Hope and Renewal

Last year my city hit the national news when fire destroyed the Royal Clarence, the oldest hotel in the country. Now, seven months later work is taking place to make it safe and to protect the salvageable elements. The long term plan is a sensitive rebuild.

Hope and Renewal is a sculpture created from some of the burnt timber from the fire.

This charred wood can be traced way back to the 15th century and is my entry for Paula’s Black and White Sunday.

Traces of the past, Exeter’s City Wall

Parts of Exeter’s city wall is nearly 2000 years old, built in Roman times and nearly 70 % of it still exists. Through the centuries it has been repaired and added to many times. This section of the wall is close to where the Southgate would have been.There is archaeological evidence that the gate would have had two towers, being the area of the city most vulnerable to attack, because of its proximity to the river.
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Roman wall

The building inside the wall is the White Ensign Club, for serving and ex-service men and women. Formerly the Holy Trinity Church and built in 1820, on the site of a much earlier church, and the King’s Prison.

The City Wall trail is around a mile, a nice way to see some historic elements of the city.

Join Paula’s Traces of the past, she’s in Venice this week!

 

Thursday Special, Illusion

St Pancras church in the hear of Exeter sits right in the centre of a shopping centre. It’s built from Heavitree stone and is mostly 13th centuryn but with an 11th century font. It’s tiny, 46 x 16 feet, and is one of the oldest churches in the country with a chancel and nave.

As well as shops, it’s now surrounded by restaurants. I caught this i phone photo though the window of Comptoir Libanais. I’m not sure if the lady in the roof is real or just an illusion, maybe Paula will know, I’ve posted it for her Thursday special.

Traces of the past, Bombardier Scattergood

The Theatre Royal in Exeter opened in 1886. Less than a year later, during a performance of Romany Rye, it fell victim to one of the worst fires in British theatre history. There are various opinions as to how many people were in the theatre at the time, but somewhere around 900 seems likely. Of those 900, some 180 died.

My photos show the memorials in my local cemetery, one over a mass grave, the other for Bombardier Scattergood, who at 25, died while attempting to rescue others.

Paula’s Black and White Sunday this week is ‘traces of the past’, a great way to look at history.

Aphrodisias, seeking the Goddess

It’s Black and White Sunday again, the week has flown by. Paula thinks that landscapes are everyone’s favourite theme, well I’m not sure that I agree, I find them quite difficult, especially in black and white.

My entry this week is an image of Aphrodisias, an ancient Greek city in central Anatolia.

pbwsThe city was named after the Greek goddess of love in the second century BC, but it’s long been a sacred site. It’s believed that neolithic people worshipped the mother goddess nearly six thousand years earlier. It’s less visited than Ephesus, but is far more interesting, especially with its connection to the sacred feminine.

Losing the Clarence

It isn’t often that Exeter makes the national news, which is a good thing. We’re a small city with mostly well behaved citizens, where bad things rarely happen. Last week though the unthinkable happened, a fire in the very heart of the city. At 5.20 in the morning, the Royal Clarence Hotel in Cathedral Yard caught fire, it’s believed that the fire began two doors down in the upper floors above a prestigious gallery, and the flying debris caused it to spread. More than 100 fire fighters worked to contain the blaze, and were still working three days later.

The Clarence was the first in the country to take call itself a hotel, a term copied from the French, prior to that there were only inns. The hotel was built in 1769, on the site of an earlier tavern and had a reputation for being haunted.

I’ve finally been to Cathedral yard to see the site for my self, here are some photos.

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There were no injuries and for that we must be thankful. Quite a few shops around the hotel, including on the High street were slightly damaged and remain closed. Demolition work began this week, and owner has pledged a sensitive re-build, we have to hope.

I’ve posted both of these photos before, but first the hotel in the centre, with the cathedral green on the left and the buildings on the right date from 1500.
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The hotel has always looked splendid at night. To the right 15th century St Martins,built on the site of a previous church from 1065, and Mol’s Coffee House, built in 1596 with it’s Dutch style gables.

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Exeter suffered a great deal of damage during the blitz, including to the cathedral, but nearly all the buildings along the Yard survived, it’s desperately sad to see this part of our heritage destroyed.

When Victoria reigned . . .

This post box was set into the stone of Tintagel’s Old Post Office, now looked after by the National Trust, and it’s still emptied even now.

Jude, you’ll find the other one on the right hand side of the hill going down to Boscastle. I wasn’t able to pull in to take a photo, but it’s much nicer that this one so if you’re ever up that way . . .

Traces at St Materiana’s

A month ago, I spent a day in north Cornwall, a glorious sunny day in early October, one of those bonus days that has to be made the most of. We headed in to Boscastle, but so did everyone else and with nowhere to park we gave that up as a bad job and went instead to Tintagel. I was already rather poorly by then, and was shocked by how rough I felt after walking just two miles along the cliffs, but finding the gem that is St Materiana’s Church made it worthwhile.

Built between 1080 and 1150, St Materiana’s stands high above the sea on Glebe Cliff.

The church doesn’t look particularly interesting from the outside, a typically dull Saxon building, and a sign warning you to keep off the grass because of adders doesn’t help!

The area around Tintagel is believed to have been evangelised by a princess of Gwent, St Madryn, around 500 AD. It’s likely that Madryn and Materiana are one and the same. It is thought that the church is sited on ground that was previously a Celtic oratory, served by monks. Between the 5th and 7th centuries it was used extensively as a Christian burial ground.

Inside the church there is a pre-Reformation altar and a Tudor bishops seat.

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What struck me as most unusual was the font, I’ve never seen one quite like it, have you?

Apparently it’s Norman, and it’s believed to have come from the chapel, St Julietta’s  at Tintagel Castle, across the cliffs. Whatever it’s origins, the font and the church are ancient, a trace from the past, for Paula at Lost in Translation.