Monday 5 September 2011

Off to University

We have just had our granddaughter staying for a few days, before she starts University at the beginning of October.  We had a special time together, and some lovely visits.
Day 1
The Great Roman Bath at Bath where we saw

this head which probably decorated the tomb of a wealthy lady.  Her hairstyle was fashionable in Rome in the later 1st century AD.
The Sacred Spring where over 15,000 gallons of hot water rise from the ground every day.  This was a place of religious contemplation for the Roman's of Aquae Sulis.
The overflow water heading off to the Roman drains and then the river Avon. Still working exactly as the Roman's intended over 2000 years later.  The mineral build up is iron oxide.
Lastly, one of the major archaelogy finds from Roman Britain - the bronze and gold head of the Goddess Minerva.
Finally we took the waters - just like Jane Austen did!!! 
Day 2 
A visit to a 4000 year old Neolithic Tomb (Hetty Pegler's Tump). H following granddaughter inside.
Granddaughter thought it really cool!!!
Just down the road, lovely views to Wales, and another, but roofless tomb (Nymsfield long barrow)
Time for lunch in our favourite little restaurant.
Next stop, a village fete with a difference.
Whittington Court - an Elizabethan manor house - completed in 1592 in anticipation of Queen Elizabeth 1's visit to the house en route to Sudeley castle.
The unique thing about the fete is that many of the country's top Private Presses congregate in the grounds of the house to show off their limited edition, hand printed, hand bound books, prints and paper. A mecca for collectors. Our granddaughter was particularly interested because her father and uncle have a book coming out from one of the private presses, very soon, we hope.  Our two sons have worked together to produce a book of  poetry (eldest son) with linocut illustrations (youngest son).
Day 3
Oxford University - Keble College- Designed by the eminent Victorian architect William Butterfield - Butterfield claimed that he had a mission to give dignity to brick.
Our granddaughter gave us a guided tour of the college; we saw where her room was, the chapel, the library, and the dining hall.  
The chapel shows Butterfield's ability to rework the Gothic into his own formula, especially in the treatment of wall surfaces. The interior is decorated with colourful tiles, mosaics, brickwork and stained glass.
The Light of the World
In the side chapel is the famous Pre-Raphaelite painting by William Holman Hunt.  This is the original painting that he exhibited at the Royal Academy, London.
The Library
The Dining Hall
After a picnic lunch in the quadrangle we went across the road to the wonderful Pitt Rivers Museum - a little gem belonging to the University.
Inside the Pitt Rivers

The Pitt Rivers collection is housed in cabinets - little children are given torches to shine into them so that they can see all of the treasures.

Our journey finished with a visit to the Ashmolean Museum where we went to see an Anglo Saxon treasure approximately 1150 years old.
The Alfred Jewel - made in the reign of King Alfred the Great
Recent opinion has moved to this being an aestel or pointer, used to follow the text in a gospel book.  The pointer would have been held within the mouth of the beast - perhaps made of ivory - this would have been held in place by a rivet (still in situ).  It is made of polished rock crystal, beneath which is a cloisonnė plaque showing the figure of Christ or possibly the figure of Sight. The figure closely resembles the figure of Sight in the Fuller Brooch, another Anglo Saxon jewel. The crystal is set in filigreed gold with cut out lettering inscribed AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN - Alfred ordered me made. 

The three of us had a happy and memorable time together. 

Last image of the Alfred Jewel Richard M Buck via Wikipedia


  1. Hello Rosemary:
    What a wonderfully varied and interesting programme of visits you have had. And, such fun to have been able to have been given a guided tour of Keble College by your own granddaughter. We are sure that she will love her time there in Oxford and, most probably,it will be a life experience that she will remember in every detail.

    And, strange that you should mention the Ashmolean and Pitt Rivers' Museums for they house bequests given to them by our uncle and which will bear his name, Richard Hattatt. Indeed , a particular Greek pot in the Ashmolean was called the 'Hattatt painter' as it was a newly discovered painter and named in recognition of his discovery.

  2. Dear Jane & Lance - thank you for your lovely comments. Indeed our granddaughter was very excited when she was showing us around. She said she couldn't believe that she would be living there soon.
    Next time we are in Oxford, we shall definitely make a point of looking for the Hattatt Painter - Greek pot when we are there.

  3. Rosemary it looks like a wonderful day out was had! I still haven’t visited Bath, which I must rectify soon. The ornate “King’s Spring” is beautiful!


  4. Dear Bertie - you must visit. It would be an easy day out for you with an early start. The Park & Ride into Bath is well worth doing. I shall do another post on Bath which might entice you further.

  5. Such wonderful places and things shared! I visited Bath years back and vowed to return one day.. your photos inspire me to do so :-)
    All the best to your granddaughter as she starts at Oxford... she has such great things ahead!

  6. Hello Nat - The Roman Baths have recently had 5.5 million pounds spent on them, so I think that you would find it much improved from your last visit. They now have an included audio guide which is also extremely helpful.

  7. Thanks for sharing such a packed visit. I am what you might call an anglophile, so I could not get enough of your posting. Should I ever visit Britain, I'll be reviewing this posting and others of yours, for sights to add to my list.

  8. Dear Mark - I am pleased that you enjoyed it. I was a bit worried that I had made it too long. Short and snappy, should be the message to myself, but I get carried away.

  9. Rosemary, my apologies for arriving so late, and what a sumptuous tour. The pictures are just wonderful- and you went to see Hetty Pegler's Tump! Each photo makes me want to dash down to take a look!

    Thank you. Each of your posts is an Aladdin's Cave.

  10. Dear Kate - thank you so much. Hetty Pegler's Tump is amazing following the restoration to stabilise it. It was of particular interest to our granddaughter as one of her subjects is Archaeology, and she loved it. She could imagine a group of students inside, sitting around a small fire, discussing Neolithic man.

  11. You spent some beautiful days full of images, experiences and everyday treats! I can imagine your joy and desire to please your sweet granddaughter! I wish I could see the joy in your eyes! Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful family moments!
    Have a nice weekend!

    1. Dear Olympia - I am pleased that you enjoyed this little jaunt we had with our beautiful granddaughter. At the time she was about to start at Oxford University, and now she is in her second year there. I cannot believe how the time flies by.


❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh