Thursday, March 23, 2006

Saffron Walden

Deb, Beth and Aviva went on their second 'outing' today, Thursday, March 23rd. The town of Saffron Walden is about a 40-minute drive south of Cambridge and is filled with rich history and beautiful medieval houses.

The Cross Keys Hotel is a 16th century inn. It is one of only 14 inns currently open here.

As with most older towns, Saffron Walden has a Market Place. This drinking fountain lies in the center of the square (surrounded by cars, not wares). It dates from about 1862, but was restored in 1975 by John Bentley, who also designed the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Westminster (see our London & Canterbury blog).

The Town Hall, pictured here, is a very stately building.

These cottages, on Museum Street, probably date from the 15th century.

These houses are collectively called 'The Sun Inn' and date from the 14th century. Now it houses a large antique shop.

Here is a close-up of the pargetting displayed in the gable above the main door of The Sun Inn.

Atop the hill overlooking Saffron Walden lies the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. It is one of the largest parish churches in Essex and was built between 1475 and 1525.

Here is one of the many beautiful stained glass windows in the church. All the stained glass (except for one small medallion) dates from AFTER the Reformation.

This picture only gives a hint at how big the church is. It is 183 feet long, and the spire rises 193 feet.

The North Chapel of St. Mary's dates from 1526. The painting is a 200 year old copy of Correggio's famous 16th century painting of Madonna and Child with St. Jerome.

The rood screen, shown here, is beautiful. I especially liked the crucifix situated on top of the screen.

This lovely cottage was on Bridge St./High St.

Here is a close-up of the pargetting on the face of the cottage. Pargetting like this is abundant throughout the town.

This house, called 'The Close,' dates from the early 15th century. The interesting feature is the spider window (seen on the lower right where the red is).

The Youth Hostel, pictured here, is supposedly the finest unspoilt medieval building in Saffron Walden. It dates from the early 16th century and was a malting house.

Look at how beautiful (and old) these cottages are. There is pargetting on the facades of these houses as well.

The Eight Bells was where we finally stopped for lunch. It dates from the 16th century and is one of the inns still thriving.

The interior of The Eight Bells sports what appear to be the original cross beams.

Here the three of us are enjoying our lunch.

After lunch we climbed back up the hill (behind the church) and located the ruins of the Norman castle.

The castle was built in the 11th/12th century. It's amazing that so much of the exterior structure is still standing.

On the edge of town, right by the car park was this cute little pond. The three of us had another wonderful day exploring! The weather even cooperated: it was sunny (as you can tell) and not too cold.


Post a Comment

<< Home