On being a tourist

We’ve been away for a couple of days.  Down in the Midlands.
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There are lots of what we tend to call black and white houses there, really timber framed buildings. The one above is Wightwick Manor (pronounced Witic). Not half so old as it may appear. Built in 1887 and extensively added to in 1893, it is one of very few arts and crafts buildings surviving in the UK. It is a visual delight outside and a feast inside. The inside is stuffed with arts and crafts furniture, soft furnishings etc etc. 200 pieces by William Morris & Co – that’s quite a collection.

Acanthus wallpaper.

Acanthus wallpaper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there’s a heap of Pre-Raphaelite pictures, some of which are very compelling:

Trouble is, being a tourist, I wasn’t allowed to take photos because of copyright. (The one above comes from some reproduction on Amazon.)  So I suppose all I can say is, if you are ever in Wolverhampton, do go there it’s the best collection of arts and crafts in the UK bar none (or so it says on Wikipedia).

There was a fascinating settle in the hall with very shallow strap work, and possibly missing a table top as it had no back, or a very low one.  When I asked about it it was dismissed as ‘just’ Elizabethan that happened to be in the house.

That night we went to the pub. The Fleece Inn at Bretforton.  Funnily enough, it was black and white too… and it had two settles.
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We ate (mostly asparagus it being in season in this ‘gras-producing region) in what used to be the brew house, although these vessles were used for somethingelse, I had to email the landlord to check what they were.  They are oak with four small drain holes, and in the centre, what looks to be the remains of the original turning centre hole – any guesses?
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Next day we called to have a look at this mighty tithe barn.
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It belonged to the former Evesham Abbey, and is pretty well preserved, being in the ownership of the National Trust.  The latter describe it as a raised cruck barn the link has a good guide to the elements of such a barn.  I can’t figure out why there are aisles framings at either end of the barn.

But it seems slightly disappointing when such a building is empty, apart from some very messy pigeons.  The barn in the days of The Abbey must have been a huge store of food riches and gives a clue as to why Henry dissolved the monasteries (apart from his marital problems!).

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Just in at the door is this rather extraordinary ladder which thinks its a staircase, it must have taken a couple of strong men to manhandle it into position.  The rungs would have given a very firm footing, providing the ladder slope was 45 degrees, far slacker than allowed with modern ladders.

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