Lanercost Priory ~ 2014 ~ The Tombs

Following on from last weeks pictures of the priory HERE, today we’re going to investigate the contents of the tombs within.

Hubert de Vaux’s eldest son Robert de Vaux was the founder of Lanercost Priory, and for centuries the de Vaux remained important benefactors of the priory.  In the north transept, the oldest tomb of the priory is one of the Roland de Vaux lords from the fourteenth century.  Unfortunately the knight’s effigy and tomb decorations are mostly now gone, but surviving fragments of the effigy from the top of the tomb are now in store.

I managed not to take a picture of Roly’s tomb, so asked permission to link to this one I found on Flickr.

Roly, photo by Purple Heather ~ Flickr

Next up we have the first Dacre tomb, the tomb of Sir Humphrey (1424–85), 1st Baron Dacre, and his wife, Mabel Parr (d. 1510), stands in a chapel off the north transept. The visible sides are covered with heraldic imagery, showing the various families who had married into the Dacre line. This tomb was erected by their son Thomas. Sir Hump was a soldier, landowner in Cumbria, and peer, and stayed loyal to King Henry VI at The Battle of Towton during the War of the Roses. The battle took place in 1461 and was fought for ten hours between an estimated 50,000 soldiers in a snowstorm on Palm Sunday, with the Yorkist army achieving a decisive victory over their Lancastrian opponents. As a result, Edward IV deposed the Lancastrian Henry VI and secured the English throne. Our Hump was attainted, which meant he lost everything, his property and titles, but managed to keep his life.

He must have been a wiley old fox as he was later pardoned, regained the family estates, summoned to parliament as a baron, attended the coronation of Richard III, and was appointed Governor of Carlisle and Warden of the West Marches. His Missis, Mabs, was the great aunt to Catherine Parr, Ol’Henery the eighth’s last Missis, and the only one to survive marriage to him.

Tomb of Sir Humphrey Dacre and his wife, Lady Mabel
Photo by PunkToad, Flickr ~ The tomb of Sir Hump and Lady Mabs. On the left are the de Vaux chequers; on the right, the Dacre scallops; and in the centre, Humphrey Dacre’s arms, with the Dacre (scallop), Vaux (chequers), Lancaster (lion above bars) and Morville (lattice with fleur-de-lys) family arms quartered
Side panel details see info under previous photo.

Thomas, 2nd Baron Dacre (1467–1525), and his wife, Elizabeth Greystoke (d.1516), are buried in the second large chest tomb, which stands in the south transept, under an early 19th-century stone canopy. The tomb was erected by Thomas during his lifetime. The arms of the Dacre and Greystoke families are set within garters, so the tomb must date from after 1518, when Thomas was made a Knight of the Garter.

Hump and Mabs, had 9 children, the eldest being Tommy who succeeded Hump as Baron Dacre of Gilsland. He too was a soldier but fought on the Yorkist side in the Battle of Bosworth, the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, which took place on August 22nd 1485. Dicky III was on the throne at this point, but was defeated and killed in the battle, with the Lancastrian Henry Tudor being the winner taking all. Like his Dad, Tommy managed to suck up to the victor and earned himself some kudos with Henry Tudor who had now ascended the throne as “King Henry VII of England” and who would continue to trust Tommy’s services for the remainder of his reign. Henry made Tommy a Knight of the Bath in 1503.

I think a small digression is worthy here, to explain that during the middle ages, knighthoods were often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. (Blokes!!🙄) The chap being Knighted would first have to have a bath and not the kind where you chill out in candlelight with nice smelling bubbles and a waterproof book, nope, instead he had senior Knights instructing him in his Knightly duties. I bet the water went cold. Then he’d be clothed in a special cloak and music would play whilst he was taken to a chapel to pull an all nighter vigil. At dawn he’d have to make a confession and go to mass, after which he was allowed to go to bed for a snooze until it was fully daylight. Lastly he was taken to see the King who instructed two senior Knights to strap spurs to the chaps heels, and then the King fastened a belt around the guy’s waist, and then smacked him on the neck with his hand or a sword. The chap was then a Knight. 🤷‍♀️ Nowadays the Monarch just has them visit Buckingham Palace and taps the persons shoulders with a sword, job done, no messing about with baths and spurs.

Our Tommy then declared loyalty to the next King, the Eighth Henry. He did well too and by 1509 was Lord of all The Marches. The Lord Warden of the Marches was an office in the governments of Scotland and England. The holders were responsible for the security of the border between the two nations, and often took part in military action. He had an illustrious military career, being in charge of the “Border Lancers” at the Battle of Flodden in 1513 where the invading army of James IV was crushingly defeated and its king killed. Tommy found him and transported him to Berwick on Tweed. Henery made Tommy a Knight of the Garter in 1518 and he was present, with all the other Garter Knights, at the meeting in 1520 between Henry VIII and the Pesky French King Francis I, you may know of it as The Field of The Cloth of Gold. Anyhoo, Tommy died on the borders on 24 October 1525, killed by a fall from his horse, a bit of an ignominius ending I feel,and was banged up in the tomb below.

I must mention he married Elizabeth Greystoke, 6th Baroness of Greystoke in her own right, and she was absolutely minted! Tommy abducted eloped with her at night from Brougham Castle where she’d been staying as a ward of the King in the custody of the Baron of Clifford. When they married the extensive lands held by the Greystokes passed to the Dacre family. These included Greystoke Castle and the barony of Greystoke, Morpeth Castle and the barony of Morpeth, along with the lost manor of Henderskelf, which is now the site of Castle Howard. Tommy and Liz had eight children who all became or married, Knights and Earls and Barons but am not sure which of them would have been the ancestor of Tarzan.

Tommy and Lizzy

Although there were very few family buriels inside the church between the 16th and 18th centuries, in 1708, a 25yr old chap, John Crow of Longlands, died whilst falling trying to climb the ruins, stupid boy, and ended up buried in a re-used 14th Century chest tomb, previous incumbent unknown. ( Stop weeping April 🙂 ) The tomb effigy is the only complete medieval effigy to survive at Lanercost.

