Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Barley Mow in Clifton Hampden

"Round Clifton Hampden, itself a wonderfully pretty village, old-fashioned, peaceful, and dainty with flowers, the river scenery is rich and beautiful. If you stay the night on land at Clifton, you cannot do better than put up at the ‘Barley Mow’. It is, without exception, I should say, the quaintest, most old-world inn up the river. It stands on the right of the bridge, quite away from the village. Its low-pitched gables and thatched roof and latticed windows give it quite a story-book appearance, while inside it is even still more once-upon-a-timeyfied…" Jerome K Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (1889)

The Barley Mow is only about 2 miles from where I live, so it is almost my local pub. Yesterday we went there and had a lovely meal. The pub is situated by the river, in some very picturesque scenery so afterwards we went for a walk across the bridge to visit the church. The pub was made famous by Jerome K Jerome in his book Three Men in Boat. Jerome K Jerome is definitely one of my favourite authors, I enjoyed Three Men in a Boat and I am looking forward to reading Three Men on the Brummel, which is about their bicycle journey through the Black Forest. I have also bought the Ash Tree Press anthology of his ghost stories.

Of course we had to visit the church because as Jerome says in the book, it was traditional in Victorian times when you were in a new town to rush to the graveyard and try to find the oldest grave. We couldn't do this as some were oblitered with time and erosion but we found the grave of William Dyke, who fired the first shot in the battle of Waterloo by accident. We spent some time searching for this grave until we found I was standing in front of it (a comedic incident worthy of the book itself?).

Inside the church was very quaint with many interesting features, the best of which was a 12th century sculpture of a boar hunt, which had apparently been found during renovation work of the church and was now built into one of the walls.

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