Monday, 7 January 2013

A Devizes Circular Walk, via a White Cat, the Castle and St John´s Churchyard.

I've walked past black cats before on my rambles, and know that they are supposed to bring good luck,  but what does the passing of a  white cat herald for the New Year!  Ideas post haste to Vicki please!   On Sunday I did my first walk with my new "Sunday Walks" group, all two of us that day.   Several friends want to join, but most had commitments, but promise to come along next Sunday.   I like walking, and it is made easier when accompanied by other walkers.  Puss was friendly, in fact she following me down the path to the churchyard steps, which are steep to climb, and  she obviously didn't want to expend energy and follow me, so we parted company.

I passed Devizes castle, a Victorian folly, which is built on the foundations of the former 11th century Norman stronghold.   The castle has a turbulent history, having been fought over, burnt down, used as a prison for Princess Matilda, used by the Royalist  to defend Devizes during the Civil War in the mid 17th century, when the Parliamentarians were bombarding the town with canonballs from the top of Jump Hill.   Queen Isabella, the wife of King John gave birth to a son here, and the crown jewels were  hidden here for safe keeping against a French invasion.

The castle is now the private home of an American family.   Back in the 1930s the people of Devizes held the town pageant here, and must have had a lot of fun dressing up in medieval garb, and fighting one another with wooden swords.   I expect  the lady's dresses and headgear were splendid, and it must have been great fun flirting with the medieval knights on their make believe horses.

 The Millenium Cross in St John's churchyard was erected to celebrate the year 2000.  The photo shows the cross,  against a background of pollarded trees and the crenellated castle tower in the background.

The obelisk seen to the left of the photo, marks the burial place of five coach passengers, who were drowned in Drew's Pond in the 19th century, when their coach left the track and overturned into the water, drowning all onboard.  There are many interesting 17th cent tombstones in the churchyard.

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