Ancient Ireland [6] : Youghal

youghal poster

It’s beginning to seem like every place in Ireland has ancient connections and that this thread will run and run. But here is another walk description of the ancient port of Youghal (pronounced Yawl), Co. Cork. My walk was a guided one with local town crier, Clifford, in his full town-crying regalia. But it more less followed the suggested Town Walk in this leaflet which I have abbreviated here.

ring-of-cork-clifford-winser

Clifford

ancient water gateWater Gate
This was built in the 13th Century to provide access through the town walls to the docks. It is still
known was Cromwell’s Arch, as this is the place from which Oliver Cromwell left Ireland in 1650.

clock gateClock Gate
This is the third gate on this site in the town walls and was completed in 1777. The tower was used as the town gaol until the mid-19th century. Prisoners were executed by hanging from the windows.

benedictine prioryBenedictine Priory
The Priory was founded in 1350. Small portions still survive including the door arch and small window on the street front.

red house
The Red House
The Red House was built in the early 18th Century for the Uniacke family. It is reputed to be the only example of the Dutch or Queen Anne style town house continuing in use as a private dwelling in
Ireland.
the magazine
Boyle’s Almshouses
These houses were built in 1610 by Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, [father of Robert Boyle (1627–1691), author of The Sceptical Chymist; considered to be the father of modern chemistry] for six old soldiers. The soldiers received a pension of £5 per annum. Some of the houses were altered in the mid-19th Century.

myrtle grove
Myrtle Grove
This [once] attractive house was the home of Sir Walter Raleigh when he was resident in Youghal. It was purchased by Richard Boyle, first Earl of Cork, in 1602. It was a fine example of a late medieval dwelling. 

raleigh's youghal

st marys collegiate church
St. Mary’s Collegiate Church
The church was built in 1220 and extended in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is one of the few parish churches of the period still in use in Ireland. It has a fascinating history which is fully illustrated in the church. [The tour took me inside the church but I was unable to return for photos and further study]

According to the ‘Ancient Ireland‘ book St Mary’s in Youghal is one of the finest large parish churches of the Anglo-Norman (1169-1400) period to survive. Clifford and I spent a long time in the church – there is so much ancient history there. Follow this link to a descriptive list. I regret not having time to return for another look at the church and to inspect :

The Landward Town Walls
The first record of the town walls is a charter of 1275, granted by King Edward I, for their repair and extension. The walls surrounded the town on the shoreline as well as inland. Most of the inland portion still survives today. A good vantage point is the grounds of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church (above).

college
The College
The College was founded in 1464 by Thomas Fitzgerald, 7th Earl of Desmond. It was referred to as the University of the City of Youghal in a letter from Pope Innocent VIII in 1492. It ceased to function in the late 16th Century and very little of the original building remains today. A good vantage point is in the ground of St. Mary’s Collegiate Church.

college gardens
The College Gardens
Thomas Fitzgerald, Earl of Desmond, founded the college in 1464. The college was a successful enterprise, gaining international fame. The college was seriously damaged during the Desmond Rebellion of 1579. In 1602 Sir Richard Boyle bought the college for £1,500 from Sir Walter Raleigh.
Boyle rebuilt the college as his residence. He added the five circular turrets that surround the college and walled the gardens in 1641. In 1782 major re-building and renovation was carried out to create the 18th Century building which remains today.

In a shop window on the main street I was fascinated to see these recreations of burnished pottery by Teresa Watkins of Youghal.

Burnishing is a form of pottery treatment in which the surface of the pot is polished, using a hard smooth surface such as a wooden or bone spatula, smooth stones, plastic, or even glass bulbs, while it still is in a leathery ‘green’ state, i.e., before firing.”

TW's BP

burnished pottery

Teresa Watkin’s Display inspired by ancient carvings found in the medieval collegiate church of St. Mary’s, Youghal

walks and trails

There are lots more trails to follow in Youghal

Finally, Youghal’s more contemporary claim to fame is that it was used as the setting for the 1954 film ‘Moby Dick’ and the town has been ‘dining out’ on the fact ever since!

