I love my morning walk down by the river with my dogs and everyday I get to walk past a beautiful big house.
I did a small craft fair/community farm open day last summer, at the farm across the lane from me, you can't get more local than that can you? and met this chap who knew the local history and was a bit of a bore...truly he was the dullest little man ever and the farm manager was hid behind a barn door sniggering at me as I was completely bewitched by this chap and couldn't get away but I did learn a few things about the lanes and fields around me and it got me interested in the history of my walk.
I walk to the right of these trees and every day I think of when they were planted, over 100 yrs ago.
These trees were specimens planted in the early 1900 I know one is a London Plane, I can't remember the other tree that still remains. As you can see in the painting originally there were three trees but one obviously didn't survive.
Brian Hatton painted these trees which at the time were part of the big house: Warham House gardens and are now part of the public walk around the River Wye. I often think of Brian Hatton when I walk past these trees, he was sadly killed in Egypt in 1916.
You can see Warham House in the photo on the right. This is the back of the house and faces the river.
The photo below shows the trees on the left and the house on the right.
The house is opposite another impressive building, Belmont House, which is now a golf course. You can read more about Belmont House here
According to the very well informed man (who was desperately dull!) the houses were once in the same family and the gardens joined the river on either side, must have been a very impressive sight.
Brian Hatton painted many paintings during his short lifetime and the little man I spoke to had lots of drawings and prints with him that day last summer, one of the prints was of the corner that my house is now on. Sadly I can't find a reference on the internet. Another sad point is that this resource of history is soon to be lost, if it hasn't already, as Herefordshire Council have stopped funding the offices that housed all the archives of which some are of Brian Hatton and his work and life.
I have taken this photograph of this painting from the website in the link. This is Warham Farm, the farm opposite me where my son now works and this house still stands and is lived in by the present farm manager and his wife and two children. Originally the farm was part of Warham House and can date its origins back to Medieval times with the orchards dating even further back.
|Brian Hatton Warham Farm 1910|
There is even history in the orchards as Hereford is famous for its apples and of course we have Bulmers cider factory just in town....you really can't beat the smell at harvest time when the tractors take their loads past my gate full of apples destined for the cider press.
Its a beautiful walk and I am blessed to be able to walk it everyday with my dogs. Further up the walk is a very old church, St Michaels and the remains of a mount that is said to be an ancient fort. I will blog one day about these too.
I do find myself lost in thought some days just thinking who may have walked before me along the same route, life has a funny way of marching on and you really do have to live each day to the full before you are no longer the walker but the one who is remembered.
There is so much history in Hereford. We have the Mappi Mundi in our cathedral with a ridiculously long name...Cathedral Church of Blessed Virgin Mary and St Ethelbert...which also is home to the chained library....who has read Harry Potter? It is said that JK Rowling visited Hereford Cathedral on a school trip (I think she was from Chepstow) and alot of the names used in her books are from the Mappi Mundi as is the chained library, the golden lectern and a few more. Maybe a few blog posts on the history of this quaint English city...which is really just a big town with a Cathedral... are in order...off to muse.