Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Re-write of first section + more


   If you were to visit Kirkheaton Northumberland in 2019, you would travel north from Newcastle to Belsay and a mile beyond you would take a left turn onto a minor road which would take you past the walls of Belsay castle and on, due west, for 5 miles, the last ¾ of a mile being on single track with passing places. Then you would arrive on the Village Green. This is still the size of the original medieval green and surrounded by the original cottage and farm houses, though they have all been enlarged over the centuries. There would have been no trees on the Green and one of the houses at the far end was not there, though there was a small building on the plot, possibly a cottage. I do not know the date of the original cottage in the middle of the Green. It was extended in 2016 into a house. Around the original Village Green and its dwellings there are newer additions, though the Church, of which more later, which is built on the highest point to the SW of the Green, was certainly there in 1200. Opposite the Manor House is a new bungalow, incorporating an old stable that was used by the occupiers of the Manor at one period. The access to the bungalow is an old track leading down to a disused limestone quarry. On the right and still at the same level as the bungalow, is a ruined cottage (known to have been the gamekeeper’s home in the late 19th century and early 20th), which backs onto the churchyard. Work is to start there shortly to turn it into another bungalow. At the bottom of the hill is an old but modern barn which is to be demolished and rebuilt as a house. To the west of the cottages on the north side there is another bungalow, built in the 1940s and beyond that there are stables which can house (how many?) horses. Between No 3 North Side and West Farm there is a track leading to another quarry which provided stone for the roads which were tarmac-ed in the late 1920’s or early 30’s.  On the right of the track is an old barn which was converted to a house in (when), and beyond it and the site of the old Women’s Institute Hut, is the possibly Wesleyan Chapel, which was certainly there in the 1860’s but was probably built in the 18th century. All the way down behind the rest of North Side there are old farm buildings etc with Proudlock’s Haulage business at the end.  There is a gap between Nos 7 and 8, in which there is a small piece of a ruin which is thought to have been either a Bastle House (fortified farmhouse) or a small tower, but there are no records to prove this. Now that you have an outline of the Hamlet in 2019 it is time to go back in time....
  [ The early part of the following history is mostly taken from A History of Northumberland, Volume IV, Hexhamshire: Part II, (Hexham, Whitley Chapel, Allendale, and St. John Lee), and The Parish of Chollerton, The Chapelry of Kirkheaton, The Parish of Thockrington, By John Crawford Hodson, dated 1897. Much of the earlier history contains different spellings for the same places and where I have taken information from Hodson, I have used his spelling.]
   The origin of the settlement of Kirkheaton is unknown, the first known mention being in 1290. The reason for its existence is also unknown. Both coal and limestone were mined later on but were unlikely to have drawn people there in the distant past. It was a very bleak site, standing at 650ft and open to all the winds. However, the Roman Road, the Devil’s Causeway, runs through the eastern end of the parish and has signs of bell pits on either side, so there could have been some form of settlement in Roman times. The Devil’s Causeway is thought to have been older than Hadrian’s Wall. It starts just north of the Wall close by Corbridge, quite some distance south of Kirkheaton and runs north to Berwick. The bell pits were a very early form of mining for coal, so named because of their shape. At the time Kirkheaton was first mentioned there were two separate places, Little Heton and Caldstrother. The site of the latter is unknown but must be to the west of Kirkheaton, as the land to the East was farms and no signs are to be found while to the West it is wilder and with modern methods, such as Drones, it may be possible to identify where it was. When I arrived in 1981 villagers spoke of a lost village to the west.  Something of the size of both places can be guessed at from the Subsidy Roll of 1296 when there were 15 people mentioned in Kirkheaton and 6 in Caldestryer, so neither were very large.  Subsidy Rolls are records of taxation in England made between the 12th and 17th centuries. Ownership at that time is vague though it seems that Walter de Bolam and John de Cambhou were involved. At that time people tended to call themselves after the places where they lived, in this case Bolam and Cambo.
