Monday, September 09, 2013

Three villages and an autumnal feel

We moved from Sileby to Mountsorrel on Friday, luckily able to slot into the one remaining gap on the moorings near The Waterside Inn.

It was cool, damp and overcast, definitely an autumnal feel to the air, so Mags convinced me that I should light the fire. It gave me a chance to christen the new chimney..


Well, it shifts the smoke, anyway!

We’d planned “a bit of a do” in The Waterside on Friday evening which is why it was important that we got moored here. A really good night, a brothers and sisters gathering with additional nieces, nephews and partners thrown in for good measure.DSC_0129

A formidable looking bunch, aren’t they.

I’m afraid to say that I enjoyed myself a little too much, and was a little fragile on Saturday…

We stayed put over the rest of the weekend, catching up with jobs aboard, and Meg and I having a mooch around the village.

The name of the settlement has two possible origins; derived from Mount Soar Hill, as the village lies on the river beneath the granite outcrop of Castle Hill, or a Norman source, from the time of the conquest. Hugh Lupus, nephew of William the Conqueror was awarded the site overlooking the river for services rendered, and built a castle here with commanding views over the surrounding countryside. The tenancy of the castle was later given to Robert le Bossu, Earl of Leicester in 1151, who was Henry II’s Chief Justice of the Peace. It’s likely he would have known the village of Montsoreau, in North-West France overlooking the Loire Valley, a similar geographical location to our Mountsorrel.

The castle was short-lived, however, being demolished in 1217, just over 200 years after construction. It found itself on the wrong side during civil war against King Stephen, and was destroyed as a consequence.

The castle site, only the earthworks remainSAM_6373

The village gained steadily in prosperity following the granting of a Market Charter in 1292, and by the 18th century was an important trading centre for rural products.Glove making was also a thriving business.

As part of the agreement to hold a market, the village was also allowed an annual fair “on the eve and morrow of St John the Baptist and 5 days after”. During this period any unlicensed house could dispense alcohol free of duty. I bet there were some good hangovers…

The market fell into disuse, and the right to hold the fair (and the disorder caused by the unregulated drinking) was rescinded in the late 19thC.

Mountsorrel Market Place, with the Butter Market.SAM_6371

This dates from 1793, built by the then Lord of the Manor Sir John Devers, who purloined the 15thC Market Cross, moving it to his estate at Swithland Hall.

A replica of the original stands at the junction of Loughborough Road and Sileby Road.SAM_6400

There's another monument along the ridge of Castle Hill, a memorial to those lost during The Great War.


It’s built from blocks of the local granite, and there’s a bronze plaque which encourages visitors to refrain from “sitting, standing or lounging”SAM_6377

A shame, because the views from up here are impressive…Panorama

Quarrying became an important industry in the sixteen-hundreds, and grew rapidly to provide the burgeoning towns with kerbs and setts of the hard pink granite from which the ridge above the village is formed. It still forms a major part of the area’s economy, and the extensive Buddon Wood Quarry, producing crushed granite for roadstone, is the largest of it’s kind in Europe.

Mountsorrel GraniteSAM_6372

Old and new…SAM_6389

Cottages on The GreenSAM_6391

The Grapes on Leicester Road used to be a coaching innSAM_6393


SAM_6393 extract

Back to the boat past Soar Valley BoatyardSAM_6370

The boatyard opened after WWII, on the site of a woodyard on the weir stream around the lock. Originally repairing and building wooden leisure craft, it’s now mainly permanent moorings.

We left this morning after a lazy start, down the lock and off towards Barrow upon Soar.

Mountsorrel Lock and The Waterside, venue for Friday’s jollitiesSAM_6368 

The weir stream below the lockSAM_6402

Below the 1860 Bridge there’s a new housing development complete with a small marina grandly named Mountsorrel Staithe. SAM_6404

Not sure about the Dutch gables….

A few years ago there were places on the Soar where the coots and moorhens could walk across the river on the Floating Pennywort. An intensive clean-up operation has removed most of this invasive species, but there are still isolated patches remaining.SAM_6405

We watered up at Barrow Boating but the Elsan disposal was bunged up, so that’ll have to wait. A call to C&RT confirmed that they were aware and someone was on the way, so I‘ll check the situation tomorrow and maybe break out the poo tank trolley.

We’re moored on Barrow Cut, between Barrow Boating and Barrow Deep Lock. I was just setting up the satellite dish and a familiar boat came into view. Familiar only from blog post pictures, we’ve only seen NB Chance once, in passing, up at Willington.

Doug and James pulled in a little further up and joined us for a cup of tea and a chat.

Doug and James and the fine NB ChanceSAM_6408 

Great to finally meet you two, hope you didn’t get too wet later in the afternoon. We’ll make sure to catch up properly later in the month.

Our final visitors this afternoon were our Sue and husband Trev, come to say goodbye before heading south to pick up their flight back to NZ. It’s been great to see you, have a good trip back, see you in another couple of years.

Locks 1, miles 2


nb Chance said...

Hi Geoff and Mags, Lovely to meet up with you both at last, it only took us two hours to get to Syston! Hope to see you both for an evening before we leave Thurmaston.

Jill, Matilda Rose said...

I wouldn't want to meet that lot down a dark alley. Looks like you had great fun.

I meant to say how much I loved your cobweb pics.

Shall you be building a spiral staircase so Mags can reach her bubbly and donuts on the sun deck?