Sunday, September 01, 2013

A Kentish Walk, Class Cleansing & Downton Abbey

Back from a lovely day walk in stunning Kentish countryside.  6 mile up and down circular stroll along the 
Wealdon Ridge - "Mereworth Woods and West Peckham".

At the end of the walk I went and had a look at Mereworth Church (see picture). Which is very impressive but as you can see, not the usual rural countryside church you will find in a village mentioned in the Domesbury Book of 1086

It turns out that the village and Church use to be half a mile away near to Mereworth Castle (or rather a fortified Manor house).

In the 18th century the owner John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland, decided he didn't want poor people to over look his home. So he moved the entire village and built a new church (and destroyed the old).

At the risk of upsetting my two sisters (this is always a very dangerous for a brother to do regardless of age) who are ardent fans of the popular romanticised Television series "Downton Abbey". I do think that we ought to remember what being a rich and powerful landowner actually meant in the past (and arguably even now).

Stretching the point I know, but the sons of rich landlords play a disproportionate role in the Conservative Party, who are responsible for bedroom tax and total benefit cap, which will soon make it impossible for many poor people to continue to live anywhere in London. They will be forced to live elsewhere (ironically many in cheap unfashionable Kent seaside resorts - run by Tory Councils!). 

By a complete East London coincidence, the architect of the redeveloped Palladian Mereworth Castle, Colen Campbell, also redesigned Wansted House which was built to rival Blenheim Palace. Ironically Wansted House was completely destroyed by aristocratic gambling and spending excess and it is now a public park managed by ....the City of London.

Update: check Facebook here for more pictures on walk 

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