   The chapel, (St. Bartholomew’s Church today), was held by The Prior and convent of Hexham Priory and in 1314 the Priory “obtained a licence to acquire the moiety (half) of the manor of Little Heaton from John de Cambhou and in 1323 to obtain land from Hilbert de Babynton, (another local place now (Bavington)) , William Heeson and Robert, son of Hugh de Cambhowe.
   Gilbert and John de Middleton separately owned land in Chuldstrothre and West Heaton. (Today a descendent still owns and  lives on an estate round Belsay. In 1317 there was a rebellion against Edward II in which the Middletons were involved so Gilbert Middleton was known as a Rebel and his lands were confiscated. Edward ll granted a toft and 10 acres in Chuldstrothre to Thomas de Heton and in 1333 John de Crumbwell (Constable for the Tower of London) died seized of Lands in Caldstruther, and in 1335 Sir John Strivelyn of Belsay obtained grant of lands of John Middleton (rebel). The receipt to the Bailiffs is held at Kew. Sir John, in 1373, by deeds entailed certain lands in Caldstrother, “which is a hamlet of Kirkheaton”. After Sir John Strivelyn died, the lands reverted to Sir John de Middleton.
   In 1479, the survey of the possessions of the Priory, contained in the Black Book of Hexham tells us that at Kirkheaton and Caldstrother, seven tenants who held of the prior, by homage and suit of court, thirty-three who held husbandlands , and eight cottagers. The land occupied by the last two groups totalled 1169 acres.
   Other Northumbrian family names mentioned in the early 1500s were Ilderton, Shafftow,  Fenwick and Swinburne.. The last mention of Caldstrother is in 1505/6, when “Sir Thomas Ilderton, son and heir of Thomas Ilderton, lately deceased, granted Thomas Shaftow.....and also all those lands, etc , in the vill territory, and fields of Caldstroder.”  (Vill – Territorial unit or division under the feudal system, consisting of a number of houses or buildings with their adjacent lands, more or less contiguous and having a common organisation; corresponding to the Anglo-Saxon tithing and to the modern township or civil parish.)
   Some idea of the size of Kirkheaton can be gained from the Muster Roll of 1538. This showed that there were 5 men – able with horse and harness and 10 with neither horse or harness, so it was not a large community. Information about this period is fragmentary, because it was a very unsettled time with the Border Reiving. If the Scots were not coming over the border and thieving, raping and burning, the people of the Northern areas were doing the same on the Scottish side of the border. Information can be found in the records of some of the big families, such as the Swinburnes and Herons. There are references to Kirkheaton in the Swinburne (Capheaton) Manuscripts and it is known that Matthew Heron, a younger son of the Herons of Chipchase, built The Manor House in about 1570 as a Bastle, or fortified house. After the union of England and Scotland things gradually became more settled  and the Herons acquired much of the land and by 1663 a Matthew Heron owned 6/7th of the “lands of the Township”, whilst John Atkinson owned the remaining 1/7th so that when the enclosures came in 1722, 1/7th of the land to the northwest of the village was allocated to a Jacob Atkinson together with a house on the South side of the village, in which he was living. This remains to this day as Kirkheaton Farm and includes Black Hill, now ruined. Black Hill had a single room on the east end and a byre for the cattle on the west and may have been occupied by a shepherd. There are also signs of outbuildings. It stands on a bluff overlooking a marshy area, where the River Blythe rises and is exposed to the prevailing westerly winds.




