11 November, 2012
The welcome in the pub was as sour as the beer. Not a good introduction to Royston in Hertfordshire. Royston (the Royes Stone) stands at the cross roads of the Ickneild Way and Ermine Street and the pub was nearby. I have to say the food was good though, and I did get a copy of Red Bulletin with a feature on Felix Baumgartner's space jump. The stone is the base of a cross that was set up long ago, just after the Norman conquest. It stands above a cave that nobody knows why it is there, although I suspect it is probably a chalk mine. Anyway I couldn't call in at the cave because it was closed for the winter. The town once had a Royal palace but the townspeople asked the king to go away because they couldn't afford to keep him. They made their living catering for travellers on the way to York with a series of inns. Besides the inns there are old houses in the town: This one doesn't have a georgian front stuck on to a medieval building but there was certainly one that did. This house is (allegedly) the remains of King James's palace. The church was open when I called but although it is part of an old priory, bought by the town for their church at the dissolution of the monasteries, there was little to catch my eye inside. Outside the church the churchyard has been turned into a war memorial garden with a monument to USAF bombers in the form of a red granite obelisk. The gardens also include a raised area dedicated to the Queen's silver jubilee of 1977. The gardens themselves recieved a Festival of Britain award for merit. At the top of the high street is a small corn exchange with curious chimneys and, just out of town near the golf course is a fountain dedicated as a memorial to Queen Victoria. The actual war memorial shows soldiers from medieval times to the first world war and is an interesting sculpture.