Sunday, 15 September 2019

Houses, Castle Street, Hereford

I've wanted to photograph this pair of houses for some time but I've always been thwarted by vehicles parked in front of them - until one September morning. The buildings date from the early nineteenth century and exemplify some of the characteristics of the style we call Regency. The French windows, louvres, the ornate cast-iron verandah with its sheet metal roof, are all of this period, as is the symmetry. One thing I find odd is that this recess, set back from the road, holds a pair of houses rather than a single, grander mansion. Another is that pink of the front doors.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Friday, 13 September 2019

The Shambles, Monmouth

People can be forgiven for thinking that the name, The Shambles, is given to a picturesque hodge-podge of old buildings. Looking at it today that is what The Shambles in York, the most famous English example, appears to be. However, this name was given to buildings that were slaughterhouses and places where butchers congregated to sell their meat and offal. The Shambles in Monmouth is hidden away on a bank above the River Monnow and consists of 24 arches and rooms built of sandstone with brick-vaulted roofs. It was built in 1837 and serves the double purpose of supporting a road above and giving space for the slaughter and butchery of animals. A number of the rooms still have the pulleys and meat hooks associated with their original purpose. Such is its location, it must be overlooked by the vast majority of visitors to the town, and is probably unknown to more than a few residents.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

St Mary, Ross on Wye

The tower and spire of St Mary mark the position of the town of Ross on Wye from near and far. This is due to the elevated position of the church at the highest point above the River Wye, as well as the height of the spire and the size of the pinnacles. The spire reaches 205 feet and dates back to the 1300s. It was subject to rebuilding in 1721. The pierced obelisk pinnacles were enlarged in 1743, and further restoration work, due to lightning and its exposed position, was undertaken in 1852 and 1911.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Monday, 9 September 2019

Belted Galloway cattle

We came across this group of a dozen or so Belted Galloway cattle on the steep slopes of the Malvern Hills above the town of Great Malvern. They look somewhat like cattle dressed up in panda suits and were brought there by the Malvern Hills Conservators, the body charged with looking after this range of hills, in order to keep areas of grassland open and unencroached by bracken, shrubs and trees. The distinctive breed originates from the Galloway region of south-west Scotland where its hardy qualities enabled it to turn poor grazing into beef. They are a reasonably common sight in England, used by conservation groups to maintain open pasture and the flora and fauna that depends upon it.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Ledbury Park

On a busy crossroads in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury stands a remarkable timber-framed building, the grandest in the county, dating from c.1570-1580. It is unusual in combining the attributes and location of a town house with large gardens and adjoining parkland of a country house. It was built for the clothier, Edward Skynner, but from 1688-1941 it was the home of the Biddulph family. It has sympathetic extensions of the early and later nineteenth century, and today is divided up into a number of residences.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A Green Man

The Green Man is a folklore figure that appears in carvings and other depictions across Europe and the Near East. Most often it is represented by a face made of leaves, or with leaves sprouting from the mouth, nose, eyes or ears. It may represent fertility or a mystic Man of the Woods. In England the Green Man is most often seen in carvings in wood or stone in churches. Medieval masons and wood carvers, and medieval clergy if it comes to that, had no qualms about reproducing images of pagan figures in Christian buildings. This example is the decoration of a capital in Grange Court, the former market house that was converted into a habitation in Leominster, Herefordshire.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Garden statues

Leominster is known for the number of antique shops that have been established in the town. We recently spent a few hours looking around them, finding as much interest in the labyrinthine interiors of some of the Georgian houses in which they were based, as in the contents themselves. A couple of the shops had overflowed into garden outbuildings and even the garden itself. The two statues here were in one such garden, cast versions of ancient Greek models, designed for the shopper looking to give a focal point to their bit of greenery.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Friday, 30 August 2019

Flowers and Cotswold stone

Pevsner describes Cecily Hill as "the grandest street in Cirencester." He is right, though my photograph doesn't show it. On my visit, the first to this broad thoroughfare, I was taken by the variety of shape and colour of the shrubs and flowers against the Cotswold stone of the Tontine Buildings, a twenty-three-bay terrace of 1802. The photograph shows that the absence of a garden at the front of your property is no impediment to a floral display, and if your neighbours are like-minded then everyone's work combines to great effect.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Fan vaulting

It's always a pleasure to come across fan vaulting. This way of supporting and embellishing a stone roof is peculiar to English Gothic and dates from the years around 1500. This particular example is in the south porch of Cirencester church and consequently is invariably lit by a raking light from the entrance: often they are lit by artificial light to show off their beauty. It received some restoration in 1865 by George Gilbert Scott and he, doubtless, simply made good what he found.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Monday, 26 August 2019

The Kyneburgh wall

Like a lot of contemporary street sculpture that I see, the Kyneburgh Tower in Gloucester and its associated 30m long wall offers more by way of detail than as a whole conception. This photograph shows a section of the steel (?) wall with its paintwork looking something the worse for wear, but better than it did when in pristine condition. Of course, that may have been the sculptor's intention from the outset.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100