John Crow & who knows who’s effigy.

In the 19th Century the Priory was in the hands of the Howard family, George Howard (1843–1911), 9th Earl of Carlisle, revived the use of the church as a family mausoleum. His infant daughter Eizabeth died at the age of 4 months in 1883, and he had a terracotta effigy made of her by the famous sculptor Sir Edgar Boehm. George was quite the artist with many of his works in prestigious galleries and museums, the Tate and the Ashmolean being just two.

The Howards lived in London in Kensington, in a house at 1 Palace Green,built for them by Arts and Crafts architect Philip Webb in 1870,and at Naworth Castle. Among their visitors at Naworth were Robert Browning, William Ewart Gladstone, Lewis Carroll, Alfred, Lord Tennyson and many others. William Morris was an intimate friend, well that’s what it says but I think it means in the intellectual sense, and his wallpapers were used in Kensington, at Naworth Castle and at Castle Howard when George inherited it. With Morris and Webb he was one of the founding members of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

Li’l Lizzy

George’s eldest son Charles (8 March 1867 – 20 January 1912) became the 10th Earl of Carlisle when Dad expired in 1911 and was also known as Viscount of Morpeth from 1889 to 1911. Another soldier he was firstly a Captain in the 3rd Border Regiment, whereafter he retired from the regular army and went on to serve in the Boer War in South Africa as a Captain in the 5th militia Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own). After the war he became the MP for Birmingham South until he got his Earldom in 1911 and joined the house of Lords. He died age 44, and his wife Rhoda Ankaret L’Estrange, with whomst he got spliced in 1894, didn’t join him until 1957 45 years later. They they stuck her in the same tomb with him and she was the last person to be entombed in the priory.

Charlie and Rhoda.

So that’s it for tombs, but there’s a couple of interesting grave slabs to look at.

Firstly the one on the right in this next photograph is possibly from the late 12th century, with a small Maltese cross on the top surface. On its left side is a sword, and on the right are a pilgrim’s scrip (purse or satchel) and palm, suggesting the deceased had been on pilgrimage. Can’t make much out of all that except the palm and the sword.

Old slab.

The next one below is a fragment of a late 14th- or 15th-century floor slab or tomb chest, bearing a cross with fleur-de-lys terminals. On the left is a scallop, part of the Dacre family crest.

Less old old slab.

And that is the end of our history lesson today 😊

All images taken by me except where stated otherwise, and are clickable and embiggenable. The 2 from Flickr are links from those person’s albums and you can see more of their photos of Lanercost if you click through and scroll about.

No apostrophies were harmed in the making of this post, but some may have gone out to play, and others could be playing somewhere they’re not supposed to be.

refs:-
https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/lanercost-priory/history/a-family-mausoleum/
wiki for all the Lords and Ladies

for wherever next.

📷😊

2022 retrospective thingy.

Photography outings with Sophie have been more sporadic, and not as many as previous years, as pandemic year saw Sophie end up moving to Spain, although she returns in University term times to teach, and we get to see each other then. I thought it would be nice this week to look back on where we’ve been this year and choose a photo to go with the memory.

Our first outing was in February, and we went to visit Seaton Delaville Hall. I didn’t do a post as I’d already covered it extensively in 2019 but there was a cool installation in the main hall which I took a shot of with my phone.

Seaton Delaville

In March we visited a few medieval churches up in Northumberland, we learned about Saint Maurice, Queen Maud , Charles Bozanquet but my favourite was coming across the C15th alabaster tomb of the crusader knight Sir Ralph Grey and his wife, Elizabeth, which we found in St.Peter’s Church in Chillingham.

Sophie was in Spain for most of April but we got back together in May and went to visit Edlingham where there’s a (guess what?) medieval church and a castle ruin. I love this shot of the castle, incongruous in the rustic, peaceful landscape, its bovine companions unimpressed by its presence.

Ralph & Lizzy
Edlingham Castle

Spring happened, eventually, it was late this year here, and still in May we visited Birkhead Gardens for some flower photography, there was a riot of colour. Strange phrase that, maybe, a multitude of colourful flowers would be a better one. Anyhow, this is one of my favourites of the day.

Delication

In June Sophie was in Spain and I spent a week down south with my grandson, so it was July when we next went out, and this time we went to Morpeth in Northumberland, and learned about Emily Wilding Davison, 1972-1913, a suffragette who chucked herself under the King’s racehorse in protest, and consquently died. Also that day we visited Herterton Gardens where Marjorie and Frank Lawley, who we met, had spent a lifetime renovating a rundown cottage and landscaping the area around it.

Herterton House and Gardens

August saw Sophie’s hubby Mentat come over for a visit, and we took him to Raby Castle, which we’ve photographed many times before, so I didn’t do very much, but got a shot of Sir Deer.

Sir Deer

In September Sophie was back to Spain, but October saw us out every weekend bar one. The Owl Centre gave us Mr.Blue, a most popular chap on that post.

Mr.Blue

We learned about Pesky Scots and Robert the Bruce’s ancestor Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, (1070–1141) on a visit to Guisborough Priory

Guisborough Priory

and caught some autumnal colour at Watergate Forest Park.

November was cold but we still went out, first to Barter Books in Alnwick followed by lunch at the Rockinghorse Café in Rock, and a trog up to the Old Gun Battery at Alnmouth. I haven’t posted yet about the Gun Battery as those pictures will all be on Film Friday, but here’s a panorama of the view from there, taken with my phone.

View from the Old Gun Battery.

December took us to Bishop Auckland to the Spanish Gallery, and the Locomotion Museum and the following weekend to the Christmas Markets.

And that’s been it for 2022. Sophie will be back from Spain at the end of January, so we can start finding new places to go and things to see in 2023.

Lastly but by no means leastly, a big THANKS to anyone who follows any of my blogs, especially those who comment, it’s good to parlais with y’all. Special thanks to those I follow, who recommend movies and books, you’ve embiggened my entertainment and cost me a fair few quid along the way. Special thanks to the inspirational artists and photographers I follow, keep it up! Special thanks to the teachers and writers of history, I love the fascinating stuff you come up with. And a big shout out to the other members of the WP4, thanks for making me laugh, a lot.

