Monday, 21 January 2019

Devizes tour Part II

A few more of the historic buildings to be seen in Devizes. I apologise in advance for the length of this blog, but I did not want to stretch to a third post!
House of the 18th century surgeon Joseph Needham, who lived and worked in Devizes. A grand and ornate facade- he must have made some money!


Landsdowne House is now a highly prestigious Grade II* listed office building in the centre of Devizes. The frontage was rebuilt in about 1809.

*As stated in the last post, Grade II listing of a property means, in effect, that owners are not allowed, under planning regulations, to make any alterations to either the structure or the interior fittings, save only for safety renovations and damage repairs.


The Brittox is the main pedestrianised shopping area of Devizes. The Brittox itself runs from left to right in this photo,  with Little Brittox ahead.

Fountain in the market square, dedicated to Thomas Sotheron Estcourt - a former town MP and holder of high government office- see below.


The iconic red public telephone kiosk, designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingdom. There are still a few working boxes around, despite the fact the most people now carry a mobile phone! Behind it is another icon, the British red pillar (mail) box. In 1853 the first pillar box in the United Kingdom was installed at Botchergate, Carlisle in the north of England.

St Andrews Church is a Methodist church in Devizes ...

See above.

A pedestrian passage with the church of St Johns and St Marys at the end...

The churches of Devizes St. John and St. Mary have an inextricably linked history, as they have always had a single rector, despite the fact that the two churches have separate incomes and separate parish officers.
In 1906, the rector at that time, J. G. Watson, tried to separate the parishes, but he wasn't successful!
It is probable that  St John's and St Mary's were built as a pair by Bishop Roger between 1120 and 1135, to serve the populations in the different parts of the town.

As above - another view!

St Johns Court, the building on the right on the passage above, is a former medieval hall.


A very old "half-timbered" building right opposite the church. 

Devizes castle - private property and difficult to get photos of!

The first castle on this site was built in 1080 by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. but was burnt down in 1113! It was rebuilt in stone by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, by 1120. He occupied it during the reigns of King Henry I and later King Stephen. Roger's allegiance to Stephen proved to be a mistake and the castle was taken and retaken in subsequent fighting! It remained Crown property and was used as a prison by Henry II and Henry III. It went on to become the property of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

The building is now divided into two dwellings in private ownership and is not open to the public. Must be draughty in the winter!

The Market Cross was designed by Benjamin Wyatt and was given by Lord Sidmouth. It is well worth a close examination for there is a plaque that bears a chilling account of the sudden end of Ruth Pierce of Potterne in 1753. On being accused of theft, Ruth protested her innocence and called on God to strike her dead if she were telling a lie. It seems the Almighty took her at her word and the stolen money was found in her dead hand.

The famous statue of Ceres, the Roman Goddess of the harvest, adorns the Corn Exchange and keeps vigil over the Market Place. Opened in 1857, the Corn Exchange was originally a covered market where cereals were traded.

The Bear hotel, an original 16th century Coaching Inn boasting beams of plenty and an abundance of original features

The Old Town Hall is a Grade II* listed building. Formerly the Cheese Hall, this building was used as a Town Hall during the building of the present Town Hall and is now occupied by a bank.


Devizes Town Hall is a Thomas Baldwin designed building constructed between 1806 and 1808.


The Shambles - a walk-through covered market.

Inside the Shambles on a quiet day.

A leafy walkway I found where I managed to get the photos of the castle.

The Devizes War Memorial.


See also photodiarydps

and my bird blog

Friday, 4 January 2019

Spending a few weeks in Devizes in SW England

I apologise for not keeping this blog up to date, but I have been updating the photodiary and my bird blog when I can; you can see the links to both these blogs in the right-hand column of this page.  I had a number of photos of some historic French villages ready to put on here a couple of months back, but my hard drive crashed!! Nothing could be recovered, and although I have the back-up photos, I have not had time to go through them all again!!  Meanwhile, we have a six-week spell in the UK.

Devizes is a vibrant market town with a medieval past, a wealth of history and architectural heritage.

