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Thursday, 19 June 2014

A long 'short' day.

Yesterday I thought that we would only have about three hours travel today, but that isn't how it has worked out. Last night we walked into Weston on Trent and found the Coopers Arms. To get there we walked past St. Marys Church which looked lovely in the evening light with a gorgeous view over the Trent. We also walked past the Ukrainian youth camp 'Tarasivka'. It started as a camp for the military that ran the railway here during WWII and for the bridging school that practiced over the Trent. After the war Ukrainian refugees took it over and is now still used in the summer as a youth camp.

View from St. Mary's church Weston on Trent.

The Coopers Arms is a 17th century mansion and was used as a barracks by Cromwells troops. I had a pint of Blue Monkey BG Sips and a pint of Coopers brewed especially for the pub by Leather britches Brewery. When we got back It was ominous that the there was no hot water! I left it until the morning.

I got up early and realised that there was no power to the Hurricane heater. It must be something easy but to trace it all takes time and everything has to be moved to get access. In the end it turned out to be a fuse holder that had had a wire pulled of it. It was soon fixed, thankfully. We were soon off after that and on our way to Swarkstone. Just before we saw the Swarkstone Pavilion or The Stand. It is about 200 m away from the ruins of the old hall. It is though to be a pavilion for a bowling green or even a bull/bear baiting area. It reminds me a little of the gatehouse at Tixall Wide.

Swarkstone Pavilion from the canal.

Not much further on was the lock and we shared with another boat. We were stopping for water just afterwards so we said goodbye. The wharf here is just at the other end of the Derby Canal from Sandiacre on the Erewash Canal. There is a nice toll house here with a little warehouse and a crane.

Warehouse and toll cottage at Swarkstone. I think the crane must have been moved as it doesn't even plumb the canal side or even for stop planks!

At Stenson Lock Helen met somebody she had worked with ten years ago. It really is a small world on the canals. Not long after the lock we came across a boat that had come adrift at one end so there was a delay to re-moor it. We soon arrived at Willington where we were to stop. We missed the start of the moorings and didn't fancy mooring outside a pub on football night so we found a nice spot just round the corner. Just as we were coming up to moor there was a bang and I thought something else had been broken. It turned out that one of my newly bottled raspberry and elder flower cordial had exploded. It is making bubbles. All I can think of is that I should have boiled the raspberries first as they must have yeast on them as the plain elder flower cordial is okay. It made a sticky puddle and glass shot quite a distance!

After lunch we walked the mile or two to Repton. We had to cross the Trent over the Willington Bridge that was constructed by locals in 1839 to save having to cross the Trent at Swarkstone or Burton on Trent. It was a toll bridge until 1898. 

Willington Bridge over the Trent with Repton church in the distance.

We bought a guide and wandered around the town. It is dominated by the Repton School with the different parts of the school and boarding houses scattered around. To live in the fees are £10146 per term and to be a day pupil is £7500! There are several interesting buildings other than the school but perhaps the best is St Wystan's Church. Repton was the capital of Mercia and the the oldest part of the church is the 8th century crypt. It was constructed during the reign of King Aethelbald 716 to 757. It was two thirds underground and had a spring with in it suggesting it may have been a place of worship even earlier. Aethelbald was interred her as was Kind Wiglaf and Wiglaf's grandson Wystan who had been King and had been killed by a kin in 849. He prefered religion to being a king and had his widowed mother to be regent in his place. His body was said to be found in a shaft of light and he became a bit of a cult, became a saint and Repton became a place of pilgrimage after he was interred there. So much so that they had to open up another entrance to the crypt so the pilgrims came in one door and out the other. It is about 16 ft square and 10 ft high. with nine bays.

8th Century vault of Kings in Repton, capital of Mercia.

Christianity has been celebrated her in Repton since 653 when Elfleda new bride of Paeda, son of King Penda  introduced Christianity to the kingdom. In side the church is quite plain but has some very interesting artifacts and plaques etc and is well worth a look around as well as the crypt.

There seems to be several churches around this area that have a tower and a spire and St Wystan's is one of them.

The back of the main building of Repton School.

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