"The West Surrey Cyclist" - Issue 7 - Summer 1987

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Contents:

Front cover - very similar to Issue 1
Inner front cover - advertisement - F. W. Evans Limited "Woking Cycles"
Editorial - by Helen Juden
DA Committee 1987 - same as Issue 6
"Albury;  and all that ..." - by Les Warner
Advertisement - Fern Financial Services (run by Chris and Ann Greening, who led many DA rides and tours)
"What do You Think?" - by Gill Smith (Social Secretary)
International Biketoon
Centre pages - the 'Yellow Pages' - useful DA information -
- Events and Notices
- Clubroom Programme
- Club Jerseys and Badges
- More Notices
- Small ads.
- Events Programme - the runs list for July to September
- Wednesday Evening Rides (weekly from Godalming)
- Advertisement - Dairy Time Cycling Rally (Mildenhall Cycling Club)
"10th Home Counties Rally" - account by Marguerite Statham
News of Members
Cartoon - "Every Club Should Have One"  - "The Elder Statesman"
"Five Days in Normandy" - account by Bill Inder
"Hampshire Meanderings" - by Denis Gray
"Fifty Years Ago" - selections from the 1937 "CTC Gazette"
Inner back cover - advertisement - Pedal Pushers
Outer back cover - advertisement - Get On Your Bike

Selected items transcribed from the original printed copy:



EDITORIAL

Issue 7 of 'The West Surrey Cyclist' is nominally a summer edition; let's hope the daily heavy showers soon give way to better cycling weather.

One of the few good Sundays recently was 14 June, ironically the date of the cancelled 200km event which didn't get enough entries.  It must be disappointing for the organiser after doing all the preparatory work and attracting Audax riders from far afield, when the ride has to be called-off due to lack of local support.  I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of the Wanborough-Brighton-Wanborough course two years ago and thought it was an excellent route on lanes lined with spring flowers from the North Downs, across the weald and over the South Downs to the sea.

A few weeks previously the speed-judging and rough-stuff also became a non-event from lack of entries.

Why don't our members want to ride these events anymore?  We can't expect organisers to volunteer again after such an outcome, so what should the DA programme be next year?  What do you think?  A few letters in the Magazine might stimulate discussion so please send in your ideas.

With summer holidays approaching and another bank holiday weekend to come many of you will soon be going on tour.  Accounts of your travels for the magazine would be especially welcome;  please send in copy for the next issue by 15 September.

Finally a word about copyright.  Some of you have submitted items from other publications for possible inclusion in this magazine.  To do so it is necessary to obtain permission from the author (or other copyright holder) so please let me know the source of such pieces.

Helen Juden


ALBURYand all that ...

THERE CAN'T BE MANY West Surrey cyclists who haven't at some time or other ridden through the village of Albury, and in all probability riding-through is just about all that most of them have done.  It isn't a place that very often - if ever - features in the popular guide-books, situated as it is along the fairly busy A248 road and overshadowed in immediate charm and attraction by its more picturesque neighbour Shere.  Neither would the cyclist be very likely to stop in this village for refreshment:  I don't recall it every having had a cafe, although the Drummond Arms does now have quite a good local reputation for food and drink.

I suppose my own recent interest in Albury has stemmed mainly from the fact that the son of an old cycling pal lodged there during part of his time at Surrey University in Guildford, with "digs" in a small period-style house sporting the rather quaint and certainly unusual name "Not The Old Pharmacy".  The same house also sports that astonishinq cluster of ornate tall chimneys which are undoubtedly the one feature of Albury that cannot fail to catch the attention of the mere passer-by, and perhaps even leave a lasting impression.  "Ah, a nice bit of preserved Tudor" we think, as we pedal past;  pleased too, perhaps, that their prominence is given historical recognition in silhouette on the village sign.  But, alas, we are deceived;  for those chimneys give the first clue to what really makes Albury something of an unusual and very interesting village.  As General Smuts apparently once said, "Nothing is seen when the viewer does not know what he is looking at".