My best wishes to all and Happy New Year! Bring it on!

📷 📱😊

Christmas Market North Shields ~ December 2022

Not sure if anyone will be popping in here as it’s Christmas Day, but if you do, my very heartfelt Best Wishes for a lovely day for you, wherever and however you are. Sundays are my post days here, and not even Christmas prevents that, so here’s a short one, that is at least apt for the day.

On our last outing together before Sophie’s return to Spain, we decided to visit the Christmas Market in North Shields. There were many, many stalls selling all sorts of produce, arts, crafts, clothes. All the usual stuff, and the place was heaving with people, it you stood still you got knocked into. Not really conducive to taking photographs. So we didn’t, we sauntered around trying to peek through people to see the stalls. I know Sophie was looking at a hat stall for a Christmas present but not sure if she bought one in the end as I’d wandered off to look at something else, and I bought three scotch eggs of different flavours as Phil likes them, but mostly we didn’t buy anything.

They had some fairground rides for the kids, so we went and photographed those instead. They’d kind of given it a Christmas feel, candy canes, penguins, Mickey Mouse dressed as Santa.

Helter Skelter
Runaway Train
Woolly Hats

It was nice for the Mums and their little kids I guess, and I realise I still prefer fairgrounds empty.

On the way back to the car I spotted a man parked on the corner of a road, or his car was anyway, and he was underneath it, I think he’d broken down and was trying to fix it.

Anyway the afternoon would be drawing in soon enough so we went over the river to South Shields Christmas Market, which we took one look at and decided it was not in the same league as the one we’d been to, so we went to lunch instead. On the way to where we thought we were going we spotted a sign outside the library building advertising the café within, so a snap decision was made and we went in. Not the best photo but I was trying to be unobtrusive (sneaky really) and fluffed it.

The Victorian Pantry.

It was so lush to be in from the cold for a while. We both had a home made vegetable soup and I had a ham sandwich with mine. The sandwich was nothing special, but the soup was glorious. I don’t do ‘food at the dinner table’ pics really, not a fan, but I had to remember this one! Made it myself last week, so yum!

Sooooop!

The evenings arrive so quickly up North here at this time of year, you just finish lunch to find the sun beginning to set. And so it was as we walked back to the car, and we could see it was going to be a lovely sunset and if we were sharp I could drive us up the coast to get some nice shots. So I did, and we did.

On the Tyne

I had my Contax on the go too, still waiting for those to come back, so the iPhone was enlisted for this post, don’t usually bother but they look much better clicked through to, especially the last two. Anyhow enough of me,

#itsnotchristmaswithoutabing

Merry Everything, and have a cool Yule!

Stay tooned 😎 🎄

Locomotion ~ December 2022

I know last week I said I’d be posting the photos of the old gun battery which Sophie and I visited after Alnwick, but I’m saving them for Film Friday as they were all taken on the Contax. Instead, ths week I’m posting our trip to a train museum called Locomotion, in Shildon, which we visited after going to the Spanish Gallery in Bishop Auckland. I did take pictures at the gallery too though struggled with the lighting, and it was cool to see the Salvador Dali Christ of Saint John of the Cross, on loan from Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum Glasgow, in the same room as El Greco’s Christ on a cross. If you really are interested in 16/7th C Spanish art and religious iconography, there’s my gallery of less than great photos in the link HERE.

And so, Choo~choo! on with the trains!

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪

Shildon. An unassuming little town, (pop. about 9,900) I’ve visited a few times in the past for hearing aid purposes, and never knew that in the 1820s, the new Stockton & Darlington Railway (S&DR) chose the town for its engineering headquarters. Shildon became known as the ‘Cradle of the Railways’ and the world’s first true railway town, when on 27 September 1825 George Stephenson’s Locomotion set off from outside the Mason’s Arms public house, hauling the first passenger train to Stockton.You could say that the Mason’s Arms could be classified as the world’s first railway station. In the early stages of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, tickets were sold at the bar. Between 1833 and 1841 the company hired a room in the pub for use as a booking office.

A chap from Shildon, Timothy Hackworth, was recruited by George Stephenson in 1824 and put in charge of building locomotives for the company, becoming superintendant in 1825. He also established his own company, the Soho Locomotive Building Company, and worked alongside the S&DR. In 1855, Hackworth having gone to the Great Railway Station in the Sky, the Soho Works were bought by the S& DR, merging with the North Eastern Railway in 1863. Locomotive production was shifted to their North Road Works in Darlington. The Shildon Works continued but focus was shifted to the construction of waggons.

It did suffer from industrial action when a strike in 1911 kicked off. The Govt sent in the Army (a bad habit they’ve got as they’re still using them to break strikes today) A driver of a mineral train was stoned and dragged from his engine then pursued by an angry mob and had to be rescued by soldiers so maybe he was happy they were there. Mineral wagons had their bottom doors undone and the contents allowed to fall out. Wagons in the sidings had their brakes undone and freewheeled for miles, railway signal cables were damaged and the cavalry had to be called. At one stage soldiers had to mount a Bayonet charge to clear a bridge. They certainly knew how to strike back then, none of this namby pamby placard carrying outside the workplace!

By 1926 and at its height, the Shildon Wagon Works was the largest in Europe and the massive infrastructure of sidings that supported the works was the largest in the world employing 2,600 people. But all good things come to an end, and in the 1930’s the London and North Eastern Railway Company had decided to concentrate their operations to Darlington. The Soho works laid derelict since the 1940s and were scheduled for demolition in the 1970s, however, the buildings were saved when they were restored and opened to the public as part of the Timothy Hackworth Museum.

