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.
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!