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Tony Grist

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What We Did Last Thursday [Sep. 2nd, 2008|10:02 am]
Tony Grist
In the morning we went and wandered round Kenilworth Castle. We have a year's membership of English Heritage- and I mean to get my money's worth. Kenilworth belonged to a guy called de Clinton (an ancestor of Bill's?  I wonder...) who was your archetypal Norman brute and then to Simon de Montfort and John of Gaunt and a succession of English kings. It was a place where history happened. Eventually it passed to Robert Dudley- Elizabeth I's favourite- who went on a building spree and turned it into a Tudor palace. It got caught up in the Civil War and Cromwell slighted it- demolishing walls so it could never be garrisoned again. Most of it has been in ruins ever since.



Castles leave me cold, I've decided. Most of them, anyway. Kenilworth impresses, but is all about power and money and violence and ambition. 

Give me a monastic ruin anyday....

There's one on the other side of town, in the grounds of the parish church. Monasteries are about power and money and violence and ambition too- but also something else.

Here's what's left of the gatehouse...



And here's a curiosity. A romanesque doorway, snaffelled from the abbey, surrounded by Elizabethan fancy-work and installed in the parish church. This was probably done by Robert Dudley as part of an attempt to tart up the church in anticipation of a visit from the queen.



And here- just because I like it- is the churchyard path.



Curious. All these pictures are of gateways, portals.... I think it must say something about my current state of mind.

In the evening we went to see Hamlet... but I've already written about that.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: huskyteer
2008-09-02 09:56 am (UTC)
The last photo is lovely. I always like tree-lined roads.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 09:59 am (UTC)
Thanks.

I had to snap it quickly while the person at the end was still in view.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2008-09-02 11:11 am (UTC)
Castles have their charm but I have to agree with you about monastic ruins. English Heritage has some truly fabulous and offbeat properties. The last photo with the almost ghostly figure at the end is wonderful as is the romanesque doorway.

I have developed a love of old cemeteries.




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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 12:28 pm (UTC)
I've been photographing graveyards for 40 years. I particularly love 18th century tombstones with their big, chunky, folk-arty carvings of death's heads and cherubs.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2008-09-02 11:16 am (UTC)
What a Romanesque doorway! Quite elaborate.

I like the photo of the castle, not for the castle, but because of the contrasting greenery beyond. It's almost a "this is what we were fighting for" photo.

And of course, the churchyard path is great. All those bodies nourishing those trees, and the figure in the distance.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 12:35 pm (UTC)
I love anything romanesque- all that bold, chunky carving. The pointed decoration on the middle band of the arch is actually made up of fabulous, long-snouted beasties.

I took a lot of pictures at the castle, but that's the only one I really like- maybe because it seems to offer an escape route.

I had to get my skates on to capture that vista down the pathway before the figure "disappeared".
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[User Picture]From: scathedobsidian
2008-09-02 12:40 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's fantastic. I'm jealous of this little photo outing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 02:01 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I just love a ruin.
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From: nostoi
2008-09-02 02:07 pm (UTC)
I love avenues of trees, and I especially love the sign outside the church. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 04:04 pm (UTC)
It's a friendly church. There was a woman inside- as there so often is- doing the flower arrangements.
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From: tinceiri
2008-09-02 02:23 pm (UTC)
What brought you to this particular site?
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 04:07 pm (UTC)
Happenstance.

We were in the neighbourhood because we'd got tickets for the theatre in Stratford- about five miles away. We knew the castle was worth seeing- and I'm always on the lookout for anything old and ecclsiastical.
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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2008-09-02 02:33 pm (UTC)
That last photo is striking, not least because I'm trying to decide how the graves got so close to the bases of those trees. The bodies must have been buried first, and then saplings planted. In colder, darker weather, it looks as though it would be the perfect setting for the Headless Horseman to chase poor Ichabod to the bridgehouse.

British countryside has me thinking about American folklore - curious.


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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 04:11 pm (UTC)
I think you're right, the graves are 19th century and were almost certainly there before the trees.

Washington Irving was an Anglophile and England is positively swarming with headless ghosts.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2008-09-02 03:15 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous photos, as always. I particularly like the first and last ones.

I love castles.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I prefer my castles small and intimate. There's something cold and impersonal about the really big ones like Kenilworth.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2008-09-02 04:48 pm (UTC)
Lovely photos! That path... wow, wow, wow.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 07:36 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like that one. It's my favourite.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2008-09-02 05:09 pm (UTC)
And here- just because I like it- is the churchyard path.

It looks like the Sibyl's Cave at Cumae with trees.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 07:36 pm (UTC)
Yes! Yes! Yes!
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[User Picture]From: ibid
2008-09-02 07:11 pm (UTC)
All rather fabulous!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-09-02 07:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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