Last Days About Stow-on-the-Wold and Stratford Upon Avon

Published: June 23rd 2022
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Thatched RoofThatched RoofThatched Roof

Riding about in the Cotswolds and ran across these folk's house. Lot of thatched roof houses here, but this one is particularly lovely.
Yes, we know you have been disappointed by the lack of Roman ruins pictures. They exist, but are rather disappointing when compared to the continent. We largely do not visit these sights or not burden you with images if we do. We have driven on a Roman road many times near Stow, which Bird routinely appraises me.

Our week in the Cotswolds ends tomorrow 20 June and then on to William Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Plays are performed at the Royal Shakespeare Theater there that are regarded as the best in the world. However, incompetent tourists arranged their visit when no plays occur; another starts the day we depart.

Took a short drive from Stratford to Warwick Castle on 22 June. Dukes from this joint frequently played a prominent role in English history. Warwick is about a half hour drive on the wrong side of the road from Stratford. I am adjusting a bit to driving on the left side, although I suspect Bird disagrees. I continue to maintain driving is not nearly as similar to the U.S. as on the continent, wrong side of the road aside.

Notice all the blue sky. All in all the
Fleece AlleyFleece AlleyFleece Alley

Bird is a bit taken with these sheep alleys and demands a pix be sent. The narrow alleys were used to facilitate counting sheep en route to market.
weather has been very accommodating. A waitress at our B&B suggested we enjoy the sun as we left for Warwick, then added the heat is a tad excessive. Mid to high 70's today. Guess it's all relative. We're sure you folks would not complain about 70's.

Off for Conwy and the coast of North Wales today after a stop near Birmingham (no not Alabama) for gas at a Costco. As in the U.S. and elsewhere, they have the least expensive gas. For us the big draw to North Wales is Edward I's castles constructed to subjugate the Welch. Hope they are as picturesque as we expect. This post ended up with with more pictures than anticipated, but as we have not been burdening you folks frequently, hope you can tolerate them.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Market CrossMarket Cross
Market Cross

Sheep were purchased at this location after exiting a fleece alley. The Market Cross is inscribed with a demand that transactions will be fair as they will occur "in the sight of God". Sure that worked. There are many market crosses about the Cotswolds; this one is 500 years old.
Saint Edwards ChurchSaint Edwards Church
Saint Edwards Church

This is a short stone throw from our front door. Notice all the blue sky; we have had perhaps a week of minimal or no rain. Temps today (17 June) have risen well into the 70's F with local weather broadcasts warning of the heatwave.
Door at Saint Edwards ChurchDoor at Saint Edwards Church
Door at Saint Edwards Church

A back door to the church flanked by a couple of ancient yew trees. Gossip is Tolkien drew inspiration about the Doors of Durin from this scene. May also add after the last battle of the First English Civil War 1,500 Royalists were imprisoned in this very church.
Saint Mary's ChurchSaint Mary's Church
Saint Mary's Church

Located in Lower Slaughter; this Norman Church has perhaps existed in some from for close to a thousand years-we are not sure. There are parts of the church that we do know are documented to have been in place during the 13th century.
Saint Mary'sSaint Mary's
Saint Mary's

Interior of church.
Saint Michael's ChurchSaint Michael's Church
Saint Michael's Church

Located at Stanton this church has a bit of history. It is located on a preexisting Saxon church from the early 9th century that may have pagan attributes. Parts of the existing Norman church date from 1100. John Wesley was a frequent visitor, and Bird alleges he preached sermons here. Notice a bit of color on the walls. Prior to the protestant reformation, these walls were alive with vivid frescoes, but were whitewashed. Yet, we can see a bit of color creeping through.
Old Mill at Lower SlaughterOld Mill at Lower Slaughter
Old Mill at Lower Slaughter

Cute scene with a water wheel to the left.
Pen and Parchment PubPen and Parchment Pub
Pen and Parchment Pub

