Friday, 3 July 2015

They were expecting us

The village of Alton Barnes was a short walk from our mooring at Honeystreet.  The building of interest was the Saxon church located on the eastern side of the village.  Access to it is via a stone footpath.

pavers  Whilst the local signs state it’s a Saxon church there have been extensive renovations over the years so there isn’t much sign of anything looking Saxon.

saxon church

The brick extension dates from 1748 and replaces the original chancel which was as wide as the nave.  You can see the outline of the chancel gable in the above photo.  Bricked up entrance doors can be seen on either side of the nave.

bricked entrance

The church isn’t used for regular services but hasn’t been deconsecrated. I was surprised to find it unlocked and had a quick look inside.

inside church

There was another small surprise back at the mooring.   In 1839 the body of Christine Collins was found in the Trent & Mersey Canal near Rugley.  Two of the four man crew on the narrow boat Staffordshire Knot were subsequently hanged for her murder.  This incident was used as the plot in the 1998 Inspector Morse episode “The Wench is Dead”.  Our mooring at Honeystreet was beside The Barge InnThe inn was one of the filming locations.  It was selected because the inn was constructed around the same period (1810) and retained most of its original features.

the barge inn

Behind the inn is a large camping ground.  Initially we wondered what would attract visitors to the area but then Jan remembered the area is known for its “crop circles” and there is the nearby White Horse.

We left our mooring before 7am with the intention of finding a mooring at either All Cannings or Horton.  We arrived at the former just after 7.15, which seemed too early to stop.  On reaching Horton around 9am we discovered there were no vacant moorings and therefore pressed on to Devizes arriving around 10.40am.  The moorings at Devizes also looked full but a boat moved off whilst we were topping up the tank on the water point.

It’s quite a good mooring on the non towpath side of the canal and slightly hidden behind a large stone building.  The locals obviously knew we were coming because they have prepared for our arrival.  The need for a pump out has been deferred.

porta potte

There’s even an unofficial water tap on the wall adjacent to the stern.

devizes mooring

Non cruising day tomorrow and a chance to look around Devizes.

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