"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, 3 September 2014

A Visit to Some of Herefordshire's "Black and White Villages" - Part 2: Dilwyn, Pembridge and Eardisland

First stop after leaving Weobley was the pretty, tiny village of Dilwyn.

The church of St Mary the Virgin looked very interesting. However, despite his passion for history, D is not keen on visiting churches and as there wasn't much for him to do at Dilwyn, I decided not to look round the church. The church tower was built around 1200 and the small spire added later possibly in the 18th century.

Pembridge, the next port of call, was rather busy. In fact, the busiest of the villages we visited. The name of the village comes from the old English "Penn" meaning headland or enclosure and the old Englis "Brycg" for bridge or causeway. There has been a community here for a thousand years and the village was mentioned in the Domesday Book. Most of the houses in the village date from the 15th century and it was a busy market town during medieval times.

The church of St Mary, the Virgin with its detached 13th century Bell House.

D said he was quite happy to have a look round the village whilst I went inside the church. It was the usual whistle-stop tour. Whenever, the family are with me and I know time is limited I tend to buy a copy of the church guidebook (which I read later!!) and then whizz round trying to take photos of anything that looks interesting. The downside with this approach is that I often miss the most important feature(s) :(

The stone font is 13th century.

Stained Glass Windows

Medieval Wall Painting which was discovered under whitewash when the church was restored in 1908. The vines would originally have eventually lead to roses in the white circles. I actually managed to get D into the church later to see this plus a World War One exhibition.

Jacobean Pulpit

14th century tomb the effigies are believed to be father and son from the Gour Family (Lords of Marston from a nearby hamlet) and their wives.

There was a lovely display of recent tapestry depicting the local area.

And then a quick look round the Bell Tower which is considered the finest of Herefordshire's seven detached belfries. In style it resembles the stave churches of Norway and the bell houses of Sweden. The original structure is 13th century, the stone walls and outlying trusses were added in the 15th and 16th centuries with further alterations in the 17th century. The tower underwent a complete restoration in 1983/84.

One book I read describes the interior as resembling a dark forest of old timbers. To be honest I found the tower rather spooky and thought what an ideal location it would make for some of the events that occur in the Merrily books.

The market hall has been dendro-dated to 1503 - 1538. Shame about the cars again!! Notice the poppies - poppies were everywhere as we walked around the village.

The New Inn is early Tudor.

I thought Pembridge had quite an aura of mystery about it - no wonder Phil Rickman set his novels in this area.

Finally, we paid a brief visit to Eardisland which, after Weobley, was our second favourite village. It was very picturesque.

According to a guide book I picked up there is quite a bit of debate about the original of the place name. One suggestion is that Eardisland stand for "the land of the wolf's home" (I rather like that idea). Another idea is that the name derives from Earl's Lene from the old English "Earl" and "Lene" refers to a low lying district subject to floods and stream. More recently research agrees with the latter origin and the Earl is Morcar, Earl of the Northumbrians and son of Aefgar, Lord of the Mercians.

I haven't seen one of these for a long time!! Its a survivor from the 1920's and was restored in 2000.

This holiday cottage is in an idyllic location. I've done a bit of research since the visit and unfortunately I don't believe the holiday cottage is the one in the photo. I think its a tiny one behind - very pretty but it only has one bedroom and we need 3 in a holiday cottage.

Dovecotes were once a common sight - in 17th century England there were over 26,000 but today less than 200 remain.

Its not been possible to find out exactly when the Dovecote in Eardisland was built but it probably dates back to the late 17th or early 18th century. The dovecote was no longer in use by the early 19th century and gradually became derelict. It was renovated in 1999 and now contains a Community Shop on the ground floor with an interesting exhibition upstairs.

Eardisland Dovecote

The Manor House

Sadly there wasn't time to visit the church which is a real shame as when I later read my notes I discovered it contains a rather wonderful font carved in around 1150.

Whenever we go on holiday or out for the day we always like to bring home some local produce such as cheese, honey, jam or chutney. So we stopped off at Monkland Cheese Dairy which had a wonderful array of cheeses, pickles and jams and local cider. D was impressed with the clump of mistletoe growing in a tree in the car park!

Cheese buying has always been a bit difficult as it has to be vegetarian and things have been made even more complicated since the beginning of the badger slaughters last year. In fact, I refuse to buy any English dairy products unless I can be 100% sure they haven't come from farms where culls have occurred. This means I tend to buy Scottish milk and butter and Welsh Cheese. Scotland has become officially bTB free without killing any badgers in the process and, of course, Wales is pursuing a vaccinate not cull approach. Occasionally when I can get to the dairy shop I buy cheese from a local dairy in Earlswood where the milk used comes from Warwickshire milk on the farm where the cheese is made.