Moby dick poster

Pub MD

pub

Moby Dick’s Pub, Youghal

Moby Dick's pub

Moby Dick’s Pub Mural

MD Festival

Moby Dick Annual Festival

 

 

 

Wentworth Castle Gardens Revisited

In June 2013 I wrote about my visit to Wentworth Castle Gardens mentioning that I hoped to return to inspect the completed restoration of the Victorian Glasshouse. Yesterday, at last, I managed to get back there and noticed that the trust, the employees, contractors and volunteers had made many further improvements and additions.

Glasshouse

The Fully Restored Victorian Glasshouse

Glasshouse interior

The Glasshouse is now filled with exotic hothouse plants from around the world. Except that, for some unknown reason, the urn on the left of the picture holds plastic flowers!

Chiliean bellflower

The Chilean Bellflower ‘Lapageria Rosea

The Chilean Bell Flower is named after Napoleon’s first wife Josephine La Pagerie. William Lobb, a Cornish plant hunter for the firm Veitch and Sons, brought it back from Chile during the 1840s. This beautiful flower is the national flower of Chile and is now protected in the wild.

Blackamore

The Blackamoor

The Blackamoor was bought by Lord Strafford. The statue symbolised the profitability of the slave trade, but its likeness later became a powerful image for the abolitionists. The statue was bought to commemorate Asiento de Negros [Atlantic Slave Trade Monopoly], which Strafford won for Britain at The Peace Treaty of Utrecht, 1713 and became popular in British gardens during the 18th century. From c.1790, the movement to abolish the slave trade chose ‘The Kneeling Slave’ as its logo – adding the inscription “Am I not a man, not a brother”. In the mid-1980s, in response to the statue’s history, students at the Northern College painted the black statue white. Restored in 2010, the decision to return the life-like skin tones to the statue sought to re-enforce the humanity of the individual depicted. [Wording accompanying the restored statue]

secret garden

On my last visit I noticed volunteers hard at work in one of the gardens and this is now a fully restored Victorian Flower Garden. On the site of the former 18th century bowling green this secret garden has been re-designed and re-planted many times. The seasonal bedding plants are changed twice a year to give spring and summer colour. Note the restored benches decorated with horse chestnut patterns.

bench

Restored Bench

In addition to the formal gardens there are nearly 600 acres of parkland, woodland and farmland criss-crossed by grassy paths and tracks. This is only a fraction of Thomas Wentworth’s original estate and is still known as Stainborough Park. In addition to the deer park, there’s a collection of unique historic monuments including Queen Anne’s Obelisk, the Rotunda and the Duke of Argyle’s monument. We only managed to reach the Rotunda which is thought to be modelled on the Temple of Vesta and the Sybil at Tivoli.

Rotunda

The Rotunda

Report of a Sunday in Lancashire

Last weekend I ventured over to Lancashire. I’d been invited to a garden party at a friend’s allotment (dress code: fascinator and wellies) in Higher Walton, near Preston. It was raining as I left home in Yorkshire but by the time I was across the Pennines it had stopped and we enjoyed a Jacob’s Join lunch in the open air. I must say that allotment gardening, and gardening in general, look like an awful lot of hard work … but the gain is tremendous; Kath’s plot exceeded all expectations.

Plot 98 7

Welcome to the Party!

Wildflower bed

Wildflower Bed

Plot 98 1

Plot 98 6

Kath's Bee Hotel

Kath’s Bee Hotel

The Pottering Shed

It may be a shed

Trespassers

It turned out that the allotment is just a few minutes from Hoghton Tower so after lunch two of us made our way to the Tower where we came across a reenactment of the Battle of Preston (1715). Amongst the reenactors I was surprised to see the Leeds Waits a group of musicians specialising in medieval music and, incidentally, my next-door neighbours!

Leeds Waits

The battle of Preston at Houghton Tower 2015 : a short film showing the musicians that used to play at executions!”

We booked a tour of the house at 2.30 and made for the tea room for refreshments beforehand.

