Cheryl and Myretta in Devon and Cornwall (among other places)
Myretta and I arrived in England two weeks before the Pemberley 2002 Meeting was to begin. We spent five days in London, visiting museums: The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert, Sir John Soane's, Spencer House, The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery (but were quite put out to find that the entire Regency Wing was on tour in the US!) as well as a visit to Hampton Court, Henry VIII's favorite residence (out of 60 royal residences. Oh, what a Henry!) The extensive gardens were extraordinary. We also spent a day on a Regency Search, walking through Mayfair and St. James.
(See the London photo page for ours!)
We then rented a car and headed to Lincolnshire to spend two days with JulieW.
Along the way we stopped at Audley End, a beautiful Jacobean manor house.
Audley End Garden
While at Julie's we visited Belton House, Lady Catherine's home in P&P2. Poor Julie had much Pemberley company this summer and she had to take all of them to Belton as it is in her neighborhood. The Wakefields are a delight and we fell in love with all of them. Graham, Julie's Mr Knightly, plied us with liquor and chocolates the whole time we were there. Katherine (9 yrs old) taught me a lovely Scottish ballad to sing, while Jack (4 yrs old) and Myretta bonded over the vagaries of accents.
We spent a day at Stratford-upon-Avon where we saw The Hollow Crown (starring the wonderful Derek Jacobi) at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre and another driving through tiny, picturesque villages in the Cotswolds with equally picturesque names like Chipping Camden, Bibury, Morton-on-the-water, Clapton-on-the-hill, and Upper and Lower Slaughter.
On through Cheddar Gorge, which looked very out of place for England. It looked like it belonged in the lower Rockies to me. At Cheddar we bought (surprise!) cheddar cheese, though it was an ordeal, as we were dissed by the Cheese Man, who was sure that as Americans we really didn't know what we were about, ordering mature cheddar. He made us pass litmus tests in various aged cheese taste tests, until we could prove that we really did want the mature cheddar. (Myretta in her best Jack Nicholson imitating The Cheese Man: "You want mature cheddar?? You can't handle mature cheddar!")
We went to church Sunday morning at Wells Cathedral, a magnificent, gorgeous cathedral. It was built in 1180 when Henry II was on the throne and expanded between the 13th and 15th centuries. We stayed to listen to the Wells Clock. This famous clock was probably in place by 1390. It still has its original Medieval face, depicting a pre Copernican universe with the earth at its centre. When the clock strikes every quarter, jousting knights rush round above the clock and the Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.
Wells Cathedral: Vicar's Close
Wells Cathedral Clock
Then we swung west, driving through Dartmoor, where we spent a week based at Quither Mill, our B&B situated on the Cornwall/Devon border. From thence we explored both counties seeing many fine homes, richly furnished, and lots of castles.
Fine Homes, Richly Furnished:
Our favorite was Trerice. This is a wonderful Elizabethan manor tucked away on the Cornwall coast near Newquay. Built in 1573, this smallish manor had lovely gardens, a small orchard right in the side dooryard, an impressive great hall, a musicians' gallery and lots of nooks and crannies.
This Georgian house was built in 1781 when George III was on the throne. The house sits above the estuary of the Lynher in Devon and is surrounded by terraced flowerbeds and clumps of trees through which you can see down to the water. It also has the largest collection of Daylilies in England. The house has a comfortable, lived-in feel. Not surprising as the Carews, who have been at Antony since the 15th century, are still in residence.
Another Georgian house in Devon, with lush Adams' interiors, this is well known to Pemberleans as Norland, the home of the Dashwoods in S&S2. Alas, Ang Lee would be saddened by the distinct lack of sheep in residence, but we saw plenty of cows.
Famous Saltram Cows
Another Jane Austen connection, as this Elizabethan manor was used in S&S2 as the Palmer's home, Cleveland. We found Col. Brandon's paneled wall ("Give me an occupation!"), the window Elinor looks out whilst drinking many cups of tea and worrying over Marianne; we wandered through the garden, thankful it wasn't raining, and stuck our heads into the orangery to ask "Marianne??"
Lots of Castles:
St. Mawes Castle
This castle in Cornwall, overlooking the Fal Estuary, is part of Henry VIII's string of coastal defensive castles and remains almost as it was when it was built between 1539 and 1545.
St. Mawes Castle
Myretta at St. Mawes Castle
Also in Cornwall and built somewhere between 1100 and 1200, this stone keep eventually became the Duke of Cornwall's castle. Between 1354 and 1365, it housed Edward III (The Black Prince).
Restormel Castle Approach
Another of Henry VIII's castles (quite the builder, our Henry) this sits at the mouth of the River Dart in Devon, with wonderful views into the English Channel.
We stopped at Berry Pomeroy in Devon, a castle begun in the 12th century. Construction and expansion continued through the Renaissance. It was eventually abandoned in 17th century when the Pomeroy family could no longer afford its upkeep. The castle itself is a ruined mixture of several periods of construction and is said to be the most haunted castle in England.
Berry Pomeroy Keep and Curtain
Berry Pomeroy Manor House
On our way to the Pemberley Meeting outside Winchester, we stopped at Salisbury Cathedral where the highlight was a visit to the Charter House where we read (or rather saw) one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta still in existence. It was quite awe inspiring and moving.
Salisbury Cathedral Exterior
Salisbury Cathedral Interior
And, of course, one cannot go to Salisbury and not stop on the Plain to wander around Stonehenge. Someone asked me later if I was disappointed in it, as someone they knew was when they finally saw it in person. I cannot imagine such a thing! It was beautiful, and stunning and kinda creepy, what with all the burial barrows about. But certainly not disappointing - I took a whole roll of film as I walked around it!
And yet more Stonehenge
On our way back to London after the Meeting, we stopped in to Avebury to see more standing stones. The entire town is surrounded by these stones, in circles or lines, in the sheep pastures and by the pub carpark. An eerie and amazing site.
Cheryl at Avebury
A great trip. Next time, Myretta and I are heading north to York and into the Scottish Lowlands. Can't wait!