Friday, October 7, 2011

Winchester, Hampshire

A chronicle of years gone by

Admiring the front of the picturesque and presumably 18th-century offices of the Hampshire Chronicle in Winchester – dappled brickwork, bow windows, dentil course, tiled roof – I was irritated at not being able to photograph it without also including road signs, railings, and other irrelevant street furniture. So I decided to walk away. As I did so, I passed the end wall and was delighted to find this remarkable selection of bits and pieces amongst its collage of stone and flint.

A small iron plaque records that these stones were uncovered in 1959 when the building was being restored, but I expect a lot of people miss them even though the plaque is there to tell them that the stones probably come from the church of St Ruel, which once stood nearby. The selection includes a bit of Norman moulding and chevron, another piece of carving that resembles part of a classical acanthus leaf but may also be Norman, and the piece on the right. Is this a very eroded small figure, or am I imagining things?. There are also some fragments of brick that look Roman, and the larger block below, which bears interlaced Saxon carving. A wonderful group, making one wonder what the church was like, though the collection is not quite as richly eccentric as another wall full of fragments that I posted long ago. Here’s to recycling!


bazza said...

That reminds me of being a small child and walking for the first time along from Bournemouth to Boscombe. There used to be a house with a wall inset with seashells and it made my imagination race with wonder of where they used to be.
Seeing your picture of those church pieces in a new setting took me straight back to those days!
Click here for Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Peter Ashley said...

I love stuff like this, thankyou. What a brilliant reward for just going round a corner.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Bazza: I know that area quite well but don't remember the house with sea shells – perhaps it's not there now. Glad my post sparked a memory, though.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Peter: Pleased to hear that this tickled your fancy. More recycling soon!

Thud said...

I just took down a garden wall the base of which consisted of reused well tooled ashlar block, now about to start a third life in one of my renovations.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thud: Excellent! I hope it has a long third life.