'Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!'
Many folks will recognise this Shakespearean quote. It's one that people often bandy about, along with 'To be, or not to be...', 'Et tu, Brute?' and '...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' However many folks are often wrong. It's not '...a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.' Rather '...a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.' And what about that very first quote? Folks deceive themselves if they believe it to be from Shakespeare, for it's actually taken from Sir Walter Scott's Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, which is essentially a historical romance written in verse. If you ever get bored with watching Love Island you can start reading it here.
To save yourself a bit of time, for the poem linked to above runs for over two hundred pages, here's a summary:
Lord Marmion, a favourite knight of Henry VIII, has the hots for Clara who just happens to be loaded. Marmion and his mistress Constance, who just happens to be a nun, forge a letter that suggests that Clara's bloke Ralph, who just happens to be a knight, is committing treason. Ralph fights a duel with Marmion and happens to lose and so has to bugger off somewhere. Meanwhile Clara goes off to a convent to avoid Marmion.
That's part one over. With it so far? Good. Here's part two.
Marmion doesn't fancy Constance any more and dumps her. She is tried for breaking her vows and ends up being walled-up alive in the convent. During her trial she produces documents that show that Ralph was innocent all the time, Marmion is killed at the Battle of Flodden, Ralph then weds Clara and they all live happily ever after. Apart from Marmion and Constance, obviously. Sounds like something from a Tudor edition of The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Scott's Marmion was fictional as the main Marmion male line died out with the death of Philip, 5th Baron Marmion of Tamworth in 1291. As well as owning large chunks of Warwickshire and Leicestershire he was also Lord of the Manor of Scrivelsby, a Lincolnshire village neighbouring the location of the subject of this post. The relevance of all this will become clear soon.
Mrs. Bygone Boozer and I recently had a brief stay with Woody the Boreray and his food providers, Charlotte and Paul. Remember Woody? We first met him in this post about the Rising Sun.
Having been served breakfast he deigned to allow us out for a few hours, so we went for a pedal through some of the surrounding villages, on lanes which seemingly haven't been repaired since the 5th Baron's day...
...where we discovered that Woody's fame has spread so far that his likeness was being used to adorn hedges.
One of the villages we passed through was Haltham, home to this rather sad-looking, half-timbered structure.
Its side gate removed any doubt that it used to be a pub, or about what its name used to be.
For quite how long this building of sixteenth century origin served as a pub I don't know. It was certainly one in 1841 when James Dale was its landlord...
...and it still seemed to be in operation in 2005 when Richard Croft visited,...
...but things weren't so rosy when he returned five years later.
Looking at recent planning applications it is plain, or possibly plane, to see that it's unlikely to be returning to life as a hostelry.
The car/plane park is destined to have a house built on it and the pub itself is set to become a pair of residences.
And on that sad note we set off once more, aiming for another half-timbered building. I'm not deceived. This one's not Tudor in origin. It's somewhat less old, somewhat larger and still in operation. The Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa. Not my usual type of refreshment stop I have to admit but, after all, it's now well passed lunchtime.
We order at the bar and then sit ourselves down at an outside table as indoors is full of the sort of people who will be voting soon, and probably not for Rishi or Kemi. There's only one other bike in sight and that belongs to the gardener whose conversation keeps us entertained until our order materialises. Eventually. The drinks take even longer.
Fed and watered, and with my dodgy heart having recovered from the shock of having paid a tenner for two slices of bread wrapped around a bit of ham accompanied by a glass of orange and lemonade, we head off again. Following the Spa Trail, with its metal sculptures...
...we arrive in Horncastle, home to the former Reindeer along with quite a few others.
Skirting the town, it's on through Mareham and Miningsby, and we're back at Chez Woody just in time to provide him with his evening fig roll. Time too to get an IPA out of the fridge, for a celebration is in order. Thirty miles, not all flat, and hardly a murmur from my Achilles'. Perhaps I'm getting there.
Richard Croft's images are copyright and are reused under this licence.
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