Saltram, Devonshire Part I

Saltram stands on the outskirts of Plymouth and was created by a family by the name of Parker until 1951 when death duties made it impossible for them, to keep their family home.

The first this we came to when we left the parking lot was this pond. It looks like your typical pond with ducks and moorhens. It stands just outside the stable block. I was delighted to discover that this pond had a whole other purpose. Not one I have really ever thought about.

You can see the purpose in this picture. There is a gate and a cobbled slope down into the water.

Easy access for ducks, did you say?

No. In fact this is where carriages where washed. Naturally, like cars today, they had to be washed. All that lovely English mud.

The would back the carriages into the pond and give them a good wash. They didn't want them to sink into the mud hence the cobbles.

This is the first time I have seen a carriage washing pond, so I thought it deserved a blog post all of its own.

Lots more to see at Salram, so until next time, Happy Rambles.

Buckland Abbey VII

Because of my recent foray into the servants' quarters of the English Country House in Castonbury Park: Lady of Shame I found the kitchens and sculleries at Buckland Abbey a real draw.

The fireplace on the left is from the 18th century and has two built in bread ovens.  and was blocked up and replaced by the row of brick charcoal stoves invented by the French and known as stewing stoves which you can see alongside it. More of these later.  The fireplace on the right is from an  earlier era. The brackets above it hold spit rods. You can also see a spit rod inside the hearth along with the handle for turning it.
The windows make this kitchen a nice light airy place to work. Especially on a sunny day, which it was when we were there. And no doubt the windows would be good for letting out the smoke and the smells.

And how about that for a pestle and mortar. That really is a tree trunk.

These are those charcoal stewing ovens I mentioned earlier.

If you look carefully you can see the fire inside this one below the copper pot.

And of course no kitchen is complete without its long plank wood table running down the centre.

Notice the flagstones on the floor.  Those would have been cold underfoot, I would imagine, but easy to keep clean.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Buckland Abbey, Devon

This year our explorations started from Salcombe in Devon.  We stayed in a hotel on South Sands. We only had to cross a narrow road to get to the sand.

On the beach we were able to pick up the ferry into town.  Much easier than driving on the roads you saw on the blog yesterday.

This is a view from the headland just beyond our hotel. I have to say, it was a picture perfect day in Devon when we walked along the road up to the top of the hill. Such a pretty coast land.

This blog is not really about  the seaside, but I was so pleased with this view, I thought it made a nice opening view.

Buckland Abbey, was our first port of call (keeping to our seaside theme) The GPS sent us on more of those brilliantly narrow roads enclosed in high hedges, and it was a bit like being lost at sea. However, the journey through the countryside was as lovely as it was terrifying every time a car came the other way.

Originally a Cistercian abbey, the property  was sold to Sir Richard Grenville during the Dissolution by Henry VIII.  The view here is of the south front and its origins can clearly be seen.

It was later acquired by Sir Francis Drake and remained in that family until 1940.

As usual, it is the late Georgian era of the house that interests me most, though it is hard to deny the fascination for one of England's heroes, Sir Frances Drake. Perhaps one day I will venture a story in those earlier times. This is one of the views a lady or gentleman in our era would have enjoyed. but Buckland was a farm when it was first built, to feed the monks and provide its wealth, and it was a farm during the Regency.

At first glance, this grand building might appear to be the outside of a church, but step inside and it is a completely different story.

It is in fact a barn.  Known as the great barn and built by the monks it continued to be used throughout the centuries for the winnowing and storage of threshed corn (wheat, oats, barley).

The large door in the centre on this side of the building is matches by another on the opposite side, both havingt an upper pigeon loft, which just sneaks into my picture. Those doors were set opposite each other to create a cross-draught to help with winnowing.  In 1792 thee additional doors were added at the ends of the building, which because it was too narrow for a wagon to turn around inside, allowed them to be driven from one end to the other. Previously the winnowed corn had to be flung from hand to hand to be stored at the far ends of the building. Here is a picture of the inside taken from one end and then the other.The narrow windows were for ventilation

And that wonderful contraption in the corner on the right - a cider press.   It was certainly in operation during the Regency because it is recorded that the original wooden screw was replace by an iron one in 1815.  The journals from 1795 record the consumption of 26 butts and one hogshed of cider during the course of the year, or approximately 3,000 gallons.  The apples were grown on the estate, so it would make sense that it would be a preferred beverage.

It is thought that the arch-braced oak roof might have been thatched originally.  It is hard to describe just how large this building is, but I think that the size of my brother in law at the far end of the building might just give you a sense of it. While there is a concrete floor in here now, until the 1950's it was beaten earth.

The next time we visit we will head towards the house, but in the meantime I will leave you with this picture of a medieval horse trough come planter, which I found enchanting. Until next time, Happy rambles.

More Old Devon

Since blogger seems to have fixed its picture facility I am going to try to post the rest of my Clovelly pictures.
As you saw from the pictures last time, a fisherman's life is dangerous and hard work. But perhaps this view, taken from upstairs would help ease the pain.

