Monday, March 26, 2007

Hartlebury, Harvington, Holes & Hills - 24 March 2007

Hartlebury CastleSaturday began in Hartlebury with a visit to Hartlebury Castle, which is actually a Bishop’s Palace. We were fascinated to find a time-line chart there that showed that a likely (but as yet unproven) ancestor, Bishop John Hooper, was the resident Bishop from 1552-4.

After lunch at the canal town of Stourport-on-Severn we visited the very interesting medieval and Elizabethan house, Harvington Hall. Harvington HallThe Hall has survived largely untouched since the 1580s because in 1696 it passed, by marriage, to the Throckmortons who had other grand estates and did not need this home. Consequently, although occupied by Estate Managers and Clergy, it was never ‘modernised’. While not that far from Hartlebury, it would be most unlikely that Bishop Hooper ever visited the Hall as this was the home of a staunch Catholic family: evidenced by the seven Priest Holes; apparently the most priest holes in any English house.

Priest in a hole under the stairsYou would never know he was there

Now you see him, now you don't

Kinver Edge is very nearby and at the foot of the escarpment is Holy Austin Rock that has several very interesting cave houses built into Rock Housesthe rock. Unfortunately they were not open, but we did the walk around the top of the ‘Edge’, which looks out over the surrounding countryside.

In Kidderminster we saw the statue of Sir Rowland Hill who invented the Penny Post and about whom William Gladstone said, “His great plan ran like wild-fire Doors in Wolverleythrough the civilised world: never, perhaps, was a local invention and improvement applied in the lifetime of its author to the advantages of such multitudes of his fellow creatures.” As we read the plaques on the statue we were entertained by a father and four small children in the bus shelter singing:
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round, round and round.
The wheels on the bus go round and round
except when waiting for the 269.

No comments: