Wednesday 22 January 2020

Lincoln's Inn: no broken windows

Lincoln's Inn is one of the four Inns of Court. These Inns are both professional bodies to which all barristers in England in Wales belong, and physical places which host dining, training, governance, and also many barristers' chambers. While those chambers are now offices, historically many lawyers also lived here. The combination of functions meant that space was required, and in the 1680s Lincoln's Inn was extended by the building of New Square at its border. 

The process of expansion and development brought its own disputes and agreements between Henry Serle, who claimed and built upon the area of empty ground which is now New Square, and his neighbour the Inn. A rather charming plaque is evidence of one of them. 'T - IG' stands for 'Treasurer - John Greene', and 1693 is the date it was placed here. Most interesting is the text: 'This wall is built upon the ground of Lincolnes Inne no windokes [windows] are To be brocken out without Leave'. It refers not to smashing windows, but to adding them to the wall. 

Other plaques can be seen around the Inn which follow this format of a letter 'T', the Treasurer's initials, and the date of building work. A particularly good selection appears on the facade of Wildy's legal bookshop.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Thursday 9 January 2020

Ghost signs (139): Chester, platform 3

This ghost sign is an intriguing fragment, visible between the posters on platform 3 of Chester railway station. It seems to have directed passengers to ... somethingS AND TRAINS. The temptation to remove that poster is strong! 

Thursday 2 January 2020

Cap Frehel in winter

One of the finest places in Brittany is Cap Frehel, a peninsula on the Emerald Coast. The rugged coastline is watched over by two lighthouses and protected by Fort la Latte. Today, the only invaders are tourists but in the Second World War it was an important radar station; few traces now remain except a few blockhouses which are now home to bats.

More enduring is the Chapelle du Vieux Bourg, formerly the parish church of Pléhérel, which stands on top of cliffs 40 metres above a sandy bay. Parts of it date back 800 years, although major work was done in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its location is a bit of a mystery, as it was never in the heart of the parish. Theories include that Saint Herel had a hermitage in a nearby (and now-disappeared) cave, or that it was an important place of worship under the Romans. In 1870, a new parish church was dedicated at its centre and this building demoted to chapel. Its dilapidated nave was demolished, but worship continued here and today it's in good condition.

The moorland's vegetation is shaped by the poor soil and powerful winds. Its charms are obvious in summer, when the heather and gorse bloom with flowers, but even in winter it is beautiful.