Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mapledurham to Streatley


Mupledurham (1)Mapledurham is a small village in Oxfordshire on the picturesque banks of the Thames located near Reading, it connects with the surrounding area via a small narrow winding road on which there is very little traffic, it is a quiet cozy village away from the hustle and bustle of it’s nearest neighbour Caversham. Because of it’s location Mapledurham to Streatleyon the river and the beautiful views surrounding it, Mupledurham has been used in several movies. A famous local landmark and tourist attraction is the 16th-century mill and mansion, this last working mill in the county is driven by water pressure from the weir and the lock and the mansion one of the largest classic Elizabethan style houses in this county, owned by the Blount family for over 400 years.

Mapledurham to StreatleyMapledurham lock was built in 1777 and is located in the Old Saxon village of Purley-on-Thames on the opposite side of the river. There Mapledurham to Streatleyare several old houses with a rural character in the village despite the fact that it was developed at the beginning of the last century. It is a quiet village rarely visited by tourists, whereas in the neighboring village of Pangbourne, a 400-year-old little pub called “The Swan” is a very popular place, not only for locals but also for lots of tourists who enjoy coming here to admire the preserved and almost intact historical interior.

Jerome K. Jerome mentioned “The Swan” in his novel “Three Men in a Boat” as “The quaint little hotel.” Not many places exist where you can still find such an old interior with original fireplace, stone floor and wooden tables.

On the old Roman road which runs from Reading through to Pangbourne, there was a manor house called Bere Court, which was owned by Reading Abbey and was the Abbot’s summer residence. In Norman times the last abbot named Faringdon, who was hiding in the mass of underground tunnels under the manor, was arrested there in 1539 and executed in Reading during the reign of King Henry VIII’s Reformation as I previously wrote in my writings about Reading.

Mapledurham to StreatleyIf you continue your journey along the river after Pangbourne the road bends and twists along picturesque views of the river valley where you will come across the wildlife gardens of Beale Park with it’s collections of small animals founded specifically for the education of small children. Further along the road we go past the magnificent entrance and grounds of Basildon house situated on a hill of which I previously wrote about, before finally reaching the villages of Streatley and Goring at the bottom of the hill and the Thames valley. The Saxons founded these two settlements many centuries ago, same as most places along the river Thames. A beautiful bridge now spans across Goring and Streatley over the river on this old Roman road, where once a ferry existed.

The “Bull” Pub in Streatley, also mentioned by Jerome K. Jerome, is where the protagonists stopped for breakfast. 16-18 century old houses delightfully fit into the landscape of extraordinary natural beauty, which includes the adjacent hills of the Berkshire Downs.

Behind the “Bull” if you drive to the top of the hill you can stop and take in the wonderful Mapledurham to Streatleyvistas stretching into the distance over the Chilterns with the scattered houses of the villages below in the valleys. That’s the Mapledurham to Streatleyadvantage of traveling by car; views such as this cannot be seen from a boat.

Crossing over to Goring on the bridge, one can meet many a tourist admiring the beautiful views of the weir and lock as well as a charming hotel also called the “Swan” with it’s very attractive and beautifully decorated wedding boat, located on the Streatley side of the river.

Mapledurham to StreatleyGoring has two remarkable ancient churches. One of them, the Mapledurham to StreatleyChurch of Saint Thomas was built in 12th century and has a ring of eight bells, one of which dates from 1290. The rood screen is carved from wood taken from one of Nelson’s ships that took part at Trafalgar.

Next on my journey with Jerome K. Jerome will include the ancient town of Wallingford.

Russian version

Main page


William Shakespeare and Stratford


William Shakespeare and StratfordIt is impossible to take a walk around the town of Stratford upon Avon without thinking of William Shakespeare. In this town, the William Shakespeare and Stratfordbirthplace of the great playwright and poet, fragments of his literary heroes’ sonnets and quotations quickly come to mind. “To be or not to be…” Was William Shakespeare really the author of his plays and sonnets? That is “the question” of some supporters of the anti-Stratfordian’s theory. Did he really write all his plays himself? Maybe groups of people or another author hide under his name. Undoubtedly, envious contemporaries initiated the theory of the authorship of the works. A commoner from a poor family, who became a genius, is now called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

William Shakespeare and StratfordOn Henley Street there is a half-timbered house that of John Shakespeare, the poet’s father, where William was born and brought up. The house still has it’s original interiors with a large fireplace and a stone floor, same as all those years ago. Actors dressed in original costumes of that time meet tourists who visit from around the world. John Shakespeare was an artisan and had a small studio where he sewed gloves. In one of the rooms you can see and touch leather gloves, like those that he used to make.

In Shakespeare’s time, Stratford had only three main streets and about 200 houses. Many of William Shakespeare and Stratfordthe old timber framed buildings related to the life of Shakespeare have survived to this day; you can visit five of the relevant houses for around £20.

Not far from Shakespeare’s birthplace, you will find Hall’s Croft, the William Shakespeare and Stratfordhouse of Shakespeare’s daughter and her husband, which also has original interiors and contains a collection of 16th and 17th century paintings and furniture. In the last few years of his life Shakespeare bought lived and died in a house called New Place, it was located next to his granddaughter’s house, which was now married to a Thomas Nash and can be found in the center of Stratford as a town museum.

He made a successful career in London as an actor and dramatist at the “Globe” theatre. New Place was paid for with the money raised from his plays “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet”. Unfortunately for us today, New Place no longer exists, the new owner who did not like anything to do with theatres and had also grown tired of tourists constantly visiting the house, completely destroyed it and left the town.

There are many other beautiful historical cottages which can also be visited situated slightly outside the town center such as Anne Hathaway’s, Shakespeare’s wife and Mary Arden’s the poet’s mother and family home.

William Shakespeare and StratfordThis Anglo-Saxon town of Stratford-upon-Avon is more than 800 William Shakespeare and Stratfordyears old. It was known as the small estate of the bishop of Worcester, who founded a monastery in 1196. In the Middle Ages, when the original charters of the town were granted, Stratford became a market town. At that time people from nearby villages moved to the town to study crafts and start small businesses. One of the most successful artisans making gloves was the poet’s father John Shakespeare.

In the old half-timbered houses in the town center there are a lot cafes and souvenir shops. William Shakespeare and StratfordAnd of course a few traditional English pubs, which impossible to miss as they are charming, quaint and unique. One of the oldest pubs in the town is the “White Lion Inn”, established since 1603.William Shakespeare and Stratford

Stratford would have remained an ordinary provincial town, if it were not for William Shakespeare, thanks to him; tourists from all over the world now visit this town because his works have been translated into most languages. Whether you like Shakespeare or not a visit to Stratford is highly recommended.

Main page

Russian version