   The Reiving stopped early in the 17th Century and life will have changed to be more peaceful.
The Manor House was altered to be more comfortable, the south wall being rebuilt with the windows we see today. Farming could continue without fear of losing your stock to the Scots. In about 1664, ownership of the township of Kirkheaton finally passed from the Herons, when Matthew Heron sold it to Sir Richard Stote of Stote’s Hall, Newcastle. He died unmarried in 1707 and left all his estates to his three younger sisters, Margaret, Frances and Dorothy. The last survivor was Dame Dorothy Windsor, who had married Dixie Windsor, third son of Thomas, first earl of Plymouth. She was responsible for rebuilding the Church which was roofless and adding a wing to the Manor House. She died a widow, childless and intestate, owning, amongst other estates, 1,759 acres in Kirkheaton, including Kirkheaton Hall and a land sale colliery which had probably been acquired from the Blacketts of Wallington. Dame Dorothy’s death was followed by much litigation. The following is a summary of the events taken from the Crasters’ papers (Craster, Archaeologia  Achana  Vol xxxi, 4th series) – “Six weeks before this wedding (Feb 3, 1757) an aged widow died in Upper Brook St, childless and intestate. Her name was Dame Dorothy Windsor. She was the last surviving child of that Sir Richard Stote who had helped to make John Craster’s grandfather, sheriff of Northumberland in Charles ll reign, and whose mother, Jane Bewick, had for her grandfather an Edmund Craster who had owned Craster in the days of Elizabeth. So she was 3rd cousin once removed to John. What was also much to the point, she owned large and profitable estates in the South of Northumberland. These comprised 1,056 in Long Benton, 296 in Willington and 89 acres in Jesmond. John’s genealogical researches gave prospect of yielding a substantial dividend. He asserted his claim to be Dame Dorothy’s next-of-kin and heir at law, while the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Carlisle and Sir William Blackett all asserted that there were no heirs at all and claimed various portions of the estates as escheats. More than one suit was started in the Court of Exchequer, and legal proceedings dragged on for three years, threatening to involve the litigants in considerable expense. John Craster thought it wise to come to terms with Sir Robert Bewicke and make common cause with him against the other parties. They agreed to act in concert and to share expenses and benefits. Events justified the Craster-Bewicke partnership. Judgement was given in their favour and they entered into possession of the coveted estates as tenants in common
   Until 1838 the joint ownership continued but then Thomas Wood Craster began to sell off farms and by 1849 he had realised his share of the surface rights in the Windsor estates while retaining the coal royalties. The Bewickes continued to own the Kirkheaton Estate until 1924.
   In the years that followed, Kirkheaton Farm changed hands a number of times and tenants came and went in the cottages, farms and the Manor House. In 1781 there was another court case disputing the title of the Crasters and Bewickes to the Windsor estates by Stote Manby, who claimed nearer kinship to the Stotes. Stote Manby was a descendant of Sir Richard Stote’s brother Cuthbert. He obtained a verdict in his favour, but he compounded his claim by accepting £300 a year for life from the Bewicks and Crasters. In 1855-7 there was yet another court case brought by a grandson of Stote Manby but it was unsuccessful.
   During the Napoleonic wars, a letter was written to William Loraine of Kirke Harle, which resulted in his writing, on September 18th 1803 to Mr Robson of High Heaton (was this Kirkheaton or Capheaton?) the following letter:  He needed to know the number of Carts that would be required for the Removal of the Infirm and Children in the Parish and the number of carts that would be left for the other uses of Government. He instructed Mr Robson – “You will have the Number Station marked upon the Carts appropriated for the Conveyance of the Infirm etc and send me the Name of the Owner of the carts and the name of the drivers. You will appoint if possible a Blacksmith and a Carpenter with their Tools to each Twelve Carts and let me know their names and also appoint a few steady Farmers who are unfit from age to be called into actual Service and who will engage to mount themselves and provide some Arms for the Defence of the Carts from Domestic Plunderers. Sir John is of the opinion that the marking of the Cattle and Sheep should by no means be neglected with all possible dispatch. Every person should put their own private mark and also a publick one. The publick one in your Parish should be on the Shoulder of the sheep behind the Neck the figure 9 and on the Cattle the same figure on the left buttock near the top of the Back  (I have included this letter , even though I am not sure that it was to Kirkheaton because I find it of interest!)
   The Rev. Humphrey Brown took up residence in the Manor House in 1770. He was Chaplain and also curate of Throckrington. A series of Vicars of Throckrington continued to live in the Manor House until 1900, when repairs were needed and the current owner, one of many Calverly Bewickes, was not prepared to pay for them. (For more on the Manor and on the Church , see the chapters on them.)
The population in the 19th century was quite high – 1801-147, 1811-152, 1821-140, 1851-153, 1881-133, 1891-133, 1931-134 – but in 1951 it was only 70. No doubt the reason for the larger size was the coal mine and the large number of people needed to work the land. Also there were trades people such as shoe menders! The reduction in 1951 may have been due to a combination of the closure of the mine and changes in farming practice. The decline in numbers of  people working on the land, no doubt accounts for the decrease to 51 in the 1991 census. By 2000 it had dropped even further to 46. At the time of writing – 2019 – there are 56, with one house empty and 2 more to be built in the near future. Also there are a number of young children, so the future looks good.
   There are 5 farms or houses that are mentioned in registers but no longer exist. Black Hill, above the source of the River Blythe, is still there but now a ruin. Fairshaw was a farm between the Ingo road and Mount Huly Farm. The trees surrounding it are still there. A researcher into Thomas Bewick's ancestry found that another Thomas Bewick lived in Cross Stone House, Kirkheaton, while Pilfield Hall and Redwell Hall are mentioned in Registers.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Start of Kirkheaton History


