Tag Archives: Northamptonshire

In Search of Wine, A Son Of Mary Queen of Scotts and Sweet Steenie

It is three years since we visited St Leonards Church in Apethorpe and found the remains of a Glass of full boded red on the magnificent Monument of Sir Anthony Mildmay. Now our thought at the time was that it was left by some compassionate soul, for Sir Anthony to enjoy on the anniversary of his departing.

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Glass of full boded red on the magnificent Monument of Sir Anthony Mildmay. St Leonards Church, Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, England.

So as the anniversary of Sir Anthony’s death on the 2nd September had come around again, we thought a visit was over due and perhaps we would find a refreshed glass ready for consumption.

It is always a pleasure to enter St Leonards Church but on this visit it was heightened with anticipation, would we meet the compassionate soul bottle in hand or find a crystal glass stained with red, unfortunately it was not to be so that begs the question, does this mean we have to buy our own?

A few years before Sir Anthony’s death if you were in the environs of Apethorpe you may have encountered James I and George Villiers out hunting at Apethorpe Place, what else they got up to I will leave to others to speculate but today you are more than likely to be run over by a SUV on its way to the Great North Road.


Usefull Information:

Apethorpe Palace House and Gardens

A Queens Demise Fotheringhay

The River Nene was running high and fast that day in January 2018 and the view from the bridge across the river to the site of Fotheringhay Castle was as fine as I have ever seen but as always there is a sadness at the thought of A Queens Demise here on the 8 February 1587.

That sadness seemed to be highlighted further as The Church of St Mary the Virgin and All Saints was shrouded in scaffolding .

The Site of Fotheringhay Castle

The Site of Fotheringhay Clastle across The River Nene, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire

The Church of St Mary the Virgin and All Saints

The Church of St Mary the Virgin and All Saints, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire

Memorial Wall Fotheringhay Castle

Memorial Wall, Fotheringhay Castle, Fotheringhay, Northamptonshire


Useful Links:

Execution at Fotheringay

Fotheringhay British History Online

Helpston

Once Upon A Time In Northamptonshire

Looking for Robert Burns, Scotland’s national bard or more to the point the spirt of Robert Burns, you would have thought that searching the byways of Dumfries, Alloway or Mossgiel would be more appropriate than the English village of Helpston in Cambridgeshire once upon a time Northamptonshire, but “though this be madness, yet there is method in’t“.

The poet John Clare was born in Helpston on the 13 July 1793, some of the critics of the time complained that his work often imitated that of Rabbie and was often labelled the English Burns, but as he declares himself,

now the fact is that when my first poems was written I knew nothing of Burns not even by name for the fens are not a literary part of england

Like Burns he used to collect songs and in later life one of his many alter egos was that of Burns, perhaps it could also be argued that he had some Scottish blood running through his veins as his father’s father was an itinerant Scottish fiddler.

Clare Cottage Helpston,

Clare Cottage, Helpston, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

Clare Cottage Tablet, Helpston,

Tablet on The Wall of Clare Cottage

John Clare’s Birthplace in Helpstone his home for forty years.

He described it in the following way

“Our cottage was as roomy & comfortable as any of our neighbours & we had it for forty shillings while an old apple tree in the garden generally made the rent, the garden was large for a poor man & my father managed to dig it night & morning before the hours of labour.

Or described by one of his biographers

“their little cottage was among the narrowest and most wretched of the hundred mud hovels.”

MY EARLY HOME
Here sparrows build upon the trees,
And stockdove hides her nest;
The leaves are winnowed by the breeze
Into a calmer rest;
The black-cap’s song was very sweet,
That used the rose to kiss;
It made the Paradise complete:
My early home was this.
The red-breast from the sweetbriar bush
Drop’t down to pick the worm;
On the horse-chestnut sang the thrush,
O’er the house where I was born;
The moonlight, like a shower of pearls,
Fell o’er this “bower of bliss,”
And on the bench sat boys and girls:
My early home was this.
The old house stooped just like a cave,
Thatched o’er with mosses green;
Winter around the walls would rave,
But all was calm within;
The trees are here all green agen,
Here bees the flowers still kiss,
But flowers and trees seemed sweeter then:
My early home was this.

