Sunday, 29 July 2012

A Purbeck View from Kingston

On a hot afternoon last week, we drove westwards across the top of the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation and down into the tranquil lanes and hills of Purbeck. Climbing the steep hill beyond Corfe Castle village, we found the small, grey stoned village of Kingston and the Scott Arms, draped in green Virginia Creeper, a pub that dates from 1787.

The small car park behind the pub was surrounded by dry stone walls which were smothered in vibrant pink shrub roses.

Behind the roses stretched one of the the finest views in Dorset. These photos do not do it justice. In a gap between two long, downland hills, lie the ruins of Corfe Castle, surrounded by its narrow village streets of  Purbeck stone cottages. Beyond, the waters of the northern edge of Poole Harbour glinted in the sunlight and the view into rural  Dorset stretched for miles and miles.

Corfe Castle has Saxon origins and is said to be the place where the Saxon King Edward the Martyr was assassinated. After the Norman Conquest, William I  ordered the castle to be rebuilt as he enjoyed hunting in the Forest of Purbeck. The Norman castle was modified over medieval times and was a significant stronghold at many times in history, including the Wars of the Roses. It was attacked and largely destroyed by Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil Wars, as it was then in the ownership of the wealthy Royalist Bankes family.

Today, the castle belongs to the National Trust and is one of the most atmospheric and interesting castles in Britain.

We enjoyed our light lunch and a cool drink in the gardens of the Scott Arms, gazing out across the view and feeling the welcome heat of the sun after so many weeks of dismal rain. It felt like real summer at last!

Afterwards, we walked around the village, where pretty cottages grew roses and hollyhocks in small front gardens.

The old village water pump.

Wayside poppies

The "New Church" of St James, built by local landowner, the third Earl of Eldon in 1874  and designed in Neo Gothic style by architect George Edmund Street. This church is built from locally quarried Purbeck stone and marble. It was built to replace the earlier Old Church at the other side of the village. It was initially the private chapel of the Eldon family but later became the main village church.

Inside, it was cool and rather splendid, but to me it lacked the depth of history and atmosphere that is so often felt in the oldest English village churches.

Across cottage rooftops and gardens, where fruit trees soaked up the sunshine and washing blew dry in the hot breeze.

The old church, now disused, can be seen amongst the trees on the edge of the village.

Looking eastwards across rooftops and fields, shone the misty blue of the sea in Swanage Bay.


Toffeeapple said...

A charming post, it is such a beautiful area.

helen tilston said...

Your describe so beautifully your day.
Thank you for sharing. I would love to have walked along with you

Helen xx

Down by the sea said...

We love that pub too and as you say the views are amazing. It always seems to be busy when we visit. Glad you had a good time and love your pictures of the village.
Sarah x

Bovey Belle said...

This is one of my favourite places in Dorset - SO many happy memories here, and down in Winspit and Encombe. You have taken me back 30 years! Thank you . . . it hasn't changed a bit.

chinecats said...

Great pics! Looks very peaceful.

BilboWaggins said...

You had a hot afternoon? Sighs ... if only. I've just been outside* to top up the bird feeders and there is an unpleasantly chilly 'autumnal' nip in the air.

*7.30am, 31st July :{

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely tour of the area DW - it is many years since I was down there and it brought back many memories. I can only imagine what that Virginia Creeper looks like in the Winter.

Morning's Minion said...

This is the sort of ramble I would want to take if I could visit England. Are those chimney swifts circling the roof in one photo, or another bird?