Day 7 – Beausale, Haseley, Hatton, Warwick

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

I will give you fair warning: this is going to be a long posting! Everywhere I looked I saw old buildings, beautiful countryside, and interesting things; I couldn’t refrain from taking several pictures – 876 to be exact. I went through 2 camera batteries and had to resort to my cell phone at the end. Now, before you start growing worried, I didn’t upload all those photos here…but it was difficult to narrow it down. Maybe it is just me, reliving the magic of a beautiful day. So let me back up a bit and start at the beginning:

Before going to bed the night before I looked over the next day’s plans. I was a bit stressed out as it required another bus, in fact the only bus. Last winter when I was making my plans and fitting everything together, one of my big focal points was to make my way to Beausale where my father’s ancestors came from. Now, Beausale isn’t a very big place – you’d be hard pressed to even call it a village; it is a collecting of a few farms and that is it. But twice a week there is a bus that makes a run to each of these little places in the area to give opportunity for the elderly and handicapped to go to the grocery store or pharmacy, etc. It makes a loop once in the morning and then once in the evening on Wednesdays and Saturdays. My internet research told me I could catch the train out of Warwick to a little place called Lapworth (a small village with a school, a convenience store, a garage, and a post office) and catch the bus on its morning loop through the different communities and get off at the stop for Beausale where I could then walk to another village and catch the train back to Warwick later that day. Everything was hinging on this one bus, there was only one opportunity to get it right. (See my adventure trying to catch a bus to my other ancestor’s village here.) Maybe I should walk? It would be about 5 hours of walking briskly and my feet are already sore and blistered, and I was hoping to see a place or two around Warwick before it closed for the evening, too. No, I would stick with my original plan.

That morning I slipped quietly out of my room and made my way through the length of Warwick towards the train station.

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Beautiful morning for a walk through the lovely town of Warwick. There weren’t many others out and about yet.
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West Gate entrance into the old walled portion of the town.

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Loved all the old half-timbered houses.
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The Earl of Warwick’s heraldic device is a bear and ragged staff – it was everywhere in Warwick, including on these, what I am guessing were drain covers?, on this wall along the street.
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There was also this random flower carved into this block on the same wall.
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Old water pump outside the Lord Leycester Hospital – a retirement home for ex-Servicemen.
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The Lord Leycester – still closed up early in the morning. I took a tour later during opening hours.
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The Town Hall on the corner of Jury Street. Also an tourist information place, an infantry museum, and held the town’s Assembly Rooms from the Regency Era.
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St. Mary’s Church with origins from the 11th century.
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The house of Thomas Oken – he was Master of the Guilds in 1545 and heard King Henry VIII was dissolving all the guilds in order to collect all the money throughout the country. Oken devised a way the town could keep its money through a charter making the town a corporation.

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East Gate
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The other side of East Gate, outside what used to be the town’s border.
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Still plenty of old buildings outside the town’s walls.
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And a few more modern shops as well.

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St. John’s House – has been a building on site here since the 1100’s when it was a hospital for lodging travelers, the poor, and sick (think of the word hospitality, not a medical hospital like we have today), before becoming a private house, then school, now museum. This present building was built in the later 1600’s.

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There was a Sainsbury’s grocery store near the station, so I left myself enough time to enjoy the early morning walk through the town and to find something for breakfast and lunch at the store. (I must say, I have enjoying the ease of finding dairy-free food in England, and the prices aren’t bad – you aren’t punished for having an allergy or restrictive diet.) Purchases in hand, I made my way to the station and caught my train. Lapworth was just a platform, and I imagined the commuters on their way to work in Birmingham were wondering why this lady was getting off at this barren piece of track.

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I ate my breakfast while waiting for the bus. The scheduled time came and went…and finally I saw it coming up the road. I pretty near jumped in front of it waving my arms back and forth over my head to make sure he was going to stop. As I boarded I told him and the conductor who helps the elderly/handicapped board the bus where I was looking to get off at, as they don’t normally stop there unless they know ahead of time. They asked if they needed to pick me up there that evening when they made their second loop around and were puzzled and concerned about me when I said no. We winded our way on narrow roads through the forests and farmland of the communities my family was from, and I was very glad I had the opportunity to see more of the outlying area where cousins married and moved to in days of yesteryear. At the crossroads where I was to get off, they confirmed one more time that I knew there would be no other way to leave if they weren’t to pick me up that evening. I assured them I was walking and I would be fine. They probably thought this girl with a foreign accent was a bit daft, but they let me go. I started off down the road. I had planned for an hour’s walk before I was to meet up with someone at the parish church my family would have went to. Everything was just so pretty, though, and I lingered too long.

