Southrop (Gloucestershire Cotswolds)
A very old
font which shows 5 virtues eliminating 5 sins (this is panel
4 - (pants down) Luxuria (aka Lust)
so as not to give you bad ideas if you had not already heard
of it, skewered
This font was
also found buried in the churchyard.
Hell - a small part of the Last Judgement West Window in the amazing
and mostly original 1515-1525 stained glass filled Fairfield Parish Church
of Saint Mary (Gloucestershire
Cotswolds) - another wool church, but this time with the
help of the Royal (Henry VII) Glaziers and a Flemish painter
or two. Outside of Chartres (200+/- years' earlier) this
is the most complete old stained glass ensemble anywhere.
Everything and everyone is there, from Eve through the life
/ death / life of Jesus to the last judgement. And a
few wonderful portraits of baddies like Judas and a school
of devils are also thrown in. By this date the
Italian Renaissance was into its third
generation of artists, and this is clearly
evident in the quality and style of the artwork, some of
which is almost interchangeable with, say, Ghirlandao's
frescos in Florence.
three similar window cycles were made. Westminster
Abbey got the first (tragically sadly destroyed by German
Henry VII popped
in to Fairford to have a look after the second set of glass
was installed here, and a similar array appeared in his
Kings College Chapel in Cambridge some time later.
16 Fairford Devils, very high up in the clerestory, are
also amazing - here are representatives from three out of
the four devil groups:
dignified and very old Sheela-na-gig on an inside wall near
the font of the church of Ampney St Peter,
the vicar found whilst fossicking around in the churchyard
of St Mary, Luppitt (Devon) just over 100 years ago.
Sunday morning 16
October 2011 - breakfast with a view from Room 1 of the Pierhouse
Hotel, Charlestown (Cornwall).
The view was more
fun than than watching the NZ v
Oz rugby semi final world cup match .... oh dearie dearie me ......
Fletch has now watched
Australian losses in the Rugby World Cup from Sorrento (2003 final
loss to England) and the Auvergne (2007 loss to England again) and now
to New Zealand.
No matter - forget the Rugby disaster - time to
revive the great touring Paradox Sunday Lunch tradition, and
what better place than Rick Stein's (monk)fish and chips in
Falmouth, where we also got to go to our first English Food
Festival and learned about the Falmouth Packets in
the next door Maritime Museum. As a matter of interest
both previous Oz Rugby losses were marked by outstanding
meals and red wine ......
Harbour on a seductive day - it's one of the biggest natural
deep harbours in the world. Nick Middlecoat's*
brother-in-law and intermittent business partner, William Hambly, was Mayor of Falmouth in
1798 & 1799. He was a one man Cornwall promotion
operation - at one stage sending samples of Cornish Cheese
and Ham to George Washington via the Falmouth Packet Boats.
Sadly he over-reached himself financially and went bankrupt
a couple of years' later, but there is a letter of
appreciation in George Washington's papers:
Middlecoat (1752-1844 (92)) of Tregony, was Adrian's 4xGrt
Grandfather. Innkeeper, two timing political agent,
Cornish rogue, bankrupt, convicted electoral fraudster - an
Off to the
right we spotted what we thought might be one of the last
ships in the British Navy, until we noticed that it was
flying the Australian flag. It turned out that she was
the ex "RFA Largs Bay", recently bought by the Australian
Navy and renamed "HMAS
Choules". Six months'
later the Choules was sitting exhausted and crippled in Sydney after
major transformer breakdown as she was steaming towards her first Aussie
naval exercise. In April 2013 repairs were said
to have been completed at the expense of the long suffering
Australian taxpayer - nobody seemed to be
talking about how the purchaser inspection (not?) failed to
notice that the ships major transformers were shot.
President George Washington to Mayor William Hambly
September 1, 1799.
Sir: I have been
favoured with your favour of the 13th. of April from
Falmouth, accompanying what I persuade myself will (when
opened) be found to be, a very fine Cheese, as all which I
have had from you, have proved.
For this additional
evidence of your kind, and polite attention to me, I pray
you to accept my gratitude and thanks.
Unsuccessful in my
first attempt to get a few (Virginia) Hams to you I am
making another trial through the medium of Messrs. Thompson
and Veitch, and hope they will meet a better fate than the
For your obliging
wishes respecting me I feel very sensible. I reciprocate
them cordially, and am Sir etc
George Demountfryart, Adrian's 7xGrt Grandfather
and Mayor of Bodmin in 1700
Physician George Demountfryart
(1652 - 1717 (65)), Adrian's 7xGrt Grandfather
and Nick Middlecoat jnr's Grt Grandfather, had
five terms as Mayor of Bodmin (Cornwall) - 1691, 1694, 1700,
1712, & 1716.
George's name and 1700
mayoral term is still remembered on an inscribed stone next to this
Bodmin Bell Lane
water outlet. The water is piped from "The Beacon",
a hill some distance south of Bodmin, so this would have been a
undertaking, particularly after the need to rebuild the church spire
which had been destroyed by lightening in December 1699. The water was said
to be very healthy and especially good for curing eye infections.
