070613.Monkton Combe, Muck-Stuck Duck, Qu’ck!

June 13, 2007 at 1:02 AM | Posted in Architecture, Chisel Marks, Ducks, Monkton Combe, Overcast, somerset, Wiltshire, Window | 3 Comments

070215.69.Somset.MonktonCombe.Mendips Fireplace Factory.Loss of Window Privlidges

Another blinded window, although this one wasn’t designed as such. Someone’s lost their window privileges above the Mendips Fireplace Factory, which is really quite an interesting stucture above a stream, but the water is stagnant and seemingly lethal. What lowly fireplace factory worker is stuck in the windowless room? Since when did fireplace factories occupy telephone buildings? Since when have fireplaces been manufactured in factories?
070215.67.Somset.MonktonCombe.Mendips Fireplace Factory070215.70.Somset.MonktonCombe.Mendips Fireplace Factory.MilfordBrook

Don’t worry, both are alive (but probably sending out S.O.S messages in bottles).

070306.Monkton Combe, “Look Ma, No Hands!”

March 6, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Canals, countryside, Monkton Combe, people, Reflection, somerset | 6 Comments

070303.038.Somset.MonktonCombe.DundasAqueduct.basin.LookMa No Hands
Alright, as previewed in yesterday’s post, this shot series also takes place along the Dundas Aqueduct and the Dundas Wharf. The photos are in reverse order but the story on how they were taken is linear. There’s actually no story so everyone will figure it out.
I was photographing a dog sunning itself on board one of the canal boats with its tail dangling near the water when another canal boat sails past me. There was, as mentioned yesterday, no name on this black-red boat but the person driving it looked particularly stoic/annoyed (I’m not good at reading expressions). He had what the Americans call a fauxhawk, or what the Brits call “the fin,” and I think the best way to describe the expression on his face was that he looked like he had something up his…. Anyway, this guy was the only one on deck standing like Napoleon with one hand in his coat and the other somewhere else as he cruised over the aqueduct, which didn’t raise my curiosity despite the fact that this part of the canal especially requires steering.
The boat was moving slowly enough that I, and the six people I was with, got on a bridge nearby to take an “aerial shot” of the nice canal boat with its BBQ Grill figurehead, kayak lifeboat, bagged garbage, and potted Christmas Tree.
I took one of the bow and thought that would be good enough to post.
Then I thought, might as well stay another two seconds and get a shot of the bow with the kayak.
And since I had two-thirds of the boat, I thought might as well get the whole thing – and that’s when I, and the six others, found out how this boat is steered.
Can’t imagine you’d receive a driving permit with that technique.

070305.Monkton Combe-Winsley, Flight of the Black Pig

March 5, 2007 at 1:23 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bridges, Canals, Chisel Marks, Conservation, countryside, Doric Order, Monkton Combe, people, river, River Avon, Riverboats, somerset, Trees, Wiltshire, Winsley | 6 Comments

070303.022.Somset.MonktonCombe.Dundas Aqueduct Basin
070303.023.Somset.MonktonCombe.Dundas Aqueduct Basin
The black riverboat is the Black Pig and it’s going over the Dundas Aqueduct, which means it is between Monkton Combe, Somerset and Winsley, Wiltshire (the lines aren’t exact so I might be wrong–also both a “symbolic counties” only.)
The black-red riverboat doesn’t have a name, and perhaps for good reason because we’ll be checking up on it tomorrow. Are you excited? I know I would be if I were in your place. But I’m not. I took the photos and know what is going to happen. It’s nothing to be all that excited about but maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.

This 1798 aqueduct spans 150 feet of the Kennet and Avon Canal over the River Avon on three arches. In 1961, it was designated an Ancient Monument Grade I and three years later they “conserved” it by fixing up its leaks and relining it with concrete. Ironically, it was built on the inferior local Bath stone material instead of the recommended brick because before the canal was built brick was far more expensive than local stone, which would of course change after the completion of the canal. Of course, Bath stone became popular after the completion of this canal as well (as previously discussed in the Ralph Allen series.)

