United Kingdom
Chew Magna

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    • Day 8

      Chew Magna Day 2

      May 21 in England ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      Omigawd, what an incredibly fruitful day!! After breakfast, I walked west along High Street to see if I could recognize any building names from my research travels. I did see a few, but I'll have to wait til I get home to verify.
      I came to the intersection with Chew Lane, the road that leads to Westend Cottages, that great great great grandfather John Atheal owned. The 1841 census found Charles living here with his parents, John Atheal and Sarah, and young cousin Elizabeth. I had a date to meet the church warden at Stowey at 2:30 this afternoon, which would leave me with enough time to walk back to the inn, jump in the rental car and drive down for a visit.
      I had found these cottages on an 1840ish ordinance map. However, current maps showed it in the same place, but it was labeled Chew House, and there was another smaller building behind it. I knew that the smaller one was an AirB&B rental, and I had tried contacting the owner but didn't get a response. So I thought, what the heck!
      I went back for the car and drove south, finding the laneway or driveway (was this private property?) easily. I drove in and headed towards the first building, and as I got closer, there was a man standing near a driving mower in dusty old clothes, and I assumed he was the gardener. He watched me approach warily, so I started getting my 'lost' story in mind. I lowered the window and called out something like "Hello. My name is Beverley, and I think my ancestors used to own this property a long time ago. The name was Chiswell."
      Immediately, recognition dawned in his eyes, and I told him some more of the details. He told me that he was aware that Chiswell's did own it once upon a time and told me to go park over there and I'll show you around!!
      His name is Clive, and he took me inside to meet his wife, Margaret. I showed them the descendancy chart I had put together, and he told me that when they bought the property in 1977 from a fellow named Albert Weaver, the original Westend Cottage building was in derelict condition. He said that one of the documents he received was a copy of a Chiswell will!!
      Clive ended up restoring the building, adding rooms on the west side, and renamed it Chew House. Another mystery solved. He showed me around the house and said that he had converted it from 4 attached cottages to a single home. He carefully pointed out the original rooms of each cottage, which consisted of a single large room on the Main floor with a large fireplace that would have served as kitchen and living room, and the second floor that was a smaller footprint which would have been where they slept.
      Then he climbed up into the Attic to retrieve a framed tribute to the upgrades he made that included a photo of the original building in its dilapidated state. In the meantime, he sent Margaret down to the safe to find the purchase documents from all those years ago. They weren't able to find the will, but he was happy for me to take pictures of the sale documents with Weaver.
      In all, I was there for probably 45 minutes. I think they were as happy as me for this encounter. I'm so glad I made the trip there!
      This has been another rather long post, so I'll share details of my trip to Stowey in my post tomorrow.
      Fun fact: In the retail environment, eggs are not kept in refrigerated conditions!
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    • Day 7

      Chew Magna Day 1

      May 20 in England ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

      Finally, my first restful sleep of the trip so far! Woke up around 8ish, and after a shower, I went downstairs for breakfast. I'm afraid it's not likely I'll try blood pudding. They did have a nice Eggs Benedict. I sat in the front window of the pub and watched all the street activity going on.
      Afterward, I walked north of South Parade and made my way to Silver Street. My great great great grandfather, John Atheal (father of Charles), must have been fairly wealthy as he owned a number of properties in The Village, including one on Silver Street that was described as 'houses and gardens' and was perched at the north side of the graveyard at St. Andrew's parish church. He lived in one of these houses with his son, John. There is only one house remaining, but I'm not sure it's his former abode.
      I carried on up the road past the Church Hall, crossed a stone bridge over the River Chew, and found a quiet spot to contemplate my surroundings. The sun was shining brightly down on me and the quiet sounds of the birds, insects, and rippling water was very soothing.
      I wandered back down to the church and began looking at the tombstone inscriptions, looking for Chiswell's. It wasn't long before I found Thomas (Charles' younger brother) and his wife, Sarah, in what I thought was a prominent location on the east side of the church by the footpath!
      The grass was rather long (the Rector had informed me that it hadn't been cut yet), and it made for an unsteady traverse as I occasionally stumbled on a rock or brick that wasn't visible. I had planned to return in the afternoon when I was to meet the Rector, so I didn't search much longer.
      I returned to the inn to rest for a bit and had a light snack. I set out again around 2:30 to explore more of the graveyard prior to my 3:30 meeting with Reverend Richard Greatrex. To my delight, there were a couple of gardeners with weed whackers working away on the 10-inch high grass.
      I wandered around to the north area, checking the areas that had been trimmed. It wasn't long before I came upon the stone for John Atheal (Charles' eldest brother) and his wife, Elizabeth. Photos of both stones for John and Thomas can be found online on Find A Grave.
      It was great meeting Richard. He had a couple of really old volumes of Chew Magna history, I shared the limited printed material I brought with me regarding my Chiswell research, and we had a good chat. He showed me around the building, making sure to point out the more interesting things. We parted with the agreement that I would share my findings with him.
      Now I'm lazy again after a big plate of fish and chips. I hope to sleep well again tonight and look forward to tomorrow's adventures.
      Fun fact: there's a restored headstone of a fellow who was murdered in the early 19th century. Picture included!
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    • Day 17–19

