Steps back In Time: Crediton.
Which Way To Go????
Well here we are again, except that this time it is not a Sunday morning but a Saturday evening!!!
The main conversation being:- Where do we go tomorrow??!!
Dai a couple of years ago started trying to trace his family tree, (I say 'trying' because it is so difficult) and I do sometimes think that it may be more of a suitable hobby/pastime for a retired person.
Dai was born and bred in Bristol, England but has ancestors from different places around the UK.
One place that he was very keen to visit was Crediton in Devon.
I had been looking forward to visit this picture postcard corner of the world for many, many years!!
There was our problem solved: Tomorrow we would head away in the direction of Crediton!!
Sunday morning dawned bright and early and we were soon on our way. The sun was beaming down on us which added to the excitement!!
Away this time across the border to England.
Goodbye Wales;Hello England.
Do you still have the child alive in you??? I hope so!!
We were all too soon across the English border and heading towards Devon. Oh I was so excited!!! I couldn't wait!!! I don't think that a part of me will ever grow up, and if I'm honest I don't really want to.
We all need to be able to let loose the child in us from time to time!!
We are both like two kids!!! Actually I'm the worse one for acting daft but if I'm going to make myself look silly then Dai can join me! Ha ha ha!!!
Oh yes going to Devon made me feel like a little girl excitedly opening a much awaited for present!!!!
Oh yes I love this life!!! I met Dai about eleven years ago and we have been together for coming up to nine years now.
Dai and myself were lucky enough to find each other and neither of us have looked back since. I so believe in fate now more than ever before!!!
He means everything to me and I will never ever take what we have for granted!
I now feel younger than I did when I was in my twenties and this is how I want everything to stay.
What we have is real and infinite!!!!
All this waffling, oh I'll never change will I??!! Ha ha!!
Right here we are and what was I saying earlier about Devon being like a picture postcard?
Just look at this signpost. How quaint is that??
"Now then Dolly Daydream , try and look out for a church or sign post or whatever......."laughs Dai.
Dolly day dream indeed! Ha! Oh these men can be so cheeky at times can't they??
Crediton Church of the Holy Cross.
Now we are here !!!!
As soon as Dai had uttered his instructions what did we come across?? Yes you've got it in one;
Crediton Church or Church of The Holy Cross as it's also known!!!
It sure took my breath away! Wow what a spectacular building and I immediately fell in love with this architectural masterpiece.
Just take a look at it.
We got out of the car and walked towards Crediton Church and for once I was not waffling, oh no!!!
We walked in to the majestic beauty of the interior and I was consumed and captivated!!!!
Such inspiring and majestic beauty!!!!
The beautiful stained glass windows left me mesmerised!!
To say that Dai and myself were in awe would have been an understatement !!! As we were walking around in total silence taking in all the magical wonder that wove itself around us !!!
We were suddenly startled as a voice from behind us said "Good day to you" .
Where the church elders would have met with Oliver Cromwell many centuries ago.
We turned around and were faced with a tall figure in his robes who introduced himself to us as The Curate of Crediton Church.
We were soon in full flow and he in turn was so informative.
"Follow me !!" he said " I'll take you up to the room where Oliver Cromwell visited many a time as he met up with church elders back in the mid-1600s."
Oh this was turning out to be such a treat!!! Dai and the Curate were a few steps ahead of me and were deep in conversation when the Curate opened a door and bade us follow him.
I entered a long dark room with an ancient dark brown wooden table filling the majority of the space and had many seats around it.
"This is where the church elders would have met with Oliver Cromwell many centuries ago." the curate informed us.
From my inner being I felt at one with the mystique and at this point I felt a light headed rush before being engulfed by a rose fragrant mist!!
The mist disappeared as quick as it had appeared and I drew my shawl tighter around my shoulders.
To introduce myself.
Hello, my name is Lady Sophia Amelia Smethik-Prothero.
Oh I must introduce myself; my name is Lady Sophia Amelia Smethik-Prothero. However please do call me Sophia.
It is the year 1640 and King Charles l is on the throne.
Everybody thinks that I should be so happy, married to the very wealthy Sir Percival Smethirk-Prothero.He is of great standing in the community, a landowner and one of the church elders, which also gives me a powerful connection with this church.
Oh yes as far as money and a wealthy lifestyle are concerned I want for nothing but I am so lonely!!Percival is not, hmm how should I put it; not very eager to share my marital bed.
I hope that you can all understand how unwanted and unloved I feel!!!At the beginning of our marriage he was so energetic and affectionate in this way and I was so happy, however as soon as our son Joseph was conceived eight years ago all that changed.
I think that Percival was only pleasing me because he wanted an heir to his lands and wealth.
I love our son Joseph dearly; however he has gone away for the next two days to members of Percival's family.
Please try and understand why I am embarking on a somewhat reckless and out of character liaison.
I say out of character because I have never been a, how shall I say it, 'a loose woman'.
Please follow me and I will take you through to my home and explain further........................
Am I happy??You may well ask!!
I do not like this part of the church, it is so dark and ghostly but I must take this secret path back to my house tonight
I will tell you why in a moment or two!!
Oh these steps are so perilous!!!
Here we are my gracious home, please wait a moment while I draw the heavy curtains accross!!
I will now tell you what may be classed by some as a bad but also a very much needed liaison.
My home so grand but money is not all !!!
Oh yes we have a grand house with portraits of great people and I have everything that money can buy.
I have servants who do everything for me, I have the respect of the folk around here !
I have a wonderful son and I do without a doubt love him dearly !!!