If your approach to Albury is by way of the turn off the Shere bypass (A25) you also cannot really miss - away on your left in the first couple of hundred yards - the large and imposing church set back off the road on a little knoll.  You wouldn't be able to look inside, though, always assuming of course that you were interested enough to want to, for this isn't the village church:  it is in fact kept permanently locked and is never used.  But more of that later.  As the road then swings right, towards the centre of the village, the observant cyclist might also notice the sign to another church - a Saxon one, no less, hidden away in the seclusion of Albury Park.  Don't be put-off by the cattle-grid and the "private" look of the entrance:  just ride in, and think yourself back into Albury's past.  For it was here, in the Park, that the village in fact once stood.

The delightful ride from the gateway, through rolling parkland and mature trees, leads directly to the old church, no longer in regular use but fortunately rescued from total decay in 1974 by the Redundant Churches Fund, who carried out some very sympathetic restoration work.  It is well worth a visit.  Just beyond the church lies the "big house" of Albury Park, a country-mansion in the true sense of the word, with a history dating back to 1042 too varied to detail here.  It stood empty for four years after the death of the Duchess of Northumberland in 1965, but was then acquired by a charity known as the Mutual Households Association, which exists both to save historically important houses for the nation and to bring them back into use by creating within them apartments for retired and semi-retired people.  Thus, aged residents are often to be seen pottering around the grounds, and parts of the house are open to the public on certain days of the week in the summer months.

But the owners of Albury Park were not always so kindly disposed to "ordinary folk".  In 1700, it came into the possession of one Captain Finch, a seafaring man (later an Admiral) who had acquired considerable wealth as a result of capturing a rich Spanish ship during a recent war with Spain.  At that time, the manor house and grounds abutted the cottages, church and village green of the hamlet of Albury, and immediately at the back of the house a road ran eastwards to Shere.  Another road went northwards, past a pub called the George Inn, to the hamlet of Sherbourne, now the site of the well-known Silent Pool.  Capt. Finch didn't much care for all this to-ing and fro-ing, so he set about securing more privacy.  In 1784 he obtained a magistrates' order for the closure of the road which passed behind the house, and travellers between Shere and Albury were thus then diverted round the perimeter of the Park.  In the following year he obtained a similar order for the diversion of the road past the George Inn.  He then went on to enclose the village green;  he also annexed the north-east corner of the churchyard to form part of his estate grounds, and he embarked on such a harassment of the Albury villagers that most of them moved to a hamlet a mile to the west.  That hamlet was called Weston Street:  we now call it Albury.  A later owner of the estate, Charles Wall, demolished the rest of the cottages and moved their occupiers to new homes up the road in Weston Street.  And so "old" Albury disappeared, leaving only the church and the rather distant pub - which is now a pair of cottages.

But what about those chimneys?  They move the story into the nineteenth century and lead us to Henry Drummond, who purchased Albury Park in 1819.  He was a partner in Drummond's Bank (still in existence), a Member of Parliament for West Surrey, founder of the professorship of political economy at Oxford, and a generous landlord at Albury.  Drummond also put his stamp on the mansion as we now see it, for in 1849 he entirely altered its external character.  He engaged Augustus Pugin, an already-famous architect who had worked closely with Barry in the gigantic task of designing the new Houses of Parliament, and Pugin decided to give Albury Park a totally Tudor look - with brick dressings to the windows, battlements and gables, and a set of sixty-three ornate brick chimneys copied from every imaginable Tudor source, each one different.  To the untutored eye, Albury Park today simply looks a magnificent "stately home";  to the experts, though, it is apparently anything but.  Those two authorities on English building, Pevsner and Nairn, have described the outside elevations as "some of the worst things Pugin ever did" ... with the west-front entrance "as dull and silly as any of the pasteboard Gothick castles that he lambasted".  But doesn't beauty depend on the eye of the beholder?  Anyway, Pugin must have had quite a few fancy bricks left over:  Drummond obviously influenced some of the building work in his estate village of "new" Albury, and chimneys similar to those at the big house became adornments within the village itself - though in some cases out-of-scale with the comparatively small dwellings on which they were erected.