Clovelly has always been a tourist spot, and here you can see our Victorian visitors waiting to leave by paddle steamer.  Do you see how much this picture resembles my pictures in the earlier blogs? It gives me the shivers a bit.

A famous inhabitant of Clovelly was Charles Kingsley. A writer who was born in South Devon in 1819.  So not quite a product of the Regency, but born during the period.  He lived at Clovelly with his family (he had five siblings), when his father was the Rector from 1832 to 1836.

Kingsley returned time and time again to Clovelly, as place he called "the dear old Paradise" and his "inspiration" before he met his wife.  The following pictures may account for that letter. I leave it up to you to decide.

Until next time, happy rambles

More Old Devon

Deliciously Debauched by the RakeOne of the most interesting spots we visited in Clovelly was the Fisherman's cottage in Providence Row.

Here we got to understand something of the life of the people who lived among the twisty narrow streets clinging to the hillside.  And they are clinging by the way. Several have slipped down that hillside over the years.

The villagers used what they had to hand to build their houses.  Stones from the beach, earth from their excavations, lime from the kiln after it was build in the 17th century.   They created what are called cob and stone walls. The stones formed the foundations for the wall and the cob was a mixture of mud and straw and small stones formed into bricks.

 Here is a picture of an exposed cob and stone wall. Plastering, the covering over the cob and stone was mud and hay and lime putty. Later more lime was added to the plastering mix.

This is the kitchen taken from two directions.

I love the way one cupboard is tucked into the corner and another let into the wall. You have the feeling that not an inch of space is wasted.

It was interesting to learn that they melted down fishbones to make a very good adhesive.
Up stairs, and very steep and narrow stairs there are there are three more rooms. Can you see how the nightgown hangs across the corner of the room. There is another corner hanger like this on the other side of the window.

This is what we would call the master bed room.

And this next one the children's room.

And according to the information provided, boys who worked on the farmland might occupy the attic.  Or my guess is that it would also serve as an overflow for older children.

And below we have the tools of the owner's trade.

I have many more pictures of Clovelly to share, but once more Blogger has exhausted my patience with waiting for photos to upload, so until next time, Happy Rambles.

Old Devon Continued

Hah, did no one notice my silly mistake?

Another question. Are you ready for the big climb?

I'm diggin' the mac, by the way. I look a bit like an escapee from a detective show.  This is only one of the many hills to climb in Clovelly. And maybe I'm looking for a lost boat. They do turn up in the oddest places.

<<-----Look up                                                                      
                                                       Look down--->>

Look out!

No, I mean look out at the view!

How about seeing that from your window every morning. I can imagine how wild and bleak it is during a storm or during the winter.  I will post a few more pictures for those of you who like this sort of stuff, without comment, since there really isn't much to add, then next time talk a little more about life in the village.

So blogger being blogger and time being time, I have stopped trying to move them and you have them in one long row. Hope you enjoyed. We have more to learn about the village, but this is all about how pretty it is.

More Old Devon

But first a squee! 

On Wednesday you will find my short story, Deliciously Debauched by the Rake on - follow the link to e-harlequin on the right. I think this cover is delicious all by itself!

Elizabeth Bentham has been John, Lord Radthorn's lover for five glorious years. But she wants him to have a chance to marry a respectable lady, not a woman with her tarnished reputation. Elizabeth thinks telling him their relationship has lost its spark will help him move on...but John isn't prepared to lose her, and sets out to prove their passion is as strong as ever....
I did have fun writing this story about minor characters who appear in The Gamekeeper's Lady. This is a fun and sexy read.

Clovelly Continued:

There is no mistaking what the inhabitants of this charming village do for a living, apart from tourists, with all the lobster pots attractively arranged at the entrance to the alleyway behind the cottages that face the harbour and the sea.  Although Tourism is probably the prevalent business now.
In past days there was another important industry for the people along the coast.  If you look closely, at the picture to the right you will see a rounded stone shape that looks a bit like a castle turret.  This was a lime-kiln.

Lime was a very important product in the 18th and 19th century, used by farmers to counteract the acidity in their soil and for whitewash for cottage walls.  The lime-kiln used a very cheap form of fuel, coal dust, called culm, brought by boat from South Wales.

Layers of lime and coal dust were put in the top of the kiln, called the pot, then set alight from the base. You can see the arched entrance, which is now covered by a wooden door.  As the stone burned, it produced calcium oxide or the substance we know as quicklime which was drawn off through the draw hole loaded onto donkey and taken up the hill.  Lime mortar was also used between the stones from which the cottages are built. This mortar allows the walls to "breathe" in the damp climate and is used today.  This kiln ceased operation in 1911.

Steps up to the pier are not for the faint-hearted and flat shoes are recommended, but once up there the views are worth the effort.

That is all from me, today, but make sure you have your walking shoes handy next time because we will be climbing up the cobbled street to the top of the hill.

Until then, Happy Rambles