Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding Lincolnshire is simply an architectural gem.
However, I don’t believe it’s known for sure how it got its name (it’s pronounced ‘Ascoffey’ folks).
Nevertheless, recent archaeology has discovered much that was once hidden; stairs, passageways, tiles… all of which are included in the comprehensive museum illustrating the history, not only of Spalding, but of the whole South Holland region and its wonderful agricultural heritage.
Leofwine Tanner 2019
At times you can almost see the individuals, a bit like ghosts, who would once regularly use this door.
How would the local accent have sounded then, say in 1500? Would I have understood them? More to the point, would they understand me? I doubt it, but I have a liking for old church doors.
This north facing example bears all the marks of being very old, probably late medieval, but I could be wrong. Look
at the tracery… perpendicular style?
A hidden gem of Sir Edwin Lutyens in Spalding, Lincolnshire.
Sir Edwin Lutyens’ wonderful War Memorial to the local fallen of the Great War in the grounds of Ayscoughfee Hall, Spalding.
It may be one of his lesser known pieces of architecture, a ‘hidden gem’ that should be appreciated far more.
In a diamond city night we’re
taxied through floodlit streets
angled snow alabasters old facades
medieval histories beyond all guessing
Flanders is frozen outside this misted glass
the two of us sitting nose to nose
our tongues loosening aperitif smiles
white burgundy cutting through brie
making heads light and cheeks flush
and toe touch toe
Our eyes meet when bare soul strokes calf
kissing slim fingers one by one
plied each day to taut cello strings
sneak previews to plots and suites of night
image and poem © copyright David F. Barker
* sorry, but this is an oldie!
I’ve been baffled by this talk of
perpendicular, amused by the students
in lurid hats and long scarves. Some are arm-
in-arm, quite oblivious to me, their
languid strides taunting
It’s a peculiar English thing, this style
(I know it hurts you to say) but I pretend
not to care, because my
recall of art history class is minimal
at best, a choice
that perhaps I regret now in these
sitting hunched in this cafe on
the square, bleeding its pasts. Maybe I’m jealous of
these boys, their short-skirted girls
with dark tights going on forever. And that bell,
it has a continental ring; I see
other occupants here, the shadows
of angular men in martial grey, mingling
with the smiles and chat of stylish women. But
now I have to watch you eat, your
gannet-eyes sucking coffee, washing
down the sachertorte you wolf. The mere
thought of those cobbles out there just beyond
this warping glass— you know
they are as hard as the freeze
which grips this place, the tissue of
your frozen heart
© copyright David F. Barker 2012
A throbbing disco bass
callously pounding my chest,
turning symptoms of flu
into something feeling serious.
I’d dragged myself there
against good advice,
that trashy little down in Drab County
whose only claim to fame
was its fine timber spire,
which made historians
and architects alike, drool;
the sort of town which made
the English feel proud of their past,
even if the present bore no hope,
no prospect of colour. A future
And pride! What was I doing
knocking back gin like tomorrow
did not exist?
Barely able to stand—
but still lord of the dance!
But it was you who held the cards,
the full deck.
You knew what you wanted
and how to get it.
I was the hopeless case,
a clueless pawn in your set up
with worldly guys from the Smoke
who were waiting by the door,
(forever waiting by that door!)
deriding us country boys—
knew enough about language
of the body, its gestures.
The cold morning brought eerie clarity,
despite pain in my head
to match the dagger in the heart. Oh—
you could keep your magnanimous lift.
I was hitching back.
The full seventeen miles,
even if only the bravest of drivers
would dare stop to pick up
in the sick stained jeans
poem and image © copyright df barker 2012
By night the town paints clandestine shapes,
broach spires pierce a black arras
and decorated naves of Barnack rag
drape like sepia backcloths for ghosts
and revellers who may pass unaware
on equal terms, merely inches
yet centuries above charcoal rivers
flushing silently till the night
draws out heat
and chatter of day
Streets swarm with strangers now,
unspeaking shadows in recesses
cupping whispers of gamy tongues,
smoking pipes like brittle bones
with fresh memories of tides
and the deep keeled boats
dragged up onto gravel headlands
by gangs of gruff rovers
and rippling Thracian soldiers
from legions awake to chance,
their unwrested sin
poem and image © copyright dfbarker 2012