Our residence during the three nights in Stratford-Upon-Avon. This structure existed concurrently with William Shakespeare. Rumor has this was his favorite pub;). We think name is rather appropriate for location. Also present in the pub proper is a column from a ship commanded by Horatio Nelson. If anyone is not much familiar with English naval history, he is the guy who defeated the French and the Spanish combined fleets during the Napoleonian wars at Trafalgar in a brilliant maneuver of crossing the T. A very major victory. He has a very, very high statue at appropriately named Trafalgar Square in London. Yes, of course, we leaned up against his column in the pub.
William Shakespeare's Birth HouseWilliam Shakespeare's Birth House
William Shakespeare's Birth House

Yes, he was born right here on 26 April 1564, and died exactly 52 years later. He was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, and she routinely attended his plays.
William Shakespeare's Childhood HomeWilliam Shakespeare's Childhood Home
William Shakespeare's Childhood Home

Pictured is the dining room and short order kitchen. This fire place was used for some meals. Notice the limited head room. HP can confirm this is accurate for the period.
Master Bedroom Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom

Aren't you envious of the space in William's parents bedroom. Before you drool too much be advised very young kids slept with parents and after attaining toddlehood (sp) they slept alongside in a trundle.
Guild ChapelGuild Chapel
Guild Chapel

This came as a welcome surprise for us. The Chancel (front part for clergy and choir) dates from 1267, while the remainder from the late 15th century. Yeah 1267 is fairly old. William would have very often been in this church. In fact, it is adjacent to his school. Notice the window at the front of the Chancel; we'll have a bit more to add about this in the next picture.
Recent WindowRecent Window
Recent Window

Something happened to the old window in the front and it were replaced in the 1970's. A guide explained to us the funding came from a U.S. church Bird, being a bit inquisitive, wished to see more and found this at the bottom of the window.
William's SchoolWilliam's School
William's School

This is the school William attended. You can see the chapel we described in the previous picture at the far end.
War MemorialWar Memorial
War Memorial

Nearly every village has a war memorial for one of the two World Wars. There are only thirteen in the UK with no deaths in either World War, and we may add there are many tons of very small villages in the UK. These villages are called doubly thankfully villages and have no war memorials. WWI was much more lethal than II; we saw far more dedicated to the 1st than the 2nd. A total of 1.1 million combat casualties occurred in WWI.
Holy Trinity ChurchHoly Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church

William is entombed in this church. Our guide book indicates the church to be open on the day of our visit, but folks at the church begged to disagree, thus our picture is from the outside. The River Avon is directly behind the photographer.
Warwick CastleWarwick Castle
Warwick Castle

Looking down on the courtyard with the majority of the castle in view. As mentioned earlier, this was a medieval working castle. The first castle was constructed by the Saxons in 970 with the structures you now see from the 14th century, although the interior was renovated early in the 17th.
Great HallGreat Hall
Great Hall

Notice the difference in this hall from the one or two we have previously sent. Overtones here are martial, while others were baroque and artistic. No lovely murals on this ceiling, just heavy masculine timber. This was a working castle. Dukes of Warwick commanded armies along with Edward I in the reduction of Wales and Scotland, although the later was soon lost by his feckless son. Later, even more fame flowed from command during the Hundred Years War of the 14th Century.
Back of Castle with River AvonBack of Castle with River Avon
Back of Castle with River Avon

Yes, the same same Avon of Shakespeare fame. Actually, this is the third or fourth time we have seen the Avon.
Castle AdjunctCastle Adjunct
Castle Adjunct

Bird loved this picture and required it's inclusion. The Saxon Castle of 970 was here.
Bald EagleBald Eagle
Bald Eagle

We attended a couple of shows at the castle. Queen Elizabeth made an entrance for a horse show circa 1600 with acrobatics on horses-decided no pics as you are already overwhelmed with them. Here is a bald eagle flying about. Actually there were more than a dozen birds; liked this pix the best. Not able to convince Bird to join them.

24th June 2022

Frolicking Fun for Fiftieth
I was thrilled to see the Blog Posts start back up as you take us along on your journey. John and I visited Stratford upon Avon in the mid ‘80’s. We saw a unique, wonderful production of Hamlet. It was only marred by John’s snores and my elbow to his ribs. Thank you for sharing the photos and experiences. Have fun, be safe and hope to see you soon!

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