Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Visitors from Seattle

It is definitely now autumn. The leaves are turning and coming off in the wind. And it is conker time. Although we no longer string them on a bootlace to play with I still could not resist picking up a pocketful this morning as I walked Molly and putting them in a small bowl on the kitchen table. I know they will soon lose their brown shininess but for the moment they are attractive to look at.

I had a lovely time last week showing Tammy and her husband who are from near Seattle USA around Howden. Her great grandfather Arthur  Weatherill was born in Howden in 1862 and later emigrated to the USA. Arthur was the son of a Methodist minister so I could take Tammy to exactly where Arthur was born in Hailgate and also show her the site of the old Methodist chapel where her great great grandfather would have preached. I really enjoy meeting the people with whom I have been communicating over e mail. E mails are great but nothing beats a face to face contact. And they loved Howden!


Inside the Howden Wesleyan chapel

I spend a lot of time looking up things on the British Newspaper archive site. It can tho' be very distracting as you look up one topic and then find the search has thrown up several other articles to read.

This is how I came across this charming description of Howden from July 1891 which appeared in the Hull Daily Mail. I have edited it slightly but, like my American visitors, the author was impressed by his visit to Howden over a hundred years ago. I must admit to being impressed myself by the eloquence of his prose.



FLOWERS AND BELFRY BELLS. AN AFTERNOON IN HOWDENSHIRE. 

 I travelled 20 odd miles by the Hull and Barnsley Railway yesterday, and discovered a new county - by no means a fruitless afternoon's work.

After the manner of Gulliver, I found a county (as he did a country) which is "not on the map," and of which not one Englishman in 50,000 is aware. And, oddly enough, I only set out to make acquaintance with a somnolent country town and a flower show. But I unearthed, I have said a "county" and one of the handsomest perpendicular parish churchcs in England.

 Oh! no! I do not claim to be the pioneer of unknown land ! It has all been "discovered" long since, no doubt. Still I mean to make it more widely known, and if possible more generally exploited. Let me present to you, then, Howdenshire and the Church of St. Peter! The district is veritably known as "Howdenshire." l am not making any play upon words. And it is  the capital—Howden —where this beautiful ecclesiastical edifice is to seen.

WHAT THE BELLS OF ST. PETER'S SAY !

'' Come and see Howden ! Come—and—see— Howden! " Thus sing the bells in the tall church tower! " Here —Is —a Flower—Land! Here—ls —a—Flower —Land !
Thus do they vary their refrain! I hie thither as quickly as I can over the tortuous cobbles of the corkscrew streets. Would that the day were finer ! It has been raining, though is not doing so now, being early afternoon, and it means to rain again (though happily I do not know it or I should flee away home) with an overwhelming arrogance which forbids even tearful entreaty. However, just now it is fine, with faint gleams streaming from storm-laden clouds. So I go at once to the Church, being devout, with my eagle eye soaring in aspiration to the summit of the said Church tower.

" EXCELSIOR !" AND THE VIEW !

 The streets are picturesque and pretty, like all village highways in the broad county, and the houses are demure with age, as they present their faces straight to the footpaths and their backs to the greenest of old time gardens, like folk of frosty exterior with genial hearts. The soft stately splendour of the old church rises benignly before us. Its grey buttresses and sad hued walls, its weather-chipped pinnacles and crumbling niche-figures, speak of the never ceasing war between the elements and the stone.

Founded in 1267, the church has stood its ground well, but it is going, vanishing though imperceptibly, and' some of it has already been ravaged to the state of ruin by time. Witness the once splendid Choir and dainty-lined Chapter House. And above all soars the splendid tower, with its deep, perpendicular transoms —the windows of its soul !
Breathless with mounting the 140 odd steps of the stair turret  I gain  the leads, and gaze down from and beyond the embattled parapet. There is a magnificent view. Far across the smiling land of the great Plain of York one's eyes flit until Selby is sighted, and Ebor City itself is almost discerned. Many miles to the east the Wolds undulate in one long ridge, hiding Scarborough, Bridlington, and the whole of the eastern littoral. In the west earth and sky seem to meet in a diffusion of pale sungleam. Southward the Lincolnshire hills gleam out against a bank of cloud ! Lo, I will not tear the veil from that view by further words.

"I WOULD NOT PLUCK THE ROSE BUT, BEING PLUCKED, WOULD WEAR IT !

 In the tents of the show ground I see some of the finest blooms out of London —that city which reveres the best flowers. The cut roses are ideals of the English floral emblem. The season is late, and this suits the roses of Howdenshire. What could be more chastely beautiful than this wax-like Mereille de Lyon, more rich and glowing than that Marie Van Houtt ? What more delicious than the old time Gloire de Dijon, more tender than the cream-yellowed and blissful folds of the Marechal Neil.

Dahlias, too, are remarkably good, considering the season, but I do not care for dahlias. They look best, though, in serried ranks on their stands where they are now. I pass the floral epergnes, which demonstrate emphatically what can be done with varied grasses, a few poppies and stocks, common roses, and a frond or two of exotic ferns. Bridal bouquets bore out the same view as to modest means combined with taste and artistic fingers. What strikes me most is the excellence of the amateurs' exhibits. Their cut roses are not quite so good those of the professional growers, but their dahlias and some other blooms are every bit equal.

MORE MODEST GROWTHS. 

Vegetables make a brave, bright show; the brilliance of the tomatoes, the florid tones of beet and shalot, the greens of peas, cabbages, and spring onions, and the browns of the humble potato, setting out in respective trays quite pleasantly, with a suggestion to the substantial accompaniments which they obtain at the prandial board. Mr Lynch, head gardener of Carlton Towers —Lord Beaumont's place—assures that he has not seen a better display of vegetable produce out of London. 



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