Hoghton Tower

Some significant people are associated with Hoghton. In particular our guide was impressed by the James I connection. James is reported to have spent a few nights at the Tower in 1617 and it was here that he was so pleased with his roast beef dinner that he knighted the joint Sir Loin. James was apparently a small chap and instead of dismounting outside in the courtyard he rode his horse right into the house and up the stairs.
It is also reported that William Shakespeare spent some time here during the period known as his ‘lost years’.

Charles Dickens was also familiar with the house and wrote a short story centred around it including a description of the building as a farm house: George Silverman’s Explanation.

And so, by fragments of an ancient terrace, and by some rugged outbuildings that had once been fortified, and passing under a ruined gateway, we came to the old farm-house in the thick stone wall outside the old quadrangle of Hoghton Towers.

Courtyard today

The “quadrangle” today

Read here about another blogger’s visit to Hoghton.

The Battle's over

The Battle’s Over – Time to go Home

 

 

Folly! at Fountains

folly leaflet

Folly! is the first of a three year programme that creatively brings the stories of Studley Royal to life, through the vision of some of the country’s most innovative artists and designers.

The original designers of the Studley Royal Water Garden, the Aislabie family, created many follies on this vast and beautiful estate to surprise and delight their eighteenth-century guests. These fashionable, whimsical buildings or structures were often used by garden designers to catch the eye or draw attention to a carefully created vista.

‘Folly!’ will see the temples and follies of this World Heritage Site garden dramatically re-imagined as places of visual trickery and untold histories.

Seek out the Octagon Tower, Temple of Fame, Banqueting House and Temple of Piety this summer and be amazed by installations created by twenty-first century artists in response to the opulent past of this unique place.”

folly map

I’ve written several times here about visits to Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal – it’s one of my favourite places and easy to get to from home.

My first stop was at The Banqueting Hall. At weekends and during the school holidays the follies are open during the afternoon so I was able to go inside and see Gary McCann’s ‘Scavenger’ close to.

Scavenger

‘Scavenger’ by Gary McCann

Inside The Temple of Piety, which overlooks the Moon Ponds, is The Curious Tale of the Professor and The Temple created by Simon Costin, theatre and set designer. Supported by the jewellers Swarovski, the lavish display is purportedly based on the papers of a Professor Dennistoun of Ripon who died in 1959. He thought Fountains Abbey was the ‘Ancient place of worship now in ruins’ – a line from a prophecy of Old Mother Shipton from nearby Knaresbrough.

TofP

An ancient place of worship, now in ruin, One family shall come to dwell in. But lest the old un’s are kept entertained, No male heirs shall take the reins.

in tofp

diana

Diana, the goddess of hunting

flora

I don’t know why the goddess Flora is a teapot!

Next up was The Octagon Tower and a Hall of Mirrors by Irene Brown. It was impossible to take a picture inside so here’s a little video made by the Trust :

octagon tower

The Octagon Tower

Finally, ‘Lost Property’ also by Gary McCann is the Scavenger’s ‘nest’.

lost property

Within the smooth classical pillars of the Temple of Fame the invasion of the landscape continues. Intertwined within the artist’s creation is lost property. Collected from visitors, it provides sustenance to fantastical creatures which have taken up residence in spaces previously controlled by man

folly map cover

A marvellously magical and mysterious day out. I’m still mystified by what I saw!

Hales Great Barn

This weekend was our nephew’s wedding in Norfolk and as this was a family and friends occasion I never expected to conjure up a blog post about it. But, since we got home I couldn’t resist showing you the magnificent venue where the reception was held.

inside great barn

After a few days of seasonally summer weather at last, Saturday dawned wet and cloudy and the rain continued, on and off, throughout the day. It was a shame but it didn’t dull any of our festivities: it just meant that we were inside for rather more time than we had expected to be.

Hempnall Church

The wedding itself took place in St Margaret’s Church, Hempnall (above) and had a lovely relaxed country wedding atmosphere. From there a convoy of cars travelled along the quiet country lanes of Norfolk and Suffolk and across the huge Hales Green Common to reach Hales Hall Barn for the reception.

barn in full

About Hales Hall

The Great Barn at Hales Hall and the Hall itself were built in 1478 and the present Hall is the surviving wing of an even larger house built by Sir James Hobart, the Attorney General to Henry VII. There have been buildings on the site since Roman times.