The Locomotion Museum, incorporating the existing Timothy Hackworth Museum and part of the National Railway Museum in York, was opened on Friday 22 October 2004. The new museum came about as part of a £70 million government funding arrangement for museums across the country. The project received £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund along with grant aid from a number of groups. The museum hoped to attract 60,000 visitors in the first year but had 70,000 visitors in the first two months

Lastly, an inspired piece of journalism from The Northern Echo newspaper on the advent of the 50th anniverary of the railway in 1855, that made me laugh ~ ‘Shildon is one of the ugliest places on the earth’s fair surface. It was once a swamp, the malaria from which laid many of its early inhabitants low with fever. It is now a hideous congerie of houses, growing like fungus on either side of a network of rails. A huge colliery rears its ungainly head close to the rails, and the noise of its working ceases not for ever. Engines are plying about with restless activity, like spiders running along the threads of their nets seeking for hapless flies’.

They don’t write’em like that anymore!

OK, edumacation over, let’s do some pics.

Steam locomotive, Southern Railway, Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 No 34051 “Winston Churchill”, designed by O.V. Bulleid, built at Brighton in 1946, withdrawn in 1965.
After Winston Churchill’s state funeral on 30th January 1965 the locomotive hauled the funeral train. Thousands lined the trackside to watch as the train pass. More Info HERE
Diesel-electric locomotive, prototype English Electric 3300HP “Deltic”, 1955, BR number ‘DP1″ Deltic was withdrawn in March 1961 after failing in service. In April 1963 it was presented to the Science Museum and was then transferred to the National Railway Museum in 1993. Though this one’s a prototype 22 locomotives were built in 1961–2 to take over from steam on express trains such as The Flying Scotsman and to offer the first services regularly running at 100mph. More info HERE
Snow plough, North Eastern Railway, No DE900566, 1891. The first NER snowplough was built in 1887 and, despite an accident in 1888 where a plough train upended a locomotive at Annitsford, 23 more were made. All 24 were made of wood except the final two, which were metal.
Railway carriage, London & North Western Railway, Queen Alexandra’s Saloon, No 801, built in 1902.
Internally, the arrangments included a day saloon, two dressing rooms, a bedroom, lavatory, and two vestibules at each end. When the carriage was first built there were two beds, the second being for Queen Alexandra’s daughter the Princess Victoria.
Royal knobs.

You are not allowed to go inside so the first 2 were taken with my iPhone stuck on the window, the website lets you use their shots so here are 2 of the inside, taken inside.

The North British Railway, one of Scotland’s major railways, operated the branch extending from Carlisle to Silloth and its sub-branch to Port Carlisle. Freight services on the latter branch were discontinued as early as 1899, but a horse-drawn passenger service instituted in 1863 remained until early 1914, when it was finally superseded by steam. Known as Dandy Cars, this one was made in 1856 and designed like a stagecoach. First and second class travellers would sit inside, and third class passengers would sit on the benches outside. 😳
Steam locomotive, remains of Timothy Hackworth’s 0-4-0 locomotive “Sans Pareil”. More info HERE
Fire Engine 1880 ~ Gateshead Railway Works

Royal Mail carriage.

 

Those are the highlights, more trains and details in my album HERE for any ferroequinologists out there
and the Locomotion Website can be accessed HERE.

It’s a nicely done museum, free to get in though they do like a donation if you can. The café is fine, usual stuff, hot and cold drinks, soup and roll, jacket potato, pasties, toasties, paninis at reasonable prices. We would have liked to go inside the Royal Train, but that doesn’t ever happen, and I do understand, everyone would want to get in and everyone mostly had little kids with them! There were lots of information boards and videos and we really enjoyed it and learned a lot, in spite of neither of us being really interested in trains!

Stay tooned peeps!

😊

Alnwick November 2022

On Sophies first weekend back from Spain, we decided to organise our photography trip around our favourite café, regular readers will know we love The Rocking Horse Café up in the Alnwick area of Northumberland. Before lunch though we went to visit Barter Books on the outskirts of Alnwick town.

A l’il History Bit

Alnwick Railway Station is a Victorian building designed by William Bell and opened in 1887. In 1991, after the closure of the branch line to Alnwick 10 years before, it reopened as a second~hand book shop having been bought by Stuart and Mary Manley who also run it. 350,000 people a year come to visit it, 140,000 of those from outside the area according to Wiki, but that isn’t surprising, Alnwick isn’t THAT big! Anyway it’s one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Europe, and is notable for using a barter system (hence the name) whereby customers can exchange their books for credit against future purchases, but you can also just buy books like in a shop.

It’s also quite famous, as in 2000, the owner discovered a box of old books bought at auction and in it was a WW2 poster from 1939 that hadn’t seen the light of day until then. I see you wondering why that made it famous, doesn’t sound like much, but you might have seen what became of the poster.

On to some pictures I took inside

Everything is only order and beauty, quiet luxury and peace.
Where no Storms Come
Paranormal Beauty
Luxury, peace and pleasure.

They have rare books in locked glass cupboards as they have had a robbery in the past.

The Pied Piper
Flowers from Leonard Cohen 🤷‍♀️
To Posterity and Beyond! ~ Books Lightyear. I made a joke. 🥴

After having a good old wander through the sections, we both purchased a couple of books each, and then we went off to Rock, for lunch at The Rocking Horse. Check out the menu, yum!

It’s a dog friendly café and there are 3 resident border collies.

doggies.

After lunch we drove down the coast to Alnmouth an visited the Old Gun Battery Emplacement ruin, as you do, so stay tooned for next week!

📷 😊

Watergate Forest Park ~ October 2022

Sophie and I had our last outing for a while at the end of October, and we went to visit a park in Gateshead to see some Autumn colour, hopefully at least.

The Watergate Colliery pictured at the top there, started out in the 1800’s, and was finally shutdown in 1917. Unlike Washington, which as we saw last week got it’s own museum, Watergate was left alone until reclamation work began in the 1990’s, and the site was transformed into a recreational park having a series of trails and paths that take you through woodland, around the lake and through wildflower meadows.

It was a bit chilly, but still a nice day with some sunshine now and again, and we did get some autumn colours. I had my Fuji and my contax with me but have yet to finish the roll on that, so here are the few I took with the Fuji.

