Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Here is another of the prints I bought yesterday. This one is of Waverley Abbey - the first Cistercian monastery in England.
My first job involving stone was here when I got a job with 'The Ministry of Works' in 1969. I also worked on Farnham Castle - another subject in another print. This was where the lead coffin containing the perfectly preserved body of an abbot was opened - a couple of weeks before I got the job...
I think that books with illustrations of topographical and architectural features were popular as guide books before the camera was invented, obviously. Curiously, I have never found an intact one which has survived being pulled apart with the intention of framing in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The early monks tried - probably deliberately - to build a little piece of heaven on earth when they chose the locations for their monasteries. Waverley is set in a fertile valley, and the abbey itself is in the crook of a gentle bend in the river Wey. It is now in the custody of English Heritage or whatever they call themselves these days. The massive concrete anti-tank bollards are also listed along with a brick pill-box, and lie strewn around the abbey grounds in case the Germans used the shallow river bed as a road between one place and another.
The carp lake for the abbey still exists and was fed by a series of lead pipes leading from Mother Ludlam's Hole (see previous post) designed by an ingenious monk almost 1000 years ago. That was Roman technology of another 1000 years before.
The clergy were incredibly wealthy before Henry the Eighth stripped their assets - just because the Cistercians were frugal it doesn't mean they were not rich.
Today being the day when Brexit machinery grinds into action, everyone is comparing the split with Europe to Henry's split with Rome. The difference is that the split with Rome was not an accident caused by democracy.