Thursday, June 13, 2013

UK2013: Haworth

Diane wanted to take me to Haworth (pronounced Howuth, not Hay-worth, apparently), which is up on top of the hills about eight miles away from Hebden Bridge. We took a bus, which picked its way through the narrow roads into the hills above the town. The weather had produced lots of snow overnight; and while it was pretty light in the valleys, the hilltops got plenty of it.

Excuse the quality of the first few pictures, they were taken through the bus windows! Here's some brown grass looking strangely colourful against the stark white.

Some of the many dark dry stone walls that delineate the fields.

You have to pass through the village of Oxenhope on the way. This is the village church.

An Oxenhope village street, with some washing very optimistically put out to dry...

Once in Haworth, we visited Yorkshire Cat Rescue, where Diane volunteers. She films cats awaiting homes and posts them up to YouTube. We spent an hour meeting various cats and kittens; they were all cute. If you want a cat and live in the north, get one from here!

The cat sanctuary overlooks this valley, all covered in snow. There were huge fluffy snowflakes coming down; I haven't seen the weather like this in years!

We caught the bus again to take us back through Haworth, down to the main part of the town. We walked through a park and came out by the town hall, here.

Then we started walking up this cobbled street. It was full of interesting and nice looking shops, most of which were shut, since this was a Sunday before noon.

Here's some more. It was a very pretty street. I suspect it hasn't changed much to look at in quite some time.

At the top, we find Haworth Parish Church, and a pub. Behind me was a little brewery which attracted my attention... Another time. Watch those steps in the snow; I nearly went A over T on the way back down, saved only by a hasty railing grab!

Into the church we go. Note the snow coming down, in front of this door. Check out the iron scrollwork hinges, aren't they fabulous?

Inside, it looks like a fairly typical British parish church, if a bit larger than most. Good solid stone arches, carved pulpit etc.

Let's look at the windows. This is the one at the far end as seen in the picture above. If memory serves, the bottom five panels show Yorkshire things to be thankful for; I can see animals and the weather depicted there, amongst other things.

This is at the opposite end, near the door (behind you as you come in). I think this one shows the Apostles.

Haworth was the home of the Bronte family. Patrick Bronte was the vicar here for many years, while his daughters Emily Jane, Charlotte and Anne wrote novels. English Literature students the world over have probably studied these famous works, except in my school. (No complaints. We read 'To Kill a Mockingbird', which was awesome.) To my shame, I have not actually read any of the Brontes' books; a situation that I really must fix soon! Anyway, the Brontes lived in the Parsonage close by the church, and they are buried here (with the exception of Anne).

This is the Bronte Chapel, on one side of the church.

These are the windows on the right hand side, with another tablet commemorating the family.

Back outside, and looking at the choir and altar of the main church.

A couple more windows, featuring familiar names: Saints Gabriel and Michael on this one, with the Good Shepherd in the middle.

Here's a properly British window; Sir Galahad and Saint George. You can just see the Dragon behind St George's legs.

How about a wider shot of the nave, showing the beautiful wooden roof?

Leaving the church, we walked up the old road a little ways and turned to look back at it.

To our right, over the wall, was an enormous graveyard. Some graves were flat, others had vertical stones. That church website I linked to further up says there's something like 40,000 people buried here!

To our left, opposite the graveyard, is the old schoolhouse. There were some workmen braving the cold and snow to replace the old windows with new frames. Look at the new one on the ground; they have gone to town with the framing here. It's probably long since finished by now; I bet it looks great.

Further along this road is the Bronte Parsonage and Museum. We had a quick look in the gift shop but we didn't go into the main house. For one thing, there were hundreds of German school children about to take the place over, and for another thing, I figured I should maybe read some of their books first, to properly appreciate the place.

The end of the road peters out into a footpath, along which lies the Yorkshire moors. And no doubt, lots of mud, in this weather.

Some baby daffodils braving the ice and snow. I was hoping to see a lot more daffs than I saw... the long winter has kept them back.

We walked back down the hill and stopped in a bakery which was about the only thing open... Diane suggested we buy some Yorkshire cake called Parkin, which turned out to be pretty tasty. Wikipedia says that it's made from oatmeal and molasses. It seems to vary all over Yorkshire, and I even found some later in Gloucestershire, but this one was relatively dry; a little like gingerbread but without the ginger.

At the bottom of the hill, across the park and round the corner, lies the Haworth train station. We had earlier seen a steam train leaving - there's a small depot/museum that runs tourist trains in the summer, but we were out of season. However, just as we approached the station, we heard a steam whistle!

I went running in and found this splendid beastie:

Here are the gentlemen operating it. The steam created extra vapour in this cold weather.

So that was a nice surprise. A quick zoom round the gift shop (of course) and thence to the bus stop, for further adventures...

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