03 December, 2011

Farnham and Aldershot.

Farnham is a charming little Surrey market town with a castle previously belonging to The Bishop of Winchester. The town is the most westerly in Surrey, just on the Hampshire border.

The castle is in two parts, the Medieval keep and the Bishop's palace bit. The keep is over 900 years old in its oldest pit - a really deep hole in the motte part and was broken down by Cromwell's army. The Bishop's Palace looked pretty much Tudor although built on a Medieval foundation, especially the brick built tower with polychrome brickwork. This looks a bit like Lambeth Palace.

The custodian for English Heritage at the castle keep (the only part open to the public and free) was friendly and helpful and showed me the exhibition about the castle and its bishops.
Castle street is a pleasant street of houses with georgian facades, and the tiny Windsor almshouses, built 'for the habitation and relief of eight poor honest impotent old persons'. The tiny gables and large chimneys give a quaint air to these tiny houses.
The museum explains that Farnhaam has been kept very much in an original state by the work of some estate agents on the Farnham UDC who were keen on conservation of the historic buildings and that everything should be in keeping. And a good job they made of it too. This does not mean that modern art was neglected - the Post Office Mural is a good example although not well maintained.
The Police station also has murals, but a lot less abstract.
Faarnham is the birthplace of William Cobbett who polemicised about the plight of agricultural workers. A tablet to his memory is in the church and his tomb is near the north door.

The church is dedicated to St Andrew and has been re-ordered with chairs in the nave and what the congregation call pavillions, which provide a children's corner, kitchen facilities and flexible meeting space. It's a very big church and these pavillions seem to fit in well with the architecture, although I wasn't sure about the table, lectern and font which looked like posh kitchen units.

Aldershot, or as a friend calls it 'Aldershit' is in Hampshire. Not much of interest architecturally really but it is an army town as was made very clear by a man shouting to his wife with a real parade ground bark. Dearie me.

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