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Published: October 7th 2018
I’d forgotten how quaint a double bed could be, especially in a poky, “under the eaves” room! But I’m pleased to say that breakfast at this disappointing place was delightful, even though the drizzle outside tried to dampen our spirits. We set off for the north western bank of the Severn River, to a village called Aylburton, where Tom’s 7xG grandparents (William Jones & Anne Prifford) lived at the time his 6xG grandmother (Anne Jones) was born In 1695. We continued on then to Lydney, to church of St Mary the Virgin, where William & Anne had married in 1684, young Anne was baptised in 1695, and then where she marries Henry Imm in 1725 and their baby Mary (Tom’s 5G grandmother) was baptised in 1730. We know it was the same church because the burials close to the church were absolutely ancient, from the 1600s!
From their we made our way to Blakeney, where Tom‘s 4G grandfather (James Lewis Jnr) was baptised in 1749, but the church didn’t appear to be old enough, and we couldn’t spot a graveyard, so we continued on to Awre, an isolated little village on a bend of the river, so it’s surrounded by
water on 3 sides. Awre was where James Lewis married Mary Imm in 1748, and it’s a beautiful (locked), ancient church surrounded by really old, almost unreadable, headstones. It also had a beautiful lychgate. In the olden days the minister was required to meet a corpse for burial at the entrance to the churchyard, so lych (meaning corpse) gates were built to shelter the minister and the people carrying the coffin.
From there we crossed the Severn again and ventured to St Cyr’s church at Stonehouse. This church saw the marriage of James Lewis and Sarah Eycott (4G grandparent’s, who then owned the Ebley mill) in 1783, the burial of Sarah’s father Joseph in 1786, and the baptism of James Lewis (3G grandfather) in 1800. We wandered amongst the headstones, startling squirrels and not successfully reading many of the really old stones. The church backed on to the canal that the Ebley mill is on, and there were some very fat geese enjoying the pond there, it was very picturesque. The church was open for ”coffee and a chat” so we went inside where we were met with the generous hospitality of the minister, his wife and another couple
organising it. We were the only ones there at the time, so we had a splendid chat with them all on the history of the area and the churches, and enjoyed homemade cake and coffee.
After that we made a quick stop at Kings Stanley, and the church of St George. This one was closed, and the headstones mostly unreadable. One of the headstones listed the wife, and the deaths of about 8 children - oh to be doing their family history, what a find! This church was where Sarah Eycott-Lewis was buried in 1852, 104 years to the day before Tom’s birth!
By this time the sun was out and we returned to our hotel, avoiding the pheasants playing chickenon the road. A bit of a rest and a tidy up and we were back on the road for the hour long drive over to Chipping Campden, a beautiful Cotswold village that Alyson moved to originally for six years and is still there! Alyson and I became penfriends when we were youngsters in Girl Guides. We wrote for years and years, always kept in touch, although sporadically when our lives became busy, and then Facebook came along,
making communication so much easier! My parents met her first, on one of their overseas jaunts, and then we met her in 1990, and again in 1995, on the trips when we had hire cars and were driving around the countryside.
It was amazing - we were running 15 minutes early and were walking over to the hotel to meet for dinner at the same time that Alyson and her husband Chris were approaching the hotel! Such synchronicity! So we spent the evening in marvellous company, eating beautiful food (sea trout followed by Elton Mess for me) and drinking wonderful Australian Shiraz and New Zealand Cabernet Sauvignon. So much of life and experiences to catch up on! A great evening!
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