The barn outside

The 178ft Great Barn is the largest surviving brick-built medieval barn in Britain and features a superb example of a ‘queen-post’ roof.

Massive roof

The Hall and Great Barn had fallen into agricultural use by 1971 when it was purchased by the Read family. It has been lovingly restored and owners Peter Sheppard and Keith Day plan to continue the restoration in the future.

Hales Hall is set on the edge of Hales Green, one of only a few ‘commons’ still grazed by cattle in the summer and is a haven for wildlife. At the heart of the Waveney Valley, Hales is surrounded by market towns and is close to the historic city of Norwich and within easy reach of the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.” [from the Hales Barn]

HH Accommodation

Remaining Buildings of Hales Hall

According to local information the Hall itself was demolished around 1700 leaving only the gatehouse and adjoining domestic building.

Remaining Hall

The Gatehouse

groom and bride

The Happy Couple in the Rain

The Leeds Library Summer Day Out in Whitby

whitby view

The weather on this year’s annual Leeds Library Visit to Whitby could not have been more different from last year’s The Lake District trip. The sun shone all day and the sky was blue as blue. Perfect weather for a day at the seaside. But first stop on our journey was in Pickering where after tea and toast in the Poppies Tearoom we visited the parish church of St Peter and St Paul where medieval wall paintings have been extensively restored. Originally discovered in 1851 they were almost immediately covered over again. In the 1870s they were restored and, as the leaflet tells us :

Nikolaus Pevsner, in his series of books The Buildings of England (1966), wrote that the church has “one of the most complete series of wall paintings in English churches, and they give one a vivid idea of what ecclesiastical interiors were really like”.

Pickering church

Pickering Church

George and dragon

St George and The Dragon Wall Painting

east window

The East Window

Our day out was  primarily to visit the Whitby Literary & Philosophical Society Library and Museum housed in a purpose built art gallery in Pannett Park above the town and with views of the Abbey opposite and the sea beyond.

Museum

The Society had been founded in 1823 by a group of Whitby citizens led by The Reverend George Young, a minister of the Presbyterian church. It’s chief object was to set up and maintain a museum specialising in fossils since “Whitby is a chief town of a district abounding with petrifications and containing not a few Antiquities”.

in library

The Society’s Library Today

Initially opened in two rooms over a shop in Baxtergate it subsequently moved to several other locations in the town but finally, by the end of the 19th century the Society decided it needed more space and a new building which opened in 1931 and adjoins the Municipal Art Gallery : The Pannett Art Gallery.

pannett park and abbey

We had an introduction to the collection in a new wing added 10 years ago with funds from The Heritage Lottery Fund. The volunteer curators, Stephen and Fiona, spoke enthusiastically about the collection and the Whitby Merchant Seaman’s Muster Rolls which are an important part of it.

The Muster Rolls are a unique series of historical documents which are the surviving paperwork for the Whitby Merchant Seamen’s Hospital’s regulation of the “seaman’s sixpence”, an eighteenth century pension provision. This pension provided financial support to injured seamen and to the widows and children of seamen who died while serving on merchant ships.

example

Example of Muster Roll from the Library website

They record a wealth of information about crews and ships, and offer a particularly rare insight into working men’s lives : age and place of birth; port where and when enlisted; where and when leaving the ship; name of the ship and its owners.

The Library holds on microfilm the Whitby Muster Rolls from 1747 to 1795 and also some Whitby Muster Rolls from 1800 to 1850. The Museum passed 7,000 Rolls to the Society in 2010. These require careful repair and conservation and much of the cost of this is being defrayed by The Thomas Roe Trust.

The main specialism of the Library is the Whitby local area :

Local History – collections of books, pamphlets, journals, maps, prints and manuscripts for Whitby and the surrounding area (approx. 15 miles radius)

oblique sailing

Maritime History – collections of books, Lloyds registers, and records including muster rolls, and ships’ account and log books

book

Geology – extensive collection of books and journals relating to the history of geology and the internationally important discoveries of Jurassic fossils made in the 19th Century in the Whitby area

Industrial heritage – sources for the development of the alum, jet, ironstone, and potash industries and the railways in the area

Family History – many sources including printed parish registers, lists of monumental inscriptions for many local churches, wills, and indexes to wills in the York Registry

Literature and language – a small literature collection focussing on novels, poetry and plays that are either by Whitby writers or are about Whitby, and a small collection on Yorkshire dialect

After tea and biscuits we were free to visit the Library and the Museum and Art Gallery.

