Sunday, July 14, 2013

UK2013: Bussage and Brownshill

Now we're into my home turf, my original territory; the villages in which I grew up. My parents and I took a walk around the villages - Bussage and Brownshill are kind of conjoined; they're backing on to each other and generally get referred to as one place, almost. It has been many years since I walked around here. But this being rural Gloucestershire, most of the houses are old enough to probably be under some kind of listed protection and as a result, details have changed since I was a kid, but not a lot of major changes in the place. It's pretty good actually, to have that kind of continuity. Even if I'm not often there, it is a nice anchor.

If you've been following this series, you knew there'd be a church, right? This is the Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels, a place I knew pretty well as a kid. Our primary school was right next door; it's a private house now, since they built a bigger school up the road a couple of years before I left it. The school was a Church of England school and as a result, we held certain festivals here, such as Harvest Festival and a Christingle service before Christmas. I tried to get a picture of the old school but it's pretty tucked away. Anyway, continue down the hill past the old school and this is what you see.

Once again, we have a lytch gate.

Here's the grave of soldier from World War 1. Someone is still leaving flowers there.

These graves date from at least 1727 to the 1870's. That's just the legible ones; there could be older graves here.

We were lucky here; the church was open as it was being cleaned. I chatted with the cleaners a bit; they were interested to hear that I'd come here as a kid, and they told me some of the history of the church.

The pulpit and choir stalls.

A longer view up the nave.

Back outside, and guess what? A small side door! I like the little flowers carved into the sides of the arch.

We continued on into the villages, and I enjoyed seeing the old Cotswold architecture. I always loved the solidity of the stone around this area. It's basically sandstone; it starts out a golden yellow colour and turns to grey in around 15-20 years. Then it just starts getting a darker grey, very gradually over the years.

This is a very typical style for local houses. I suspect the bay window would have been a later addition, however.

If memory serves, this used to be the village pub, although it was long gone even when I was young. The building has been restored; much modified and added-on to since then. I remember this place as being pretty much a ruin.

Now here's something interesting, that I had no idea about until this walk, when Dad told me about this place. This is Temple Wood. I always remember the gate here and there's never been anything beyond but trees and wildlife, in my memory. However it turns out that there used to be a Catholic nursing home for injured servicemen here. On the 14th March 1946, a Lancaster bomber crashed into this site, destroying the nursing home, although only one person was hurt. Squadron Leader R.H. Thomas AFC was the pilot, who managed to avoid hitting the entire street. There were two crewmembers, one was Sgt R.L. Grey, the other I do not know. The crash site has been left as it was, all these years since. (ref 1 ref 2 ref3)

This is St Mary of the Angels, which was the church next door to the nursing home, built by the same folks who ran the home. It was in regular use until 2006 and now is in retirement as a listed building.

This is taken from pretty much the same place as the shot above. I looked over the wall to the right to see the church. This view hasn't changed at all since I was a kid.

This is a few yards further down, on the left. It's always been a religious-owned building but the functions have changed through the years. I think it's some kind of retreat now. Whatever; it's got some great views across the valley from here.

Just another pretty cottage, with a long garden path.

This is the house I grew up in. There's been some minor cosmetic changes (a new gate, for example) but it's pretty much the same as I remember, from the outside at least.

We went back to my mother's house for a cup of tea. I'm respecting her privacy, but the Internet always needs more cats ;-)

This is Molly, of the ever-twitching tail.

And her sister Bunty, of the cute pink nose.

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