News of AOUG in East Midlands (05)
Around 1150AD on a busy route between Oxford and Northampton, Canons Ashby was built providing rest for travellers. Apparently the Priory was one of the first to be dissolved by Henry VIII and the property was sold to a Northampton MP who replaced the original building with one of his design. This was the venue for our April AOUG visit. As we parked our car we were aware of the beautifully manicured gardens surrounding the Priory. Crossing the pebbled courtyard we started our tour of the building. In the main Drawing Room it was very noticeable that serious subsidence at caused the pillars beside the large fireplace to sink and a very helpful caretakers pointed out to us that metal supports had been inserted to prevent further problems. In the Servants’ Hall we admired the brilliantly painted designs on the walnut wall coverings. These had been exposed once the whitewashing had been carefully removed. We ended our tour by walking over to St. Mary's Church which is one of only four in the country that is privately owned.
In mid-February as a Handshake event with surrounding Regions, our members met to visit Denby Pottery, near Ripley. So many other people arrived for the guided tour that we were split into groups. We were so surprised before the actual tour started to each be supplied with some clay and given a mould with which to make the shape of a small frog. The resulting images we were able to take home as a souvenir. (Mine is still adorning the kitchen window sill where it was placed to dry out but I fully intend to paint it before too long.) Then with strict instructions to keep well within the floor markings of the safe areas, we toured the factory and were amazed at how large it was – operating both by day and night. Following the tour we visited the other shops on the complex including one where we could purchase seconds of Denbyware at reduced prices.
Visit to Stamford
Our March visit was to the Victorian preserved town of Stamford. On a previous visit I had collected route maps showing the many churches and buildings of particular historical interest. However on the day the planned route was discarded and we just wandered throughout the many interesting streets. In one of the most important churches we spent considerable time trying to correctly interpret one of the beautiful windows with the assistance of a visiting woman sitting in one of the pews. We rounded off the visit with a lunch at the famous George Hotel beside the river.
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