Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Great Haywood to Armitage

I should have spent some more time at Great Haywood.  There are several place here that are worth visiting. 

Still I was away.  Not for long.  A few hundred yards to the lock and straight into a traffic jam. Happily for me there is no rush and its soon through. There is a pub right next to the lock and the patrons sit in the garden waiting for disasters to happen.

Through the lock and an iron bridge hove into view. It was built for the Anson family to save a 300 yard walk to church via the packhorse bridge by the lock. The packhorse bridge wasn't wide enough for a horse and carriage.

Wiki - Shugborough Hall - The house was enlarged around 1750 under the architect James "Athenian" Stuart, who also created a number of follies and monuments in the grounds. These include the Tower of Winds (based on one in Greece), the Chinese House (a Chinese-style pagoda), a triumphal arch based on Hadrian's, a Doric Temple, the Cat's Monument, and the Shepherd's Monument.
The entire estate was remodelled at the turn of the 19th century, under Thomas Anson, the 1st Viscount Anson and his wife Anne Margaret Coke, daughter of Thomas Coke, the 1st Earl of Leicester, whom he married in 1794. Styled Viscountess Anson in 1806, Anne Margaret Coke Anson died in London in 1843 and was buried at Shugborough.
The grounds are connected to the village of Great Haywood by the Essex Bridge, built in the Middle Ages, and contain numerous sculptures in addition to Stuart's follies.

The Anson family purchased the estate in the 17th century from Thomas Whitby of Great Haywood, Staffordshire. The family produced some famous men, including George Anson, 1st Baron AnsonGeorge Anson (British soldier), General George Anson (1769-1849)Thomas Anson (MP), Dean of Chester Frederick Anson and his sons George Edward Anson and Frederick Anson, Canon of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. Seven ships in the Royal Navy have been christened HMS Anson, honouring the first Baron Anson's circumnavigation in the 1740s.
The house contains a collection of photographs by the house's recent resident, the royal photographer, the late Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, who died in 2005. Lichfield was the first cousin, once removed, of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, his mother Anne Bowes-Lyon (1917-1980) having been a niece of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother. Anne Anson subsequently divorced, and upon remarriage became Princess Anne of Denmark.

Then things went down hill somewhat.  Before reaching Lock 21 I rounded a blind bend at slow speed and found a boy racer had hired a narrowboat and had to take evasive action in the shallows.  This as usual had nudged the prop.  

Into the lock OK.  Out of the lock no way.  The prop is disconnected and I had to haul the boat out.  Checked the weed hatch and reconnected the shaft and this is the view when I stuck my head out of the engine room.

Underway again and the picturesque views keep coming.  Still in Trent valley but the gentle sloping hills are there one minute and gone the next.

The Trent is getting wider since the River Sow joined it at Great Haywood.  The first real bridge over it I have seen so far.

I thought this was Bishton Hall but according to the map there should be a road in front of it.

Before entering into Rugeley the canal crosses the Trent on an aqueduct.  I didn't take any pics in Rugeley due to the stress.  The canal winds its way with any straight filled with narrowboats.  Several times at bridges or narrows I met other boats.  On occasion on a blind bend with a weeping willow on the corner I slowed down and met a hire boat in a rush. The same thing happened when there were two bridges close together and no place to pass in-between.  Close encounters of another kind. 

Wiki - Hawkesyard Hall - Josiah Spode IV, greatgrandson of Josiah Spode bought the estate in about 1840 and the house was much altered and extended. During the Spode occupancy the house was known as Spode House. Josiah Spode was High Sheriff of Staffordshire in 1850.
On Spode's death in 1893 the estate was left to a his housekeeper Helen Gulson who had a vision of Mary in the gardens of the Hall. This vision led to the building of the Church at Hawkesyard and the Altar was placed on the very spot where Mary was seen. Helen Gulson left the Hall, Church and grounds to the Dominican Order and moved into Gulson House on the Armitage Park Estate. Hawkesyard Priory was later built for the Dominicans.
The Hall eventually fell into disrepair and after the Dominicans left it was used as a School before being finally closed and boarded up. In 1999 the Hall was purchased by the Whorton family who strove to return the building to its former glory days. Nigel Whorton and his wife decided to use the original name of Hawkesyard, and set about restoration of the building partly by using photographs from the Shugborough collection. This estate which includes Hawkesyard Hall, St. Thomas's Priory Golf Club and Armitage Park is now established as a conference and events centre.

Shortly after the hall and at the end of the moored narrowboats there is this almost full size statue.  Why exactly he is holding a solar light I know not.

I couldn't moor up at Brereton so carried on for a mile or so.  One of the narrows bits of the Trent and Mersey I should think.  There is a bend at the end and no-one would be able to see if there was another boat coming.  Made it without incident which surprised me after the rest of today. 

Moored up for the night on the first straight I came to.  However soon came a yell from a window of the Armitage Factory.  "It might be a good idea to move on 200 yards" he said. "We throw the rejects out into a skip just by your stern". I moved :-)

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