Previous month:
January 2022
Next month:
March 2022

February 2022

It’s For the Birds

Dovecote at Chicheley Hall  Bucks
The Monday Photo

This is as close as I could get to this 18th Century building. It’s tucked away just beyond the end of a narrow lane at Chicheley, and it’s a dovecote.

Dovecotes were for the breeding of domesticated Rock Doves, the birds we now call pigeons. Wealthy people built dovecotes so they could eat the extremely tender meat of the young pigeons, which they called squabs.

The insides of dovecotes are lined with nest holes, and according to its Grade 2 listing they are still there in this example.

But I couldn’t get in to see for myself; it’s on private land. The lowest holes would be a few feet above the ground, as a defence against rats.

The listing also says that the collecting ladder is still intact, inside. There’s a small door on the North face; visible in the photo. The wooden cupola on top of the roof is listed as missing in the 1952 listing, but it's been replaced since.

This dovecote was built in 1717. The general appearance and design is in keeping with the new Chicheley Hall, built on the site of the previous manor house between 1719 and 1723 in the Classic Revival style.

The hall is now a hotel and the grounds are private. Hall Lane, not easy to spot as you drive through Chicheley, takes you down to the church and the side entrance to the hall. But you can’t get into the grounds.

There is a very limited car turning space at the end of the lane, which is why I took this photo when out on the motorcycle.

It’s a myth that peasants were not allowed to stop the pigeons from eating their crops, though until 1619 only the lord of the manor or a parish priest was allowed to build a dovecote. In Britain, dovecotes were common from the 12th to the 18th Century.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one for the photo in this post.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


The Unlocked Canal

Stoke Hammond lockThis is Stoke Hammond lock. As in five other places on the canal the lock was right up against the bridge, so the bridge had to be rebuilt with a second arch. This is the South side of the bridge, and the furthest arch now takes the farm track over route 6 of the National Cycle Network.

In the 1830s the Grand Junction Canal company found stiff competition from the new railways in England.

In response they reduced their tolls and soon there was a great increase in the number of boats on the canal. But every lock became a bottleneck, so they twinned the locks; building a second lock next to nearly every existing one.

Continue reading "The Unlocked Canal" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Iron Hart

Wrought iron gates  Hoggeston

The Monday Photo

Sometimes I’ll find something interesting when exploring North Bucks and take a photo of it, but when I get home I can’t find out very much about it. This is a good example.

I noticed this pair of wrought iron gates in Hoggeston last week, and took a photo because I liked the Hart, or stag, design.

At home I quickly found a reference to the stag being the crest of the Micklem family, who used to live in the village. The gates were said to have been made in the 1970s. But I must have confirmation so I looked in my all my Buckinghamshire books and on the internet to see what I could find.

I found that the church yard wall they are in is a listed building and the 1984 listing refers to the gates as “modern”; the date seems accurate. But I can find nothing more about a stag being the Micklem family crest.

There are several graves here of members of the Micklem family so they certainly have a local connection but that’s it; a tiny mystery. It’s a bit of a disappointment, because I do like these gates.

Of course, if you know any more, please comment below.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Lending Support

Diagonal church tower buttressesDiagonal buttresses on the 15th Century tower of Drayton Parslow’s Church of The Holy Trinity.

All these photos are of buttresses, those ribs of masonry that stick out from a wall. But what is a buttress for?

It’s there to do more with less.

The oldest buttresses we might see are very wide, but don’t stick out very far. These will mostly be on churches, the oldest buildings in most towns and villages.

Continue reading "Lending Support" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


A Nicely Curved Tree

Cruck framed cottage  Swanbourne

The Monday Photo

There’s a way of constructing wooden framed buildings that’s almost unique to Wales and the West of England, and that’s the cruck frame. This 15th Century cottage in Swanbourne has three of them.

It’s a two bay house, so there’s one cruck frame at each gable end, and another in the middle, between the bays.

Each frame has a pair of curved main timbers, the cruck blades. What you need to make them is a nicely curved tree, sawn down the centre to create a pair of matching cruck blades. It was usually an oak, sometimes an elm.

A true, or full, cruck frame has blades that run from near the ground to right at the apex of the roof. But this is a base cruck; the cruck blades stop at the upper tie beam.

This might be because tall enough trees of the right size were not available, or perhaps because the gable end roof was to be half hipped, as the other end of the roof still is. Maybe it was a bit of both.

Chimney

From the age of the cottage the chimney is probably a later addition, and when it went in, the half hipped gable end had to be turned into a plain gable end. And it’s often a sign of a later chimney that it is placed to one side of the roof ridge.

Buckinghamshire is about as far East as cruck framed buildings were built. This might be that trees further East were mainly managed by coppicing, which doesn’t produce the big curved trunks cruck frames need.

The original wattle and daub between the timbers has been replaced by brick and stone. Can you guess how many different lots of masonry have been built into this gable end? As a clue, not all of them were built using a level…

I use Pentax cameras for many of the photos on the North Bucks Wanderer.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


More Than Just Wall Paintings

This is the church of St Lawrence in Broughton, Milton Keynes.

I’ve already shown you the well known 15th Century wall paintings here on the NBW, (there’s a fine one of St George battling the dragon) but the rest of the church tends to get overlooked, so here’s a few of its other features.

St Lawrence's church  Broughton  BucksThe nave and chancel date from 1330, though some believe the core of the church might be older. The Reticulated style nave window to the left of the porch is original, but the tracery in the C. 1400 Perpendicular window on the right hand end was renewed in the 1880-1 restoration.

The Perpendicular window to its left is of different design; most likely these two windows replaced the original Reticulated ones at different times. What’s strange is that the one on the right is shorter than the original. I can’t see the Victorians doing this in their restoration, so I suspect it originally came from another church at a rather later date than the left one. The tower is also from about 1400.

Continue reading "More Than Just Wall Paintings" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe