Iron and Water

Cosgrove aqueductThe Iron Trunk aqueduct.

Canals take a wriggly path, following the contours of the land as much as possible.

But sometimes that’s not practical, as the engineers of the Grand Junction Canal realised when they came to the Ouse Valley.

A one mile embankment carries the canal across the valley, with a cast iron aqueduct over the Great Ouse. The aqueduct is known locally as the Iron Trunk.

The Aqueduct is a great piece of engineering. It’s about half a mile from the road and the nearest parking spot, but well worth a visit. It’s a nice walk, too.

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The Door to the South

Norman doorway  Dinton church  Bucks

The Monday Photo

This is one of the oldest parts of Dinton church near Stone. It is a fine Norman doorway, built in 1140.

If you didn’t know, the biggest clue to it being Norman is the semi-circular arch, surrounded by concentric orders of decorations. The zig zag patterns are typically Norman.

The columns flanking the doorway are also a common Norman design theme.

Above the door is a lintel with a carving of St Michael fighting Satan, who is in the form of a dragon. Above that and under the arch is a tympanum with a carving of a tree of life, with monsters each side that are eating fruit straight off the tree.

This is the South doorway of the church. Saints Peter & Paul’s Church was largely rebuilt in the 13th Century, but there are a few parts of the church that may date back to the original building.

Some of the wall above the South arcade (the arches between the nave and aisle) may also be from 1140, and just possibly a small part of the South aisle’s East wall too.


This is one of the books I use to research posts on this blog. I referred to it for this post as Dinton is one of the first churches in the book.

This doorway is in the wall of the 1240 South aisle. It’s believed that the door had originally been in the South wall of the original aisle-less Norman nave, and was carefully dismantled and re-erected here.

This means the doorway’s original place was on the line of the present South aisle. But in the 15th Century the South aisle was widened; it seems this doorway has been moved twice! It is now protected from the weather by a porch built in 1500.

I wonder what the original builders would think of how the church looks today, with its Perpendicular windows and finely arched arcade so different from the massive stonework and tiny windows of a Norman church.

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Two in One

Waiting for the rain to stop  HavershamA cyclist waits for the rain to ease off. As in most of these photos, the seam between each viaduct is visible as a line up the pier and along the underneath of the arch.

This looks like a railway viaduct. But it’s really two, built right next to each other at different times.

They are both about half a mile North of Wolverton station, on the West Coast Main Line.

Robert Stephenson engineered the first of these viaducts for the London & Birmingham Railway, and work began in 1837. In September 1838 it opened, carrying two lines across the Ouse Valley.

The Great Ouse had to be diverted 900 feet North during the construction; the old river bed now lies under the South Embankment. To leave the river in place would have meant the viaduct would have to be twice as long as it is now.

Cutwaters by the Great OuseThe viaducts take the railway over the Great Ouse and the Ouse Valley.

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A Box of Books

 

Phone box library  Chilton  Bucks

The Monday Photo

This phone box library is in the small village of Chilton, on a bend opposite the entrance to Chilton House and the Gatehouse.

This phone box (or kiosk) is a type K6. Introduced in 1936, 60,000 had been installed by the time a new design, the K8, was introduced in 1968. About 11,700 K6 boxes are still in place.

The completed box weighs about three quarters of a ton, not surprising when you know that the sides and top are cast iron, and the door is made of teak. This one is a listed building, but many are not.

Communities or registered charities can adopt a phone box from British Telecom and it costs just £1. Over 5,000 have been adopted already, and there’s another 5,000 still available.

They are boxes that BT no longer wants to use on their network. Some are made into mini libraries like this one, some house defibrillators.

The only other phone box library in North Bucks, as far as I know, is in Gawcott. An original phone box for the village in a different spot had previously been removed, so the village bought a complete used phone box and had it installed in Main Street.

This cost them a lot more than £1. I don’t know how long it’s been there, but it wasn’t there last time Google Streetview toured the village. You’ll find it opposite Old Barn Close.

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Rich Fruit

Pineapple finial on gatepostThis is one of a pair of fine examples on the gatepost of The Old Rectory, at Addington near Winslow. It’s not very old; stone pineapples can still be bought today.

After Christopher Columbus brought the first pineapples back to Spain in 1493, It would be 200 years until they could be successfully grown in Europe. The climate isn’t warm enough and a reliable way of heating the plants had to be found.

Even when reliable methods of raising them had been invented, it was a terribly expensive and time consuming operation.

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A Drink for Queen Victoria

Liscombe Jubilee fountain  Soulbury  Bucks

The Monday Photo

In 1887, drinking fountains, clock towers and other monuments were built all over Britain to mark the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. She had come to the throne fifty years before, aged just 18.

This combined drinking fountain and water trough was one of them, built by Phillips Cosby Lovett, of nearby Liscombe House. It sits on a slight bend on the road from Soulbury to Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, less than 200 yards from the main gate of Liscombe Park.

Although the road follows the South edge of the park, this monument is on the North side of the road, facing the park.

45 years later in 1932 Beresford Lovett Esq., Phillips Cosby Lovett’s son, had the fountain restored. It was restored again for the Silver Jubilee of our present Queen in 1977, but I was unable to find out who did the work. Does anyone know?

Another 44 years have passed since then and it needs restoration again. Brickwork is crumbling and some stonework is missing.

An old photograph from around 1910 shows the road going right up to the drinking fountain, which is now separated from the road by a kerb and a raised verge. The bottom few inches of the fountain are now underground.

In Woughton on the Green in Milton Keynes an oak tree planted in 1887 is now 134 years old; it is Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Oak Tree.

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