Not today we think, but the fact that the piping is still working is
Sadly, the much recommended Bodmin church was closed for the
next half year - what is the point of having a large sign outside saying
that it is open daily for the other half of the year ??
reaches Tregony High (Cornwall) - "my 4xgrt grandfather Nick
Middlecoat jnr's (1752 - 1844 (92)) stomping ground in the
late 1700s / early 1800s - his Coaching Inn "The Queen's
Arms" stood on the site of the white house on the right".
The reason that the road is unusually wide is that in the
middle there was a market hall, and above this was a meeting
room (for the "council") - Nick went one stage further and
put a substantial arch over the road between his inn on the
right and the meeting room in the centre. Substantial,
because on top of the arch linking the inn and the meeting
room was a drinking lounge run by Nick (a sort of Cornwall
Vasari Corridor with bar).
Tregony and the Middlecoats, Hambleys,
Saunders, Hennas, Teagues, Demountfriarts et al
from a 1787 map of Tregony held at the Cornish Archives
"I stood there
imagining Nick the political fixer and deal
maker, whose territory this was" ....... the 1787 map above
shows the market place and the arch linking it with the
Middlecoat inn.The photo above was taken from just to the
left of the market place location.
The tower on the
left was built much later when the middle-road markets were
removed, but the large stone house (the old Rectory) and the
coaching inn next door
(The King's Arms - an excellent lunch spot and now sole
survivor of Tregony's 30 - 40 inns and pubs) on the left
would have been familiar sights to Nick. Many many
thanks to Frank Grigg, local historian, for helping
interpret all of this and taking time to meet up.
1819 Electoral Bribery
On Wednesday July 14, 1819,
Isaac Watts, Samuel Groggan, John Luke, John Cooke and
Nicholas Middlecote (sic) were tried before the Lord Chief
Justice in the Court of the King's Bench, for a range of
offences relating to the attempted bribery of electors in
Tregony and Grampound before an election in the previous
year. They were found guilty in respect of the
Grampound related offences, but we have yet to discover what
the punishment was. Electoral bribery in the so-called
rotten boroughs of Cornwall was rampant at the time, yet
this was the only case ever to be successfully brought to
court before the Great Reform Act did a major clean-up in
1832. Nick and his mates must have got something
seriously wrong to go down in history in this way!
Eventually, as a
consequence of yet more bribery events, Grampound was
formally disenfranchised in 1824 - the only rotten borough
to receive this treatment prior to the Great Reform Act of
1832. And Nicholas Middlecoat Jnr (72) faded from the
public scene. But he is far from finished life-wise. In
1838 he is a witness at the marriage of his daughter
Charlotte to Charles Oatey, in 1841 he is censussed in
Rospeath near Land's End, and he finally dies in 1844, aged
92, and is buried in the Cuby with Tregony church.
Sadly his tombstone has not survived.
Grampound High, but probably
the only building that dates from pre 1818 is the church.
View from Room 1
- Pierhouse Hotel, Charlestown (Cornwall). The wharf,
a man-dug space protected by a tidal lock, was for over 200 years the export
centre for china clay, which was loaded onto boats from the
top road by the houses via long shutes. Cornwall
possesses the only known china clay deposits in Europe, and
the industry (still operating) was wealthy enough to dig out
and build this easy to access dock, thus avoiding the narrow
winding roads of the old fishing villages.
October - in
Cornwall on the trail of Nicholas Middlecoat
- THE FAMOUS SIGNAL BOX - PAGE REVAMPED AND MOVED
double headed Imperial Eagle in the Cistercian Cleeve Abbey's medieval
refectory floor. King John's second son Richard
(1209-1272 (63)) was
Earl of Cornwall and inter alia "King
of the Romans" - but he never made it to Rome to claim
the title of Holy Roman Emperor.
Cornwall one) also bankrolled the Cistercian abbey of
Hailes, and left a few imperial eagles and his tomb there.
Cleeve Abbey (N Somerset) a medieval floor tile image of
Saladin (c1137 - 1193 (56)) charging at full tilt. The recipient of the
charge - the awful King Richard - would have been shown in
a facing tile.
pew end in St Margaret, Spaxton (Quantock Hills, N Somerset)
showing a fuller and his tools of trade. Another
church with a quality space feel.
As described in
the church's website: "Fuller
Bench-end in Spaxton Church - This well known Sixteenth
Century bench-end in the parish church in Spaxton is a
reminder of the source of wealth which enabled our ancestors
to build the fine churches of Somerset. It shows a
fuller in his workshop at work with a two-handled mallet on
a piece of cloth surrounded by other tools of his trade.
There are shears, a knife, a weaver's comb and a
three-pronged instrument which is a teasel holder. At
the very top of the carving is a weaver's beam from which a
length of cloth is unwinding."
outside, there's a few corbels still playing on.
Bubb (South of Yeovil, Somerset) - We came to this little church
amidst farm houses to see the font (pics later), which was
overlooked by this beautiful little Annunciation
complete with a very startled looking Mary (that's how she
is often done in England!).
happened down the lane to have inherited the name "Hell Corner"
On the way
west ...... Licking
for England, West Knowle (Wiltshire)
Ambulance 1918 War Diary at the National Archives, Kew
131 Field Ambulance was
commanded by Adrian's grandfather Jimmy Sproule, who wrote
up their war diary every day - this page records his arrival
to take command on 25 February 1918
More about the 131 War Diary and Jimmy