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.