There remains the mystery of that locked and unused church.  As I have said, the one in the heart of the Park is little more than a piece of semi-ruined history:  so where do the present parishoners go for their devotions?  We must look to Henry Drummond again.  During Advent in 1826, Albury Park was the venue for a meeting of about twenty-five clergymen and fifteen laymen who undertook a six-day study of the prophetic scriptures, with particular reference to the Second Coming of Christ.  That meeting developed into a "movement", with further gatherings at Albury;  and from other parts of the country there came reports of "prophetic speakings and inexplicable cures" which pointed to the nearness of the Second Coming.  Groups and congregations who accepted this belief formed a "church", and in the early 1830s twelve men - including Henry Drummond - became the new "apostles".  With Albury as the spiritual centre, Drummond built (in 1840) a Catholic Apostolic Church - the fine building you now see as you turn off the A25.  It was intended primarily for use by the apostles and members of their families, and is sometimes referred to as the "Apostles' Chapel".

As he had been brought up in the Church of England, Drummond invited the rector of the parish church to attend the apostles' conferences, and the Revd. McNeile not only accepted but in due course also presided as chairman.  However, relations between the two men eventually became strained, and it was not very long before the rector was preaching against what was going on at Albury Park.  In his turn, Drummond withdrew from attending services at the parish church;  but it was of course in his Park, right on his doorstep - and apparently in much need of repair.  So, in spite of strong local protest, he persuaded the Rural Dean and the Bishop to let him close the ancient church as redundant and build yet another one in the "new" village.  That third one is still the parish church today:  built in Victorian red brick, it is not particularly attractive and is rather hidden-away behind the centre of the village proper.  It contains the altar, pews, plate, bells and thirteenth-century font from the old church, where the last regular service was held in December 1841.  Drummond has left his mark there, too, for when it was closed he had the south transept converted into a mortuary chapel for his family - lavishly and colourfully decorated to a design by friend Pugin.  As an aside, it is perhaps interesting to note that an incumbent of the old church for fifty years from 1610 to 1660 was the eminent mathematician William Oughtred, who wrote the standard textbook embodying practically everything that was known of arithmetic and algebra and who is reputedly the originator of the "X" sign for multiplication.  Every schoolboy's friend!  As for the Catholic Apostolic Church, the last service was held there in August 1950 as the "sect" died out:  it has not been used since, but is apparently maintained in immaculate condition inside as well as out.

So much, then, for ordinary Albury.  Next time you're bowling along the A248 (get off that A25!) why not turn into Albury Park and step back in time for a while?  Or if that doesn't appeal to you, what about remembering Drummond with a pint and a ploughman's in the "Arms"?  You could have a closer look at those chimneys, too:  they're only a couple of buildings away.  Or you could simply pause for a moment on the bank of the Tillingbourne as it glides along at the end of the pub garden.  Idyllic now, under the willows, that little river was once the heart of one of the most industrial valleys in the whole of England.  In the short ten miles from its source on Leith Hill to its confluence with the Wey at Shalford, it drove no fewer than eight important water mills to provide power for at least six industries - cornmilling, iron furnaces, paper-making (notes for Drummond's bank!), weaving, tanning - and gunpowder manufacture.  From the seventeenth century right up to the end of the first World War, nearby Chilworth was a noted centre of the gunpowder industry.  There were some memorable explosions!

A mill at Albury was recorded in the Domesday survey, but there have been several in the district - one of which was burned down in November 1830.  The name of the culprit, who also shot at the miller and was subsequently hanged on the gallows, was "Doggy" Warner.  I do not claim any ancestry!

Les Warner



WHAT DO YOU THINK?

I would like to congratulate the riders of the Benstead Cup '50' on 26 April and to thank organizer Clive Richardson and others who helped and attended the lunch at Holmbury St. Mary which followed the event.  We were extremely lucky with the weather, it was a day plucked from mid-summer with warm sunshine throughout.

Between 8 and 8.30 am 26 riders, including four ladies, set off from Jacobs Well in two groups and, after Send, were soon tackling the climb from East Clandon over the North Downs followed by another slog over Pitch Hill to the check point in Cranleigh manned by Hamish Smith.

After Dunsfold and Plaistow a second check 'manned' by Clive's sister was made near Wisborough Green.  Then, helped by a light southerly wind, the riders made good progress to Ewhurst Green.

