Monday, July 15, 2013

UK2013: Cirencester

On the Wednesday of my week in Gloucestershire, my mother Jill picked me up, and we drove to Cirencester, a splendid old market town to the east side of our local area. It is a nice town to browse around shops and go for a coffee in, which is exactly what we did.

The town is dominated by the central market 'square' (I use the term loosely, it's more like a long oval) and the Church of St John the Baptist. This is a fabulous looking church which for some reason I'd only ever seen from the outside. Well, it was about time to change that!

Here's the church from the rear end. Notice the huge flying buttress built into the end wall of the sides of the church. There's one on the opposite side, too.

This side faces the market place. The yellow stone part seen here is the South Facade, which has recently been cleaned and restored. It was under a huge wrap for a few years. The yellow stone is how Cotswold Stone looks when it is new (or freshly cleaned in this case) - it will turn grey in time.

Moving across the market place, we come to the War Memorial standing next to the church.

Here's a close up of the weathered stone figure of Jesus on top of the memorial, against the new stonework of the south facade.

Crosses laid on the memorial; by the fading colour of the poppies they have probably been here since last November, for Remembrance Day.

Into the church entranceway we go. Not two yards inside and the place is already fabulous.

Look at this ceiling!

Inside the church, we have a font on the left as we enter.

Further round to the left in the nave, we have some tall windows with a door underneath.

Turning the camera vertical and sideways underneath here reveals another fabulous carved ceiling, and the beginning of the wooden nave ceiling.

Take a look up the length of the church from back here and enjoy those beautiful tall columns. This is the biggest Parish Church in Gloucestershire, and it doesn't lack for scale. It dates from the 1100's to the 1500's for the majority of its construction.

Here's a close up of the window the top of the far end.

A painted and gilted pulpit stands towards the far end, before the choir stalls.

To the left hand side, we have this beautiful chapel. I love the carved stone screens here.

This is to the left of the nave, going around the back of the choir stand. More vaulted, carved ceilings.

Look to the right through a doorway and you can see they have a really pretty painted church organ here, inside the choir stalls. Notice that elegant wooden screen entranceway on the right, too.

There's a lot more to see and take pictures of, but we were starting to be wary of how much time was left on the parking meter, so it was probably time to leave. On the way out, notice the door knocker; it's a very nice piece of metalwork.

Look to the left as you leave the church and you'll see the shops along the side of the market place.

Across the two roads and the parking lot in the middle, here's the other side.

We did a 180 and headed back into the main part of town, which has plenty of old buildings. Here's one on a corner. Cirencester seems to have more pointy roofs and decorative elements than you find in most towns. It was very prosperous during the height of the woollen industry which may explain the extra features.

Here's another pointy-roofed terraced street. At the end of this road lies the Corinium Museum. Cirencester was a big Roman settlement and they have found many mosaics and archaelogical objects of interest locally. The Museum has a lot of the restored mosaics, artifacts and information on how the Romans lived here.

This Lloyds TSB building is quite a different style; I'm going to hazard a guess and say it's Regency since it's similar to a lot of buildings in Cheltenham, which is a Regency town.

WHSmith occupies an older building.

Inside WHSMith they have this lovely atrium. The coats of arms on the wall are those of schools and colleges.

And there's your whistle-stop tour of Cirencester. They have a good market on Saturdays, and there's plenty of artsy shops and foodie places ; a very pleasant town to visit.

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