Monday Photo

Say Uncle

10 High Street  Winslow

The Monday Photo

When I look at this house in Winslow High Street, I don’t think of its Georgian style 19th Century frontage and the large, timber framed 17th Century building behind it, I think of my uncle Dick and aunt Julie, who once lived there.

We used to visit them as kids; walking through the gate at bottom right, past (if I remember right) exposed timber framing to our left, and in through the door at the back.

Up and Down
We couldn’t get in via the front door on the High Street, because the ground floor was a bank, completely separate from their two story flat. Dick and Julie had just one room and a staircase at ground level; everything else was upstairs.

But the first floor was on several levels, with short flights of steps between. The kitchen in a small pitched roof extension was several steps lower than their hallway, and for years had just a skylight.

If I remember right, it wasn’t possible to put a window in the gable end because the roof of the bank vault was there.

But when the bank changed to a flat roof Dick chopped through the brickwork and at last there was a window in the kitchen. That was easier said than done, because the wall was thick and built of hard engineering bricks, to protect the vault beyond.

Young Man
I remember timber framing inside the house, but as a child I paid little attention to it, as I did to Dick and Julie’s furniture and antiques.

Aunt Julie used to tell me I should get my hair cut; it was shoulder length from my teenage years on, and would give me Christmas presents of aftershave, when I had a beard! Maybe this was a hint...

I still have a beard, but Julie might have been please to see the long hair is long gone; I just shave my head now to keep it tidy, as I’m going bald.

Sadly, Julie passed away at quite a young age, but Dick lived into his eighties. I’d love to have a look round the back, but the alley is private now.

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Down at the Farm

Manor House  Stewkley  Bucks

The Monday Photo

In Stewkley’s High Street South were once two farms; Dovecot Farm and Manor Farm.

This building was the farmhouse for Manor Farm, and was built in the late 16th Century. That makes it one of the oldest houses in North Bucks.

It’s timber framed, except for the whitewashed brick extension to the right of the photo. That’s part of some early 19th Century alterations, as are the chequered brick faces on the ground floor, facing the road.

The two massive chimneys have diagonally set stacks; two on the furthest one, (not visible here) and four (the last one hidden behind the others) on the nearest one.

You can just see the long rear wing with its plaster infill, behind the whitewashed extension.

To the South of the farmhouse and to the left of our photo is a rectangular plot that’s now a garden. It’s likely that this was once the farmyard, though no other farm buildings seem to remain.

Except, that is, for a Dovecote just outside the corner of the plot, and now visible if you walk down into the Manor Farm Business Centre. It has a date stone; 1704.

The 1925 A History of the County of Buckingham (courtesy of British History Online) says of the farmhouse: ”The manor-house of the chief manor in the parish has been converted into a farm.” Hence, I suppose, the name.

Oh yes, I know today is Tuesday; I ran out of time yesterday!

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Pray, Tell

Church handbill  Wingrave

The Monday Photo

I found this poster, or maybe it’s a hand bill, encouraging prayer in Wingrave’s church of St Peter and St Paul, and found it was printed by A. R. Mowbray & Co Ltd.

Mowbray’s were a firm that supplied ecclesiastical furnishings, stained glass windows, and printed works, incorporated (I think that means founded) in the mid 19th Century and lasting until the mid 1990s.

They were based in Oxford and London W1. The London address, 28 Margaret Street W1 is still there; it’s just off Regent Street.

Mowbray’s would be able to supply most of the specialised things a church needed that could not be sourced locally.

This hand bill (or poster) was part of a series, as at the bottom it says, “No. VIII”. If you’ve read my post on Roman numerals, you’ll know that means it was the eighth one in the set. I’d guess that it’s at least 100 years old. I’ve never seen another one.

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Shopping for Clues

High St. shop  Newport Pagnell

The Monday Photo

This is a commonly seen sort of a building; a house that’s been converted into a shop. This is 104 High Street, Newport Pagnell and until fairly recently it was the Smarts Trophies & Engraving shop.

Now the sign board above the shop window has gone, we can see how this Victorian house has been modified.

A big clue is the flat brick arch over part of the shop window. It’s directly below an upstairs window, and when we look at the arch above the shop doorway, that’s directly below its own upstairs window. This means) that the arches were once over downstairs windows.

