Yesterday was the serendipitous trip to Great Budworth - how's that for a name? Last fall we went to a place that has become a (relatively) national name as small villages go - Kibworth - and there are a lot of '--worth' place names. I suppose just as '--ton' came from 'town' and '--ham' has the same history as the word 'hamlet,' so the suffix 'worth' has some kind of meaning. If I weren't lazy, I'd look it up, lol. Now that I've put you on to it, though, doesn't it pique your curiosity? There are plenty of '--hams' (Birmingham, AL, being one) and '--tons' (Hamilton, Binghamton) that I know of in the US, presumably derived from the English place names. Anybody know of any '--worths'? Perhaps in New England, among the early settlements in Massachusetts or Connecticut? Or even out on the Delmarva peninsula; lot of early settlers landed there. But I digress.
We parked near the bowling green - Lymm, the village where I live, doesn't have a bowling green, though they likely did have, once upon a time. Like Great Budworth, the parish church, pub, and original school are fairly close together, and the pub is known as 'Church Green.' Bowling lawns are so frequently next door to - or even in the yards of - pubs, that I think in our case 'Church Green' may have come from there having been a communal bowling green in that area at some point.
When we arrived in Budworth, there were quite a few bowlers out enjoying the spring sunshine. In the second picture, the ball farthest to the left is nearest the 'jack,' the little peg used to mark the target toward which to bowl. We have a set of bowls here at the house and of a summer evening (as it stays light so late) we often go out on our lawn and throw a few. I'm about as good at it as I am at horseshoes, which is to say - not much!
I walked over to get a better view of some of the games (there were a couple going on at the same time) and when I came back toward the car, I caught a snap of Himself watching the proceedings.
I took one of him in the church, too, but the backlighting makes it all but unseeable. If my late father-in-law was still around, I would have that picture for him, poor quality notwithstanding. He and I used to joke about the impossibility of getting 'Robert' to go to church. Mr G - Himself's father; that was my nickname for him - was staunch C of E. Himself is... well, 'nuff said.
Back to the tour.
As we started down Church Street (what else? lol) toward the center of Budworth, I snapped a picture of 'my' cottage.
Originally, of course, it would have been thatched, but I have to admit, whoever did the slate work to replace the thatch did a class job - look at the curves over the eyebrow windows.
There are some pub names that seem to be all over the place - The Bull & Bush, The Red Lion, The King's Arms; one such is The Ring o'Bells. In the old villages there's always a pub close to the church, partly because the center of the village was where you found 'community buildings'; the primary schools are always located there too, or at least the originals were. Pubs have a more practical purpose, of course, than just being the local watering holes - you get married, then everybody goes over to the pub to raise a toast. You have a funeral, the mourners go over to the pub to drown their collective sorrows. So the pub closest to the parish church often ended up being within the sound of the bells. Guess there would be no arguing with 'last bell' then, lol.
This cottage is called Ring o'Bells - just a private house. But it's definitely medieval in construction.
That second one shows it's not a photographic distortion: yes, the wall really is bulging out into the street that much, and yes, the window is now that warped within the wall! The current pub - The George & Dragon (of which more later) - was established in 1722. No way was Great Budworth a 'dry' village between 1100 (one of the first records) and over 600 years later. An Englishman without his ale? Unthinkable!
Seeing Ring o'Bells Cottage made me wonder if it had been the original pub, or at least a much earlier version of same. I was poking around the internet this afternoon to see if I could find some history on Great Budworth (very little, unfortunately) and lo and behold, a pub predating The George was - you guessed it - Ring o'Bells. I love finding things like that. Sometimes I can spot them for what they are, but it's nice to have substantiation.
We turned left, to walk up to the end of the churchyard, and first thing I found Wendy's bluebells.
Well, okay, they don't actually belong to Wendy. She's a fellow Sparkler and her husband is English; bluebells are one of the things he misses from 'home,' and she wants to try to time a visit to the UK for when bluebells are in bloom. They're blooming now, hon, even up in the cooler northwest!
The 'street' beside the churchyard is Schoolhouse Lane: I guess it's evident where that leads, too. The row of cottages there caught my eye.
Nope, don't know the people. They were hiking around the village, same as we were, and while we went into the churchyard, they eventually turned into the public footpath.
Doesn't that look inviting? There are public footpaths all over Great Britain, marked with wooden or cast iron signposts. Stiles are maintained over fences so walkers and hikers can cross farms. No one is allowed to infringe on the right-of-way on a public footpath - as Madonna found out a few years ago!
Opposite the woodland path is the path we followed.
I tried to get a sharp enough, close enough picture so you can see these are all gravestones. You find them like this in all kinds of churchyards, though not always used to delineate walkways. Whether these were picked up and moved here (possible) or actually cover cheek-by-jowl graves (equally possible) is anybody's guess.
Off to the right of the stone walkway, over beside (no surprise here) Schoolhouse Lane, is the original schoolhouse, built in the Tudor era.
Because of the shade from overhanging trees it didn't come out as clear as I'd have liked. I hadn't known it was a 16th-century school - I read that while I was doing my history research today. The site had a much brighter picture, though it was taken in the fall.
Almost directly across Schoolhouse Lane, a little toward the fringe of the village, stands the 'new' school that replaced it. Much more modern. It was built in 1762!
The church was unlocked. They nearly always are. When we go into the small ones (I say 'small,' but it's a cathedral in miniature) we generally have them to ourselves, and such was the case yesterday.
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I have whittled the photos down to about 40 (yes, I hear you, but I promise, if you come over I won't make you look at the holiday snaps, lol), but there's no way I can put them all on one post. I don't think I can, at any rate. So I will hold them back and either spread them out into two blogs tomorrow, or one tomorrow, one Friday. Nonetheless, tomorrow we're going to church!
Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever ye be!