Monday, 13 July 2009

Hilmarton,Wiltshire Pt.1

The county of Wiltshire is one of those places that we usually drive through or drive past on the M4. This year we felt we needed to rectify that and spend time there. We were definitely not disappointed and spent the week enjoying, not all, but much of what Wiltshire has to offer.

Before sharing our visits I will show you the village where we stayed and I must begin by saying that Hilmarton was the friendliest village we have encountered. As well as everyone being so friendly Hilmarton were last year awarded 'the best kept village in Wiltshire'. So lets have a look at the flavour of this place.

Val and Geoff the owners were delightful, and as well as being very friendly and helpful their hospitality included home made bread, Apricot preserve,shortbreads and ground coffee.They also gave us a tour of their lovely cottage and enchanting cottage garden at the back.

We begin with the cottage where we see the back entrance where the door marks the end of the cottage we were renting as at this point it was attached to the owners cottage. Val tells me that 'Small Cottage' (our rental) dated from 1400 and their own mid 1600.

Alan at 5 foot 8 inches is far too tall to walk straight through the door

The view from a bedroom snuggled under the thatch

And looking out down the road towards the centre of the village

A bridleway and footpath close by

Lets go inside, straight into the sitting room through the front door to the left of where I am standing, the stairs being just to the right, again straight off the sitting room.

The stairs with a 'headbanger'. If one does not stoop low enough then you bang your head on one of these 'headbangers' which stops you banging your head on the beams.

Into a bedroom with a tassled headbanger. Certainly stops you walking through the door and smashing your face!

A picture of the cottage when it stood at the end of the village a very long time ago

And a sample of the original Wattle and Daub used in the original construction of the cottage all those centuries ago.

The Baptist Chapel, and yes it is still used.

The primary school

The Post Office, no longer in operation. The current post office, open only for short periods, is operated from the post mistresses sitting room and assessed from the garden at the back of the house.

The old Almshouses, look at the roof

A larger dwelling

The Parish church

Site of an old well

Entrance to a back garden

A neighbour invited us to his chicken run

An ancient Neolithic white horse on a hillside (more later) seen from the village

And last but not least, a part of the Parish church bell tower during practice. It's now time for confessions!
I was invited to bell practice and as I had been a bell ringer in my youth I was invited to ring with the ringers. I declined as it was so, so long ago - dare I say it - in the 1950's. I did however accept the offer to 'pull' the Treble bell. In my enthusiasm I did not take a minute to think about what I was doing and launched straight in. I pulled and did not leave go of the 'Sally' the red part that you see here in the picture. As my feet were lifted off the ground there was a loud "let go of the rope". As I did this the rope took the skin off the end of one of my fingers and it is still stopping me typing properly over a week later.
Needless to say I was mortified and a little shakey and shocked but everyone assured me it was quite normal for a new or out of practice ringer. Here ended my bell ringing session but it was enjoyable to just sit in the tower and listen, bringing back memories of a long time ago.
In the next post we will begin our trips around Wiltshire.


Cousin Pam said...

Welcome back! What a charming cottage. Wiltshire is such a lovely part of the country. Sorry about the bell-ringing catastrophe. Hope the finger heals soon.

Elizabethd said...

What a beautiful place to spend a few days.
You were very brave to even try the bell pull, hope you are not in too much pain.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I am amazed at the low height of that doorway! Wow. How low were the ceilings inside?

Those headbanger tassels and cushions are very creative....we could have used some of those in some of the hotels we stayed in on our trip!!

But, it is a very pretty cottage and I do love all those climbing roses. I'm sorry we missed some real bell ringing while we were there....maybe next time!

nikkipolani said...

How very snug a place to visit and look out windows to pretty gardens. I like the headbanger cushions - what a smart thing! As I'm 5' tall, I suppose I might fit comfortably through the doorways. I'm amazed that the buildings are in as good condition as they are being several hundred years old!

Kate said...

What a very pretty cottage and the surrounding area is lovely too. Wiltshire is such a nice county - I have seen that white horse many a time.

I do hope the bell didn't lift you up too high - you're very brave!!!

Annie Jeffries said...

I'm loving your holiday and the reports have only just begun. Can't wait to get a closer look at the neolithic horse.

Mike said...

All looks lovely. Glad you didn't end up in the bell tower LOL!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing the pictures. Oh so lovely.


Patsy said...

That was funny ,in up in the bell tower. Great tour.

a woman who is said...

Your talents never cease to amaze me. You may have a wound on your flesh, but you are a fearless woman God. I love how you never back down from a challenge.

Anonymous said...

Ouch sorry to hear about the rope burn Barbara. Germalene is meant to be good.

What a gem of a village. You can often find very old things in the thatch layers as it's rare for the lower layers to be replaced.

I must admit I did laugh at the head bangers. I wish there had been some on the boat we hired in the Norfolk Broads. Honestly I had bruises on my bruises where I'm not the most delicate of people. :-)

Linda said...

Love that cottage, except for the banging your head part. I've always wanted to see the bell ringers in action.

Adrienne said...

What a delightful village and a charming cottage! Thank you very much for sharing it with us. I almost felt as if I was right there with you! Hmmm - maybe some day I can be there with you! Wouldn't that be fun? ~Adrienne~

Bernideen said...

Thank for you such a lovely journey and tour!

Tea Time With Melody said...

I love your Pt.1 because I know there will be a Pt. 2 and just maybe a Pt. 3??.....That little cottage was just so comfy looking I could just move right in.

Cottages usually are a very small relaxing place that just takes you away from it all. I have always wanted the one in the movie "The Holiday", just perfect for me. lol

Elizabeth said...

How did I miss these delightful posts?
I think this village looks the most charming and least 'touristy'.
You were very near my friends in All Cannings.
The cottage you stayed in is a delight.
Robert is 6ft 2 ' and would probably have knocked himself unconscious in no time!

Alice said...

Loved the little cottage. Just shows how short people were many, many years ago. The whole cottage and the village looked so inviting.

legrandmaitre said...

Lovely blog. That door is just the right height for me... but then we're all tiny in my family. We can trace our ancestry back to 1530 in Hilmarton, so it was probably designed for one of our forebears!