Note how both the downstairs arches match in design and level, but the very similar arch over the turquoise door at the far end is one brick course lower. This, not the dark blue door closest to us, is the original front door, or at least its doorway.

Rolled Steel
Above the shop window is an RSJ; a Rolled Steel Joist that supports the wall above. This is common in shop conversions. You will also often see beams across a shop or pub ceiling.

That’s almost always an RSJ too, in pubs usually disguised to look like a stout wooden beam, in shops often just boxed in. They replace walls that once supported floor joists and brick dividing walls above.

Removing internal walls is not a job for the amateur builder; it can cause a house to fall down.

Curiously, the kitchen shop next door seems to be part of the same building. Although the layout and window proportions are quite different, it shares the same corbel detail under the eaves and a continous roofline above.

This is a Monday photo, one of many on this blog. It’s one photo (the clue’s in the name!) with up to about 500 words; just right if you want a short read. Just click on “Monday Photo” in the sidebar; there’s over 130 to choose from.

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Turning the Corner

Lower Weald corner  Bucks

The Monday Photo

It’s not uncommon to find a sharp bend on a country road with a farm gate on it, like this one. It’s almost as if the road once carried straight on.

That’s because very often, it did. It’s not too obvious here, because concrete block has been placed in front of the gate, but you can just see the top of the gate above the block.

Why does this happen? When roads were first metalled or hard surfaced, not every lane was treated. There might have been a t-junction of lanes, and one branch would not be metalled, leaving a right angle bend.

You’ll often see a farm on these bends, because lanes from three directions converged there. Sometimes to go straight on now means going into the farmyard. But although there’s a farm on the bend on the photo now, there wasn’t one when the lane received its hard surface.

A traveller from Calverton coming from our left could either go through the gate, or turn right towards the camera and down towards Whaddon.

On 125 year old maps a footpath is shown, leading across the fields to Whitehouse Farm. I think it’s now partly or wholly built over.

In this case, the footpath goes through the gate, then turns sharp right to run along the far side of a hedge that’s in line with the hedge in front of the farmhouse. But on more recent maps there’s an additional footpath which goes directly away from the camera, making this spot a sort of crossroads.

Some bends like this are on parish boundaries. The lane follows the edge of the parish, then turns sharply away from the boundary. The actual boundary may lie along the centre of the lane or along one hedge.

I’ve heard stories of motorcyclists heading down country lanes at night (back when bike headlights were truly dreadful) and almost ending up in a field or farmyard because the road seemed to go straight on when it didn’t. Perhaps the gate had been left open.

Back on the Road
That leads me sort of smoothly on to the subject of my bike. There it is in the picture, all back together and running well.

This was on Sunday afternoon, on my way home from the annual Stony Classic vehicle show. I had already missed one event the previous Sunday, and meant not to miss this show.

I was so determined not to miss it that I pulled an “all-nighter”; I worked on the bike all night long, seeing the sun come up on Saturday morning before going to bed for a few hours.

I started the bike for the first time at about 8 pm on Saturday evening and rode off, heading to Stony Stratford the long way round and seeing the sun go down as I approached the town.

I had a pint in the Old George and watched their Saturday night band before riding home. I returned next morning for the show.

I still haven’t caught up with my sleep, and I’m way behind with everything, including this blog. But having a bike on the road is good for my peace of mind, to put it mildly.

Next I’ll finish that lost footpaths post which should have been two weeks ago. Please be patient; I’m doing all I can.

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How Old?

Woughton on the Green Manor House
The Monday Photo

This old farmhouse by the green at Woughton on the Green, appears to be either Georgian or 19th Century. But which is it?

Actually it’s neither. Behind the chequered brickwork is a timber framed 16th Century building; two hundred years older than it appears and one of the oldest domestic buildings in Milton Keynes. In the left hand front room there’s a fine, large, 16th Century fireplace.

The rear wing hasn’t been recased so still shows it’s massive timber framing; part of it can just be seen by walking round to the right from the camera position. The chimney to the right is in that wing.

The central gabled projection and ground floor bay windows were added to the Georgian front in the 19th Century. Imagine the house before it was updated, with no centre projection, timber framing (probably massive like the rear wing) and a thatched roof.

Every house has a story, if you know what to look for.

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