The village of barely 3500 souls that my daughter’s in-laws call home is a place with a very ancient history. Today we ate lunch at a pub that traces it’s history back to the 18th century – and it was built on a bridge over the river Thames that dates from the 1600’s!
According to Craig – this bridge was a source of much conflict – and at one point the Abbey in Sutton Courtenay errected a Toll Bridge. The villagers retailiated by diverting the river, and building another bridge. I’m thinking “Pillars of the Earth” meets “Harry Potter”.
Speaking of meeting Harry Potter – it turns out that Bellatrix Lestrange has a house in Sutton Courtenay. At least the actress that plays her in the movies does. Her (great?) grandfather was the First Earl of Oxford – and at one point he owned a good part of the village. She still owns – and occasionally stays in – one of the larger homes bordering right on the Thames.
There are other exciting sites to see in Sutton Courtenay – it’s not just about the Thames. There’s the Medieval Abbey, the WWII pill box – built as a defense position against the Germans, the Norman period church where we sang Christmas Carols, the homes built with lumber from ships that fought in the Spanish Armada and were defeated, the old prision in process of gentrification (they are building condos – surprise, surprise) – and there are 3 pubs. Those are seriously the hightlight of the village – I loved the look of the gastro-pub called “The Fish”, but when it came to lunch we left the village and headed to the next town for lunch at “The Nag’s Head”. I opted for fish and chips – when in England – do as the English do I say! I wanted to get a beer – but picking one from the over a dozen on tap proved daunting. The first one they drew – “Goldie” was too bitter for me – as were the next 5, including a cider. I finally tried the “Tiger” – which my hosts refered to as “not a beer” – but I was happy.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. After a quick – everyone grab what they want – breakfast, Craig, Charlotte, Adrienne and I opted to take the village walk. This was a wonderful public path that leads over bridges and past bits and pieces of the Thames in a loop. There were Swans and ducks in the ponds we strolled past – and a solid collection of different dogs.
We eventually wandered our way past the remains of an old mill, past a series of adorable shop fronts that are now private homes (Gentrification at work), and both the Norman Church and the Medieval Abbey. Neighbors greeted neighbors, some young girls rode by on horseback, and we saw several MG Sprites. All together it was a very British walk, in a very British village. Totally Charming.
On call for tonight is a cold dinner of left-overs (finally), a board game – and fireworks. Turns out that fireworks are only legal in Great Britian on Guy Fawes Day – and Christmas. Guess the 4th of July isn’t much of a holiday here – win some, lose some.
Signing off for now
The Soup Lady – reporting from Sutton Courtenay (If you can spell it – you can find it on a map!)