Details of a memorial to the miners.
a deer on the edge of the forest
Sunshine and doomcloud!
“Dancing of the autumn leaves on a surface of a lake is a dream we see when we are awake.” Mehmet Murat Ildan
fluffybum
“There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been.” Percy Bysshe Shelly
“Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmness, year’s end and day’s beginnings.” Terri Guillemets

Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath. Michael Caine

“Look with open eyes, and you will see the beauty of the waterfall.” Anthony Hincks
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days. – John Burroughs

So there we are. Not sure if Autumn has gone and Winter arrived yet, I can’t tell because of all the bliddy rain we’re having, and the forecast is for 2 weeks of it!

Stay tooned dear reader!

📷 😊

The Washington ‘F’pit museum ~ October 2022

So much of the North East is dedicated to its industrial past, none more so than the mining industry, and my regular reader will have seen various memorials along my photographic journies recorded here. The Washington ‘F’ mine pit has been restored so you can see it in action, and as Sophie was in Spain when it had an open day, I dragged Phil along with me and let him use my fuji XT2 whilst I did the iPhone shots and a couple of videos.

First though, as always,

The History Bit. ☕️ 🍪

In December 1775, a banking and mining tycoon from Sunderland called William Russell, leased all the coal underneath the village of Washington. There were two other leasers, those being the Lords of the Manor of Washington, one of whomst was Robert Shafto. Appropriate name thought I. Shafto ~ mine-shafts, you see? Robert Shafto was a member of parliament who used an old British (possibly Irish) folk song in his election campaign ~

Bobby Shafto’s gone to sea,
Silver buckles at his knee;
He’ll come back and marry me,
Bonny Bobby Shafto!

Anyhoo, I digress. A series of pits were sunk in the leased area, known as “the royalty”, and imaginatively labelled A to I, and they would comprise the New Washington Colliery.

They started hoying out the coal in March 1778 and transported it to Sunderland by waggonway; a horse-drawn railway. By 1786 another waggonway ran to the Tyne, meaning Washington coal could be exported by ships on both the Wear and the Tyne. The ‘F’ pit was sunk about 1777 but got flooded in 1786 after an explosion, and so was abandoned. Roll on 1820 and it reopened, presumably after the water had soaked in, and in 1856 it was deepened 660 feet, (200 meters) to reach the Hutton seam and it became the most productive of Washington Colliery’s nine pits. Seams were given names with a bit more pzazz than the pits. In 1954 it was deepened again this time to reach seam ‘Busty’ 🤷‍♀️. By the 1960’s new owners had taken over and modernised the colliery, and also by then a Labour government had nationalised the coal industry. The colliery was no longer owned privately, but by the National Coal Board (NCB).

By the mid-1960s it was annually producing 486,000 tons of saleable coal and had a workforce of over 1,500. But it was to be the pit’s last hurrah.

The NCB had a programme of modernisation which didn’t include Washington. All of its remaining pits including ‘F’ closed on Friday, June 21, 1968. Following closure the NCB presented the pit’s winding house (the building containing the huge coil of steel rope that raised and lowered the lift) and headgear to the people of Washington to honour their mining heritage. I’m sure they all appreciated that when they were queuing up at the dole. (The dole:- Unemployed and in receipt of state benefit.)

In the 1970s the Washington Development Corporation took up restoration of the steam engine. It’s recognised as a unique example of 19th century mining machinery: a twin-cylinder horizontal type Simplex for one of the earliest colliery shafts in England. In April 2013 Sunderland City Council took over the Grade II-listed building. Visitors can see the steam engine used to wind the lift up and down. It was once steam operated, but now works from an electric motor for demonstration purposes.

On with a few photo’s and a couple of short videos.

artwork in the entrance.
I have no idea what it does.
the huge coil of steel rope that raised and lowered the lift

the flux capacitor
Automatic Expansion Gear
shiny metal bits
more shiny things and the flux capacitor.

Two very short videos of what it looks and sounds like. The twin-cylinder horizontal type Simplex steam engine.

Mining was, is, such a hard and dangerous job even now, I wouldn’t want to spend all day 600 feet underground digging stuff!

All photos can be embiggened with a click.

Anyways that’s it, stay tooned for wherever next!

📷 😊

Guisborough Priory ~ part 2 ~ Oct 2022

As I mentioned in PART 1 the priory was home to the De Brus family cenotaph. That has since been removed and placed in St.Nicholas Church just by the priory. After we’d been around the priory Sophie and I toddled off to the church and were hugely disappointed to find that it was closed. I think that’s a first for us, so far all our church visits have had open doors. I suppose that’s because they’re mostly rural, so no-one around much whereas St. Nicholas is in a town. So we decided instead to go to lunch and I took a few pictures on our walk to the café.

This early 18th century building was a hotel called The Buck (hence the deer on top of it’s porch) before the Solicitors moved in.

The Buck

Formed in 1849 The Zetland Masonic Lodge is still going strong today. I was never sure what Freemasons are all about but learnt a fair bit from Fred and Barney 🤣

Zetland Masonic Lodge

Smokin’ Joe’s cocktail bar only opens at 4pm sadly, or I’d have been in like Flynn.

Smokin!

We had lunch outside by what I think was a rivulet coming out from under the road and going through a channel next to a footpath, I should have taken a picture but it was a bit grim, and after a nifty panini and cappuccino went back to the car to head for the Owl Center . As I drove down the road past the church I noticed the front door was open. Luckily there were a couple of parking spaces right by the church so I quickly parked up and Sophie and I hot footed it to the church. We met a chap inside and found out he was an electrician fixing something and the church wasn’t really open. I gave him the googly sad eyes thing and explained we’d come a long way to see the cenotaph and he said we could stay a little bit to photograph it. Which was cool, but we didn’t have time to explore the church.

The De Brus Cenotaph was possibly erected by Margaret Tudor, the Queen of Scotland, to mark the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Gisborough Priory. It was erected inside the priory church in memory of the De Brus family of Annandale and Skelton. Made of marble quarried at Egglestone, it takes the form of a Renaissance altar table, with exquisitely carved sides.