The White Bear is reputed to be the oldest pub in Devizes with a lineage that can be traced back to the first landlord in 1567. It is set close to the market square in the heart of the town. Also close enough to the brewery for their beer to be delivered by the last working horse-drawn dray in the country!
Here it is in action below.



This photo of the Wadworth Brewery dray, is courtesy of a TripAdvisor reviewer. I have taken photos of the horses myself in the past, but all those are in France! The horses and grooms are very early risers and I cannot get out of the house quickly enough in this chilly weather!


Wadworth is a brewery company founded in the town in 1875, still very much in business and probably best known for its 6X beer brand.

The Great Porch House (See below).

Grade II listing of a property means, in effect, that owners are not allowed, under planning regulations, to make any alterations to either the structure or the interior fittings, save only for safety renovations and damage repairs.

The Bell on the Green pub on the main road towards London, 100 miles (160 km) away.  This pub has very recently been revamped by the owners (Wadworth) and now has large TV screens for watching live sport and two new pool tables. Hopefully, this will be popular with the sports fans!

The old Assize Court, empty for many years and in urgent need of repairs.  The local newspaper reported in November last year that a trust has bought the historic building and launched a major fundraising campaign to raise £10 million  ($13 million) to transform the building into a new museum. Action long overdue!

Church of St. Mary the Virgin, built in the 12th century to serve the new borough of Devizes. It is only open for weddings, funerals and the like these days, and normal services are held at the principal church, St Johns, near the castle.

A hop and a skip away is the Church of St. James, so dedicated in 1505. The church is first mentioned in 1461 as being on "the Green" and was sometimes called the Green Church. It is thought that the church might occupy the site of an earlier, no doubt wooden, hospital chapel, which had gone by 1338. Fighting during the Civil War in the 17th century resulted in cannonball damage to the stonework, the marks of which can still be seen on the tower! The church was rebuilt in 1831-2  to provide more accommodation for the citizens of the growing town, some of the original stone being reused. 

Panelled doors to the building erected in 1785 by John Anstie for the manufacture of woollen cloth. It was one of the first cloth factories in the West of England. The tympanum sculpture above the doors commemorated this and illustrates some of the processes, machines and materials involved. 

Looking down the main street leading into the market square.  Markets are still held every Tuesday and Saturday.

Walking out of Devizes along the Quaker's Way, I could see the Devizes white horse. The most recent of the several white horses in the area, this was carved in 1999, to celebrate the Millennium.


Part of the Caen Hill flight of locks, where the Kennet & Avon climbs a steep hill into Devizes.

More details of this impressive engineering feat accomplished over 200 years ago!

The Kennet & Avon canal system is actually made up of three historic waterways, the Kennet Navigation, the Avon Navigation and the Kennet & Avon canal.  This is a photo of the wharf at Devizes. Note the dog sitting on top of the narrowboat!

A morning shot of the canal, with the mist sitting low.

See also photodiarydps

and my bird blog

Saturday, 18 August 2018

18/08/2018 We bought the barn across the lane after many years' negotiation!

Our house is on the left; the barn we bought is in the centre, semi-detached to a neighbour's house!

The barn as it was, with an old platform for hay storage on the left. This was too low for Nigel to walk under and even I had to duck; our car took up the rest of the width.

Another view of the hay platform....

and again from a different viewpoint.

More visible with a few items cleared out.  The concrete tank in the corner on the left is where previous owners used to mature their homemade wine (About 2500 litres!!!!). You can just make out the brass drain-off tap.

Just another view of the platform and oak mangers where 3 cows used to feed!

Men at work removing the somewhat woodworm-eaten and dangerous platform... 

As above...

and finally gone all but the mangers, which we wanted to restore and keep...

The three mangers which will be moved back against the wall as a feature.

Goodbye to the wine tank - we will not be making litres of wine!!

The original doors, in very poor condition and not cat proof!

One door renovated...

Working in very high temperatures (over 35°C/ 98°F)...

Second door nearly there...

Looking so much better.  The small door is one that was removed from our bedroom in 2006 and we are happy to see it in use again.

Filling in the last piece of floor not previously concreted

The concrete mixer at work....

All done!

Mangers reinstalled on the back wall.

The new doors painted to match the house and the roof tiling overhauled.

We are moving in :-)