As riders in this event know to their cost, the sting is in the tail for the final miles include the stiff climb over Holmbury Hill.  Apparently, few chose the somewhat easier route to Holmbury St. Mary that avoids the worst of the hill but everyone qualified for awards.

In support of the event there were two rides from Woking to the finish and, although not all the contestants stayed out for lunch, there were still 45 for an excellent meal laid on by the ladies who help to run Felbury House, well known for its PHAB activities.

After the meal thanks were expressed to the organiser and helpers and, following a few light-hearted quips from Bill Inder, there was no hurry to depart.  The occasion was something of a reunion for among those present who were in the limelight in past years were Les Warner (former national secretary of the CTC), John and Marion Fletcher, Eric Parr, past DA secretary Harold Coleman and Mike and Brenda Saywood (both held positions in the DA in the 1950s) who made a special journey from Leicestershire to meet up with old friends.  Also there was a rare appearance of our councillor Keith Parfitt.

I feel that, with some adjustment in timing to avoid a long wait for lunch, this may well become an annual event and I would appreciate members' thoughts on the subject.

Gill Smith (Social Secretary)



EVENTS AND NOTICES

Tour of the Hills  19 July, details on the runs list and calendar in the last issue of the magazine.  Marshalls are needed: contact Roy Banks if you can help.  The marshalls' briefing will be at the clubroom on 1 July after a short slide show.  Tel. Roy Banks, Wentworth 2676.

100 Mile Reliability Ride  13 September, using the popular route into the Chilterns with tea at Addlestone.  Details on the runs list and more information in last issue's calendar.  Tel. Clive Richardson, Liphook 724390.

New Forest Weekend  26/27 September.  Chris and Ann Greening are organizing a weekend based at Lymington in the New Forest.  This is sure to be popular so book soon.  Tel. Chris and Ann Greening, Woking 62875.

COMING SOON - TO A CLUBROOM NEAR YOU!

West Surrey CTC Clubroom programme for the summer quarter, every 4th Wednesday, 7.30 pm, Guildford Rowing Club, Shalford Road (near Jolly Farmer PH).
 
1 July MOUNTAINS OF MALLORCA
Short slide show by Chris Juden - cycling, scenery and winter sunshine.  Followed by Tour of the Hills briefing.
29 July CHRIS JUDEN GOES INTO WHEELS
By popular request, another basic mechanics session.  Roadside repair of hops, blips and twangs, with handy get-you-home hints.  Bring your wobbly wheels and let us have a go at 'em!
26 August 'D and E' with Robert and Hazel Shiels
The fourth and fifth letters of the alphabet stand for slides of cycling in Denmark and the sights of Egypt.

Club Jerseys and Badges  At last we have found a new supplier of club jerseys.  The colours are unchanged (ie green, white and gold) but the stripes will be vertical.  Jerseys will be available with long or short sleeves and optional lettering on the back.  Thanks to Marguerite for arranging this (not as easy as you might think); contact her for prices and orders.
   To sew on the front of your jersey  and jacket, saddle-bag etc. we can supply a cloth version of the DA badge, about 2½" diameter.  We must be confident of selling the minimum quantity, 100, at £2.25 each, so please let Marguerite know how many you would buy.
   Tel. Marguerite Statham, Woking 63289
 



10th HOME COUNTIES RALLY

On Friday 1 May 1987 the 7.25 pm train from Woking saw us on our way to the 10th Home Counties Rally, this year being held at Shalford near Braintree in the heart of Essex.  Three hours later we were trying to find our way out of Braintree and twice found ourselves cycling the wrong way up one-way streets, and to cap it all Helen got a puncture!  Finally at 12.10 am we arrived at our 'B&B' in Finchingfield where the door was opened by a very cross landlady.  She did, however, let us in!!

After an early breakfast on Saturday we rode the 3 miles to Shalford where we registered and collected our lunches before setting off on our chosen ride to 'Constable Country' taking in places like Gosfield, Bures, Wakes Colne and Pebmarsh;  a total distance of about 76 miles.  The pace was almost sufficient for our Generals and the day was full of excitement as we raced along.  One lad fell headlong off his bike landing heavily on the road but was able to continue after about ten minutes, later a car trying to overtake us on a bend crashed into an oncoming car.  Fortunately no-one was hurt.  During the afternoon we got 'dropped' so had to find our own way back to Shalford with an elderly couple on a tandem.  On returning we were told that supper was going to be late due to a main fuse blowing!  After a barely adequate meal we made our way back to the B&B and had lovely hot baths before invading the pub next door.