The north face of the cenotaph is carved with five figures of De Brus family members from Skelton, separated by the Four Doctors from the Bible; Jerome, Gregory, Ambrose, and Augustine. In spite of a childhood where Sundays were church~school days, I can’t remember ever hearing of the four doctors. I think maybe they were Catholics and we didn’t do them. So I’ve looked them up and in early Western christianity they were not Doctors of medicine or surgery, but rather great teachers of faith. (Edit:- the Doctors were not in the bible -thanks April- so that’s why I don’t remember them!)

North

The south face shows five de Brus family members of Annandale, separated by the Four evangelists; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I do remember them, just about.

South

The east end shows a prior with kneeling canons. The west end has been damaged, and I couldn’t get round to photogrpah it, but historians think it may have depicted a king, possibly King Robert Bruce of Scotland.

East

On the floor next to the cenotaph is a collection of medieval mosaic floor tiles found in the grounds of Guisborough Priory. 

And that is the end of our day out in Guisborough. Stay tooned for wherever we go next!

(photographs taken in Guisborough with my Contax Aria loaded with Portra 400, photographs in the church taken with my fuji XT2.)

Guisborough Priory, ~ October 2022 ~ Part 1

Sophie and I do like a good ruin, and whilst not overly spectacular in comparison to Tynemouth Priory Lanercost Priory, or Mount Grace’s Priory, it’s still very much worth a visit. The best bit about it for me, is the history, which has a lot to do with the Pesky Scots, and we’re looking at the ancestry of the Peskiest Scott of all, Robert the Bruce, though he had nothing to do with the priory sadly.

The History Bit ☕️ 🍪 *Long post alert*

Guisborough Priory is a ruined Augustinian monastery founded in 1119 as the Priory of St.Mary by Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, (1070–1141)a Norman feudal magnate, Lord of Skelton, and one of the largest landowners in the north, owning more than 40,000 acres in Yorkshire alone. The priory became one of the richest monastic foundations in England with grants from the crown and bequests from de Brus, other nobles and gentry and local people of more modest means. The Bruce clan, are all descended from our Bob the 1st.

The family name is derived from the place name Bruis, now Brix, Manche in the arrondissement of Valognes in the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy. Which means Bob was a Pesky Frenchman before his progeny became Pesky Scotts. Bob was mates with King Henry 1st and had been with him at The Battle of Tinchebray in Normandy, in 1106 which they won. He’s mentioned several times in historical surveys and documents witnessing charters from Lords to churches, and being gifted lands by an Earl and King Henry and it may bore you to death if I list them all but if you’re that way inclined you can click on the details arrow and see that.

What is known clearly is that this Robert de Brus is first mentioned during the period 1094 and 1100, as a witness to a charter of Hugh, Earl of Chester, granting the church of Flamborough, Yorkshire, to Whitby Abbey. Possibly the Earl of Chester in about 1100–1104 pledged Robert of certain portions of his Cleveland fee in Lofthouse, Upleatham, Barwick, Ingleby, and other places. Between 1103 and 1106 Robert de Brus attested with Ralph de Paynel and 16 others a charter of William, Count of Mortain, to the abbey of Marmoutier. In 1109 at a Council of all England held at Nottingham, he attested the charter of King Henry I confirming to the church of Durham certain possessions which the men of Northumberland had claimed. During the period 1109–1114 he appears in early charters in possession of numerous other manors and lands in Yorkshire, and in the same period he attested a charter of Henry I issued at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He appears in the Lindsey Survey made 1115–1118 in possession of even further lands. There is a strong presumption that the King had given Robert his Yorkshire fee soon after the battle of Tinchebrai (28 September 1106). Robert was present at the great gathering of northern magnates at Durham in 1121, and sometime during the period 1124–1130 he was with the King at Brampton. About 1131 he was in the retinue of Henry I at Lions, in Eure. At about the same time he attested with three of his personal knights a confirmation with Alan de Percy to the monks of Whitby. It is said that Robert had been given some 80 manors in Yorkshire by King Henry. It is evident that Robert kept up his connexions with other Normans too. A member of the Feugères family, of Feugères, Calvados, arr. Bayeux, canton of Isigny, witnessed charters of this Robert de Brus circa 1135 in Yorkshire.

So our Bob was doing very well for himself in England and France, hob nobbing with Lords and Earls and the King, but had also become a ‘companion in arms’ with a Scottish chappie, brother of the Scottish King Alexander, called David FitzMalcolm, who was in France with Bob and King Henry in 1120. Dave must have got on well with the King as Henry allotted him most of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. Our Dave then succeeded to the Scottish throne after Alex’s death in 1124, where upon he bestowed the Lordship of Annandale upon his good ol’ battle~pal Bob’s shoulders. There’s no evidence Bob ever lived there though, so he missed out on the Annandale Whisky Distillery and lovely scenery and hills with names such as Devil’s Beef Tub.

Well dear reader now it all goes to ratshit. King Henry died and we get King Stephen who I’ve written of before but here it is again as I know you’ve forgotten him. -Stephen was the grandson of William the Conqueror, and when Willy Conk’s son King Henry 1st died leaving the succession to the throne open to challenge, Stephen hot footed it over the channel to England and with the help of Henry, Bishop of Winchester, took the throne, before Henry’s daughter Matilda got her little graspy hands on it.-

King David was not a fan of King Stephen but supported Matilda so he took advantage of the chaos in England due to the disputed succession there, and he took the chance to realise his son’s claim to Northumberland. Our Bob was very unhappy at this, and the friendship was over, with Bob bitterly renouncing his homage to David before taking part on the English side at The Battle of The Standard in North Yorkshire in 1138. Bob pleaded with Dave, asking him to remember how earlier he and other Normans had persuaded King Alexander to give part of the Scottish Kingdom to him. But to no avail. Bob’s family split, witih Bob and his eldest son Adam fighting for England, whilst his youngest son, Bob 2, with his eye on his Scottish inheritance, fought for Scotland. Though only for 3 1/2 hours as Henry’s forces won that one. Bob took Bob 2 prisoner!

