Monday, 15 August 2016

Clevedon Sojourn

The trouble with living within a relatively short drive of so many beautiful places is that everyone wants to travel there, particularly on weekends, particularly during the summer holidays. So yesterday we went to Clevedon instead.

The trouble with Clevedon is that it would very much like to be Eastbourne, but despite its best efforts, it just can't counteract the Channel's huge tidal rise and fall ... 

... the rockiness of the beach - at least until it gives way to quickmud ... 

... and a prevailing wind, the effects of which that no bandstand or flower beds can disguise.

I think it should revel in its bleakness. 

We walked up to the pier but decided not to go on as it was a bit too crowded for our Accompanying Border Collie.  Then we realised that the people thronging its decking were going on a boat trip. 

Not just any old boat either - it was the MV Balmoral stopping off on its way from Penarth to Bristol. 

After a drink at the Salthouse we walked around the cliff path to the churchyard of St Andrew's Church, passing the Look Out on the way. This is thought to have belonged to a local family, the Finzels, who were sugar-importers. It's said that they used the Look Out to spot their incoming trade ships.  Though I don't suppose they'd have been looking upriver too much. 

This path forms part of Poet's Walk, so named for the town's connections with Coleridge, who stayed in a cottage in the town in 1795 while writing The Aeolian Harp, and some 40 years later Tennyson, whose friend Arthur Hallam, the subject of In Memoriam, is commemorated in the church, along with other members of his family.   
Still no guide books in the Church, despite a sign saying they cost £2. Maybe I just happen to go on the few occasions they've sold out of them.  You'd have thought they'd have made more out of such an illustrious literary connection, however.

Although St Andrew's clifftop churchyard is rather less atmospheric than St Mary's in Whitby or St Materiana's in Tintagel, it still has great views ...

... even if a woodpigeon perched on headstones is a bit less fitting than a corvid ... 

... no, wait, there's a magpie there on that cross, that'll do. 

There's some good 18th century skull and cherub action in the oldest part of the churchyard ...

Come hither mortal cast a eye
Then go thy way prepare to di
Read here thy doom for know thou muft
One day like me be turnd to dust

... including this one her- hang on a minute ... 

Well, I'm blowed - a Tutton. Which is ironic because when I was last in Clevedon and out of sorts, I drove all the way to Othery churchyard, looking (in vain) for the graves of my ancestral Tuttons. But just over the cliff there was one here all the time. I see you, John Tutton. 

I don't know if he is a relative, of course. He was born the same year as my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, George Tutton, although much shorter lived.  And there's evidence to suggest that my ancestors stayed in Othery for a generation or two after George, as his grandson, another George, seems to have been baptised in St Michael's in 1803. Yet by the end of that century, in 1895, my great grandmother, Fanny (nee Tutton) marries yeoman Tom Hill in Clevedon (although they are shortly to decamp to Bristol). Another of her many sisters is married to Joe Rich, landlord of the Royal Oak as well as running a number of pleasure boats for holiday-makers. At some point our Tuttons made the move from Othery to Clevedon. Was it to join relatives already living there?  

Back over Church Hill to Salthouse Park and it was sunny and Clevedon was suddenly beautiful after all.  

In fact, I loved it.


  1. Doesn't look bleak to me.

    Are you on Twitter?

    1. Hmmm, you want to see it in mid-winter with the tide so far out, it's a memory.

      I am on Twitter but I'm not very good at it ...

  2. Replies
    1. I like getting out as often as I can precisely for that reason - it feels like going on holiday.