Sunday, 2 November 2014

Hylands Park

Huzzah, finally, myself and the boy made it to Hylands Park this afternoon!

The day did not start out fantastically though. We experienced biblical rain until about lunchtime, then, as I was eating my soup and the boy was munching on chicken pie, it ceased.
 
The Hylands estate, began life in 1726 where the land was purchased by a Sir John Comyns. The construction was complete by 1730 and was red-brick, not white as we know it to be today.

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Sir John, died in 1740 without a surviving male heir, so the estate passed down to his nephew, John Comyns of Romford. In turn, this Sir John left the family home to his son Sir John Richard Comyns in 1760 (too many Johns!)
By 1797, it no longer belonged to the Comyn dynasty and was swiftly purchased by Cornelius Kortwright who employed the famous landscape architect Humphry Repton to redesign the gardens of the house. Kortwright however, moved to Fryerning (Essex), and the property and land was bought by Pierre Cesar Labouchere in 1814. By his death, his son Henry sold it to Mr John Attwood. Attwood then sold it to Arthut Pryor, who then sold it to Sir Daniel Gooch (explored the South Pole alongside Sir Eustace Shackleton), then after returning with frostbite, the estate found itself within John and Christine Hanbury's hands (this gets a tad more exciting now).
In 1923, John Hanbury died and Christine was left with the grand, huge manor and during WWII, it was the base for a German prisoner of war camp and was used by the SAS as their headquarters.

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I watched a documentary about the house a while ago, and a few of the US soldiers thought it would be a good idea to drive a car up one of the staircases! I can imagine the venture was an unsuccessful one.
Christine Hanbury passed away in 1962 and left the house to trustees. Chelmsford Borough Council purchased it in 1966 and opened up the grounds to the public, yay! It became a Grade II listed building the following year.

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I have many childhood memories playing about these grounds - playing hide and seek with my siblings and playing football with my brother.
Note the cottage in the last picture - this is called Flint Cottage and looks remarkably creepy. Not much is known about the building but I believe at one point it was used by a caretaker of some sorts.

Outfit;

coat - vintage (£6.99)
wellies - primark (£12)
blouse - topshop via a charity shop (£4.79) - can kind of see this - twas purchased in Colchester on Friday
skirt - topshop in the sale (£7)

We did, as mentioned above, go to Colchester on Friday but I will leave posting about that for now as this has been a long account!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sunday

Now, I had planned on writing a blog-post about the Hylands House estate in Chelmsford (accompanied by my pictures), but seeing as there was a wedding fair on today in the grounds, I've decided to try again next Sunday! - fingers crossed.

2014, has gone unbelievably fast and it is difficult to believe that November is almost upon us - huzzah for Bonfire night!
Myself and the boy have had such a good year; moving in together, finally agreeing on when to get married (next autumn folks ;)), and just generally living like adults.
We awoke today - remembered to put the clocks back (d'oh), and thought we should walk around the delightful Sandford Lock again. It was a lot muddier than last time, but was still as lovely as ever.

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Afterwards we nipped into town, had a coffee and I found some lovely owl gloves in Primark (£2), so adorable. As a rule, I don't buy proper clothes from Primark as I've heard some awful stories about the quality (one conversation overheard today "I bought these in a 10-12 and they shrunk after one wash"). I rest my case.

My next post, won't be about Hylands House, but will be about Colchester again. We are heading to the town on Friday as we both have the day off work (can't wait).

Outfit;

coat - topshop via a blog sale (about £20)
dress - topshop (xmas present last year)
bag - vintage (£6.99)
shoes - primark (£10)

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Battle of Hastings reenactment

I had been wanting to attend this event for the last two years, and yesterday, my dream came true. It was called off last year due to continuous rainfall (water-logged ground), and back in the summer when I heard it was on, I booked tickets immediately.

As per my last post, everyone is (should be) aware of the battle that took place on Senlac Ridge on the 14th October 1066. King Harold Godwinson and his array of exhausted men, traveled from Yorkshire. The reason they were so exhausted, was because they had beaten Harald Hardrada, Tostig Godwinson and the Scandinavian army at Stamford Bridge (26th September). He was in London within four days (!), and after quickly rounding up farmers, shop-keepers, any man capable of fighting, he marched further south when he heard that the Duke William was causing havoc in Pevensey (East Sussex). The two armies met at Senlac Ridge, and with the English forming a shield wall, the Norman army relied on heavy cavalry, crossbows and infantry (whom were on foot).

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They fought for the best part of the whole day, and of course, the Duke was victorious and as per last post, Harold Godwinson was cut down brutally by four Norman knights.
The question is, what would've happened to England if Harold had won? What would've happened if Harold had lost at Stamford Bridge and Hardrada had beaten William?
It is fascinating to think about. One of the important things to remember however, is that Duke William himself, was not French. Even though he was the Duke of Normandy, he was a mere vassal of the King of France. Normandy was a separate duchy so the Duke, if he wished, was able to fight for the English crown. He had papal authority since Harold himself had sworn an oath on holy relics only two or three years before. (I believe he was tricked into it, but that's another story) ;)

The Saxon camp - go Harold!