      Taunton back to Chew Magna

      May 30 in England ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

      I left Taunton early this afternoon to return to Chew Magna via Bristol Temple Meads station for 2 more nights. The morning began with a downpour of rain, and then the sun came out with beautiful blue skies. By the time I boarded the train, the clouds had returned with spotty rain. All the Brits I've met say the weather here sucks.
      On arrival at Bristol, I got a cab direct to the village (about 20 minutes) at a cost of £45 or about $81 CDN! The problem is that the driver is very unlikely to find a return fair from Chew Magna back to Bristol, thus the ridiculously high fare. The only alternative was to take the Bristol Airport Flyer to the airport (30 minutes) and then wait for a cab from the airport to the village (15 - 20 minutes?). I think the cost would have been about £25 but I would have had to manhandle my 50 lb suitcase. At this point, I'm looking for creature comforts.
      On arrival at the Queens Arms, I checked in, got up to my lovely room, and did a wee bit of hand-wash laundry to get me through the last few days. Then, I went for a walk around this now-familiar village.
      I wandered past Church Cottage on Silver Street (perched on the north portion of St. Andrew's Church yard), which was owned in the 1840s by my ggg grandfather, John Atheal Chiswell. My research this week at the archives has provided more compelling information about this residence.
      I took a walk through the church graveyard and found myself on the South Parade leading to last week's lodging at the Bear and Swan. I went into the pub and had a pint of ale while chatting with the 'barman / manager' who remembered me.
      Now I'm back at the Queens for dinner. In honor of International Potato Day, I'm having a beef pie with mash. I'll be early to bed tonight although, there's live music tonight, and my room is above the pub . Thank God they close at 10 pm!
      Fun Fact: I met Princess Anne at the Corner House this morning.
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    • Day 9

      Chew Magna Day 3

      May 22 in England ⋅ 🌧 13 °C

      It was a rainy day . . .
      Not sure if I'm going to venture out to the Stanton Drew Circles and Cove today. The rain is forecast to continue all day, so I'll likely go tomorrow.
      Yesterday, following my visit to Westend Cottages, I drove south to meet Jill Broadhead (church warden) and her husband Graham at St. Nicholas and the Blessed Virgin Mary church in Stowey. The church is very small and was built in the 13th century. No Chiswell's were found in the graveyard. However, I was informed that over time, as decaying occurs, new graves are placed on top of old. Only the wealthy could afford a grave marker all those years ago.
      Afterward we went to their nearby home for cake and a cup of tea. I shared my descendancy chart with Jill, and she, in turn, had some information for me regarding the Vicar James Chiswell, Rector of Stowey, from 1661 to 1709. I'm pursuing how he may be part of our ancestry.
      Before I returned to Chew Magna, we took a walk around their beautiful English garden - 1.5 acres of lovely plants and trees, some from as far away as Australia! Very nice couple. So glad I contacted her.
      This afternoon, I just wandered around the village, taking in the sights. The rain had stopped earlier this afternoon, but now I'm sitting in the front window of the pub sipping on my lemon iced tea, and I see it's drizzling again. It is England, after all.
      Not so Fun Fact: this morning, in my room, I accidentally tipped my coffee cup over, and the hot liquid spilled all down my right leg and onto the floor.
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    • Day 10

