stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Old School

Its late afternoon, the sun is low in the sky, the temperature is near freezing and the wind is biting. I’ve just been for a walk in the snowdrop wood by the river to see if any daffodils are showing themselves. Sensibly they are biding their time.

I walked up our drive, and halfway up took a photo with my phone of the new double glazed, wooden windows. You can just see one of the old style, multi paned windows on the ground floor, in the shadow beyond the edge of the fence. The drive was originally just a narrow pathway from the road.

When the building was a school (up until 1972) the pupils would walk up the path, and enter through the gothic pointed doorway (which is now a window). In the porch wall, over the door, carved in the square of stone, is the family crest of the Sheridan family, who built the village school in 1863. The motto reads (although in Latin) “the stag, when pressed, becomes a lion” Hmmm, I wonder if I should adopt it. (for more details see Comments!)

Richard Brinsley Sheridan II was the grandson of the famous Irish playwright. He and his wife, Maria Marcia were popular in the village. She was the daughter of a famous General at Waterloo, but incurred his wrath when she and Richard eloped and got married at Gretna Green!

It would have been nice to have a bell in the little tower, but its long gone – probably unsafe to have one. The chimney used to lead to an old Tortoise stove, one of two that warmed the lofty building, though now its used by a wood burning stove. The central heating is oil fired but its nice to have a real fire sometimes. The building was tall enough for us to have a second floor installed, and the bedrooms have the original interestingly curved beams incorporated into the walls.

The school is built of local flints, which have been cut or knapped into square shapes and placed in rows, and the roof is green Welsh slate. Very sturdy. However, the Victorians were a bit “just for show” and the other side of the school (not seen as it faces away from the road) doesn’t have knapped flint and the slate is of ordinary quality. The original windows were set about shoulder high, so that the pupils wouldn’t have been tempted to spend their time gazing out of the windows!

Some of the older inhabitants of the village remember coming to school here, and our next door neighbour (who has since died at a ripe old age) was a dinner lady and told us a few tales about who was mischevious and who was wellbehaved! Most people say it was a happy school, and I felt quite sorry that my girls couldn’t go to school in the village, but had to get the school bus every morning and not just stroll down the road like the kids did in days gone by.


At 1:50 am, Blogger Val said...

I'm looking forward to seeing that photo.

At first I had thought we shared yet something else: your reference to adopting that motto "the stag, when pressed, becomes a lion”. But no, you're not a Leo. I think you must explain!

At 8:26 am, Blogger Val said...

yes sorry about the late photo - does anyone else have trouble occasionally uploading photos?

As the family motto - I think it means that an ordinarily shy and peace-loving animal, under pressure, is capable of ferocious activity! But that's my interpretation only. So although, for all my life, I have been a person who hates conflict (domestic or national)I am now finding that sometimes I have to assert myself and fight my corner - even though it goes against the grain!

At 9:29 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

I sauntered here from Pure Land Moutain and must say the photo captured me totally. What a lovely place to live and with such great history. I am going to be living in a brand new house this spring, but would find living in the one the photo irresistible!

At 10:08 am, Blogger Val said...

Thanks for the explanation of the motto.

And yes I do think Blogger is having some difficulties with photos lately, a number of my other blogger buddies have been complaining too. It was well worth the wait for your photo, Val. Lovely lighting too.

At 5:24 am, Blogger Kerri said...

I didn't realize that phone photos could look that good! The lighting really is lovely. What a beautiful place to live. Thanks for sharing the picture and the history. It really does sound (and look) like a lovely place to live.
Yes, I too have been having some trouble posting photos to blogger lately. I also had trouble recently getting one of my posts to publish. I guess it has it's quirks sometimes. It can certainly make posting a long, drawn out, frustrating experience!


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