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

19 comments:

  1. It was nice to be reminded of the UK, but I still prefer to be here in France!

    Hoping things go well for you and your husband this year, and wishing you all the best for 2019.

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    1. Hi Vera, UK is not on our programme for a visit os any kind after FIL is not here any more, meanwhile we have to return once a year. We love France and it is our forever home we hope. All the best Diane

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  2. You always give us such wonderful photo tours! It's amazing that the horse drawn dray still delivers to the White Bear. I'm sure your father in law is delighted to have you and Nigel visit.

    Best wishes for a very happy 2019.

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    1. Thanks Marjie, and I home that 2019 is a much better year for you and a healthy one. I was lucky enough several years back to have a private tour of the horses and all the saddlery they use, they really are gentle giants. Keep well and take care, Diane

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    2. P.S. I forgot to add that the drays deliver to every pub in Devizes and there are quite a few.

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  3. Love the idea of horse drawn delivery. I hope there are advantages to having a Grade II listing. Funny how the town is full of pubs and churches. The architecture is marvelous, even the feat of the locks. Love that last photo in the fog.

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    1. Advantages to the building of having a Grade II listing that it cannot be changed, but to the owner who might want to make a change it is a problem as they cannot make changes. This includes everything like updating windows and heating!!!! The locks are amazing. Hope all well. Keep warm, Diane

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  4. Hi Diane - all I can say is .. that it's great Devizes still has so many treasures to see - without too many alterations and adjustments to modern life. It looks a delightful town to be around ... and with the canal, the chalk hills, early manufacturing remains and wonderful buildings around is a real treat for us to see. Thanks for the update ... I'm finally back - and getting into gear for 2019 ... cheers Hilary

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    1. H Hilary, I hope that you are happy to be home, but I did so enjoy your visit to Canada and I heve learnt more about the place with you being there that I ever learnt elswhere. Well done. I have a few more photos of Devizes historic buildings so hopefully I will have time to do them before we leave at the end of January.
      Take care and looking forward to seeing more of your posts. Diane

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    2. Hi Diane - just had another look here and learnt another new word ... tympanum ... wonderful how we learn as we blog ... and Devizes still seems to be enticing ... when I can get away ... hope you're settled back home now - cheers Hilary

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    3. I always find I learn so much from your posts, seldom do you blog on anything that I know well. Back home and amazing weather but will it last, I doubt it!!! Keep well Diane

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  5. Great photos, Diane and sounds like a wonderful town to visit. The church looks grand and the last photo of the canal is awesome. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Pam, the historic towns in Europe are really so interesting, I wish I had enjoyed history more when I was at school as I really love it now! Keep well Diane

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  6. What a beautiful tour of historic places and historic horse-drawn beer delivery!

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Mae for the visit and the comment but please note that I do not normally allow links in my comments. Have a good day Diane

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  7. It looks an interesting historic town. One I have never heard of before.

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    1. Diane it is a lovely little place but not the easiest to get unless you have a car. The closest station is 30 minutes away and coaches are a little intermittent. Having said that our relatives in Australia have managed to find a bus route from Heathrow as the plane always arrives early in the morning.
      Hope that all is well with you t’other Diane

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  8. I don't think I'd mind spending 6 weeks here. Your photos make it seem very appealing.

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    1. Hi Mary, so good to hear from you. Devizes is a delightful place with masses of history. You just need summer months to really enjoy it! Hope that all is well with you, Diane

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