Elsyng Palace was a family home for Henry VIII and his children, probably as large as Hampton Court. Each summer the Enfield Archaeological Society excavate a bit more and then cover it up to prevent weather damage. The patience and skill of those who trowel and brush are just amazing.
It is lovely to see how roots spread. Trees connect to each other by their roots using their own internet , Mycorrhiza. You can read about it in a superbe book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.
One of the local oral histories is that Sir Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak for Queen, Elizabeth I to prevent her getting her feet wet at Maiden’s Bridge. Elizabeth lived in Elsyng Manor from time to time and Raleigh lived in nearby Chase Side so I feel it is a credible story.
This image is of what is probably a Victorian bridge but I like it and, it is called Maiden’s Bridge.
Some more images; it is a delightful spot.
and one of a tree:
All the above are in the Forty Hall Estate which, for a while, was owned by the Parker-Bowles family. Thinking about it all a poem came to me.
Here, five hundred years ago,
Raleigh laid down a cloak for his queen.
It was rich-velvet, patterned with fine jewels.
Half a millennium later,
A son of the family who came to own around here,
Laid down his willing wife for a prince.
Raleigh was beheaded,
The man divorced.
© Anthony Fisher July 2018
About five miles from Forty Hall, just over the boundary in Essex, is Waltham Abbey. It has a connection with Elsyng through Henry VIII. It was the last Abbey to be taken over by Henry during the Reformation which he had planned whilst staying at Elsyng. The abbot was a very learned man and Henry enjoyed conversation with him. I have a tenuous connection too. The last Saxon king, Harald, was buried there some time after he was killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. One of the Knights that fought with William was Robert-with-a-beard. and of the 850,000 ancestors I have of that time, he is the only one I know! The U of my initials is for Umfreville which is derived from the village in Normandy he came from.
Enough of that! Waltahm abbey is delightful and we had in interesting visit. There are faces carved into the exterior stone and this is one most venal:
The ducks are more beautiful on the river near the mill race. They arranged their pose and waited for me to take the photograph quacking their impatience.
Inside the ceiling is beautiful with Victorian paintings of the zodiac. The magnificent organ is being restored so there is bright shiny scaffolding as you enter.
My sign is Capricorn the sea or mergoat. I feel that it is older than Greek mythology and it has its origins in Oannes. Perhaps, but here is the Capricorn panel.
There is a lovely freeze behind the alter and a mediaeval wall painting in the Lady Chapel (I did not photograph the painting).
All in all, two good places to visit.