The origin of the settlement of Kirkheaton is unknown, the first known mention being in 1290. However, the Roman Road, the Devil’s Causeway, runs through the eastern end of the parish and has signs of bell pits on either side, so there could have been some form of settlement in Roman times. By the time it was mentioned there were two separate places, Little Heton and Caldstrother. The site of the latter is unknown but must be to the west of Kirkheaton. Both places were of a reasonable size as in the Subsidy Roll of 1296 there were 15 people mentioned in Kirkheaton and 6 in Caldestryer. Ownership at that time is vague though it seems that Walter de Bolam and John de Cambhou were involved. The chapel, (St. Bartholomew’s Church today), was held by The Prior and convent of Hexham Priory and in 1314 they “obtained a licence to acquire the moiety (half) of the manor of Little Heaton from John de Cambhou and in 1323 to obtain land from Hilbert de Babynton, William Heeson and Robert, son of Hugh de Cambhowe.
   Gilbert and John de Middleton separately owned land in Chuldstrothre and West Heaton. Gilbert Middleton was a Rebel and his lands were confiscated. Edward ll granted a toft and 10 acres in Chuldstrothre to Thomas de Heton and in 1333 John de Crumbwell (Constable for the Tower of London) died seized of Lands in Caldstruther, and in 1335 Sir John Strivelyn of Belsay obtained grant of lands of John Middleton (rebel). The receipt to the Bailiffs is held at Kew. Sir John, in 1373, by deeds entailed certain lands in Caldstrother, “which is a hamlet of Kirkheaton”. After Sir John died, the lands reverted to Sir John de Middleton.
   In 1479, the survey of the possessions of the Priory, contained in the Black Book of Hexham tells us that at Kirkheaton and Caldstrother, seven tenants who held of the prior, by homage and suit of court, thirty-three who held husbandlands , and eight cottagers. The land occupied by the last two groups totalled 1169 acres.
   Other Northumbrian family names mentioned in the early 1500s were Ilderton, Shafftow and Fenwick. The last mention of Caldstrother is in 1505/6, when “Sir Thomas Ilderton, son and heir of Thomas Ilderton, lately deceased, granted Thomas Shaftow.....and also all those lands, etc , in the vill territory, and fields of Caldstroder.”  (Vill – Territorial unit or division under the feudal system, consisting of a number of houses or buildings with their adjacent lands, more or less contiguous and having a common organisation; corresponding to the Anglo-Saxon tithing and to the modern township or civil parish.) In 1524, 400 Tynedale men, accompanied by many Scots, gathered at Ingoe and Kirkheaton and overran the country to within eight miles of Newcastle "slaying, wounding, pillaging and burning on their way"
   Some idea of the size of Kirkheaton can be gained from the Muster Roll of 1538. This showed that there were 5 men – able with horse and harness and 10 with neither horse or harness, so it was not a large community. Information about this period is fragmentary, because it was a very unsettled time with the Border Reiving. There are references to Kirkheaton in the Swinburne (Capheaton) Manuscripts and it is known that Matthew Heron, a younger son of the Herons of Chipchase, built The Manor House in about 1570 as a Bastle, or fortified house. He also acquired much of the land and by 1663 a Matthew Heron owned 6/7th of the “lands of the Township”, whilst John Atkinson owned the remaining 1/7th so that when the enclosures came in 1722, 1/7th of the land to the northwest of the village was allocated to a Jacob Atkinson together with a house on the South side of the village. This remains to this day as Kirkheaton Farm and includes Black Hill, now ruined.
   The Reiving stopped early in the 17th Century and life will have changed to be more peaceful.
The Manor House was altered to be more comfortable, the south wall being rebuilt with the windows we see today. Farming could continue without fear of losing your stock to the Scots but ownerships continued to change. For instance, the coal mines which had belonged to the Priory and thence to the King, were, by 1689 owned by Sir William Blackett of Wallington.
   In about 1664, ownership of the township of Kirkheaton finally passed from the Herons, when Matthew Heron sold it to Sir Richard Stote of Stote’s Hall, Newcastle. He died unmarried in 1707 and left all his estates to his three younger sisters, Margaret, Frances and Dorothy. The last survivor was Dame Dorothy Windsor, who had married Dixie Windsor, third son of Thomas, first earl of Plymouth. She was responsible for rebuilding the Church which was roofless and adding a wing to the Manor House. She died a widow, childless and intestate, owning, amongst other estates, 1,759 acres in Kirkheaton, including Kirkheaton Hall and a land sale colliery which had probably been acquired from the Blacketts. Dame Dorothy’s death was followed by much litigation. The following is a summary of the events taken from the Craster's papers (Craster, Archaeologia  Achana  Vol xxxi, 4th series) – “Six weeks before this wedding (Feb 3, 1757) an aged widow died in Upper Brook St, childless and