Bell Inn, Helpston,

The Bell Inn, Helpston, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

“Francis Gregory our neighbour at the Blue Bell wanted a servant & hired me for a year I was glad & readily agreed it was a good place and they treated me more like a son than a servant”

The Exeter Arms, Helpston

Exeter Arms Inn, Helpston, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

John Clare refers to the Exeter Arms in The Will O Whisp or Jack A Lanthorn

“I heard of the old alewife at the Exeter Arms behind the church often say that she has seen from her chamber window as many as fifteen together (vapours or what ever philosophy may call them) dancing in and out of company as if dancing reels and dances on eastwell moor”

Four days after his death John was brought home to Helpston, he was taken to the Exeter Arms where he remained overnight and was laid to rest the following day on the south side of St Botolph’s Church.

St Botolph Church, Helpston,

St Botolph’s Church, Helpston, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

I started for Wisbeach with a timid sort of pleasure & when I got to Glinton turnpike I turnd back to look on the old church as if I was going into another country. Wisbeach was a foreign land to me for I had never been above eight miles from home in my life

John Clare's Last Resting Place, Helpston, Cambridgeshire, England

John Clare’s Grave, St Botolph’s Church, Helpston, nr Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

A WISH
BE where I may when Death brings in his bill,
Demanding payment for life’s ling’ring debt,
Or in my native village nestling still,
Or tracing scenes I’ve never known as yet,
O let one wish, go where I will, be mine, —
To turn me back and wander home to die,
‘Mong nearest friends my latest breath resign,
And in the church-yard with my kindred lie,
‘Neath the thick-shaded sycamore’s decay,
Its broad leaves trembling to the breeze of day:
To see its shadow o’er my ashes wave,
How soothing will it be, while, hovering near,
My unseen spirit haunts its daisied grave,
Pausing on scenes in life once lov’d so dear.

John Clare Memorial, Helpston,


Web Links:

Clare Cottage

John Clare Society

Apethorpe

The Scales of Justice, A Monument and A Wine Glass

St Leonards Church in Apethorpe Northamptonshire is among one of our favourite churches, if you have the opportunity to cross the threshold you will find the magnificent Monument to Sir Anthony Mildmay who died on the 2nd September 1617 and his lady wife Grace, Lady Mildmay.

Our visit on this occasion which coincided with the month of Sir Anthony’s death, we were surprised to find at his head and the feet of Justice holding firmly her sword and scales, the remains of a glass of red wine.

It made us wonder if it was left by some compassionate soul, for Sir Anthony to enjoy on the anniversary of his departing.


Web Link

Biography Sir Anthony Mildmay

 

Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston is a challenge,

  1. Getting there without setting tyre rubber on the A14.
  2. Taking a photograph that does the building justice.

Keyston lies on the very westerly edge of the county of Cambridgeshire or Huntingdonshire, if your preference is for the historic rather than the modern and are prepared to defy the 1974  Local Government edict.

It sits to the east of the town of Thrapston in Northamptonshire, which boasts connections with George Washington’s family, the first president of the United States of America  and west of Huntingdon the birth place of Oliver Cromwell.  In the North lies the village of Titchmarsh with all its associations  with the poet John Dryden and is with easy reach if you are prepared take your life in your hands and cross the A14 which carries its traffic incessantly between Felixstowe, the Midlands and beyond.

Our visit to Keyston in Huntingdonshire is purely of a metaphysical inspiration as John Donne, lawyer, renowned preacher, poet and soon to be become Dean of St Pauls Cathedral was awarded the living of Keyston  in the early part of 1616.  He held this post until 1621  when he resigned it shortly before he was appointed Dean of St Pauls.