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The old forge in Beausale, and was at one time a tavern, has been more recently renovated and sold.

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Holly Farm is aptly named – I walked by a solid mass of holly for several minutes.
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This is some of the wall of holly.

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Kites Nest Lane

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My first glimpse of Camp Hill Farm – believed to be the farm my ancestors leased for a few generations before my branch of the family left England.
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The barn – all the buildings have been renovated into housing now.
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The house is thought to have been built in the 1500-1600’s, so it is possible that my family might have lived in this same structure. I haven’t been able to determine the exact year they left – It seems like there were still living here in 1636, but they were settled in Boston, MA, USA by 1640.

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Entrance to the barn

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Rape, known as canola in Canada
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I found a path entering a farmer’s field around the edge of an old Celtic earthwork. This is how the Camp portion of Camp Hill Farm got its name: it was a hillfort and would have had a wooden palisade surrounded by steep ditches. What would have been the inside stands like a egg-shaped table top and is 1.3 hectares in size. It is now used for grazing.
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It is because of this hillfort that it is thought this may be the land my family had farmed. There are records from 1545 of John Coppe leasing a messuage and close called Ruytons Bury or Round Table, that had been part of Cockowe Church land.
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This church was a small chapel from the 1200’s that was built near the place called Rykmersbury or Rykenylesbury, and was on land held by Martin the Miller and was on the land between the mill and the fishpond and another 6 acres. (There are thought to be remains of a mill to the west of here about 1 1/2 km away.) The church land and the manor at Beausale (My featured picture for this posting) passed to the Earls of Warwick by 1300’s. Over time it became known as Cocouchirche/Cokeuchirche/ Cokkowe Church/Cuckow Church. Before the 1500’s the church was in ruins as there were no inhabitants to keep it up in repair, and by the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries from 1536-1541, there was about 4 pounds rent being collected for the farming of the land. I found elsewhere a mention of Cuckow Hill.
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By the 1400’s when a nearby priest, John Rous, was compiling his history of Warwickshire, Rykmersbury was already a de-populated village. The Black Death swept through the Midlands of England in the spring of 1349 – was it disease and panic that emptied the village? The -bury part of the village’s name is from the Anglo-Saxon -burgh meaning a fort or fortified place. So maybe this was the name of the remains of the old hillfort and its surrounding inhabitants in Anglo-Saxon times?

 

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Another farm nearby, Bull Oak Farm, found what they thought were remains of the church in one of their fields. From all other indications, though, I think Camp Hill Farm was the land that was leased by my family.

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Erosion has made the embankment of the hillfort much smaller over time.
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Starting down the hill towards Haseley and Hatton. Most of the countryside is fairly flat – just rolling hills rising up about 150 feet. There are some exceptions of certain hills rising up to 300 feet, and these were the ones usually chosen for a fortified area (Warwick was another). The Round Table of Camp Hill Farm sits at 384 feet.

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Another old barn that has since been converted into a house.
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I walked through a portion of Haseley so I could see this old church, The Church of St Mary the Virgin. The nave was built in the 1100’s, the chancel (which is the end closest) was built in the 1200’s, and the tower at the other end was built in the 1400’s. This church is actually closer to Beausale, and would have been a 10 min less walk than their church in Hatton, but Haseley was a different parish.
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The entrance is more modern, and the window to the right that sticks out was built in the 1500’s to accommodate the tomb of Sir Clement Throckmorton of Haseley Manor.

I continued on down the road into Hatton, past village green where the stocks used to be, and into the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church. I had arranged to see inside the church, and in spite of arriving quite late, was greeted warmly with an offer of a cup of tea and a chance to sit down and catch my breath. I explored the church; only the tower and the baptismal font remain from my family’s time in the 1600’s as the main structure of the church has been replaced a few times, the latest being in the 1880.

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You can see the old roof lines of the nave on the tower wall at different points of time through history.
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Boot scrape. It seemed like nearly every old building in Warwick had one built into the stone just outside their door.

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The lych gate – churches used to have them to shelter a coffin awaiting burial.

