The Font itself was built at the same time as the church, so it is over 550 years old. It is octagonal in shape and it fairly unusual. (Note:- A font is a Christian device that is basically a big sink. A person joining the Christian faith - typically a baby is immersed into this 'sink' as part of the joining process).The Font Cover itself is...more
This is a Gargoyle on Ewelme Church. The word Gargoyle itself is related to the word Gargle (the thing you do when you take a liquid into your throat and slowly blow air through it before spitting the liquid out). This in turn comes from 'gargouille', which is an old French word that means 'Throat'.A real gargoyle is a waterspout and is used to...more
This is the tomb of Thomas Chaucer (who was the son of the notable poet - Geoffrey Chaucer) and his wife Mathilda Burghersh. Thomas died in 1434 and his wife in 1436. Thomas must have been quite an important person, as not only did he have an important father, but his mother's sister was married to John of Gaunt (who was the son of King Edward...more
As with a lot of the buildings in Ewelme, this is pretty old! It is thought it was built just after the Almshouses and church were finished around 1450. It is supposed to be one of the oldest schools in the country that is in the state system. It has probably taught children almost continuously for over 500 years!The school doors are quite...more
Seeing the Almshouses from the outside gives a better idea of just how old they are (over 550 years old!).If you enlarge the picture and look at the door way that is inbetween the two bushes, you can see the two horseshoes that I talk about in my Local customs tip. This doorway is actually a passageway in to the cloister.These almshouses were all...more
Almshouses are traditionally houses that are built by a rich person for the poor or old to live in. I think the idea was that the rich person is seen to be helping out the poor and needy.These Almshouses were built by Duchess Alice and her husband William de la Pole (Duke of Suffolk) around 1437. There are 13 houses all built around the square...more
I would have completely missed this waterfall (well perhaps that is rather a grand word for it) if it had not been for a local resident seeing me brandishing a camera and insisting he show me Ewelme's Waterfall.Well here it is, it's not the biggest I have ever seen, but apparently there is a Kingfisher that nests in the shrubs to the left of it....more
Ewelme used to be famous for its watercress beds. They still exist today, but I think they struggle to rival the larger commercial farms.Watercress beds are typically shallow gravel based compartments with water running through them quite slowly and the water needs to be relatively warm. This is achieved in Ewelme by building frames in the stream....more
This duckpond is easy to find. Ewelme is so small, you can easily walk all round it in rather a short space of time.It's a very traditional style of duckpond, but is quite rare to find these days. The water is very shallow and very clean looking. I could only see one duck when we visited, but there are probably more! Depth wise, I would say it is...more
In case you are a little perplexed by what I was going on about in my previous two tips, this is the whole of the tomb of Duchess Alice.The reclining figure can be seen lying across the top. Under that you can see the ornate chest type part in which hr body was placed. Then if you enlarge the picture, you will be able to see the grille type design...more
Please enlarge this picture!It's worth noting that the tomb to Duchess Alice was built by her son. What is particularly surprising is this statue of her under the tomb. To see it you have to lie on the ground and peer through a grille so I suspect a lot of visitors miss it.The pucture shows her now decaying body in fairly graphic detail (as you...more
This is a very bizarre tomb, although you will not realise it from this picture, you'll have to go on to the next tip to understand why.Duchess Alice was the grand-daughter of the famous poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Although she would never have met him as he died in 1400 and she was born in 1404 (dying in 1475).The Tomb is in three parts and is made...more
Well I guess you don't go to Ewelme for the thriving nightlife! If you did, you would struggle to find any at all! As far as I could see the only place you could go was this pub called the Shepherd's Hut.
It seemed to be quite busy with locals when we were there. It served the standard pub drinks and also served food.
Dress Code: Pretty much any clothing at all.
The whole of Ewelme is off the beaten path, so the only real way to go there is by car as I suspect trying to go by public transport may be very difficult!
The village itself is a little way off the A4074 between Reading and Oxford. For more details, see the attached link to multimap.com.
Once there, parking is an absolute doddle - I don't think there are any carparks in Ewelme, you just park up pretty much where you want.
This is not a tip on any shop in Ewelme (there are hardly any to talk of!). Rather it is something you should buy before you go there.
Cynthia Harnett is an award winning children's writer, and this book (The Writing on the Hearth) is based in and around Ewelme about the time of Duchess Alice in 1415. It is obviously a historical novel, but I remember it being quite good for adults too (it's been a long time since I read it!)
If you have read my tip on the school, you will see the front cover appears to have a picture of the school on it.
What to buy: I'm not sure if it is still in print, it was first published in 1971, but you can still find copies on ebay...
What to pay: A few pounds
In England, hanging a horse show up above your door is supposed to bring you good luck. I'm not sure what hanging two up is supposed to do!
Curiously these were not hanging up above a door, they were hanging up at the entrance to the almshouses, and were about knee height on the door post. I have even less idea what this is supposed to mean. Unless they were hung up by a very short person?
These days you only tend to see horse shoes hanging up in villages and on countryside cottages. Another dying tradition.
This is not so much a Warning as a Polite Request!
The Almshouses are peoples homes, and whilst it is freely possible to walk around the cloister, please remember that peoples front doors open onto this cloister and that they would like some peace and privacy.
This sign can be seen as you walk out of the church and down the steps into the cloister area.
This one caught me by surprise as I had no idea it was here. If you walk around the back of the church (as in the opposite side from the gate by the road), you will find this gravestone. I only saw it by accident and figured it must be that of Jerome K. Jerome the author of Three Men in a boat (a story of three men who rowed down the Thames in a...more
Even in Ewelme, this is very much the sign of a byegone age.This is a cattle and stray horse pound into which wild animals were placed whilst there rightful owners were located. This was last used in 1936, and so it has not been used for around 70 years.These days it would not be capable of holding any animals at all as it is merely a reproduction...more
The Iris plant comes in many different guises. I belieeve that this one that is commonly seen in Britain is the Blue Flag Iris that is the national flower of Quebec (Canada).The flag Irises are supposed to be amongst the easiest to grow and to cultivate of all of the Irises. Certainly they grow well in Britain, and they are supposed to grow well in...more
Just outside the Almshouses is a little garden with quite a few flowering shrubs and plants. Whilst I was wondering through I noticed that there were several butterflies pollenating the blossom.
This particular butterfly is fairly common in England and is called a Peacock butterfly. They don't tend to stop too long on any one flower so you need to be quick to photograph one! If I rmember correctly, this butterfly was on some ornamental chery blossom.