Dundas Aqueduct

“At the opposite extremity of the [Monkton Combe] Parish towards the east the stream of the Avon is spanned by the Dundas Aqueduct. This engineering work, very different in appearance and use from the Roman aqueducts, forms a beautiful object when seen from the top of the hill on which Limpley Stoke lies. It is in form a graceful bridge of Bath stone in three arches. But instead of a highroad, it carries the Kennet and Avon Canal across
“Charles Dundas, after whom it is named, was a man of some eminence in his time. Born in 1751, he entered Parliament in 1774, and remained a member the rest of his life, being for the greater part of the time Member for Berkshire. His first wife brought him the estate of Kentbury, Amesbury in Wiltshire, and that brought him into connexion with Bath by means of the Kennet and Avon Canal. In the Act of Parliament passed for the construction of this canal the name of Charles Dundas occurs iin the long list of proprietors. But he appears really to have been one of the originators and chief promoters of the scheme. Probably his own estate benefited by it. But as the canal was a public work of great utility to the City of Bath and the Country of Wilts, Dundas must rank as a public benefactor, who deserves to be remembered. In 1832 he was raised to the peerage with the title Baron Amesbury. But in the same year he died [of cholera and is buried in Kintbury].
“For the tablets and inscriptions on the two sides of the Aqueduct see [below].
“When the canal was opened in 1810 track boats for passengers were put upon it, called locally “the Scotch boats,” because built after a Scotch model; and it became a favourite amusement for the inhabitants of Bath to travel out in them in leisurely fashion to the Dundas Aqueduct, and spend the day at the Italian villa with grounds sloping down to the water, now occupied by Mrs. Freestun, but then a hotel.” –D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924), 30-31.

Read more with British Waterways [here], or on the very informative “Kennet and Avon Scrapbook.”

Dundas Aqueduct; plaque, south face.


Dundas Aqueduct; plaque, north face.

070226.Monkton Combe, St. Michael’s Pevsner Architectural Church Chat

February 26, 2007 at 12:25 AM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, cemeteries - churchyards - and tombstones, Monkton Combe, Overcast, Pevsner, roofs, somerset, Towers, Trees | 6 Comments

070215.78.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels
The church is a small structure, 50 feet in length and 16 feet in breadth, covered with tiles; at the west end in a little stone turret hangs two small bells. It is dedicated to St. Michael.” -John Collinson, History of Somerset, 1791.

The original structure in the 1924 area guide was considered to be an “ancient Norman” one, and the parish minutes of 1757 give a glimpse of the small church structure having a chancel with at least two pews in it. “About the beginning of the XIX century,, when this little old church, after long neglect, needed extensive repairs, the inhabitant instead of repairing it, pulled it down and out of its materials build a new church of about the same size, seating only 95 persons, but to their minds no doubt more comfortable. It was erected in 1814 and did not last long. The Rev. Francis Pocock, being appointed vicar of Monkton Combe in 1863, found this church in a dilapidated state, and…for the needs for the parish, and had the courage to undertake the entire rebuilding of the sacred edifice.”– D. Lee Pitcairn and Alfred Richardson, An Historical Guide to Monkton Combe, Combe Down and Claverton (Bath: F. Goodall Printer, 1924) 28-29.

It was first suggested that an aisle should be added to the edifice, but this, it was found, could not be done, and it was finally decided to raze the old structure and erect and entirely new building. Mr. C. E. Giles, of London, designer of St. John’s, Bathwick, was the architect, and the builder was Mr. S. G. Mitchell of this city [Bath]. The church was opened on Tuesday, July 4th…capable of seating 300 worshipers.” —Bath Chronicle, July 6, 1865.

St. Michael. 1865, by C. E. Giles, enlarged in 1886 (GR), rather terrible piece of architecture. Inside a Venetian later C16 painting attributed to Schiavone (on loan). –Plate. Chalice and Cover 1634; Spoon 1797.” – Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: North Somerset and Bristol, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1958), 229.
070215.56.Somset.MonktonCombe.St Michaels.1865.d.CE Giles.rd1886
Typically unforunate with Victorian churches and other structures is its Welsh Slate roof. If I may add something to this list of quotes it is that I agree with Pevsner here. This is why the people of Monkton Combe can’t have nice things….