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My ancestors were baptized here. The bowl to this font dates back to the 1200’s, although the base is from Victorian times. Note the stone mason’s marks in the wall behind – each had his signature mark and if it wasn’t there he wouldn’t be paid for his work.

Many heartfelt thanks goes out to Vera Sida who patiently waited for me to arrive, and then as I took scads of photos inside and out of the church. She also very kindly offered me a drive back to Warwick instead of me walking to the nearest train platform and waiting. It was greatly appreciated! It also saved me quite a bit of time and I was able to see even more of the historical sites of Warwick than I thought I could cram in.

My next stop was the old Market Hall that now houses a museum. It gave a wonderful explanation of Warwickshire throughout the millennia, the different products manufactured there, types of wildlife, and was fun and interesting for all age groups.

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Giant Irish Deer, now extinct (couldn’t keep up with climate change).
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Wool hat making was one of the big industries from the area. The wool was raised in the Cotswolds and the coal that powered it came from mines in northern Warwickshire.
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A farmer’s smock from the 1800’s. These linen garments were worn to protect their them and their clothing like a coverall. Sometimes the embroidery work would have a design specific to the area they lived in or relating to their specific job. They would have had fancier ones for special occasions.
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Medical items: the chest is from the 1500-1600’s used to store the household’s herbs and medicines. A glass urine bottle for specimens, a cupping glass (used to make a vacuum seal and draw the blood to the surface), and pottery scoops for measuring medicines.
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Ralph Sheldon was a wealthy gentleman from Warwickshire. In the 1580’s he commissioned 4 tapestry maps to be made of Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire. They were to hang in his new house in Weston.  
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Only the Warwickshire tapestry remains. It gives a very good idea of what the area looked liked in Elizabethan times.
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The concept of putting north at the top of a map wasn’t as common then – this map runs with north to the left. At the time, part of the parish of Beausale was within the boundaries of Wedgnock Park – a deer park belonging to the Earl of Warwick that no one would be allowed to hunt in, or take wood from. Penalties were stiff – if caught poaching there was a hefty fine which the poor (often the ones starving enough to attempt it) wouldn’t be able to pay, or they’d be banished to Australia. Camp Hill Farm and a few other farms would have been in the area between Chase Park, Wedgnock Park, and the 3rd park below (I think that park belonged to Haseley Manor).

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After a quick lunch break in the market square, I walked back up to the other end of town to St. John’s Museum.

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The market square – it used to have a market cross but it was dismantled in 1643.

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The Tudor House Inn is on West St/Stratford Rd at the very bottom, the Lord Leycester Hospital and West Gate is 9, The Market Hall is 1, The East Gate is 3, St. Mary’s is 2, and St. John’s Museum is 4.
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Another view of St. Mary’s Collegiate

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St Peter’s Chapel used to sit at the crossroads in the centre of town, in the middle of the street. In the 1420’s it was moved here to the tower in East Gate, and a High Cross was put in its place. High Cross was used as a gathering point and a place for announcements and public declarations, and was even where Queen Elizabeth I received speeches in 1565. High Cross was removed when they widened the streets after the fire of 1694.

 

When I arrived at St. Johns House Museum, the main reception area on the ground floor explained the history and the many functions of the building through time.  Unfortunately, entry to the rest of the house seemed to be closed off, but a section upstairs was open where there is a museum for the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Trip to the UK 2797After St John’s House, I walked back through town by way of St Nicholas Church St.

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Rush hour traffic
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The Corn Barn
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The old vicarage to St. Nicholas Church, with the church’s steeple in the background.

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St. Nicholas Church

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Walking along the outside of the castle’s walls I came across these filled-in separate entrances for women and men. I haven’t been able to find out from what time era and why, so these remain a mystery. Hmmm…

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I am now back to the main streets of Warwick so I decide to stop in to the Town Hall. It is a wealth of information for the town of Warwick’s history: it’s fire in 1694, what life was like throughout the centuries, etc. This chest would have been used for a charity or a corporation to hold its documents, money, and valuable items. Each trustee would have held a key to a different lock, ensuring nothing was stolen and all would be present for it to be opened.
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A map of Warwick from before 1640’s
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The fire began just west of here, near the Quaker Meeting House. Most of the buildings in the 1600’s already had tiled roofing, but all the outbuildings still had thatched roofs. There was a strong wind blowing up from across the River Avon and the fire spread quickly. Many of the brick or stone buildings were built post-fire, and the half-timbered ones like these were built pre-fire.