On Sunday we decided to downgrade our ride and had a very pleasant day touring Leez Priory, Danbury and Terling.  We stopped for coffee after about 10 miles and spent some time under trees sheltering from hailstones.  The total distance was about 52 miles at a more Intermediate pace.  We once again returned to the B&B after supper then visited the pub where we tucked into cheeseburgers and chips!

The ride we chose for Monday morning was due to come through Finchingfield so we arranged a 10.20 am rendezvous which gave us ample time to eat a very substantial breakfast before packing.  We then cycled to the Colne Valley Steam Train Centre where we spent over an hour riding on the train and dining in the static restaurant car before returning to Shalford for lunch.

At 3 pm we said our thanks and farewells and made our way back to Braintree station where a train was waiting to take us home.

We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would like to thank Helen Gill for organising the trip and Essex DA for hosting the rally.

Are you coming next year?

Marguerite Statham



NEWS OF MEMBERS

Breaks and bruises....  Two of our members were injured in separate road accidents recently.  Lynette Jeggo suffered a badly broken ankle when she was knocked off her bike in Chertsey.  After some weeks in hospital Lynette is now at home recovering steadily.  Bert Bartholomew was concussed when a car brought him down.  His cycling was curtailed by severe headaches for a while but happily Bert has now resumed riding with our General group.

The fact that two such experienced riders were involved in these accidents must remind us all that on Surrey roads cyclists have to be constantly vigilant.

... and babes.  After some time in hospital Claudia Whittle and Gerald are home again with David and doing well.  We hope they will enjoy getting out and about as a family this summer and continue to make good progress.

Matthew Tom Juden was born on Friday 27 March, just a few days after publication of the last DA magazine and a 40 mile ride with the Wayfarers the previous Sunday!  He seems to have a cyclist's appetite and practises pedalling at every opportunity.



First published in 'Wheelmarks', the magazine of South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire CTC, and reproduced with thanks.



FIVE DAYS IN NORMANDY
Our DA President, Bill Inder, has sent this account of one of the club's recent trips to Normandy.  We hope to describe the other tour in the next issue of the magazine.
Having already made several trips to the Cherbourg peninsula some D.A. members decided not to join Les. Moss's party to the same area this Spring and instead opted for the new crossing from Portsmouth to Caen in Calvados country.  So Geoff Hone, John Widley, Gillian Smith and I booked our tickets and the first night's accommodation.  On the evening of May 24th - after a morning ride for Bike Week - John, Gill & I took train to Portsmouth where Geoff, who had cycled down, met us and led us to the docks.  Once on board and having made sure the bow doors were closed, I told the captain it was O.K. to sail and we set off down past the Isle of Wight safely tucked up in our cabins.  With no portholes and air conditioning that seemed to have no effect, it was very warm while a continuous unidentified thumping noise kept us awake for a while but sleep eventually came.  Someone making the rounds with a tinkling bell woke us soon after 5am (British time) and, an hour later (7am French time) we were down the ramp and on French soil.  Not stopping to kiss the ground (a la Pape) we rode around near the harbour before setting off inland in search of something to eat.  This was soon found on the outskirts of Ouistreham.  The ferry doesn't really go to Caen but terminates at the mouth of the river Orne so we had a ten mile ride into Caen.  The old city was very largely destroyed by bombing and gunfire during the 1944 invasion but has been carefully restored and is now a busy and thriving place.  After a visit to the cathedral the gang of four found a second class road to the south-west for the twenty mile ride to Aunay sur Odon.