intestate. Her name was Dame Dorothy Windsor. She was the last surviving child of that Sir Richard Stote who had helped to make John Craster’s grandfather, sheriff of Northumberland in Charles ll reign, and whose mother, Jane Bewick, had for her grandfather an Edmund Craster who had owned Craster in the days of Elizabeth. So she was 3rd cousin once removed to John. What was also much to the point, she owned large and profitable estates in the South of Northumberland. These comprised 1,056 in Long Benton, 296 in Willington and 89 acres in Jesmond. John’s genealogical researches gave prospect of yielding a substantial dividend. He asserted his claim to be Dame Dorothy’s next-of-kin and heir at law, while the Earl of Northumberland, the Earl of Carlisle and Sir William Blackett all asserted that there were no heirs at all and claimed various portions of the estates as escheats. More than one suit was started in the Court of Exchequer, and legal proceedings dragged on for three years, threatening to involve the litigants in considerable expense. John Craster thought it wise to come to terms with Sir Robert Bewicke and make common cause with him against the other parties. They agreed to act in concert and to share expenses and benefits. Events justified the Craster-Bewicke partnership. Judgement was given in their favour and they entered into possession of the coveted estates as tenants in common”
   Until 1838 the joint ownership continued but then Thomas Wood Craster began to sell off farms and by 1849 he had realised his share of the surface rights in the Windsor estates while retaining the coal royalties. The Bewickes continued to own the Kirkheaton Estate until 1924.
   In the years that followed, Kirkheaton Farm changed hands a number of times and tenants came and went in the cottages. In 1781 there was another court case disputing the title of the Crasters and Bewickes to the Windsor estates by Stote Manby, who claimed nearer kinship to the Stotes. Stote Manby was a descendant of Sir Richard Stote’s brother Cuthbert. He obtained a verdict in his favour, but he compounded his claim by accepting £300 a year for life from the Bewicks and Crasters. In 1855-7 there was yet another court case brought by a grandson of Stote Manby but it was unsuccessful.
During the Napoleonic wars, a letter was written to William Loraine of Kirke Harle, which resulted in his writing, on September 18th 1803 to Mr Robson of High Heaton (was this Kirkheaton or Capheaton?) the following letter:  He needed to know the number of Carts that would be required for the Removal of the Infirm and Children in the Parish and the number of carts that would be left for the other uses of Government. He instructed Mr Robson – “You will have the Number Station marked upon the Carts appropriated for the Conveyance of the Infirm etc and send me the Name of the Owner of the carts and the name of the drivers. You will appoint if possible a Blacksmith and a Carpenter with their Tools to each Twelve Carts and let me know their names and also appoint a few steady Farmers who are unfit from age to be called into actual Service and who will engage to mount themselves and provide some Arms for the Defence of the Carts from Domestic Plunderers. Sir John is of the opinion that the marking of the Cattle and Sheep should by no means be neglected with all possible dispatch. Every person should put their own private mark and also a publick one. The publick one in your Parish should be on the Shoulder of the sheep behind the Neck the figure 9 and on the Cattle the same figure on the left buttock near the top of the Back”  (I have included this letter, even though I am not sure that it was to Kirkheaton because I find it of interest!)
   The Rev. Humphrey Brown took up residence in the Manor House in 1770. He was Chaplain and also curate of Throckrington. A series of Vicars of Throckrington continued to live in the Manor House until 1900, when repairs were needed and the current owner, one of many Calverly Bewickes, was not prepared to do them.( For more on the Manor and on the Church , see the chapters on them.)
   The population in the 19th century was quite high – 1801-147, 1811-152, 1821-140, 1851-153, 1881-133, 1891-133, 1931-134 – but in 1951 it was only 70. The reason for the drop was the closure of the Brandy Well mine in 1927 (?) The start of a decline in people working on the land no doubt accounts for the decrease to 51 in the 1991 census. By 2000 it had dropped even further to 46. At the time of writing (2019) there are 56, with one house empty and 2 more to be built in the near future. Also there are a number of young children, so the future looks good.
   There are 5 farms or houses that are mentioned in registers but no longer exist. Black Hill, above the sourse of the River Blythe, is still there but now a ruin. Fairshaw was a farm between the Ingoe road and Mount Huly Farm. The trees surrounding it are still there. A researcher into Thomas Bewick's ancestry found that another Thomas Bewick lived in Cross Stone House, Kirkheaton, while Pilfield Hall and Redwell Hall are mentioned in Registers.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Teneriffe

A volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean. We stayed on the north side of the island which is greener and cooler and not particularly developed for tourism. Our Hotel (the Tagaida) stands above the old town, with a steep hill down to the port. Our room had a view of Teide to the left and the sea to the right.




In 1706 there was an eruption during which lava poured out and down the hill to a place called Garachico, which was an important port. The town was burnt and the harbour filled with lava.

We visited the village of Orotava. It was here that floral carpets at Corpus Christi started. We started at the top of the village, in Casa de los Balconas.

This is a typical Canarian house and full of local crafts. Out the back was this boat, full of shells.



Monday, 24 October 2011

Summer Holidays 2011

Summer Holiday

We crossed the North Sea from Hull to Zeebruger in a gale, but we slept through it! We drove to Giverny and where we had reserved a room in the only Hotel. It was only s few mintutes walk from Montet's garden.

Next morning we walked along to see the magiic place.
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After walking through the house and admiring the strong colours that Money had used,, we walked through the garden's in front of the house.. They are laid out in strips, with a path down the centre of each strip and organised colour bordering it. Being early autumn, there were many dahlias and other autumn flowerers. Not easy to photograph. The path in front of the above picture was lined on either side by nasturtiums - quite a sight. - as they had spread right across and nearly joined in the middle of the path. It must look very different in May - the most popular time to visit - but they get several thousand a day then, so I would rather visit when we went.
After walking up an down the paths that you are allowed to use, we went into the tunnel under the main road and come out in the water garden.
This was magic. A different world. The garden that Monet had made. There were masses of weeping willows, now mature, and all the water, with water lilies in it. The Japanese bridges, painted green. The feeling of great peace, despite all the visitors,

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We wandered round at our leisure, and in the afternoon, while G was resting, I returned and went round again. It is a magic place. Peaceful and beautiful. You are not too aware of the other people, though I fear that if you go in May, it might be far too full.
Back in the house garden, we found the naked ladies.

