We are now back camped in Old Windsor and just a walk along the tow path is Runnymede, the spot were the Magna Carta was signed in 1215 and this year marks its 800th anniversary.
The Magna Carta (meaning ‘The Great Charter’) was an attempt by the Feudal Barons to stop King John abusing his power, to insist that he govern the land and its people according to the customs of feudal law.
The original charter contained 63 clauses when it was first granted but only three now remain part of English Law. The most famous clause is…..
“No free man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disposed, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way ruined, nor will we go or send against him except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land”
It gave all free men the right to justice and a fair trial.
We drove over to Tilehurst in Reading to visit Paul’s mum and her partner Brian. Paul grew up in this lovely neighbourhood, running over the surrounding fields, building camps and practicing his aim with his homemade catapult. Tilehurst was first recorded in 1291 as a Hamlet (a settlement in a rural area with a population of under a 100 souls). The hamlet was owned by Reading Abbey until the dissolution of the monasteries’ during Henry VIII’s reign. A few of the rich and famous have lived in Tilehurst (other than Paul!), the musician Mike Oldfield grew up here, actor Kenneth Branagh attended a local school during the 70’s and Ayrton Senna was also an inhabitant.
As I have given a little mention to Paul’s home town I thought I should say something about the town I grew up in, Bracknell.
It is best known as a post World War II new town, housing some of London’s booming population but its oldest monument is a Bronze Age burial mound called Bill Hill (right opposite my old school). In medieval times Bracknell was within Windsor Forest, a deer reserve and a hunting ground for kings. In 1350 a Royal Hunting Lodge was built within the forest (where now stands a golf club) and it is was to here that Catherine of Aragon, first wife of Henry VIII, was banished when she failed to give birth to a son and heir.
Bracknell in Victorian times was a sleepy little village until the railway arrived in 1856 and it developed into a country town with a weekly cattle and poultry market (I still remember seeing the market as a child, with the cows penned in the middle of town). The town was also famous for its brickworks and the bricks produced were used in the building of the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Cathedral in London.
Here endith the history lesson :o)
One Saturday afternoon we attended a traditional school fete with raffles, cake stalls, and a tombola stall where we won three bottles of wine, they also had a coconut shy where mum hit the coconut for six while I missed them completely! A local band marched across the school playing field to the beat of the drums and the mighty clash of the cymbals while a juggler and a fire-eater entertained the crowd. The local vicar was shackled to a set of stocks and for a few pennies you could lob a cold, wet, soggy sponge at him, all in aid of raising funds for the local school.
After the fete we met up with my sister Linda and her husband Martin and along with Mum and Dad we enjoyed an evening of catch up.
What a fantastic summer England is having. Big blue skies, with the odd fluffy, white, cloud making its way across the horizon. Soft balmy breezes rustling the leaves of the great oaks and the towering chestnut trees and making the soft pink petals of the blackberries flutter.
One morning we woke to find the temperature already 29 deg c. By lunchtime it had climbed to a staggering 38 deg c. I spent the day sitting under the shade in Mum and Dad’s garden sipping on an ice cold gin and tonic.
We have enjoyed watching the antics of a family of partridges in a nearby field. They all follow one another with the feathers on their heads bobbing as they waddle along on their short little legs.
That’s all our news for now folks. One more log to go then you can have a break from reading all our doings!
Liz and Paul x