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.
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.
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