Stratford upon Avon

Published: August 2nd 2016
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Started the day looking for breakfast...not easy early in the morning, as they open late here. Drove past a pub that showed promise, so we stopped. They were not open, but they were willing to make a cup of coffee, omg, best cup ever! We walked around back to a gorgeous patio overlooking the river. The mill was originally called Gibbeclive Mill in the 12th century. It was the property of St Mary's Abbey, Kenilworth and the Augustinian canons until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was rebuilt in 1822. It was a working mill until 1938, and it was converted into a restaurant and bar in 1952. There was a bridge across the river, so we investigated. It lead to a pathway around what looked like a big pasture. After a short distance we came across a ruin. Then further along the path was a small village and church.

The ruin - Guy's Cliffe has been occupied since Saxon times and derives its name from the legendary Guy of Warwick. Guy is supposed to have retired to a hermitage on this site, this legend led to the founding of a chantry. The chantry was established in 1423 as the Chapel of St Mary Magdelene and the rock-carved stables and storehouses still remain. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII the site passed into private hands. The current, ruined house dates from 1751 and was started by Samuel Greatheed, a West India merchant and Member of Parliament for Coventry 1747-1761. Samuel Greatheed was one of the most prominent slave traders in the Caribbean and later received the large sum of £25,000 in compensation from the government following the abolition of the slave trade. Ultimately, it was leased to the Freemasons, establishing a connection with the Masons that remains today. The roof had fallen in by 1966. In 1992 during the filming of "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (The Last Vampyre) a fire scene got out of control and seriously damaged the building.

St James, Old Milverton is a small, church set in beautiful countryside on the edge of the town of Leamington Spa. It includes a stained-glass window honouring Henry Jephson, who promoted the therapeutic benefits of Leamington Spa water and was instrumental in that town's initial success.

We were told we could walk to a National Trust site from the hostel. Obviously, that person had never done that as most of it was along the road and quite dangerous. Charlecote Park is a grand 16th century country house, surrounded by its own deer park, on the banks of the River Avon. The Lucy family has owned the land since 1247. Charlecote Park was built in 1558 by Sir Thomas Lucy. We had past a delightful couple working to maintain a public path behind their house on the way to the deer park. I on the way back, I decided to take the path down to Alveston. With it's two churches.

St James', Alveston - There has been a church in Alveston for over a thousand years; the boundary of the parish was set in the year 983AD. The Saxon community of the overlord 'Aenwulf' was situated close to the river where there was a ford across the Avon, the chancel of the Old Church still remains down Mill Lane and is surrounded by old graves. It is still used on Thursday mornings from Easter until the end of British Summer Time. In 1837 a new young Queen came to the throne inaugurating a new era, the well to do residents of the ‘Alveston Villas’ looked at their little old Church and decided they needed something more fitting in which to worship. They consulted Leamington architect William Walker who felt that a new Church on a new site would be best. Land was obtained and a simple Church with Tower and apsaidal East End was designed and built. On 16th May, 1839, the Lord Bishop of Worcester came to consecrate the new Church.

Stratford-upon-Avon, a medieval market town in England’s West Midlands, is the 16th-century birthplace of William Shakespeare. We were unable to get tickets to the Shakespeare Theater, so we really didn't do Stratford justice and will just have to go back some day.

Hemmingford House YHA - The present building dates from the early to mid 19th century. The first recorded owner was Henry Wells Allfrey (1817–1887) who purchased the house in 1840 and on his death it passed onto his son, Henry Allfrey (1850–1938). On the death of Henry the property was sold and during the Second World War was used by the Iron and Steel Control organisation (part of the Ministry of Supply). In 1947 the building was sold to the Youth Hostels Association and has remained in use as a youth hostel since then.

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