Monday, 25 May 2015

Holywell and St Ives

Three Christmases ago, I think, the bf gave me a copy of 'Britain's Holiest Places' by Nick Mayhew Smyth.  Since then we've been to a few of the places mentioned such as East Dereham and Soham, but it's only in the last year have we made a concious decision to tick off the palces in the book together.  There have been plenty of places that I have been too prior to getting the book: Castor, Walsingham, St Andrews, Haddington, Egmanton, Bury St Edmunds and the cathedrals of York, Lincoln, Oxford, Lichfield, Chichester, Chester, Hereford, Worcester, Ripon, St Albans and St Paul's.  Quite a list.  One place I have been to a few times is Little Gidding.  The last time is was at the bf's I thought it would be a good idea to go to Little Gidding, (and Holywell as it was on the way), as he had never been there.  It was a wretched sort of day weatherwise and in the end we never got further than St Ives, though that did mean we found the truly delightful 'Norris Museum' which is a sort of county museum.  It felt as though it hadn't been re-ordered since the 1970s at the latest and that only added to the pleasure.  Do go.  It has a most delightful courtyard garden that opens out onto the river. St Ives is an ancient, attractive market town on the banks of the Ouse.  It was one of the places where Scottish drovers sold cattle on their way south to London's Smithfield.  The Medieval bridge has a chapel halfway across, quite a rare thing these days.  But first Holywell which is a remote feeling village downstream from St Ives.  The wellhouse I think dates from the 1840s, but marks the site of something more ancient: a baptismal pool.  The parish church which stands atop the hillside above the well, is quite small, and quite heavily restored.  It is dedicated, suitably, to St John the Baptist.

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