After a picnic lunch in the lovely Pannett Park and a final look round the Museum a fellow library member and I headed into town. After a walk along the quayside we climbed the 199 steps to the church and the Abbey for more stunning views before returning to the coach pick-up point and the return journey to Leeds.

Whitby church

Whitby Church

abbey

Whitby Abbey

view from steps

View from the Top of the 199 Steps

Crom Estate Walk

One of my favourite kinds of walk is on well marked paths around estates such as Fountains Abbey, Endsleigh, Astley Castle and Hackfall with an interesting variety of landscapes and views and ‘eye-catcher’ structures to add to the interest.

Crom Map

Despite the rain this afternoon I set out on such a walk here at The Crom Estate in Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The estate comprises almost 2,000 acres of woodland, wetlands, farmland and parkland on the shores of Upper Lough Erne. According to the map leaflet it was laid out in 1838 and is one of the best preserved and most extensive landscapes designed by William Gilpin in the British Isles. Its unique character rests upon the scale and relationship of water, wetland, woods and parkland with its veteran trees. The Great Yew Tree is located at the Old Castle ruins and was nominated as one of 50 Great British Trees for the Queens Jubilee Year 2002.

old yew

The Ancient Yews in the Castle Ruins

There are many fine buildings on the estate walk. Crom Old Castle was built on the shore by Michael Balfour, Laird of Mountwhinney in 1610. It withstood two sieges in 1689 but was destroyed by an accidental fire in 1764. The yew trees within the ruins are reputed to be the oldest in Ireland.

approaching the old castle

Approaching the Castle Ruins

lough erne

The Crichton Tower was built on Gad Island in 1848. Its architect is unknown.

The Boathouse is a complex structure with decorated bargeboards and battlements designed in 1841 by Edward Blore. For many years it was the Lough Erne Yacht Club and the social centre for the Victorian houses in the area.

boathouse

The Boathouse

jetty

Boathouse Jetty

The Summer House was built around 1880 out of the structure of an old school house on the site. It was built for Lady Florence who used it as a picturesque retreat. Rustic inside, it had a woven straw mat, a cupboard above the fireplace with cups and other teatime items, a round table and chairs and a box for firewood. The original boathouse of the demesne, later made into a folly, lies below the summer house.

summerhouse

The Summer House

summer house view

View from The Summer House

A white iron bridge connects the mainland with Inisherk (Inis means island in Irish) and a track leads straight across to another small jetty. There are two cottages – Bridge and Gamekeeper’s – and the remains of a Walled Garden.

garden gate

Gate to The Walled Garden

The Garden was completed in 1833 and included a hot house, potting sheds and a propagating house, built in later years. The Garden remained in use until the 1950s. Lately the Trust has carried out extensive repairs to the walls including the rebuilding of a large section of south wall.

extensive garden

The extensive Walled Garden

Returning over the bridge a track through woodland brought me to the Stable Yard (now NT Offices) and The Riding School (apparently never used as such as it was commandeered by the US Air Force for D-Day preparations/training).

saplings

Oak Sapling Commemorating the USAF Presence

“This oak tree was planted on 6th June 2014 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the United States forces stationed here in WWII”

ice house

Nearby are The Turf House, also designed by Blore and built with an adjacent pier in 1840 for peat fuel to be originally unloaded here for the castle later in the century a sawmill was established, and an Ice House.

in turf house

Inside the Turf House today

From the Stable Yard area the track continues through woodland after which I joined a grassy path alongside the Deer Park fencing with views of Crom Castle itself which is still a private residence and not open to the public.

crom castle

Crom Castle and Deer Park

And so back to dear Alder Cottage to dry off after a fascinating two hour walk.

Alder Cottage

Alder Cottage