However all I yearn for is to be loved as a woman!!!!!
Am I really so wrong to want and need this ??!!
My heart was so lonely !!
There is a Roundhead soldier called William Silver and we have fallen in love !!!
It was not meant to happen but it did!!
My pet name for my love is Billyboy.
Do you know what it feels like when your heart misses a beat every time you think of a certain person?
Well this is how Billyboy makes me feel, oh how I love him so!!!
My Billyboy the fearless and handsome Roundhead soldier!! Oh how I love him. He moves me in ways that Percival wouldn't even dream of!!
Sir Percival is away, the servants have the night off and I have already explained that Joseph is away with relatives.
Let me put a log on the fire, oh I am so glad that the servants have kindly brought me so much coal and wood in for the fire. They really do look after me so well, I really am so lucky in many, many ways but that does not stop me being so very lonely!!! However I am no longer lonely as I live for these stolen moments of passion and true love.!!!
You ask how I got to know my Billyboy!!!?? He is a Roundhead and has been one of the soldiers that Percival appointed to guard the church and this house from invaders.
At the beginning we just spoke about many different topics but we have been much, much more than friends these last couple of weeks.
I think that you can guess what I mean. He is on his way over here now, just a couple of hours that he has managed to arrange when he is not on guard.
Did you hear the tap on the small side window?
Oh this must be him!!!!
"Oh my Billyboy, please enter out of the cold my sweet, precious and handsome soldier!!!!"
"My sweet, sweet Sophia how can I live without you anymore!!"
Billyboy is so in love and cannot bear the thought of being without this warm and giving lady who fills his every need and thought!!
"Hush now my love my all ; come upstairs we do not have a moment to waste!!"
I now realise that I had never experienced love as strong as this with Percival.
We nearly tear each other’s garments away until we are both stood in our undergarments which we peel off slowly and sensually....................................
Creak, creak, thud, and slam from the downstairs !!!!!!
"Oh dear god, what is that??!!" Billyboy rasps!!!!
I am too astounded and oh no in the next instant we hear Percival's voice filling the quiet of the house which a few seconds before had been filled with sensual pleasure!!!
I panic and push Billyboy towards a window which he opens and turns to kiss me before jumping out as fast as he could dressed in only his undergarments.
"I am up in the bedroom Percival!!!" I manage somehow to find my voice.
As I hear his heavy footsteps on the stairs it is then that I see Billyboy's Roundhead uniform in a heap on the floor!!!!
There is no time but to throw them under the bed.
At that precise moment Percival enters.
"A bit early to be retiring for the night isn't it??" "You are looking very flushed also Sophia, are you ill??!!"
"I am feeling a little feverish dear!" "Which is why I was undressed and about to put on my nightdress before going to bed?"
"How are you home a day early??!!" I asked further trying to keep the cold disappointment from my strained voice.
"My business finished early and I had pressing matters to resolve with the church!" replies my husband totally oblivious to my acute disappointment.
"A good idea for you to retire early therefore and I shall stay out of your way dearest, I have to go over to a meeting with the rest of the church elders!!”
He leaves without a backward glance.
I get into bed and pull the bedclothes up to my chin, needing the weight of these blankets on me as I was shaking violently as bad as if I was in the throes of a feverish turn!!
As soon as I hear Percival go outside and I listen for his footsteps going over towards the church I jump out of bed and I pull my darling Billyboy’s uniform out from under the bed and fold them up before taking them to a room at the top of the house that is never used. In the corner there is a large wooden chest.
I open this chest and bury my face in my sweetheart's uniform; the tears pouring down in shuddering torrents as I close the chest and turn the key before hiding it behind the heavy portrait of my ancestors.
At this point the now familiar rose scented mist returned as did the giddiness but once more they soon lifted.
A fictional story ??????!!
"Come in here babe, " Dai calls. "Look what the Curate was talking about."
I followed Dai's stare and in the far end of the room was a Roundhead's uniform in a glass case.
The curate then adds;
"Yes my dear, I was telling your good man here that the story goes this uniform was found many many moons ago in an old chest in the large country house over there."
"There was a notion that a Roundhead soldier may have been a little naughty with a lady whose husband was away only to have the husband return unexpectedly and the soldier ran out of the window in his breeches hence leaving the uniform behind.
Dai and the curate shared a hearty laugh while I say meaningfully;
"Well you never know!!......................"
At the end of a wonderful day that had been so full of history and mystique!!
We bade goodbye to the Curate and thanked him for his time and highly entertaining tales.
We spent the remainder of the day looking round the graveyard for some of Dai's descendants but to no avail!!!!
However we did not mind because we loved Crediton and all its picturesque treats.
I was enchanted forevermore by my first but definitely not my last visit to Devon.
It was dark by the time we left and I took one last look as we passed the beauty of the church silhouetted against the warm glow of light on it!!!
I could have sworn that the figure of a lady of sweet features, in a long dress waved at me and blew me a kiss.
I silently bade her "Good Night dear Sophia" and felt a little sad.
I wondered whether that had been the end of the strong love between Sophia and Billyboy or did they get together for good many years later maybe??
I am no doubt a romantic at heart and will hope that the latter had been the true path of their lives many years ago.
True love never dies, this I know for sure
"Are you ok babe?" Dai asked "You are a little quiet!"
"Oh no I'm fine, I was just day dreaming after such a wonderful day, thank you my love !"
I also hope that you all enjoyed your journey to Crediton and also the little journey back in time.
Please join me next time again.
Take care and lots of love from my little corner of Wales.