Thursday 27 September 2018

Devizes And Desires

My good Church Of England friends, will be familiar with the Cranmer's "General Confession" from the book of Common Prayer.
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the DEVICES AND DESIRES of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.
Bob and I were quoting from it last week, when we spent our day off exploring the town of Devizes - just a little further on from Salisbury [up past Stonehenge]We began our day with Breakfast in Brogans, in a street called The Brittox.[it was Brilliant, to continue the alliterative theme!] The food was good, and we were offered "fried bread, toast or bread and butter? white or wholemeal?" when we ordered. The bacon and sausages were delicious, and locally sourced.
After breakfast we walked down to the Wiltshire Museum. This is a great place [and we got in free, as we are members of Salisbury Museum!] It is quite old [1853], and created from three houses [Two Grade II Georgian, and one Victorian] knocked into one building. Consequently the route between the various rooms is quite convoluted, up and down levels- but all things considered, they do brilliantly. 
Run on a very tight budget, using a legacy which won't last forever, the staff [many being volunteers] work hard to maintain excellent facilities, for the locals and visitors, young and old. It is an independent charity. "Half a million objects, showing half a million years of Wiltshire's story"
I thought the Museum would be Mostly Stonehenge focused- and yes, they do claim to possess Britain's 'Best Bronze Age Archaeology collection, and gold from the time of Stonehenge" - but there is an awful lot more.
There is a great section on the Saxons, with gold and garnet jewellery, and the story of the Kingdom of Wessex. And another display on the growth of the town of Devizes.
 I learned about the wealthy merchants - especially those in the wool/cloth trade- and the development in the 14th century of the white woollen broadcloth. The town gave its name to 'Vize Blankets. [I need to do further research on these- in my preliminary reading I've discovered two of the other major centres for this type of cloth were Norwich and East Dereham, back in Norfolk!]
I was impressed by the number of interactive sections for the children - costumes to try on, paper and wax available for brass rubbing, videos to watch, headphones for listening to stories...

And right up to 2018, with a lovely section displaying articles made by the local blacksmith. Not just the usual items - horseshoes, fire irons and weather vanes, but attractive modern sculptures, many created from discarded metal objects.
After a pleasant hour or so in the Museum, we strolled back through this quaint town, looking in at "The Shambles"- the old market hall - and many of the excellent CS en route to the car park.
 We thought the variety of small independent traders was good, and Mark, the leatherworker was particularly friendly. The Car Park is adjacent to the Canal, and the little theatre, and a cluster of tiny shops. These included a patchwork store, and a haberdashery - Aladdin's Caves of treasures...bliss! 

This was a grand day out, the weather bright and breezy - but most enjoyable. I would like to go back again and explore- maybe following the Medieval Town Trail Map
But if this rainy weather continues, we'll definitely bring brollies


  1. We walked past all staircase locks on the canal from a campsite into town, an interesting little town. Thank you for the reminder

  2. England is full of these amazing little towns with so much history - you are very lucky and thank you for sharing.

  3. It sounds like a most pleasant days. You made me laugh with your alliterative highlighting!


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!