After a little while of inactivity, Man and I are back on the road again.
Man arrived on Friday and yesterday we set off to find some more churches. We selected a group of three just the other side of Winchester.
The reason for the choice was we have another list. County towns of England. We have done Nottingham, Lincoln, Leicester and York but, despite all our road trips, we have not explored many county towns. So, new list of places to go visit and we started yesterday with my county town.
We started with the three churches and first on the list was the Church of St John the Baptist in Eldon, Hampshire.
It’s a tiny little place, made of flint and built in the 12th century, it looks like a shed in the front garden of Eldon Farm. There’s a fascinating little history board about the church and the parish (the smallest in Hampshire).
Eldon is tiny and amazing. To get to it there are miles and miles of single track roads, that actually had moss growing up the middle of them – yes, really.
There is evidence of nine consecration crosses (no longer there) in the church and the little history board.
It says the church was rebuilt in the 1720s and again a little more than 100 years later and that it was used as a cowshed during the 19th century.
There is an article saying that in 1916 a man from the Daily Mail found ten people living in the parish, but another from the Daily Mirror only tracked down four in the 1930s. I had no idea places like that still existed in my home county.
We followed the tiny winding roads along a very circuitous route through the countryside to Ashley, where St Mary’s Church was built in the 12th century.
It has gravestones set into the wall and the nave sloped upwards, noticeably upwards, which is something I hadn’t seen before.
It’s a pretty little place, obviously still much loved. There are the remains of a 13th century wall painting in a Norman window, and I found a beautifully embroidered kneeler, made to commemorate 25 years of the church being under the auspices of the Church Conservation Trust.
I thought this was lovely.
Our final church for the day was All Saints at Little Somborne. Now, be warned, if you are going to go and visit this one, the sat nav may well put you in the road behind the chuch. You want Somborne Park Road.
Sir Thomas Sopwith (of aircraft genius fame) is buried here.
And this one is so old it was rebuilt in 1170! In fact, it is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.
I was upset to see someone had apparently broken into the donation box – who robs a church? I left a small donation in there anyway.
After the churches – and I signed the guestbook as Dory’s World in each – we headed off to the very soggy county town of Hampshire, Winchester.
This is Arthur’s Round Table and the amazing vaulted ceiling of the Great Hall. There is no Arthurian legend attached to Winchester, the Round Table was apparently made as a gift for Henry VIII – Happy Birthday sire, have a big painted table.
Henry III was born here, Edward I nearly died in a fire here and Sir Walter Raleigh went on trial here for treason. It’s worth a visit.
There was a Christmas market in the town but, to be honest, it really wasn’t up to much.
And it was so wet and soggy.
We were going to head to the Cathedral but every man and his wife seemed to be there so, instead, we had a lovely late lunch in a little pub nearby.
By 3pm it was wetter and almost dark so we decided to head home.
I was getting pretty fed up with dodging everyone’s umbrella spokes really. And, because I didn’t have one, I was very wet.
Photo opportunities are pretty limited in these circumstances.
But it was lovely to get out on the road again.