 

My next stop was the Lord Leycester Hospital. The first buildings began in 1123 when the chapel was built. The site was donated by the Earl of Warwick for a guildhall in the 1300’s and the present buildings are from the late 1400’s. In 1571 Robert Dudley, Earl of Leycester, endowed it to be a home for retired ex-servicemen which it has remained ever since. I was very glad I took the time to visit here – it was one of my favourite places I ended up visiting in Warwick, and I highly recommend it!

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Note the white Bear and Ragged Staff emblem above the courtyard entryway. Upstairs, to the right, is the Guildhall. Downstairs, and scattered throughout are the apartments for the ex-servicemen.
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The entrance to the Chapel of St James the Great.
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There is no electricity in the chapel.
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The residents meet here every morning for prayer. This was part of the conditions given by Robert Dudley 450 years ago.

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The carving was amazing.
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An old Bible perhaps? I was afraid to touch it, it looked so old.
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Bear and Ragged Staff
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The tapestries are from King George V’s coronation in London.
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The Great Hall – was used for celebrations in the town, a tradition that still remains today as they are preparing for a wedding. In 1617 King James I visited and there was a banquet here in his honour. The town was in debt for 10 years after hosting him and his entourage.
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The Courtyard

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Inside the Guildhall. After King Henry VIII dissolved the guilds in 1546, the Warwick School (one of the oldest in the country) was held here for a period (it is now located on the other side of the River Avon).
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The table is the original from the 1400’s when the guild members met for business. There is also a chair here (not pictured) that was used by King James I when he visited.
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This oak cupboard from nearby Kenilworth Castle, Robert Dudley’s home, is said to have once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I.
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In the kitchens, now serving as a tearoom for visitors. Meals have been prepared here for 600 years, but this range only dates from 1854 and was made in Leamington Spa.
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I was super excited to find out they had this dairy-free Victorian sponge cake. It was wonderful to sit down and enjoy tea here in these ancient settings and have this unexpected treat.

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A padlocked inkwell from the 1500’s.

 

The beautiful gardens – parts dating back to the 1500’s. It includes orchards, a knot garden, a wide variety of flowers, and vegetable plots for the ex-servicemen. The archway (lower right) was from Norman times, found under St. James Chapel in 1860 and reconstructed here.

The retirees suggested I should visit St. Mary’s church, and as I still had a bit of time before closing, I made my way there next.

The Collegiate Church of St. Mary has been a place of pilgrimage and prayer for over 800 years. All that remains from the building from 1123 is the crypt. The current building only dates back to the early 1700’s – a rebuilding after the fire of 1694.

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It was here at the crypt entrance my 2nd camera battery gave up the ghost and I had to resort to my cell phone’s camera. There had been someone practicing the organ when I first arrived, but as I wandered about, it had grown quiet. As I began my descent into the crypt, they started up again with eerie music like what you would imagine from a old horror film. Talk about timing…
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The crypt is the oldest surviving structure in Warwick. Most of the Earls of Warwick are buried here, amongst other less notables.
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The remains of a ducking stool was relegated to the crypt when this form of punishment went out of style 200 years ago. People charged with immoral behaviour, witchcraft, or even a quarreling husband and wife would have been strapped to a chair attached at one end of the pivot and wheeled through town to a pond and repeatedly dunked for the number of times that they were sentenced to.

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Entrance to the Beauchamp Chapel, built between 1442-1460 for Earl Richard Beauchamp of Warwick Castle (he was Richard Neville, the Kingmaker’s father-in-law.)

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This chapel was extremely ornate and must have been quite costly in its time.

 

After this very full day, I made a quick stop at the local Marks and Spencer grocery store to find my supper on my way back to my room. To say that I was tired would be an understatement, but I was still riding a wave of euphoria and disbelief for all I had seen and taken in that day. It wasn’t very late, so I turned on the television to see if there was something interesting to watch, and what should I find but a version of Pride and Prejudice? A perfect ending to an amazing day – yummy food, a cup of tea, Pride and Prejudice, all whilst lying back on a gorgeous 4 poster bed in a medieval inn. Could life get any better than that?!
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One thought on “Day 7 – Beausale, Haseley, Hatton, Warwick

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