Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Juneathon 2012 Day 6 - With Pevsner in Abbots Langley

Juneathon 2012 Day 6 - With Pevsner in Abbots Langley
Cycle - 14 miles, Time - 1hr 8min, Weather - coolish, blustery, cloudy

My cycle rides are never training rides. My aim is simply to get out, enjoy the feeling of pedalling, the sensation of speed (downhill only of course), with the chance to look around or stop at any time, i.e it is a mixture of effort and leisure. I have cycled, off and on, most of my life but have never been a sports cyclist. I don't really want my head down at all times and the thought of me being in any way aerodynamic is ludicrous.

For me the bike is a good way to explore the area and one of the things I look at is buildings. If you do this the Pevsner architectural guide is indispensable. The very first building listed is St Lawrence church Abbots Langley, which is of "exceptional architectural interest due to its Norman nave arcades and Dec s chancel chapel" (you have to get used to Pevsnerspeak). It is not far away and I enjoy being able to look at it.

The detail I am showing, however, is more about local building materials than the architectural style. The combination of chalk and flint is very common for churches in Hertfordshire (as is the chequerboard pattern). However chalk, especially when facing south west will erode, leading to repair work or a rather ugly cladding with pebble dash. All of this can be seen in the photo along with the use of Roman bricks, some of which were probably still laying around at the time the church was built.

I like the idea of buildings, in some way, reflecting the character of the county, its rocks and its history, and I like looking for it in details. I could go on but I don't want to give a full description of the church. Instead I want to use it to illustrate the point of my rides i.e. a way of looking around

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