But we had overlooked the fact that everything seems to close in France on a Monday and, even at the town of Evrecy, no food was available all cafes, bars and shops being shut.  It was very warm and the next ten miles on empty stomachs became an ordeal.  However, on arrival, Geoff - who had forged ahead - had managed to attract the attention of the lady in a closed patisserie.  Obligingly she opened up and we were overjoyed to find Geoff sitting on a bench with an appetising array of goodies including mouth-watering puff pastry filled with apricots.  This saved our lives and, after a visit to a bar now open for the evening, we booked into our hotel, The Hotel de la Place.  Being a Monday, the evening meal was cold and not really what one would expect at a good class establishment.

Maybe we had been spoilt by the fare at the Hotel Agriculture in Valognes.  As usual in France the beds were very comfortable but Geoff and John found my alleged snoring more than they could take.

Next morning the weather looked good so, after breakfast, we decided to stay at Aunay another night and to split up for the day, Geoff and John to aim for the mountains to the south-east while Gill and I took a similar but shorter foray. Both routes included the picturesque and hilly area known as Normandie Suisse because of its similarity with Switzerland - but without the alps!

This is probably the most scenic part of Normandy and Geoff and John explored it pretty extensively.  Unfortunately they ran into a sudden downpour on their return but managed to survive.

Meanwhile Gill and I had enjoyed the less strenuous regions of Normandie Suisse and had a picnic lunch at Thury Harcourt.  Next morning we persuaded our hostess to phone around for the next two night's accommodation and she booked us in at Herouville St.Clair on the northern outskirts of Caen.

So we mapped out a route to avoid the centre of Caen by going north through Villers Bocage and across country to a tiny village called Rots.  Geoff who did all the map-reading was a bit confused so I asked the only person visible.  When he heard where we were heading for he suggested it was a bit complicated and said "Come over to my house".  There I was ushered up the stone steps of the manor house and into what appeared to be a draughtsman's office.

A large scale map was produced and a girl assistant was told to photo copy it, whereupon the copy was handed over and offers of payment were brushed aside and we were on our way.

Arriving at our destination we still couldn't find the Esperance Hotel but, calling in at a nearby cafe we were lucky again for a young girl who spoke good English drew us a map.  It was as well she did for a motorway had bisected the village and the hotel was quite a way from the centre - right on the canal bank.  The canal itself was a great attraction - a wide expanse with ocean-going freighters and liners able to get right into Caen.  Next day we rode alongside the canal to the cafe beside the famous Pegasus Bridge - the first house in France to be liberated.  On the day before D-Day the 6th Airborne Division was dropped and captured the bridge intact and joined forces with the sea borne commandoes the following day.

On the final day it was an easy ride to the ferry port, no traffic and all flat for we found that we could ride the whole way alongside the water.  There was time to sun bathe followed by lunch in the sunshine outside a cafe and served by an Australian!

The daytime crossing to Portsmouth was a delight but Woking was not reached until after midnight.

Throughout, Geoff Hone was the map-reader and leader and the life and soul of the party with his wealth of anecdotes end ceaseless conversation.  In fact there were times when he was well in front but we could still hear him nattering away though we couldn't really hear what he was on about.  The fact that he didn't have an audience seemed not to worry him.

John and I were very grateful to both Geoff and Gill who, between them, had organised the whole enjoyable trip.

Perhaps the only disappointing aspect was that we had intended to visit Bayeux to see the famous tapestries but we never made it.



HAMPSHIRE MEANDERINGS
Club member Denis R. Gray is the younger brother of our auditor, Les Gray;  he sent us this account of a cycling holiday in Hampshire, which first appeared in 'Cycling World'.
WITH three days' holiday to come, I chose my favourite medicine and headed for Hampshire in general, and Mottisfont in particular, as that was to be my centre of exploration.

I arrived at 1 pm, removed my bicycle from the roof-rack, and was away.  Riding via Bossington and Houghton to Stockbridge, I passed field after field of golden wheat rippling in the wind like a vast sea.  Combine harvesters were busy, and wisps of straw along the lane showed where the heavily-laden trailers had passed.  At one spot I had to drag bike and self up the bank at the roadside to allow a tractor and trailer to pass:  it completely blocked the lane.

At Stockbridge, before crossing the A30, I paused to look at the old house, once an inn, which has a message in Welsh painted on the wall which promises good food, good beds and good pasture.  This was for the benefit of the Welsh drovers who in the 18th and 19th Centuries came through the town driving their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle to market in London.

