Another castle but the wrong church

St John’s Church, Hartley WIntney

I was very disappointed with the church I visited yesterday as part of my fifty before fifty challenge. It was St John’s at Hartley Wintney in Hampshire.

There was scaffodling everywhere, building work in progress, the door was locked and there was nothing to say it was a Churches Conservation Trust church.

But there was a reason for that … it wasn’t. I got the wrong church! When I checked the website this morning, the correct church is St Mary’s, is just around the corner and looks much more beautiful than the one I visited! Church visit fail.

So I shall probably head back there this morning, it is just around the corner after all.

But it’s true what I have said before about these churches being hidden gems. I have lived in this area for the majority of my adult life and had no idea there was another church in the small Hampshire village of Hartley Wintney.

Never mind, I shall discover it today.

I did however manage to find the right castle. Although, to be fair, castles are so few on the ground even I can’t get them mixed up!

Farnham Castle Keep.

Farnham Castle was owned for centuries by the Bishopric of Winchester and many royal visitors have stopped by including George III, his wife and some of their 17 children. I wonder if Ms Charlotte Finch, governess to the children and the creator of the jigsaw puzzle and whose memorial we found the other day in Rutland was with the Royal Party.

Queen Elizabeth I stayed there and many more.

The complex that includes the castle is a real mish mash of architecture. It would seem that each Bishop added to the project.

Now the ruined keep is owned by English Heritage and there is a lovely little exhibition telling its history and great views over the park from the top of the keep.

The weather was perfect for viewing.

There was some interesting information about travel writers who had mentioned the castle – so now I would like to find out more about William Camden, who apparently wrote a guide book to Britain in 1586 and Celia Fiennes, who wrote of her travels around Britain with her maid in 1698. Seriously, what was this woman doing roaming all over the country on her horse in 1698. And here was I thinking women were downtrodden before the Suffragettes.

Actually, you come across strong, forceful women throughout the ages. Women who defied convention and just did what they wanted to do. They fascinate me. People like the Victorian Edith Durham who traveled around Albania, Queen Elizabeth I, Boudica, the 18th century writer and diarist Fanny Burney, one day I’d like to write a book about some of them.


Anyway, back to the castle and English Heritiage has put nice perspex bits on holes in walls so visitors can view safely.

I liked the way the perspex split the light to form rainbows on the walls.

There has been a lot of work done on making the site more interesting with the exhibition and display boards and it’s worth a visit .

Oh, did I mention there’s no entrance fee? We all know how I like free stuff.

On the way home – before I arrived at the wrong church – I found an aritsan market and bought some beautiful breads :).

The gorgeous daughters and their boyfriends had disappeared out when I got home. When they finally reappeared they came complete with five huge pumpkins.

This is what we did with them.

We were all quite pleased with our handiwork. We are going to put one on each of the long concrete steps to our front door on Wednesday to encourage trick or treaters (yes, we encourage them in our house – the girls are always very disappointed if none turn up).

Then I made pumpkin soup. There’s quite a lot of it, we are going to be eating it for a while I fear.

  1. nikkix2 said:

    Nice pumpkins,,,unfortunately it looks like Halloween will be a wash out here, with Hurricane Sandy,,upon us :(

  2. Lovely post Dory… I remember walking from Crookham to Farnham to see the castle when I was thirteen. Farnham is – or was a lovely town then… is it still?
    Pumpkins great!

  3. Just to clarify – the renovation work was carried out by the Farnham Castle charity, rather than English Heritage, which is why the entry is free. Glad you enjoyed your visit though!

    • Many apologies. Thoroughly enjoyed my visit though :)

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