Wednesday 17 September 2008

Cricket Camp and meeting "Yarrow"

(Click on photos to enlarge)

One of our native shrubs - the Guelder Rose. The berries can be eaten, but not raw - when cooked they are said to resemble the American Cranberry, and indeed their American name is the European Cranberry (Viburnum opulus). We saw this on our walk around Cricket Camp - oops, sorry - Manor Farm Country Park.

Before I go onto the epic entries about Breamore Rural Life Museum (I took about 100 photos!), I would like to mention my meeting with fellow Creative Living forum friend Kim (aka Yarrow). We met up in the Windhover Roundabout Tesco car park . . . as you do . . . and hit it off immediately - it was just like carrying on a conversation, as we have known one another for about 2 years on CL.

Kim's interesting blog is here: where you can see a photo of us together (I'm the short, stout person in red!)

Kim's sister came along too, and we all got on like a house on fire. We drove to nearby Manor Farm Country Park, which I know as Cricket Camp. During the War it was used to house troops for the D-Day Landings
and after the war, my parents lived there (I was in utero at the time) with my aunty Mary and my grandparents, as did many other demobbed and also displaced (bombed out) persons, waiting for alternative accommodation. It has happy memories for me as I used to ride there as a child and teenager, and the pony my schoolfriend rode (dear old Snowy who belonged to Desiree Waterman from Botany Bay Road) was kept at the smallholding belonging to the Snooks - who lived in one of the wooden pre-war houses on their land. I say house - it was single story, but not a bungalow in that sense - the word "shack" almost fits best! All long gone now, needless to say, and grand 4 and 5 bedroom modern houses now front the land and I dare say the Snooks are no longer remembered in the area.

The Park is named after Manor Farm which is on the far side of Cricket Camp, the Botley end, adjacent to St Bartholomew's Church, of which more later. We took advantage of the small restaurant by Manor Farm and drank tea and chatted for a long while before exploring the outside of the farm, and having a circular walk nearby. I had been around the farm before when our eldest daughter was still in a push-chair, (when mum was still living in So'ton) and it had been free then. We weren't inclined to pay £5.50 a head for the privilege to do so that day.

Inside the Blacksmith's forge at Manor Farm.

Lift up thine eyes . . . a lovely Gothic window high up above the wheelright's workshop.

Ducky-daddles on the pond.

The old-fashioned farmyard at Manor Farm, with various rare breed animals.

Some Indian Runner ducks.

We also went down to the tiny and ancient St Bartholomew's Church, which was mentioned in the Domesday Book, when Botley had been spelt "Boteleigh". From my Archaeology lectures in Medieval landscapes, I can remember that there were lots of different "botes" peasants were allowed to take depending on whether it was for house building, fence building, and the like. "Hedgebote" was the commoner's right to use the hedgerows for fuel and animal feed. "Cartbote" was the right to take timber from manorial commons or wastes to maintain and repair carts. "Firebote" allowed commoners to collect wood for house fuel - I think no bigger than the wrist, or am I confusing it with modern Forestry Commission rules? "Housebote" allowed commoners to collect timber to repair their houses. "Ploughbote" allowed them to take timber to maintain or make ploughs - you are getting the picture now I expect!

People have worshipped at this tiny church for about 900 years, although it was originally much bigger and could house 500 people before a poplar tree fell on it and destroyed much of the building. What remains had formerly been just the Chancel of the original building. Over the doorway is an early Norman zig-zag arch. In 1835 a new church was built and consecrated in the small town of Botley which had grown up around the mill. Townsfolk had grown increasingly reluctant to walk across the fields to the old church and there had also been a notable number joining the ranks of the Dissenters' Church in Winchester Street.

St Bartholomew's Church, Botley (or Boteleigh).

Some information about the Church.

The early Norman (I think) zigzag frieze above the doorway.

Little interesting snippets from the parish records made fascinating reading.

Inside the tiny church.

This stone was in the churchyard. It may be a marker stone, in which case it probably dates back to the earliest days of the church or even before that. Or, possibly, it could be the stump of a small standing stone which was subsequently broken off. There is a similar sized one in the churchyard at Abergwili just outside of Carmarthen.

It is a lovely country park now, with miles of walks to explore, through the woods or along the River Hamble. If you are in the area, check it out.


LBP said...

I envy your travels! I love the photo of that church, it is lovely. I always look forward to reading about your trips. Thanks



Kim said...

Lovely photos and heaps of information about the Church, which was so sweet and simple. Thanks for sharing it, I'm sooo lazy when it comes research!!!

Kim x