      Chew Magna Day 4

      May 23 in England ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

      The temperature has taken quite a dip! I've been wearing capris, sleeveless tops, and sandals, but today I'm in leggings, a sweater and rain jacket, and shoes and socks. However, it's not raining today, it's just overcast. I had to ask the staff to turn on the heat in my room!
      I drove 5 miles east to the village of Stanton Drew to see the Stone Circles, built about 4,500 years ago. This is the 3rd largest group of prehistoric standing stones in England behind Stonehenge and Avebury. There are actually 3 circles; the Great Circle is 113 m in diameter while the other 2 are quite smaller.
      Then, I drove to the southern part of the village to see the Cove. It is believed that ritual ceremonies were held here.
      The Round House, formerly the Toll House, built around 1793, sits at the top of the road leading into the village. I saw a Chew Valley film in which the owner was interviewed about the work she had done to the building after she purchased it. The building is only 286 square feet in size and isn't round - it's hexagonal in shape!
      I've just come from my meeting with Rodney Andrew's at the Old Schoolroom in Chew Magna. He's part of the management team of this historic building, thought to have been built in 1510. I'm not clear on the chronology of it (and neither is Rodney who told me he's only lived in the village for 25 years!), but I understand it was used as an ale house, a poor house and a school house. He kindly gave me a copy of a 1997 publication about the building's history written by a well-known historian, Ian Durham. I'll look forward to reading it.
      While I was there, there was a young fellow working in a small kitchen that Rodney introduced me to. His name is Sam Baber, a decendant of the Baber family who were quite wealthy at one time - I've come across this name in my research travels. Turns out he's a grandson of Clive Ashfield, the fellow I met a few days ago who lives at the former Westend Cottages!
      So fortunate that I made all these contacts! I'm off to Weston-Super-Mare tomorrow to take in the seaside at the Bristol Channel.
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    • Day 18

      Chew Magna Part 2

      May 31 in England ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

      After a good night's sleep at the Queens Arm's, I got up late. I had a light breakfast and then wandered out into the village. I sat on a bench on South Parade near the Old Schoolroom and watched the sights around me. Presently, a man came from the building holding 2 baskets. He stopped beside me, extended one of them towards me, and said, "Fancy a strawberry?" In the basket were 2 pint-sized containers full of the largest, most perfectly ripened strawberries I've ever seen! I thanked him and took one, and he sat down beside me. He told me they're from the town of Cheddar (so named for it's history with that cheese).
      We chatted for a while about Britain, Somerset, and Canada. He lives in a smaller village called East Harptree, not that far from Chew Magna. I have found that the locals here are very welcoming, friendly, and interested, but not very well-informed about Canada.
      I carried on with my walk and went north on Chew Lane to the edge of the village, then returned to town. I went back through St. Andrew's churchyard and then to my lodging.
      I'm sitting in the pub having a local pint. Jacob, the barman, has been very chatty with me. I asked him who he likes better, the Beatles or the Stones. He barely hesitated, then said the Beatles. He went on to say that he doesn't like Mick Jagger all that much, mostly because he continues to chase younger women and father kids in his old age. He also told me he finds James Corden, Stella McCartney, and Adele put on fake accents when they're in the US. He was like "what's that about?".
      Tomorrow, I start the journey home in 3 stages; back to Bristol to get the Megabus to Heathrow, then Sunday is my flight back to Halifax where I'll stay overnight, and finally Shelagh and her sister Peggy will pick me up at the Quality Inn on Monday to bring me back over the bridge to Charlottetown and . . . Jersey.
      Fun fact: dogs are welcome everywhere here, including restaurants and pubs.
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    • Day 8


      August 5, 2018 in England ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

      Bath wird auch als Florenz des Nordens bezeichnet. Es gibt eine Brücke, die der Ponte Vecchio nachempfunden ist, mit kleinen Geschäften auf der Innenseite, über den Fluss Avon.
      Die Häuser sind alle aus demselben gelben Sandstein und fast alle in der gleichen Höhe gebaut. Man könnte glatt irgendwo in Italien sein.
      Typisch übrigens für England sind die vielen Schornsteine, denn jedes Zimmer hatte einen eigenen Kamin zum Heizen.

      Nach der Stadtrundfahrt mit den roten Bussen ging es dann zum Roman Bath, das über einer heißen Quelle erbaut wurde und riesig ist. Es war ein Bade- und Schwitzhaus, also eine Römische Sauna.

      Auf dem Rückweg zum Parkplatz trafen wir dann Leute aus Solingen, die wir kannten - so klein ist die Welt.
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    • Day 7

      Von Newquay nach Bristol

      August 4, 2018 in England ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

      120 Stufen zum Strand an den Bedruthan Steps, wo die Höhle Merlins sein soll - sagt die Legende.

      Herstellung von Cornish Pastry, einer Pastete mit Fleisch, Kartoffeln, Zwiebeln und Schnittlauch - delicious! Die Bäckerei ist in Tintagel, dem Ort wo King Arthurs Burg gestanden haben soll, jetzt aber nur als Ruinen mehr zu ahnen als zu sehen.

      English Cream Tea - Earl Grey Tee und Scones mit clotted cream and Marmelade, in diesem Fall gemischte Früchte und Rhabarber -Ingwer - einfach köstlich 😋

      Clovelly ist ein Fischerdörfchen, dass steil zum Meer hinunter geht und das Eintritt kostet, aber es ist sehenswert.
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    Chew Magna

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