Riding alongside a lovely section of the River Test, I came to Longstock.  The church was locked, unfortunately, but I wandered around the churchyard and made friends with a little tortoiseshell cat from the farm opposite.  By way of Hazel Down and Westover I came to Goodworth Clatford, a beautiful village with well-kept houses.  Turning right over the bridge brought me to the church which has a long avenue of lime trees from the lych-gate to the porch.  The church is also well cared for, and the graveyard has an unusual feature:  among the official gravestones to members of the armed forces were three to members of the Hampshire Home Guard.  I have never seen the like elsewhere.

Upper Clatford, Anna Valley and Little Ann brought me to Abbotts Ann.  The Georgian church of St Mary's, built in 1716, also has an unusual feature:  a funeral custom persists that apparently at one time was common in many Hampshire villages.  When a spinster or a bachelor dies, their coffins are accompanied to the grave by a person carrying a white chaplet or 'virginal crown' and a pair of white gauntlet gloves on a wand.  The chaplet and gloves are then hung up in the church on either side of the nave, and there is a full row on either side.  Some, going back 200 years, are nearly black with age.  Others become progressively lighter right up to the recent ones of pure white.

In the early 18th Century, the Lord of the Manor of Abbotts Ann was Thomas Pitt, grandfather of the great Prime Minister, William Pitt the Elder.

Opposite the church is a beautiful Georgian house of pink brick, and the village is rich in old cottages, many of them thatched.  St John's Cross and Hazel Down brought me full circle to Longstock and back to Mottisfont and supper.

The next morning brought flurries of rain while I breakfasted, but by the time I set out at 9 o'clock the sun was shining, although the wind had veered to the north-east and was very cold.  At Houghton, I left the lane and sought out an old green road that ran between tall hedges.  I was grateful for these because they kept out the wind.  What sensible people our ancestors were!

Once more crossing the ubiquitous A30, I followed another green road to Danebury Hill, a Bronze Age fort and settlement occupied from 400 to 100BC.  An archaeological dig was in progress, and the inner area of the fort was dotted with holes dug in the chalk, and occasionally an arm or head would appear.  Meticulous records were being kept of all finds, and there were many boxes of pottery shards, animal bones, antlers etc.  The fort covers a large area of hill-top, and I walked round the perimeter of the ditch, which was about half a mile.

At Middle Wallop, I lunched at The George Inn.  Following the stream brought me to Nether Wallop, a really beautiful village with a lot of thatched roofs.  The church has medieval wall paintings and Norman arches.

At Broughton, the church is unusual in that the churchyard contains a large circular dovecot of bricks.  This was built in 1683 during the incumbency of the Rev Henry Gray.

From Broughton Hill I took the B3084 and came via Dunbridge and Awbridge to Romsey and its beautiful abbey.  Set in the floor is a simple slab or incised stone marking the resting place of Earl Mountbatten.  It was installed on August 20, 1980.  I rode back to Mottisfont in sombre mood.

Next morning, the wind was still cold.  Going via Dunbridge and Lockerley I came to East Tytherley and West Tytherley.  The approach to the latter is very picturesque, the road curves to the right, and there, on rising ground, stands the church.

I climbed the hill to Middle Winterslow and Dunstable Pond, and came to Figsbury Ring, an Iron Age hill fort covering some 15 acres, but apart from the ditch, or ring, there was not much to see.  With the inner man shrieking for sustenance, I did a quick 'main road bash' into Salisbury, where I round 'The Catherine Wheel'.  I have never seen a pub with so many brands of whisky!  The long shelves in the bar contain rows of bottles, all different.  Being an impecunious cyclist, I settled for a ham roll and a pint of beer.

I paid another visit to the cathedral, and was charged 45p for the privilege.  Still, it must cost a fortune to keep it going, so I didn't really mind.  Escaping the city via the A36, I turned off after a mile or so to Alderbury, and, via West Grimstead, West Dean and East Dean to Mottisfont.  I was just in time for cream tea served in the garden.  What a lovely way to end a ride!

The next morning, I came home, following the Test Valley all the way to Basingstoke - but that's another story.


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