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Next day we went on to Chenonceaux. It will follow when I get round to adding it!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

My garden, pictures taken on 2nd Sept.

Not a lot to see this September, but I took a few pictures.

First we have this years picture of the lilies from which my avatar came.






A couple of years ago I scattered some poppy seed from a friend in the lily bed. This year these lovely double red offspring appeared in the cleared bed by the arbour










The herbaceous border looks thoroughly over grown and lacking in colour.

The bed with the lilies, seen from a different direction. The Smoke bush is really misty this year - it has not flowered like this before.
Lastly we have the current view from the arbour, where I sit when ever I can find an excuse and often when I can't

Monday, 6 September 2010

A Welsh Birthday

I recently had a magic 4 day 80th birthday.

The day itself was spent travelling from Chester to Brecon and a magic self-catering barn conversion. We took our time and it was a lovely drive.
Shortly after we got there A, V, C and M plus a grandson and his friend arrived. It was a pleasant surprise when my eldest brother and wife turned up, bringing "the friend's" grandmother who was to stay with us - a brilliant surprise for her as she did not know that H was to be there.

The next day was my niece's wedding - a very happy celebration. Bless them, during speeches they congratulated me on my birthday and gave me a bouquet. On Sunday, my youngest brother (Father of the Bride) gave a lunch party for his brothers, sister (me) children, grandchild, numerous nephews and nieces and some friends. Later most of us drove off to a place on the River Usk that is a known swimming place. After a bit of a hike along the bank amongst the trees, we reached the place and most people swam while the rest watched. Later still we went back to the house for a peaceful end to the day.
Monday, the intention was for us to climb Pen y fan, the highest of the Brecon Beacons, so although it can be reached from the house, by a route to the right of the picture, we went off by car to the Story Arms, where we met up with more of the family. And so we started up the first bit of the climb. It was pretty testing to those over 70 - not just me! At about half way, we stopped to eat our sarnies, sitting among the blaeberries in the sun. By then I had come to the conclusion that even if I could make the top, I would not be able to get down again!! This was some relief to the 70 and overs, who didn't think they could either.



On the way down we saw these Welsh ponies. When I was a child I had one which I loved dearly.

We all ended up at the house - the climbers came down the direct way and the first to arrive was the 9 year old, followed by my 16 year old grandson who was very peeved to have been beaten by G. After tea and more gossip, we said our farewells to all who were not staying. I did not notice the winks and nudges that were going on. Shortly before we were to have dinner, cooked by C, I turned round and there were 2 brothers and their wives - a complete surprise. A happy evening was spent by all.

I thought you might like to see some of my cards


especially the one below - the creation of my Dil. They had to google to get cruciverbalist.

To end, here is a picture of the third peak, taken as I was out for a walk. The other is the view from the barn, towards the Black Mountains.



It was not the end of the holiday. My lot left on Tuesday and the step family arrived (not enough beds to have them all at the same time) We had a happy 3 more days, which would make another story, before coming home.

Friday, 6 August 2010

August again

The garden is looking pretty rough and ready just now but there is still some colour about.









This corner border is not that old but the shrubs are a good size now. I am still developing the back and you will see a picture of any progress in the Autumn/Winter.



Potentillas grow like weeds and self-seed in Northumberland. At this time of the year they seem to take over as they grow fast. I will be cutting them back in the autumn.























One of the many Hostas, with very few slug holes. Is this due to so many birds? Or the hedgehogs? Or both?

This particular rose has taken off this year and has been marvellous. It is past its best now, though. Isfahan was amazing in late June, with its lovely scent, but there are only very few flowers left now







The herbaceous borders are fairly colourful just now








The Astilbe is showing no sign of drought as I watered it earlier, and we have had plenty of rain lately







The wander round comes to an end, sitting in peace, listening to the birds and enjoying the part of the garden to be seen from here. I am waiting to see if the Clematis will flower again. It is certainly growing well