April 28th, 2021

Old Basing

We drove over to old Basing to visit my sister and brother-in-law in their new house. I may be forgetting something, but I think this is the furthest I've travelled in over a year. I don't know the north eastern corner of Hampshire at all- but that'll change. Old Basing is the pretty end of Basingstoke- which I imagine to be unlovely. It has the vestigial ruins of a house the size of Hampton Court Palace, an enormous tithe barn, 17th century houses that were built with the bricks of the great house after Oliver Cromwell knocked it down and invited the locals to help themselves, and a great medieval church that got so bashed about during the Civil War that the outer walls and and tower had to be rebuilt- again using bricks from Basing House.

My brother in law drove me to the church. Thank you, Ian!

Basing House was held by Royalists and suffered three sieges. It seems likely that Parliament troops were quartered in the church. Hence the amount of ordnance that got embedded in its walls. I like to think the dereliction of the gargoyle on the right may have had something to do with enemy action.

The sieges were bloody. The Parliament forces suffered considerable losses and were none too merciful when they finally stormed the house. They understood the defenders to be "papists" which made it acceptable- indeed a perfectly righteous act- to skewer and shoot them out of hand....

We observed Covid regulations- or I suppose we did- I hardly know what they are any more- and ate lunch in the garden. Red kites hovered overhead, swooping down remarkably low. One of these days I'll sit out on my sisters patio, with the telephoto lens extended- and click away.