We are obviously late raiser in the blogging fraternity as 'Festina Lente' were ready to go well before us. Just then 'Ewn ha Cul' passed by for the lock and then 'Ferndale'. Both had come from Oxford so must have been up even earlier.
By the time we were ready so were another two boats 'Celtic Princess' and 'Baccus', and we were soon down Sandford Lock,
It is a little disconcerting to have four other boats insight that are moving but I suppose that it will be good preparations for lower down the river as I remember.
I'm not sure what the flag on top of Nuneham House is but it looks like the 'Japs' have taken it over. Nuneham House was built in 1756 for the 1st Earl Harcourt. It is of the Palladian style and was built by the great named Stiff Leadbetter! The village was completely demolished and rebuilt out of sight to allow Capability Brown to landscape the grounds.
During WWII Nuneham House was taken over by the Ministry of Defence and it became a centre for reconnaissance photo recognition and identification until the 1950's when it was handed back to the Harcourt family. They sold it to Oxford University and currently they rent it out to the Braham Kumaris World Spiritual University where it is used as a retreat.
The river down here is not the narrow, windy one of the near Lechlade but broad and deep and room to fling the tiller about.
Rather than mess about we stopped at the top of Abingdon Lock and had a pleasant walk through the Abbey Grounds to the town. you can just see 'Holderness' through the piles guarding the weit. The lock is the other side of the closer boats.
This is the town entrance to the Abbey Grounds. There is nothing left of the abbey now but it was started in 675 and was lost again in 1536 when it was signed over to Henry VIII. There are a few of the 'out buildings' left including this the entrance arch. On the right is the Guild Hall and on the left is St. Nicholas Church
Just below the castlations of the entrance arch were several bosses. I loved this one looked as though it had just seen the butcher!
We went for lunch at the Mousehole Cafe in the basement of the Abingdon County Hall Museum and it was very nice too. The coffee wasn't the best though. The museum is free but to get on the roof is a couple of quid but well worth it on a lovely day like today. It was built by a local stonemason that had trained under Christopher Wren and it was started in 1678 and finished in 1683. The must see things would be the last MG to come off the production line at the factory in the town and the Monks Map of the Thames from the 16th Century.
The roof is the site of the local event of Bun Throwing. This is carried out to celebrate national event. The last was the Queen's 90th Birthday. The Mayor and dignitaries stand on the roof and throw about 5000 current buns to the crowd below. This is the best preserved street in Abingford and is East Saint Helen Street. That was the point at which my camera battery ran out!!!
St Helen's Church was closed but it is well known as it has five aisles that make it wider than it is long! At the back of the church yard there are almshouses on three sides. Theses are the Long Alley Alms Houses. They were built for Christ's Hospital in 1446. You can see the cloister walk and the porch was built in 1605 and the lantern tower in 1707. There are biblical sayings all along the cloister walk to really keep the occupants on the straight and narrow.
The third side is the Twitty Alms Houses named after the initial benefactor. The seven houses were erected in 1707.
Alongside the river are the Brick Alley Alms Houses built in 1718 again for the Christ's Hospital. This is the side that fronts onto the church yard. Unusually they are an two floors, the upper floor being accessed from the central hall. They are very smart and look great from the river and St. Helen's Wharf. I'll post a photo of that tomorrow.
We wandered round the town some more and found The Narrow, a Weatherspoon's. It was great to get a pint of Maggs Mild from West Berkshire Brewery and a glass of white for £4-25! I expected to see the crew's of 'Ferndale' and 'Festina Lente' in there, but no luck. Back to the boat and missed the showers and the washing is largely dry too.