The Church of St John the Baptist Keyston

The Church of St John the Baptist, Keyston, Huntingdonshire

“Thou hast set up many candlesticks, and kindled many lamps in me; but I have either blown them out, or carried them to guide me in forbidden ways.”

John Donne


Titchmarsh

The River Nene (Pronunciation is a mater of local preference) makes its way through the Northamptonshire countryside before entering Peterborough and then on in to the flatlands of The Fens, ending its journey at The Wash near Peter Scott’s lighthouse in Lincolnshire.

Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse, The East Bank of The River Nene, The Wash, Lincolnshire

Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse, The East Bank of The River Nene, The Wash, Lincolnshire

It boast its origins from three sources one of which is near the village of Nasbey where Charles I was defeated by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1645.

It  passes on its west the village of Aldwincle the birth place of John Dryden and on the east Titchmarsh where John spent his formidable early years.

Church of St Mary The Virgin Titchmarsh Northamptonshire

Church of St Mary The Virgin Titchmarsh Northamptonshire

His Mother and Father are buried in the church of St Marys Titchmarsh and there is a memorial to John Dryden and his parents  in the north transept.

Memorial to John Dryden and his parents.

Memorial to John Dryden and his parents.

Titchmarsh has a long connection both with the Dryden’s and Pickering family’s. Colonel John Pickering  was a parliamentarian army officer who fought at the battle of Nasbey, baptized at Titchmarsh in 1615, he was the second son of Sir John Pickering and his wife, Susannah daughter of Sir Erasmus Dryden.

Their eldest son Gilbert Pickering was an MP in Oliver Cromwell’s parliament. At the end of 1657 he was appointed Lord Chamberlain to the Protector and he employed John Dryden who was his cousin as his secretary.

Sir Gilbert Pickering was given a pardon by Charles II just before his restoration and John Dryden was appointed poet Laureate in 1668.

Samuel Pepys visited Titchmarsh to attend the marriage of Gilbert’s daughter in 1688.

Church of St Mary The Virgin Titchmarsh Northamptonshire 1

Church of St Mary The Virgin Titchmarsh Northamptonshire

“Happy the Man, and happy he alone,

He, who can call to day his own:

He who, secure within, can say,

To morrow do thy worst, for I have liv’d to-day.

Be fair, or foul, or rain, or shine,

The joys I have possest, in spight of fate, are mine.

Not Heav’n it self upon the past has pow’r;

But what has been, has been, and I have had my hour.”

John Dryden


Stoke Doyle

If I were to mention the name Stoke Doyle I would imagine that you would be transported to The Republic of Ireland, perhaps to County Clare, Galway or Sligo.

It could even conjure up a fictional detective of Irish decent who is partial to a Jamison’s for breakfast, has a practice in handling sordid divorce cases in New York’s Irish quarter and whose immediate relations emigrated to America in the depression.

So do not be surprised when I tell you that Stoke Doyle is a picturesque village in East Northamptonshire.

It lies around two miles south east of Oundle, famous for its School and The Talbot Hotel built from the stones removed from Fotheringhay Castle where Mary Queen of Scots lost her head.

The River Nene runs to the east of the village which used to be on the edge of Rockingham forest before deforestation in 1638.

We have passed through this village more times than I care to remember having always failed to stop but today we headed the car down the lane opposite the village inn to the church of St Rumbald’s.

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St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England

The church exterior has its own charm and has been described as having a plain classical structure, it is when you enter through the south door into the nave that you feel you have arrived at somewhere special, but it is only when you walk towards the chancel and look left that you are presented with the unexpected.

The mortuary chapel is gated and contains an elaborate marble monument to Sir Edward Ward, Knight, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer reclining in judge’s robes, said to be by Rysbrack, adding to the  element of surprise.

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 The Mortuary Chapel, St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England

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Memorial Collage, St Rumbald’s Church, Stoke Doyle, East Northamptonshire, England

On leaving the church it is your choice but before taking the main road to Oundle you could indulge in a small dram of Jamison’s at The Shuckburgh Arms, as long as you are not driving.