|Matt needed to collect some parts from a place near Cirencester; he said it was more or less on his way to meet up with the rest of the family who were at the Dog Show event and I had seen some of Cirencester previously and was keen to see a bit more, and Jennie wanted to revisit an antique shop she'd been to before, so off we went.
First stop was NOT COFFEE, but lunch at a pub near the Cathedral before Matt continued on his way. Then we split Bev and I to the museum Jennie to find her shop.
Here we found out a lot more about the Celts, their lifestyles, their clothes, burials, and their chariots, which the Romans much admired when they arrived.
The chariots had helped Boadicea defeat the Romans in one of their first attempts to invade the country.
Says something about my memory, I remember from Primary school days the story of Boadicea, Celtic Queen defeating an enemy (had forgotten tribal group -the icene and who she defeated-the Romkans, but not bad for 60 years. BUT I have to keep checking on current information that I know I know, but cant remember.
We were very disappointed that there were no walking or other tours. Well not on that day, and even then not often, but there was a leaflet with a walking trail around town outlined. So off we went with that! What a mess. not all streets were named on the map, and when they were there were often no signs on the streets! Along the way there were interesting streets and buildings
We did find the Corn Hall, though probably could have don't that without the map as it was in the main street. The Corn Hall is used for local markets and there was a arts and crafts and homemade goodies day happening. It had been a large spacious building
but the un-photographed half has an added cantilever ceiling. Plaster board white. Very ugly and ruined the look of the building. There was probably a purpose but
don't know what. There was enough space above the inserted ceiling to have a room, but with no balcony rails on the outer edge it seemed the space was unused.
The Wool Market has imposing gates but there is no indication inside of what it might have looked like. The museum had provided the information that it was the centre of the Cotswalds wool trade, that the buyers were international and that this had contributed to the town also leading banking developments.
What we were really looking for, having seen the main street before, was Brunel's station which must have been one the first he had designed. The map showed fairly clearly that it was near the War Memorial. When we got near the area we thought would be it, it was hopeless. There was a very large shopping centre (which had been there last year and probably a few years before that) and the streets were different. Eventually we asked a lady with a shopping bag (a bit of an indication that she might be local) Her response, "Ive never seen a war memorial but that car park down there is the old Station Car Park" Up the road again to the car park and there was the remains of the old Railway station, neglected but still standing.
Talk about asking people directions; a car stopped beside us to ask direction to Cheltenham. Needless to say we weren't a lot of help.
Back to the Church; outside, on the cleaned section, there were the war memorial names, on a different stone. They must have been taken from the war memorial before its demolition to make way for the shopping centre and somehow inserted very expertly into this wall
We had seen reference to the Bear Inn in the museum. Neither of us could remember why it was significant in the towns history. WE asked when we were talking to a curate at the church, he wasn't sure but thought it might have been to do with the battle between Roundheads and Royalists during the civil war. This was a very Royalist town. A search o the internet was of no use, except that it was built in 1820's and that "Bear" seems to have been a common name for a pub. Does that mean there were bears still around then??
Back to the church, where we DIDNT climb to the top, though the view was probably fantastic. It hadn't rained but humidity must have been in region of 90%.
Here there was a very good pamphlet of the story of all parts of the church. It and belonged to a very, very large Abbey situated nearby. The abbey was destroyed by henry 8th and church changed hands. The front section, the part that has been cleaned and looks unnaturally yellow, was the town hall and offices. Inside we went through the lot. photos of more interesting points.
This was a tomb for mum Dad and their 11 children. No matter how we looked we could only see 9 children on the side. Mums outfit was interesting. Couldn't get in to photograph it from the other end, as I think dress to was very 'puritan' in style.
This chalice would have been taken too valuable to destroy) if it had been in the church at the time of the Reformation. But it took some years to get to the church. Decorations on it relate to Anne Boleyn; it was given by her daughter, Queen Elizabeth 1 to her physician, who had given it to...., who had gave it to... and it ended up here!
As we had to public transport our way back to fleet, at 4.45 we met at the bus stop. Jennie's Antique shop had closed down, but without the map which had hindered us, she had seen lots. The bus ride wandered around every village between Cirencester and Swindon. Took us an hour but it was interesting. The rain started en-route. We were fortunate in our connections between the three trains we needed to get across country (we had thought it was 2!). Arrived back at Fleet with the rain still going. Its an 18 minute walk from the station. Jennie and I hoped desperately that there would be a bus at the station (it runs every half hour.)So off we trudged after Bevan, who has probably never deigned to catch the bus. First time
Ive used my umbrella on the whole trip!