6 August 2018

Southwell

Southwell is situated in rolling countryside fourteen miles north east of the city of Nottingham. Until Saturday, I had never been there before but the idea of visiting the little town had been in the back of my mind for quite a while.

Only 7000 people live in Southwell but it boasts the most significant church in all of Nottinghamshire - Southwell Minster. Upon the site of this magnificent twin-towered building a church was founded by St Paulinus in around 627AD. The Anglo Saxon chronicler, St Bede, referred to holy baptisms in the nearby River Trent during the same century. The "-well" in the town's name suggests that at some time a holy water source may have endowed the place with special religious significance that probably pre-dated  both the Christian era and the arrival of the Romans.
The remains of Eadburh, Abbess of Repton and daughter of Ealdwulf of East Anglia were buried in Southwell's original Saxon church. Later - in 956AD, Eadwy of England donated land in Southwell to Oskytel the Archbishop of York. That link with the Archbishopric of York remains strong to this day.
After my long circular walk out of Epperstone, I was rather fatigued and slightly woozy because of the heat that had accompanied my plodding. In the minster, a wedding was in process but the wedding party were all gathered near the altar with its adjacent choir benches. The service was being relayed over the minster's sound system and so I heard both the bride and groom say "I do". Soon the lofty ceiling of the great cathedral was filled with joyous singing from the assembled wedding guests:-
Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of Heav’n to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!

It was almost four in the afternoon and I was hungry. I headed for "The Crown Hotel" for a rump steak with chips (American: french fries), peas and grilled tomatoes - washed down with a cold pint of orange cordial and soda water. There I met a silver-haired man called Dennis who had escaped from his alcoholic wife for the afternoon. He advised me that Southwell's name is pronounced exactly as it is spelt and not the pretentious "SUH-thull" that some, including the BBC, seem to favour.
An image of Byron in the window of Burgage Manor
Afterwards, I strolled around the handsome  town. It had an air of prosperity and civic pride. There were many lovely houses including Burgage Manor where Byron the poet once lived with his mother. Apparently, around 1806, he  had a scandalous affair with the daughter of one of the town's well-to-do families. That's poets for you!
Asian food outlets - King Street, Southwell
I wish I could have stayed longer and perhaps undertaken another long walk in the town's vicinity but it was by now six o'clock and time to head back to Sheffield - an hour away. It had been a grand day out.

17 comments:

  1. And a grand post as well. The photographs are terrific as always and the text is enlightening. Being something of a history buff (but not in the buff as I write this) I appreciate it all.

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    1. Thanks for calling by again Bob. I am glad you appreciated this post. There was in fact something about the third image that reminded me of you!

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  2. I read a Swedish blog recently where the writer remarked on an unusual twin spired church. You blog about one and today, here in marvellous Melbourne, travelling along in a tram, I saw a third one.
    Three twin spired churches in less than a week!
    I need an ice-cold orange and soda to recover from this rush of twin spires.
    Alphie

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    1. You need to put some vodka in your orange and soda Alphie! Then you'll be seeing even more twin spires. In fact you might be seeing quadruple spires!

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  3. Lovely pictures as usual, Mr. Pudding. That was a long day for you and Clint.

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    1. Maybe I should have planned to stay the night in Southwell. Then I could have had another lovely walk on Sunday morning.

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  4. Twice in one day! Southwell Minster was featured on Antiques Road Show this afternoon. I've never come across it before today.

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    1. I hope you are not trying to suggest that I am an antique Sue!

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  5. The twin-spired church is indeed lovely, and well framed in your photo. And for proper pronunciation of place names, there is nothing like going to the source -- the residents.

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    1. With Southwell, the pronunciation appears to be the basis of an endless debate.

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  6. What a fun visit to an interesting and historical city! I love the photo of the church centered in the archway and I must say I'm also a bit partial to the image of Byron in the window. Thanks for taking us along with you on your journey!

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    1. Of course you are very welcome Bonnie. It is nice to take people to places they would otherwise never visit.

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  7. It's poetic licence, you know, that allows poets to have scandalous affairs. Are all affairs scandalous, I wonder...or just those conducted by poets under licence?

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    1. A scandalous affair sounds more exciting than a dull affair that nobody gossips about. I write quite a few poems myself.

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    2. Me, too, Yorkie, re your final sentence!

      Scandalous!!!

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  8. I'm sure you'll be back to Southwell. There's lots of history. I'm sure you can find another poet or two.

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    1. The graveyard is probably filled with poets...
      I'.m a poet and here I lie
      On my back beneath the sky
      So yes my dear Canadian Red
      I am now completely dead

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