Two years later, at the grand age of 71, Bob died whilst at Skelton Castle. As the founder of Gisborough Priory, he was buried inside the church, in the place of honour between the Canon’s stalls in the Quire. Priory histories record his death and his burial there. He was survived by his wife Agnes, and his children. Robert’s son, Adam de Brus, Second Lord of Skelton, would be buried there in 1143, and his son Robert, Second Lord of Annandale, would be buried there after his death in 1194. Both the Scottish and English sides of the family would be laid to rest there, the last being Robert de Brus, Fifth Lord of Annandale in 1295. Eventually a great Cenotaph would be placed there honoring the Brus Family and commemorating its most famous descendant King Robert Bruce of Scotland, Bob 5’s grandson,


It was a dry day with clouds coming and going and Sophie and I had a good wander around the grounds. Photos taken with my Contax Aria, loaded with a roll of Portra 400.

The priory and the community prospered, rebuilding the priory on a grand scale at the end of the 12th century and again after a catastrophic fire in 1289. Then Henry VIII happened and the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540, and Guisborough suffered. The priory buildings were demolished and the stone re-used in other buildings in Guisborough. The east end of the priory church was left standing with its great window forming a distinctive arch, a well-known landmark used as a symbol for Guisborough. It became part of the estate of the Chaloner family, who acquired it in 1550. The east window was preserved by them as part of a Romantic vista adjoining their seat, Gisborough Hall, from which the priory takes its name. It is owned by the Chaloners but is in the care of English Heritage as a scheduled monument

Remains of the east wall of the priory church. Regarded as one of the finest examples of late-13th-century church architecture. 
the cellarium

The priory buildings stood at the centre of a walled precinct arranged in two courts, inner and outer with gatehouses at the entrances to both; the remains of the great gate of the inner court are extant but the outer gatehouse no longer survives. The gate comprised an outer porch, an inner gatehall and a porter’s lodge on the ground floor with chambers above the arch. It survived intact into the early 18th century but only the outer porch remains.

The remains of the outer porch of the great gate.

Land immediately south of the priory was used by the Chaloners for formal gardens attached to Old Gisborough Hall. In the early 18th century they planted an oval-shaped double avenue of trees, the Monks’ Walk, where stonework recovered from mid-19th century excavations was deposited. In between the trees was a manicured lawn used to hold musical and theatrical productions. The Monks’ Walk fell into disuse and became overgrown but is under restoration by the Gisborough Priory Project.

The Monks Walk
stonework recovered from mid-19th century excavations.

There is an octagonal dovecote just to the west of the grounds, built in the 14th century, it was modified in the mid-18th century with the addition of a pyramidal roof tiled with Welsh slate and capped with an open-sided timber cupola. The original nesting boxes have been removed and the dovecote is used as a garden store.

Well done if you got through all that!
Stay tooned for Part 2 next time.

Kirkleatham Owl Center (2) October 2022

We’ll finish looking at purdey burdies today , first part HERE if you missed it 😊.

I have no idea what this one is. He looks like a cross between a teradactyl and a porcupine.

Porcadactyl.

This one’s easy, Kookaburra. A chap was feeding them some fish through the wire cage but I’m not posting that as it looked quite disgusting, and smelled the same!

Chubbychops

This one was bobbing up and down on a branch like she was dancing

Lady Blue Eyes
The Yellow winged upside down tit.

Pelicans are so comical!

Burrowing Owls are found throughout open landscapes of North and South America. They can be found in grasslands, rangelands, agricultural areas, deserts, or any other open, dry area with low vegetation. And in North Yorkshire can be found in a drainpipe,

Leggy Larry

Focus was a bit off here sorry, but no matter, you can still see he’s a Spectacled Owl. They roost in the canopies of rainforests and gallery woods, where assailants are few. It eats almost anything; during one lurid encounter in Panama, one slaughtered a three-toed sloth, then feasted on its mangled body. The bird is aptly named for the bandit-like mask around its eyes—black spectacles on a fleecy white head for the young, white frames on a dark head for adults.

Mr.Magoo

No clue what this one is, definitely an owl though, and has a great name!

Fraggle 🙄

The beautiful Snowy Owl

Finally, blerk, I had the wrong lens on to get this Great Siberian Owl all in, so concentrated on doing a close-up. The bugger closed his eyes every time I took a shot. I still like this shot though.

Awkwafeather

So that’s it for Feathered Fauna with Fraggle. The rest of our trip into North Yorkshire was shot mostly on film, but will feature on this blog and the Fragglefilm blog. So stay tooned, have your notebooks and pens at the ready, we’ll be doing History again! Yay!

📷 😊

North East Art Trail ~ 02

At last Sophie and I did an outing together yesterday, and we went on our 2nd Art Trail gleaned from the Art UK website, this time South of the rivers, and starting out in County Durham at a place called Ferryhill where we were to find 3 artworks. It’s a nice little town, built around the mining community in the early 1900’s. Of course the mining industry went tits-up ages ago, and the last mine at Ferryhill closed in 1968.

Our first ‘artwork’ on the list is Cleves Cross and I would beg to differ in it’s designation. It’s not an artwork in my lexicon, such as it is, as we’re looking at a lump of sandstone.

Cleves Cross

However, the lump of sandstone is a fragment of a 12thC medieval cross, set in the ground near the original site, and roughly shaped and with pecked marks. So there’s that.
Several theories exist as to how Ferryhill got its name and the most popular theory is that in the 13th Century, Sir Roger De Ferry (or Ferie), killed the last wild boar near Cleves Cross – certainly the seal of Sir Roger De Ferie still exists and shows a Boar passant. We parked up in De Ferie Court and saw these road signs ~ which do look more like artwork but are not listed on the Art UK site.

Sir Roger and the boar.

Our next artwork, has the lofty name of ‘Beacon of Europe’. Commissioned by the town council, designed by Robert Olley and Bill Kataky then built by the North Eastern Granite Company Ltd. Bearing in mind that County Durham voted overwhelmingly to Leave the EU, I found it rather sad.

