Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Mount Grace Priory, Cod Beck and Marmion tower

Day three in Yorkshire continued the sunny theme, thankfully, but with a hint of dew on the ground.  I took a few photos of the area around our holiday cottage.

With a packed lunch and some cake and biscuits, we set off for Mount Grace Priory, an English Heritage managed property around 20 miles from where we were staying. 

It was so quiet, we wandered around the manor house

 which was complete and decorated with William Morris wallpaper

Outside, we meandered around the ruins, mainly lovely high stone walls around the cloister with doorways into what would have been individual monk's cells (detached two storey houses with proper toilets, gardens, covered walkways and a glass walled room overlooking the garden, an early type of conservatory!) Those square holes next to each doorway are where food and other things were passed to the monks living in the cells, they lived solitary lives with no contact.

There is a rebuilt cell to show what the living quarters would have been like, and they were very luxurious by modern standards, I think.

Here's a photo of the information board from in front of the reconstructed cell.

The actual cell showing the garden and covered walkway to the loo (far left)

                    Him indoors, trying the loo for size (not literally, you understand!)
The conservatory area
Inside, and upstairs in the spacious workroom, spinning wheel anyone?
Gratuitous shots of the beautiful ruins

We headed back to the car for our picnic, in one of the most peaceful car parks I have ever parked in.  This hen turned up to scratch around by the cars

After lunch. we drove around for a while and I spotted an interesting body of water on the map. We arrived at beautiful Cod Beck, and walked through the trees to a picturesque reservoir
 Over the stepping stones

                                                          Through the trees, and

posed by the water's edge!

I even managed to flick my hair in this shot!

Driving back to the holiday cottage, him indoors spotted a brown tourist sign pointing to something called Marmion Tower.  We followed the sign.

We found a rather nice 15th century Gatehouse in pretty good nick.  Just look at the colours in the stone, not a bad oriel window either! 

With a nice twisty stone staircase that went right to the top, I insisted on climbing it, of course!

We have been so lucky with the weather so far, pity the suitcases were full of woolens.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Fabulous Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden

Our second full day in the dales saw him indoors celebrating his birthday.  We set off for Fountains Abbey with birthday boy attempting to suppress his excitement in case it wasn't what he was hoping for.

He wasn't disappointed.  If you've never been to Fountains Abbey, you only need to know it was very high on the list of abbeys to be obtained by Henry VIII, due to the scale and the wealth created by the monks who lived and worked there.  Fountains Abbey is a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Big huh?  The tower you see to the left is around 170 feet high and was completed just before the dissolution.  The two storey lay brothers accommodation to the right is allegedly 300 feet long, and has a fab vaulted cellar. 

There are beautiful views and fab medieval windows all over the place, it is so atmospheric.  I could happily spend one day a week roaming around this enormous site, just discovering new nooks and crannies.

I love this window in the warming house (see the large walk-in fireplace to the left).  I do like having people in shots sometimes, him indoors is over six feet tall so gives a good indication of scale.

 All the pretty colours of the local stone are visible on the pillars in this shot, those arches are approximately 25 feet high. 

Looking towards the East of the church, and through to the window in the chapel of the nine alters

The huge archway into the perpendicular tower from the main church via the North transept, the last part of Fountains to be built in the early 1500's

View from the nave towards the chapel of the nine alters at the East of the church, at an estimate that window is over 60 feet high, and would have been filled with glass.  It is also over 700 years old!!

 View of the East side, through to the West side.

 The cloister (and me!)

View looking West to South, note the use of artificial turf in front of the West door

Him indoors, modelling the Nave 

View through the West door.  I find it staggering that these buildings were constructed over 700 years ago with no machinery or metal scaffolding.  At Fountains, as you walk along the pathway next to the Perpendicular tower, you can actually see where they cut the stone out of the ground.  If you use Google street view you can actually visit Fountains yourself and see! 

I took a staggering amount of photos at Fountains, there is so much to see.  From the abbey we had a look at the mill, which was in operation up to the early 20th century.  The wheel has been put back into operation and generates electricity.  The original wooden door is encased in perspex as a previous tenant miller carved his name in it over 200 years ago!


After the dissolution of Fountains, the stonework was re-used nearby to construct a grand house, Fountains Hall, which is still habitable, despite being 400 years old.

 From Fountains Hall we went back to the car for our packed lunch.  Then, we drove to the other end of the Fountains site to visit the water gardens, yes, the place is that big!

 Wide canals stretching as far as the eye can see, follies and statues dotted all around

Little bridges, waterfalls and statues were to be seen all over the place.  Lots of wildlife too, taking advantage of the tranquility

Unbelievably, there were still more things to explore, so we returned further on in our holiday to finish our visit to Fountains.

When we arrived home, our little alarm clock was waiting for us!  More of him later....

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Up t'hill and down t'dale, off to Yorkshire again!

We are just back from a glorious week in the Yorkshire dales, an area I've visited briefly but not actually stayed in or explored before.  I favour the moors side, as mum is from that side of Yorkshire and I spent many happy holidays there as a child.    It was, of course, beautiful. It was also hot, not quite as hot as Curtise in the latest edition of VOGOFF, but almost! 

We stayed at Pott Hall cottage, a holiday cottage a few miles outside of Masham, and completely surrounded by countryside. 

This was the view from the cottage when we arrived, no traffic, no neighbours, no internet, not much of anything.  Just beautiful scenery, animals and fresh air.

We had a quick walk around the area, and settled down for the evening. 

Sunday brought more good and unexpected sunny weather so we set off to explore Masham.  There was a thriving international Sunday market in the large market square, lots of food and several South American stalls selling pan pipes and knitted goods.  We resisted the goodies, including the kangaroo sausages, I really wasn't sure if it was literal or not so thought it best not to sample! 

I saw this poster in the town hall craft market, I'm disappointed that we will miss the racing sheep!

We drove on towards Thirsk in the search for Sunday lunch.  Him indoors has a theory that if we drive till lunchtime, we will arrive at a nice pub.  So we did, and we found this place at noon, spooky!  It is The Carpenter's Arms in Felixkirk.

Of course, we had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding!  The Yorkshires were just like my grandma used to make, so I was thrilled.

After lunch we had a little walk around the village, then, realising that we were not too many miles from the picturesque Helmsley, we set off again.  After a stroll around, we headed for the Ryburn tea rooms, set back down a side street so not so packed as all the other tea rooms on a Sunday afternoon!  We had tea for two, and two large slices of Victoria sponge with cream.

Obviously, after all this food, we needed a walk.  So what better way to exercise than a gentle meander around one of Yorkshire's stunning abbeys?  The 12th century Byland Abbey (another victim of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monastries) was nearby, so we headed on over.  

Byland has stunning examples of medieval floor tiles, these are just a few photos of the  designs.  Hard to imagine these have lain in the ground for over 600 years!

I did love the shadows cast by the sun 

and the way a shaft of sunlight caught the beautiful York stone, and lit it up!

This interesting seat was in the pub across the road, obviously not from the time of the abbey (the carvings show the abbey in ruins), but certainly old

Phew, that was quite a busy first day!