Bulletin 400

March, 2016

The Old Buildings of Kington by Duncan James

Duncan James required no introduction as his work is known and respected throughout this area. His reputation as a speaker meant that the Primary School hall was packed to capacity on Friday February 19th for his talk on “The Old Buildings of Kington”.

Beginning in Old Kington, by the church, and moving down through the town, Duncan took us on a ‘photographic stroll’, looking in general at the exteriors of buildings and pointing out features of interest. Explaining that he had not been inside many of the buildings, he showed various attractive details and features which help to date them.

The first building seen was a cottage on Campion Lane, behind the church. This has timber framing and, from internal features, was shown to be the wing of a medieval hall house. Despite its later appearance, could the adjoining stone part of the range still contain evidence of its medieval origins?

John Abel, ‘the King’s Carpenter’ built Lady Hawkins Grammar School in the 17th century, and Duncan believes Abel may well have had a hand in other Kington buildings. Just below the church, at the top of the hill, our attention was drawn to ‘Porch House’, a 16th century timber-framed building which was moved from Bridge Street and re-erected.

Two gracious houses just off The Square had caught Duncan’s eye and he was particularly delighted by the elegant stable block in the garden of one of them. He confessed that the 1885 brick Market Hall, with its later 1897 clock-tower, is a particular favourite of his, and he drew our attention to the brickwork ornamentation and remarked on the obvious pride the builders had in their work.

Some of the pictures we saw were of the backs and roofs of buildings with which we are all familiar. There are strange juxtapositions and structures, such as loading-doors and blocked windows, which many of us had not noticed previously. He also took us inside one or two buildings in the town centre and showed some mouth-watering medieval features which have survived. Shop fronts and mosaic doorsteps were noted, and a particular feature of town houses in Kington was demonstrated – little windows in gables or pediments at the top of the main elevations.

Accompanied by Duncan’s lovely photographs and his consummate skill with Powerpoint presentations, this was a most enjoyable and informative talk. The appreciative audience came up with interesting questions and we all felt we would like more. Perhaps Duncan will now be inspired to carry out further investigations in Kington and, hopefully, will return at a future date to show us more discoveries inside and outside the buildings of our fascinating little town.

Review by Alan & Critchell Stoyel


Forthcoming Events

Friday 18th March 7-30pm at Kington primary school. “Mystery objects” presented by our Vice Chairman Alan Stoyel.   All welcome Non members usual £2 entrance fee. Come along and be amused, challenged and entertained with numerous items that baffle even the cleverest of us.

Friday 15th April 7-30pm at   Kington primary school

“Water! The most precious substance on Earth” Presented by Dr Noel Meeke from the waterworks Museum in Hereford. This talk will inform you of many stories and innovations in the 19th century including why Kington earned the reference “The Kington Stench” and how Leominster nearly lost all its population through dirty water. How the installation of clean running water in the later 1800s made such a difference to people’s lives and health. So bring your “bucket” and get filled up with clean watery information that changed the future for us all.

The above is our last indoor meeting before we break up for the Summer Recess and have our outings/visits. If you wish to come along to the outings in May & June please make sure your names are put forward. Details will be at the next two meetings but if you are unable to attend then please book with Nancy Wheatland 01544 230691

Sunday May 1st 3pm Tour of Dunfield House & Grounds with afternoon tea £5 all welcome, booking essential. This is a unique opportunity to see a superb example of Victorian splendour, both indoors and outside. Please be aware that steep steps are to be negotiated outside and water to cross, so sensible footwear essential.

Friday 17th June 12.30 Tour of Brecon Cathedral (Donations) 3pm Cruise on the Brecon canal with Dragonfly Cruises £6.80 Cream tea at £3.70 each Booking essential Standard car parking fees to be paid by members. Car sharing available just ask or put your need to have a lift on the appropriate form at our meetings.

Thank you for your support Hope to see you all at our forthcoming events. Programme Committee