Friday, September 27, 2013

Day Six: Painswick to Birdlip

Fooled You! This is Usually At The End! 

Good morning, Cotswolds! So good to see you! 
Before heading off to Birdlip, I took a short sunrise stroll to find the historic sacred spring of St Tabitha's Well. Sure enough, down Tibbiwell Lane I found the spring flowing along the street. I don't think I'd drink from it, but it's a wonderful story even if it's been reduced to a PVC pipe coming out of the wall. 

I'm seeing an undercurrent of pagan history clinging to the modern times. So much has happened in England, centuries of human influence and change, religious control. I don't mean the Neo-Pagans dressed in white druid robes at stone circles, I mean the every day folks in the villages, the farmers, the church ladies. There isn't a day I don't walk past an Iron Age Earthwork, the deep troughs of Medieval plow furrows. It's impossible to not see signs of the old ways. I would find it reassuring to have my ancestors buried in the same village where I live  and see a bowl of apples left on the grave. There's the horseshoe over the door, the iron nail in the window frame, wheat sheaves bundled on the church altar, the hedgerow berry wreath and increasingly more articles in country magazines about herbal and hedgerow medicines. Being part of the land as I walk makes me aware of the simplicity of what the earth gives us.

I would like to be a part of some of these rituals - the "clipping" ceremony where the entire village joins hands in a circle around the church (the Saxon word 'clipping' means to encircle), the lighting of the beacons - the last time the entire country lit the beacons was June 4, 2012 for the Queens Diamond Jubilee. It must have been moving. A beacon chain , once used as a tool for communication across the country, has now become a symbol of unity.

With these thoughts, it's time to walk. 

Witches Circles at the Old Fleece Inn.
The last owner of the Fleece, Miss Lola Taplin was a direct descendant of the inn's builder in the mid 1300's. She lived in it for all her 77 years until she passed away in 1977 (77/77?) in front of the fire in the snug. Lola bequeathed the inn to The National Trust .
Local folklore has it that she still watches over the pub and its people in the incarnation of an owl that sits on the ridge of the thatched barn. In her will she insisted the witches circles remain as long as the building stood. 


Our Tibby's Sacred Well

On the Painswick Beacon, the Ramparts of a Celtic Camp,
Kimsbury Hill Fort, Please No More Rain!

Feelin' No-Pains-wick - Fall has arrived

To all the little roads I know
Delightful haunts belong -
In hidden state lurks Stanways gate
The Stanway wood among, 
The river walks between the Colnes
From Fosseway lies apart,
While Slaughter seems amids it's streams
To dwell in willow-pattern dream
Dreamt by a childish heart

John Haines
We Detour to see the Remains of the Roman Villa at Great Witcombe

The Roman Spring, Still Flowing

Lunch Among the Roman Spirits

Field Poppies
I Want A House Shelf Castle

Who Says the British Don't Have a Sense of Humor? 

No comments:

Post a Comment