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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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A Beeching Cut
When I first came to Bristol, long before I had a car, I lived in Mangotsfield on the north-east edge of the city. I spent a lot of my time tramping down the old railway cuttings, and was especially fond of Mangotsfield Station, already looking overgrown and archaeological barely a generation after its closure by Dr Beeching:

They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter - the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.


Mangotsfield Station



They've tidied it up since, as you can see, though there is still a spinney where the waiting room should be. The whole thing now forms part of a busy cycle path between Bath and Bristol. Until today, when it came on me to walk up from Fishponds, I'd not been back in twenty years, a little reluctant I think to see how it might have been sanitized into strangeness. Apart from the tidiness it was all very recognizable though, and it was pleasant to feel my memories being tickled with trout-like delicacy as I regreeted each unremarkable footbridge and tunnel. I'll go further next time, perhaps as far as Pucklechurch, which lies two or three miles on and was a favourite destination in the old days. My friend Alison and I would lunch at the Star Inn, which was no great shakes in itself but was the site (more or less) of the murder of King Edmund I in AD 946, and so had a grisly allure.

In fact, perhaps I should make a point of visiting all the places where English monarchs have been killed? I've already got the Rufus Stone, Berkeley Castle and the Tower of London in the bag, and I'm sure I've walked past Westminster Hall the Banqueting House at some point, so I'm doing quite well already. It seems an appropriately republican hobby.


Corfe Castle seems rather proud of being the site of the murder of Edward king of Wessex, stabbed (probably in the back) by his stepmother in 978.

It also has the eponymous castle, and a miniature version of itself, and a steam railway.

I'd forgotten about that. I've been there too - it was a regular stop off on our family hols to Weymouth. Thanks for the reminder!

I was there last summer, so it's fairly fresh in my mind. Nice wee place.

Who was killed in Westminster Hall? Charles I was executed up the road at the Banqueting House. (Which you will certainly have walked past many times, and since the deed was done on a specially erected platform outside the door, you and I and millions of others will have walked under the precise location.)

Sorry - that was a brainstorm. I'd just seen Westminster Hall on television a few days ago, which is probably why the phrase came to mind with fatal readiness, but I did know that Charles was killed outside the Queen's Dancing Barn. Thanks for the correction.

Okay, piling mistake on mistake. I thought I'd better check, given my track record this evening, and find that I am now confusing the Banqueting House with the Masquing House in calling the former the Dancing Barn. Both were built by Inigo Jones for Charles and Henrietta Maria's entertainment, but still...

Edited at 2012-03-31 08:40 pm (UTC)

When I first came to Bristol, long before I had a car,

Those sound like lines that should be sung by the Watersons (or possibly the Kipper Family).

They do, at that!

That looks like a fun cycle track!

It is! I've never taken it all the way to Bath, but one day...

King Stephen got to die in his bed after all those years of battle and civil war but he's buried in Faversham, Kent in what was the abbey church (his foundation). It's now the parish church of St Mary of Charity. Faversham is well worth a visit anyway even without the Stephen connection- also connections with the eponymous Arden of...........his house still stands.

I have to admit to having a soft spot for the old boy and for the church with its wonderful crown spire. :o)

I've never been to Faversham, but would certainly like to see Arden's house, if only in the spirit of a Crimewatch reconstruction - which is, I suppose, what the play itself was, in sixteenth-century terms.

If you decide to come and take a look, give us a shout- it's only just down the road from here! :o)