In the end I bought some Snowdonia cheddar which was really delicious and a pot of Herefordshire Black Butter which, despite its name, is actually a very tasty conserve made of cider, apples and spices which goes perfectly with the cheese.

Finally, - sorry this post is turning out as long as the last one!! we stopped off to take a photo of this rather curious looking beast. I think its probably a cow but please feel free to make any other (polite) suggestions!

Apologies for any typing errors - I've had to finish off in a rush (have been preparing the post for a day due to constant interruptions) as daughter wants to go on the computer.


Eardisland Dovecote booklet

Guidebook - a Walk Around the Church of St Mary, the Virgin, Pembridge


John Wooldridge said...

Lovely pictures, its nice to be reminded of history....whether it be through buildings or tales of things long gone by...Cow? Looks more Warthog to me :)

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Thanks so much John :) Warthog - oh yes I love it :) A much better idea than cow :)

Bovey Belle said...

What an interesting post, and we must visit Eardisland and Pembridge. We go to Leominster on occasion, but rarely West/N-W of it. Normally, although we go to Herefordshire every month (on our way to the Malvern Antiques Fairs/Fleamarkets) we don't deviate much from our route.

It is such a beautiful county and is where we have been house-hunting, although of course, we are still waiting for a buyer here. The market is still stagnant here though . . .

Off to catch up on your last post now.

P.S. Is the wooden beastie meant to be a wild boar?

Ian said...

Another wonderful tour of English villages that we couldn't fit into our visit. I do enjoy your visits to historic towns and the unique character of particular regions. I am still working on our photos and enjoying the recollections of the trip.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much :) I so enjoy your posts on the Malvern Antique Fairs.

Well worth visiting - I really loved Weobley although to be fair that was the place where we spent a lot of time. It had such a friendly feel. It would be a lovely area to live :) If you google herefordshire black and white village trail you can find a map of the trail and more details and Weobley Village site has map and info on heritage trail. Sorry would have posted links but my links never work :(

I really do hope the house market situation improves soon and you get a buyer. Your present house is so beautiful and historic someone somewhere would love to buy it.

Never thought about wild boar - another great suggestion :) Especially with them being in the Forest of Dean although sadly also under threat of culling :(

Ian - Thanks very much. I am so glad you enjoyed this post and other similar ones. I thought about you earlier this morning when I saw a news feature on BBC News that Kenilworth Castle has installed a staircase in the tower where Elizabeth I stayed.

I am so glad your photos are bringing back so many memories. My family moan a lot about me stopping to take photos but the record means I can revisit these places whenever I wish :)

Countryside Tales said...

I love all the black and white houses and that old doorway is beautiful too. The whole place has such interesting history. Eardisland sounds like it might have Viking roots to me. I hear vaccines are being offered here in Hampshire, as well as some other counties- good news :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you - yes whole area steeped in history. Agree about the Vikings :) Good news about vaccination Hampshire - started in Warwickshire last year. The guy who took me to watch badgers is a lay vaccinator for the Badger Trust. Latest info for start of slaughters in Glos and S/set is early next week :( I have been in rant mode about it all day today :(

Toffeeapple said...

How lovely to see the AA box, they were such a part of my childhood.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks :) Do you remember how AA patrolmen on motorbikes used to salute the driver of a car which had an AA badge? Oh what memories :)

Toffeeapple said...

I do, indeed, remember. There were fewer people in Great Britain then, travelling at a slower pace - it might be dangerous nowadays.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Too true :(

Pete Duxon said...

not sure how your family would cope with me and churches :)

what is the objection to churches??

nice photos as ever

Pete Duxon said...

meant to add Eardisland is pretty isn't it!

If you are in the area again visit Westonbury Water Mill Gardens. it is different..

the cheese thing is the only way to stop the badger cull him 'em where it hurts....

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete :) Had a bit of a problem with the photos and exposure due to combination of grey sky and black and white buildings. I don't usually edit photos apart from some cropping but I did have to "lighten" some of the building pics.

Its not an objection to churches as such I think Brian and Emily find them boring and David finds them a bit "spooky" if that's the right word? They aren't overkeen on NT houses either :( Although strangely they do like castles and ruins! I get a bit fed up at times as especially in Norfolk we passed so many churches that looked so interesting!! Oh well, we are all different :)

Yes we really liked Eardisland I wish we had had more time there. Thanks for tip off re: the Water Mill Gardens - have made a note. Would definitely like a short hol in the area.

As you've no doubt gathered from my twitter feed I went into complete rant mode yesterday re: badgers. I walk round supermarkets sometimes and see people picking up things like Davidstow cheese and feel like screaming at them - don't buy that the milk could have come from a badger cull farm but sadly a lot of people don't really seem to care or be interested :(

Sorry for long reply!! Good luck with bee-eaters :) :)