18 May 2019

Postcard from England - Ancient places and hidden doorways

In this last in this series of postcards from England, you will find us in the Welsh borderlands. I love this part of the world, with ancient castles and manor houses dotted through the landscape. One of these castles is Croft Castle in Leominster. This was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 and is set at the top of a hill overlooking the lands beyond. 

The castle was very grand with stone dragons guarding the main entranceway, but it also had some lovely hidden gems in the gardens behind. We walked along a brick pathway bordered by blossoming apple trees and then came upon this charming wooden doorway with a rambling wisteria alongside.

We had been dodging the showers as we had walked around the castle but a weak sun broke through as we made our way to the entrance. The trees were almost glowing in the yellow light. Mind you, I had to smile while Tim was taking this photo since behind him there was a patient queue of drivers waiting to drive down the road!

We then drove to an ancient monastery, Haughmond Abbey, just to the east of Shrewsbury. It's amazing how you can feel a sense of history in the stones there. The abbey dates from the early 12th Century and was a place of worship for 400 years before being sold to local landowners and then later used as a farm. I loved the open archways leading from one area to the next and the sheep passing slowly along the fence beyond.

The next day we came right up to date by going over the brand new Mersey Gateway Bridge to Liverpool airport. We weren’t flying from there but instead were visiting a National Trust house right next door, Speke Hall. This is an old Tudor house with beautiful timbering to the front.

The house had been built around the time of religious persecutions in the Tudor times and featured an ingenious device – a small hole cut into the eves. This allowed servants to listen to the talk of visitors and warn anyone who might want to escape quickly, hence the phrase “eves dropping”!

The next day we went just to the south of Manchester to Little Moreton Hall. We were here at the end of the afternoon and enjoyed seeing this amazingly crooked house with hardly another person in sight. We had a refreshing cup of tea in the tiny tea room before strolling around the restored knot garden with this pair of old garden rollers by the kitchen door.

I hope you have enjoyed this diversion into the English countryside! Next time I will show you what I was speed-knitting as I went. Yes, Anna planned her wedding a year ahead and yes, I chose my dress several months ago but as we knitters always do, I only decided I needed a shawl 10 days before we left..! But more about that next time.

Many thanks to Tim for all his great photos over the last three blogposts. Please do go and find him on Instagram or Flickr if you would like to see more of his photos.

Until next time, Happy Knitting!


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