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It was a brilliant day and if this sort of things interest you, then please attend next year! There is also a literary tent - Helen Hollick and Stewart Binns were fab :)

baxter jeans - topshop via ebay (around £7)
coat - topshop via a charity shop (£8.95)
wellies - primark (£12) - bought especially!!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Waltham Abbey

I had a rare day booked off work on Tuesday and as per my last post, we had been meaning to walk to Papermill Lock. Rain destroyed this dream on Monday and we decided it was not worth ruining shoes for.

Waltham Abbey was an idea conjured up by me (as usual ;)), and the boy was easily persuaded (he's the designated driver). I've been dreaming about visiting the market town ever since reading Helen Hollick's `Harold the King` and it was everything I expected it to be.

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Harold's Tomb is within the grounds of the Abbey, but there has been debate as to whether his bones are lying under the great stone slab. Everybody is familiar of the story of Ealdg╚│├░ Swann hnesce (Edith Swanneschals or Edith Swanneck) being given permission by William the Conqueror to search for her husband's body within the mass of dead, bloodied, butchered Saxon housecarls, thegns, mercenaries etc). She recognised Harold's corpse by an intimate scar on his torso and begged for William to allow the dead King to be given a proper burial. Even the efforts of Harold's family did not persuade the Conqueror to give up the body (they bribed him with gold).
Harold's body was eventually laid to rest in ground overlooking the seashore. However, there has been recent claims that his body is in fact buried at the Godwin family church in Bosham - hair and bones were found dating back to around the 1060s...but unfortunately, nobody knows where he is. He could be in Bosham or he could be in Waltham Abbey where his remains were assumed to have been moved to after William supposedly relented. (I'm not sure if i can see the former formidable Duke of Normandy performing these actions!).

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I had a private, quiet moment when standing at the tomb and was quite surprised to see that some soul had left some flowers by the graveside.
It would be nice to think that he could be under all that soil - obviously not much would be left, but it's still comforting all the same.

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Outfit;

coat - primark via a blog sale (£12.99)
skirt - topshop via a charity shop (£4.99)
blouse - topshop (£22)
cardigan - hobbs via a charity shop (£2.99)

I am very glad it rained.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Writtle

Writtle, is an exquisite village that is about 3 miles away from where I live.
Today, the boy and I decided to take a walk there as I had never completed the countryside walk before.

It was peaceful, quiet and we forgot that we were still in Essex!
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The village of Writtle itself, has a rich history. It was in Domesday book and was recorded to have had 900 inhabitants. In 1211, King John erected a hunting lodge within what is now Writtle College, and it is also rumoured that Robert the Bruce, King of the Scots (1306-29) was born in the village... the Bruce family owned lands in Writtle dating from the Norman Conquest, and that is why it is believed he was born there.
If it is true, then it would be pretty awesome as Robert and his son feature in two of my novels.
The Weeping Damsel and Lovers Entwined - hopefully one day my dreams will come true.

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On Tuesday, we are planning to walk to Papermill Lock... its about six miles away so it will test our fitness levels ;)

Outfit;

top - h&m (£19.99, 4 years ago)
skirt - topshop (£25)
bag - vintage (£6.99)
shoes - primark (£10)

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Stock Windmill

Last weekend, myself and the boy drove down to the Windmill in Stock, Essex. It was built in 1815 (the year the Duke of Wellington crushed Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo ) and is only open to the public on the 2nd Sunday of each month - those months being from April-September.

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As you can imagine, it was fairly busy, but there was tour guide on each of the four floors and as we did not know much about mills before the trip, we found it very interesting.
We found out that all of the equipment in the mill, and the narrow wooden ladders, are all genuinely Georgian - nothing has been replaced since it was built.

Stock itself, is a beautiful village - only a 15 minute drive away. I do feel fortunate to live near such beautiful countryside and villages. Essex is such a diverse county - London is thirty miles away, the seaside is about the same distance away and yet, 70% of it is grass and fields. It is depicted dreadfully in the media, however I don't think it is a bad place to live... you get dodgy people wherever you go and unless you have a moat and a drawbridge, such people can never be avoided.

Today, before heading to the library, the boy and I took a walk near the railway line... could not resist taking a couple of snaps.

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It reminded me again of The Railway Children, absolutely exquisite.

In regards to the outfit picture;

skirt - topshop via a charity shop (£3.99)
blouse - vintage (£2.29)
bag - vintage (£6.99)
necklace - jaymie jewelry (£7)

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sandford Lock

I have lived in the same town all my life, and am only just beginning to discover how beautiful it really is.

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I'd known about the children's science museum which is close to where we live, but had no idea about the beautiful lock right beside it where you can rent boats, buy boats to "do up" and even live in them!

The stunning bridge, reminds me so much of Edith's Nesbit's The Railway Children. I'm sure there is a scene in one of the versions where Bobbie, Phyllis and Peter are on a bridge and are watching the canal folk go by in their boats... it is definitely in the book, so forgive me if i am mistaken.

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There is also a beautiful, winding walk which leads past the river Chelmer... great inspiration as a writer ;) It is also possible to follow the walk all the way to Heybridge (near Maldon)... perhaps that is slightly too ambitious!

Since moving out, myself and the boy haven't been able to spend as much on days out, but on the 12th October, I can confirm that we will be attending the Battle of Hastings re-enactment, cannot wait. I'm not sure about dressing up yet... shall see how we (I) feel on the day ;)