No light left.
    The circular brick base has decorative paving, featuring the 12 yellow stars of Europe.
    On each side of the base is a rectangular, etched granite panel with images of a wild boar, a sunrise, a miner and pit pony and rail tracks.
    The centre of the arch contains a fibreglass relief of a miner inserted into the skeleton of the old town hall clock.

    We started working our way back up to Sunderland, (where Sophie lives when in England) with our first stop being at the little village of West Cornforth, known locally as “Doggie” though where that name came from is anyone’s guess. It may relate to the fact that dog irons were made there at one time, which seems good enough to me. We were looking for an artwork called Past and Future, by artist Philip Townsend, which turned out to be two large blocks of buff sandstone that are carved on their front faces with depictions of life in the mining community, set in what looked like a kids playground.
    The block entitled ‘Past’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the past we inherit’.This sculpture, shows a ‘worm’s eye’ view of a scene from the past in which a miner, just returned from work, with his whippet at his feet, is about to release a racing pigeon into the air. In the foreground, sitting on the pigeon basket is his young daughter who is tempting another bird with bread, while to the left a factory chimney releases its swirling smoke, encircling the scene. The block entitled ‘Future’ is inscribed at the top with the words, ‘the future we build’. In this second sculpture, we have a ‘bird’s eye’ view: the years have passed and the young girl is now an elderly lady but still tempting the birds with her bread, while her skateboarding grandson has a pigeon feeding from his uplifted hand.~ Art UK “(He’ll be eating it next at the rate our country is going to the dogs).
    I’m glad they put that on the website as I wouldn’t have worked it all out for myself!

    The Past We Inherit.
    The Future we Build.

    Not listed on Art UK, but in the same park as the Past and Future, there was this..

    see you later…

    So off we went to our next place, Quarryington Hill, another mining village ( there’s a lot in County Durham!) for another mining related artwork, though this one was quite spectacular and informative. As with Past and Future, ‘Into The Depths’ is also by Philip Townsend, and the sculpture comprises two massive triangular blocks of Dunhouse Buff sandstone, base-heavy and tapering in thickness, which sandwich a central Iroko hardwood column.

    The column is surmounted by a depiction of a pit wheel with a tiny figure of a miner standing before it.
    running down the length of the timber, the coalmine’s shaft is shown to the same scale as the figure, with the eight coal seams worked during the mine’s long history crossing horizontally, their individual names and depths alongside, giving the viewer an inkling of just how far below ground these men worked.

    Back up to Sunderland, we went looking for ‘Delegation’, a sculpture by Tord Kjellstrom with glasswork by Creative Glass Ltd, of seven towering figures; the highest being 7.9 metres tall. Each is capped with a glass light box and shaped face. You would have thought 7.9 meters tall would be easy to spot, but it wasn’t. We went to the given postcode and ended up in the carpark of a business park. A little man in a yellow coat came out to see if we were lost, (um possibly) and when asked about the sculptures directed us to a wildlife park which had to cast iron obelisks at it’s entrance, which were not photographically pleasing. We did some more searching on the interweb, and headed back to the carpark to start again, but spotted them whilst we were on the way. Apparently “the sculpture really comes into its own at night, when the light boxes illuminate the eyes on the faces.” ~ Tony Campbell, managing director of Creative Glass. Might be easier to find as well!

    Delegation.

    We then went off to Doxford Business Park on the outskirts of Sunderland, to track down two artworks, Quintisection by Robert Erskine was the first. It’s a large, polished stainless steel sculpture based on the cross-section of a ship.

    A curved ‘hull’ is set on either side of three ‘boxed ribs’.
    This piece was awarded ‘Best Sculpture outside London’ by the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1995, needs a bit of TLC now though.

    We couldn’t find the other one in spite of driving and walking around the park, so that will have to be tracked down on another day.

    Our last art work isn’t on the Art UK site, but Sophie had spotted it whilst walking to work at the university. There isn’t any information about it, it’s just appeared without fanfare in the garden area of the art department there, so Sophie thinks maybe it’s a student thing. The plinth is permanent, but the statue is new. It is quite powerful, it would be good to know the thoughts behind it, but then again, you can have your own.

    Unknown artist.

    All pictures embiggenable with a click!

    And that, dear reader, is that. Stay tooned for whatever comes next!

    📷 😊

    The moon

    I keep catching bits on the news, about NASA’s artemis project, preparing the way for sending people back to the moon, with a view to colonising it, and as a set off point for then visiting Mars. It’s costing the American people $93 billion dollars.

    I am reminded of this song by Gil Scott-Heron :-

    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Her face and arms began to swell.
    (and Whitey’s on the moon)

    I can’t pay no doctor bill.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)
    Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
    (while Whitey’s on the moon)

    The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
    (’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
    No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)

    I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
    (’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
    I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
    Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
    The price of food is goin’ up,
    An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough

    A rat done bit my sister Nell.
    (with Whitey on the moon)
    Her face an’ arm began to swell.
    (but Whitey’s on the moon)

    Was all that money I made las’ year
    (for Whitey on the moon?)
    How come there ain’t no money here?
    (Hm! Whitey’s on the moon)
    Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill
    (of Whitey on the moon)
    I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
    Airmail special
    (to Whitey on the moon)

    written in 1970 just after the Apollo 11 expedition.

    We are all like the bright Moon; we still have our darker side.
    Khalil Gibran
    The Moon is almost as obvious as the Sun. Clouds permitting, we can see it in the evening sky nearly half the time.
    David A. Rothery
    The Moon affects people in other ways, for a beautiful crescent suspended in a twilit sky can stir our hearts.
    Ken Croswell
    The full Moon – the mandala of the sky.
    Tom Robbins
    Aim for the Moon. If you miss, you may hit a star.
    W. Clement Stone


    The Moon puts on an elegant show, different every time in shape, color, and nuance.
    Arthur Smith
    There is something haunting in the light of the Moon. It has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul and something of its inconceivable mystery.
    Joseph Conrad
    If all fools could fly, the sun would be eclipsed forever.
    Dutch Proverb