Sunday, 14 September 2014

Loughborough to Canterbury!

Loughborough's old buildings

Last week I found myself in Canterbury, attending a conference at the university. As part of the final afternoon’s activities, some of us popped along to look at the cathedral library: Historic, atmospheric, and truly remarkable! After I’d finished there, I took the time to have a look around Canterbury, not a place I’d ever been to before, nor a place I’d ever considered visiting. As I wandered round, I came across a mill (no longer working) and was quite staggered by the timber-framed buildings and narrow streets which reminded me very much of York. This set me to thinking …

John Leland [sometimes spelled Leyland], a native of Leicester, travelled and wrote about his experiences. Now, I’ve not had time to go back to the original source, but several books in my collection quote (and possibly, misquote) Leland as saying (in relatively modern English):

“The whole town of Leicester at this time is builded of tymbre; and so is Loughborow after the same rate. The town of Loughborow is in largeness and good buildings next to Leicester of all the market towns in the shire and hath in it 4 main streets or more well paved …”

Canterbury made me wonder, where are all these timber buildings in Loughborough today? And York made me ask, did we have a Shambles?

To the first, I discovered that whilst some, like the fifteenth century Merchant’s House, that was on Church Gate, on it’s corner with Warner’s Place, where the Irish shop is now, is no longer there, being demolished in about 1975, others, remain, if you know where to look!

To the second, consulting my sources, I can comment in the affirmative: In about 1688, Loughborough did have a shambles. This was an open space where cattle and sheep were slaughtered, and above this, on huge wooden pillars, was the Chamber of the Court Leet. This building was on Cattle Market, on its corner with Market Street and Market Place, opposite the Town Hall, so where Clemerson’s and Gilesports used to be, and where there is now a ‘phone shop.

I haven't even mentioned the similarities between our two universities, from the 1960s buildings, to the popularity of the Sports courses ...

Anyway, pop back again next week, and I’ll tell you about Loughborough’s “tymbre” buildings, but, in the meantime, scroll on down for some pictures of Canterbury.

Detail on the cathedral

Part of the cathedral

Can't think of a better building to house a bookshop!

The mill

Part of the mill workings



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