"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A Medieval Market Town

As we seem to be experiencing a "blackthorn winter"* at the moment (cold, rain/sleet and windy here again today) and I am not sure if I am going to be able to get out this week, I thought I'd publish a few (well, a lot!) of photos I took at the end of last week when I visited Henley in Arden.

Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, has a medieval one mile long High Street (classed as a Conservation Area) with buildings dating back 600 years. Over 150 buildings (don't worry I am not going to show you them all!) are listed as being of Special Architectural or Historic interest. Several lanes leading off the High Street, for example, Doctors Lane, Milking Lane, the Tanyard, are named after work that was once carried out there.

Joseph Hardy House, parts of which date back to 1345, now houses a Heritage Centre (on the right in the photo below) and Henley Ice Cream Parlour.

The Heritage Centre, run by an educational charity, is well worth a visit and has several exhibit rooms showing the town's history from the Norman Conquest to today.

The black and white building is named "The Old White Horse" - now a private residence but it was once a coaching inn.

The Baptist Church

The Nags Head

St John the Baptist Church dates from the fifteenth century. If you can make out the Barclays bank symbol this building was once the Rectory

The Bear and Ragged Staff

(I nearly didn't include this photo because I don't like to see a bear wearing chains)

Bears were used in heraldry to denote boldness and courage and the Bear and Ragged Staff emblem has been associated with the Earls of Warwick since the fourteenth century. The symbol was used by Robert Dudley, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and today is used in the coat of arms of Warwickshire County Council.

The Guild Hall was once a residence of the Guild of Holy Trinity and St John - a religious order founded in the fourteenth century. It was restored in the early 20th century and today is where Henley's Court Leet takes place. This is an ancient medieval court, still active after 800 years, which primarily has a ceremonial role today.

The White Swan - a Sixteenth century coaching inn

The remains of a fifteenth century market cross (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) which was originally 17 feet tall. The original cross had a four sided head of religious symbols at the top. This is the site of the original town centre where news was proclaimed and it is still used for this purpose today.

George House - a timber framed building possibly 16th century and originally the George and Dragon Inn

Old market towns often have an interesting selection of shops

Some of the interesting house frontages

Henley Ice Cream Parlour a charming traditional tea room where Henley Ice Cream has been served since the 1930's. Today the icecreams are made on local farms using local produce and there are around 40 icecream flavours. Emily and I were here a few weeks back eating delicious cake followed by icecream - I do like my icecreams!

Just behind the High Street runs a stream and I found in the archives a photo of some mallard I took just after I had my camera a few years ago.

* Blackthorn Winter - a term used to describe a short spell of cold weather at the end of March which occurs when blackthorn is in flower.


Rohrerbot said...

What an interesting little town with lots of great looking buildings. I could see myself drinking at several of them:) I like the flower shop shot. You have a lot of fun locations around your area:) Hopefully you'll get a chance to get out this weekend....maybe the weather will play nice:)

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Chris. There are some great pubs (and restaurants) along the High Street - you would be spoiled for choice!

Have a lovely Easter weekend.

ShySongbird said...

It is a lovely place as your photos show. I have been but it was some years ago and surprisingly I don't remember the ice cream but I'm sure I must have had some :-) Like Chris, I liked the photo of the flower shop and also the trough with Spring flowers.

I too was musing on the accuracy of the 'Blackthorn Winter' adage only yesterday and mentioned it in the (overdue!) post I am preparing :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Shy Songbird - the ice cream shop is right at the end of the High Street (Stratford end). The flower shop was lovely and I wish now I had bought one of the daffodil-filled watering cans!

I love the term "Blackthorn Winter" - I look forward to reading your post soon!

kirstallcreatures said...

I love the illustration featured in the logo of the ice cream parlour, the cow jumped over the moon, super. The tea shop sounds lovely, you can't beat a nice ice cream, Linda

Ragged Robin said...

kirstallcreatures - Thanks Linda. The logo is rather cute.

Toffeeapple said...

What a pretty place to explore, I am wondering why I have never been there. It reminds me of Shrewsbury somewhat. You obviously enjoyed your day out with added ice cream.

Pete said...

my ex boss lives there and I've had a pint in one of the pubs. Nice town and thanks for sharing

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - it is a pretty town and well worth a visit if you are near the area. Although I haven't visited Shrewsbury for a few years I can see what you mean about a resemblance.

Pete - your ex boss is lucky to live in such a nice place :D! Many years ago I had a meal in a pub/restaurant there called the Bluebell. There are a lot of nice pubs along the High Street.

rajf said...

Hi there,

I'm working on behalf of Henley Ice Cream and was wondering if you had any objection to me using the image (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TJRP33f5OHk/T3y5xz-4_aI/AAAAAAAAIQY/ngBL6_SzPQE/s1600/HenleyHeritageCentreMarch2012%2B064.jpg) on the site?

Kind regards,


Ragged Robin said...

rajf - Thank you for getting in touch - its fine if you want to use the photo on the Henley Ice Cream site. I am pleased you think its good enough.

I do have a few other photos of Henley ice cream shop (although I would imagine I probably used the best on my blog) so let me know if you want to see any others.