060217.Monkton Combe, Ye “Olde Locke Up”

February 17, 2007 at 12:59 AM | Posted in Architecture, Chisel Marks, Jane Austen, Monkton Combe, Overcast, somerset, towns, Trees | 7 Comments

Hostess: “…and these are our holding cells. I’m sure Ünterland has much larger ones, y’know, you being a whole country and all.”
Guest Henchman: “Ünterland…has…no…prisons.”
Hostess: “Really? Oh, how progressive…”
Guest Henchman: “The master has instated the death penalty for all infractions of Ünterlaw.”
070215.60.Somset.MonktonCombe.The Olde Lock-up.c1776
This is not a lame title, it’s the structure’s name: the “Olde Lock-Up,” constructed around 1776 in a town three miles south of Bath. You might think how desireably quaint, the small scenic little windowless prison is and that small town life used to have small town prisons, which represented a generally more peaceful society back then, but you’d be wrong. Petty theft of an item valued (by the retailer) at five shillings or more was a capital crime! The Georgians loved to hang everybody, no age limit: babies included. (See below Jane Austen’s aunt’s trial.)
In many ways, this small prison’s date of 1776 contrast sharply to the declaration of independence (this is not really that lame a segway, I have a point:) with Thomas Jefferson’s repeated attempts to limit the use of capital punishment to only murder and treason. In this same time period, peacefully Quaker Pennsylvania went one step further by introducing “degrees of murder” with first being the only one eligible for the death sentence. And finally, one of the American rights was anyone could only bring to court any argument involving a value of 20 dollars or more.
070215.61.Somset.MonktonCombe.The Olde Lock-up.c1776
And also…I got nothing. Here, check this out: it’s also small.
070215.62.Somset.MonktonCombe.The Olde Lock-up.c1776
“Jane Austen’s maternal uncle, James Leigh Perrot, possessed two of the status symbols of the respectable Englishman, as listed by Jane in her unfinished last novel Sanditon: “symptoms of gout and a winter at Bath.” Uncle James had a touching (but unrewarded) faith in the therapeutic powers of the waters of Bath, and he and Aunt Jane Leigh Perrot spent almost as much time at that famous resort town and spa as at their home in Berkshire called Scarlets. In the winter of 1799-1800 Bath was particularly unkind to Uncle James’s ailment, because, instead of conversing with his well-born friends at the Pump Room or the Assembly Rooms or promenading on the Royal Crescent, he spent the season with his wife at the rude home of the warden of Ilchester Gaol. For Aunt Jane had been arrested in Bath in August 1799 on the inelegant charge of filching a card of white lace from the William Smith millinery shop….”
“A prima facie case of shoplifting was found to have been made out, and Aunt Jane was committed to Ilchester Gaol to await trial at the next county assizes to be held in the spring at Taunton. The offense on which Aunt Jane was to be tried was far from trivial. Shoplifting of an item valued at five shillings or more was a capital crime, and the white lace was put down in the indictment at twenty shillings. For capital punishment the price was right. Although the penalty would likely have been commuted to transportation to Botany Bay in Australia, subjection to the rigors of the penal colony could be equivalent to a death sentence for convicts whose constitutions were not hardy.
“Aunt Jane’s social position had not exempted her from commitment pending trial, but it did win her the privilege of lodging in the house of the warden, Mr. Scadding, rather than in the prison itself. She was joined by Uncle James, who bore bravely a new onslaught of gout as well as a quality of accommodations far below the most modest Michelin rating. Aunt Jane wrote of the indignities suffered by her fastidious husband: “Cleanliness has ever been his greatest delight, and yet he sees the greasy toast laid by the dirty children on his knees, and feels the small Beer trickle down his Sleeves on its way across the table unmoved.” Aunt Jane declined the kind offer of her “sister Austen” to send her daughters Jane and Cassandra to stay with them. Aunt Jane had stated that she could not procure the girls accommodations in the warden’s house with her, and that she could not let those “Elegant young Women” be inmates in a prison or be subject to the inconveniences she and her husband were obliged to put up with.” —Albert Borowitz, “Trial of Jane’s Aunt,” Legal Studies Forum, Volume 29, Number 2 (2005):724-725.
Jane’s aunt ends up being cleared, only because a jury of peers couldn’t conceive that a rich woman would shoplift. The same jury that day, however, sentenced several (poorer) others to hanging, including a few children.

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