After a week back from our time in Berkshire I realise that it did us good and our daughter and her sons appreciated seeing us too. One day our daughter drove us to one of the pretty, unspoilt villages we often went to on outings with our children. We would go down to Hambleden Lock just outside Henley-on-Thames where friends had a house whose garden went down to the river. We didn't go down to the lock this time, but instead turned into a country lane and drove to the village of Hambleden itself where we stopped, visited the church and then had a wander around. We then had a welcome cup of coffee in the village store before heading back to Reading by way of Henley-on Thames.
St Mary the Virgin Church
There has been a church on the site since the late Saxon/early Norman times and although it has been altered and extended over the centuries many of the external and internal features have been retained. It is cruciform in shape with north and south transepts and a Lady Chapel on the south side with its own entrance door.
The patronage of the church went with the manor of some 4,800 acres as recorded in the Domesday Book (1086). The site of the original manor house was located nearby, probably where the early Georgian house, Kendricks, now stands. At one time it was the rectory and now is a private house.
From the Middle Ages the manor was the property of the Scrope family, important members of society in North Yorkshire. Emanuel Scrope who built the manor house in 1603 was the great grandson of Henry VIII through an illegitimate son of the King and his mistress, Mary Boleyn (sister of Ann). King Charles I spent a night at the manor house when he was on the run from those who opposed the monarchy. The Sealed Knot Society, a group who re-enact historical events of the English Civil War has held one in the fields surrounding the manor house and I remember many years ago coming to such an event, making a day of it and having a picnic with the family. About 1666 King Charles II was patron and appointed the rector who had been his chaplain during his exile in France. (My adapted notes are taken from the booklet purchased in the church). I'm grateful to a member of the congregation who was present in the church at the time for showing us around.
entrance to the bell tower
brasses on the wall on either side of the entrance to the tower
the 12th century font or earlier (possibly late Saxon)
a memorial window - one of two in the nave and brass memorial dedicated to W.H. Smith, son of the founder of the bookseller and news agency firm who lived at a house called 'Greenlands', now Henley Business Management College. On his death his widow was created Viscountess Hambleden of Hambleden.
the nave looking towards the chancel and sanctuary
the roof of the chancel
looking towards the north transept from the nave
The monument of Sir Cope D'Oyley (d. 1633) and Martha his wife (d. 1618) and their ten children. The family lived at 'Greenlands'. The alabaster figures were originally coloured and gilded. Those children holding skulls died before their parents. the inscriptions are on black marble.
the south transept from the nave
This oak altar is known as the Wolsey Altar. It was carved in the early 16th century by Dutch or Italian craftsmen and includes the arms of Cardinal Wolsey on one of the panels. It was probably a bed-head which came to the manor house at the time of the marriage of Elizabeth Sandys (widow) to Ralph Scrope of Hambleden.
The Lady Chapel
snowdrops were in flower in the churchyard
The village remains unspoilt and has been used during the filming of many television drama series although one usually just gets a glimpse of certain buildings during these episodes.
the village hall
the playing fields
'Kendricks', the former manor house and rectory
the village shop and post office
The river at Henley-on-Thames.
I've had some technical difficulties with my Internet connection in the last few days. I'm up and running again and hope to share some more of our time away before I take another break from blogging.
Wishing you a good day and a good rest of the week,