This summer I was given a few days off from bookshop work and because I didn't have to do any school planning, I used these days to prepare for my new university experience as a PGCE student in Exeter (more on that in a few weeks!) and to take some time to explore the countryside a tiny bit. Not much, really. Just two good explorations.
The first was with a school colleague and her children. We had planned to visit Avebury since I didn't get a good look around during the DofE expedition. So, with my camera and trusty backpack, I boarded the rail replacement bus (the great rail improvement works to electrify the line between London and Bath was taking place) to Bradford on Avon where I was met by said colleague and kids. It was a bit of an overcast and rainy day but we managed to walk around the stones before the rain fell. We sat under some trees to eat our picnic while it rained around us! Despite the rain, it was a welcome break from uni prep!
The second exploration was a bit more special. I recently, I mean very recently, bought a car. A little old Clio and in order to get used to it enough for the trip to Exeter at the end of the month, I need to get as much experience driving it as possible. So, a day off means an outing. I've lived in the North East Somerset/West Wiltshire area since September 2009 and I've gone past Farleigh Hungerford Castle so many times but never had a chance to stop and look around. So today, I took my little car on its first outing that was just for fun. Not for shopping. Not for anything but to explore. And it was a perfect day for it.
Meet Cecil (don't ask!), the little Renault Clio 1.9D. He's an old man at 15 but so far has proved a trusty little car even with the little mistakes I make.
Two of the outer towers guarding what's left of the buildings in the bailey.
This archway was near the stables which are no longer standing. I thought it would make a cool picture if I could get one of the towers in the archway.
Imagine having to assault this castle! That's quite a ditch and then that imposing wall.
Standing somewhere near the dais in the Great Hall.
Looking back at the entrance to the inner bailey. The gatehouse isn't standing but that allows a good view of one of the oldest parts of this complex, the chapel.
Okay, so there's something about this tower that was pretty cool.
Standing among the ruins of what would have been the living quarters for the Hungerford family and any guests.
To me, it doesn't look too practical defence-wise but it was defensible with the towers, ditches and that gatehouse.
Info for those interested in the history. If you click on the picture you should be able to view it and then zoom in.
The obligatory English Heritage 3D model.
The strange angle is due to the sun streaming in through the window above, it was shining on the glass too much. This bible, as the photo below states is from 1611 and has a typo in it that must have been a little confusing.
Love the edges of the pages.
Fig trees in the garden surrounding the chapel. All the plants in the small garden are apparently what they would have had in the garden in the 1300s, medicinal plants especially.
The chapel dating to the 1300s.
I don't think I've seen better surviving paintings yet! This depicts St George slaying the dragon above the tomb of Sir Walter Hungerford (d. 1648) and his son, Edward (d. 1672)
The Hungerford Crest.
Interesting white roses... The Hungerfords were known Lancastrians. Lovely colours. This is again Walter and Edward's tomb.
Or should we call him Water! Oh well, I suppose once engraved, it can't be erased!
Some of the crests painted on the walls. According to a chart, the Hastings crest should have been somewhere on the walls, but I couldn't see it.
More crests above the tomb of Sir Edward Hungerford (1607) and his wife. The inscription was pretty easy to read but I couldn't get high enough to photograph what it said.
Not sure if the audio tour mentions these but look closely at the beams. By enhancing the photos on Lightroom, the cherubs are clearer than they were.
Tomb of Sir Thomas (d. 1397) and Dame Joan Hungerford (d. 1412)
Sir Edward (d. 1648) and Lady Margaret Hungerford (d. 1672)
The roof of the porch entrance to the chapel.
The exit from the chapel gardens and into the outer bailey.
Again, this tower...
Looks like there is a deeper ditch under those stones!
The defensive ditch!
The view from the car park.