel.

This was a wonderful old place which has been an inn since 1430 though it had buildings added on in the 1650s and then yet more in the late 20th century. I was lucky enough to have a room in the oldest part of the hotel due to them messing up my reservation. As an apology I was upgraded to the Courtyard Suite with a four-poster bed!

Before dinner I had a little walk round Midhurst and took a few photographs. Across from the Spread Eagle is the annexe to the hotel which is another lovely old Tudor building.

These were originally 5 cottages but now house the public library. I love the name of the street they are on - Knockhundred Row

This is Wool Street with it's timber jettied 16th century cottages, wouldn't you love to live in one of these?

Finally these lovely houses are a little way up the street from the hotel and on the other side of the road

Next instalment will be at the Weald and Downland Museum but I think we may have a break from history for the next post. Just to finsih with here is my little grand-daughter who was 5 months old yesterday. She spent the day with me on Thursday while her mum and dad had a day out together. She was as good as gold but boy! had I forgotten how tiring babies are!!


Remiman said...

This is a spectacular tour,and you've taken some wonderfully representative pictures of buildings from a time that facinates me. I never tire of your tales.
Your grand daughter is a cherub and I'm sure she charms you easily;-)
Thanks for your comments.

Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh wow, how reminds me of how i wandered around in Germany soaking in all the ancientness there. I love the U.S. so much, but I do really miss that ancient culture feeling like this.

Your little granddaughter, she's just adorable : )

Anonymous said...

Another wonderful armchair visit to Winchester.I too have a soft spot for Charles II. Growing up around Worcester, with all it's Civil War history, I think I have to be on the side of the Crown. We had a pub in a local village named The Black Boy, a tribute to him as I understand.This has whet my appetite, I must look out my history books!

Janet said...

Stunning photos! Such beauty and history. Another wonderful trip you have shared with us.

Daisy Lupin said...

Lovely grandaughter. Those photographs are wonderful, the buildings are so beautiful, really enjoyed your tour and am looking forward to the next installment.

Kelli said...

I really enjoyed your tour! The pictures are just beautiful.

Your little granddaughter is so sweet! My sister is visiting with her 4 month old. It is such a fun, cuddly age!

plainandsimple said...

Aah Rowan! Don't let my DH hear you say you would've been a Royalist...he'd have the New Model Army after you!lol!

Your granddaughter is gorgeous!

Britt-Arnhild said...

Beautiful and charming England.

Roz C said...

Cheyney Court is TOTALLY my favourite building in Winchester! Especially in the spring when it is covered in wisteria. I wonder who lives there? Lucky devils, whoever they are!
Beautiful photographs, Rowan!

Patty said...

what splendid photos !
Your grand daughter is beautiful. Sounds like a perfect trip all around.