Back to Myddle: Day Two of an Ancestral Journey
The plan today, is to take a trot along my Great (lots of Greats!) Uncle Humphrey Kynaston’s old haunts, up at Nesscliffe, but, first, my children need some fresh air to wake them up and warm them to the idea. Getting out of the lodge door is tricky enough – our abode is luxurious enough to keep us contained for four days, without a single hoof going for a wander. But out we must. And my Uncle is joining us for the adventure.
Back to Saint Peter’s for further investigation, hopefully with the help of the Rector, who was kind enough to say he’d show us around. We don’t get far, though, before our progress is arrested by the sight of some alarmingly beautiful alpacas. The children come to a standstill, totally mesmerised. Photographs are taken and I try to move everyone along, preferably minus the alpacas – a difficult feat, but one made possible by the promise of a longer pause and further modelling opportunities on the way back.
The Rector is true to his word and, this time, we get to see the old wooden pump that my Grandad once used to operate the organ bellows. The wooden casing is testimony to the ghosts of choir boys and organ-bellowers, with numerous initials scratched into the surface. I try to find my late Grandad’s initials, but am disappointed – clearly, he was, after all, the law-abiding type. Back to the roll of honour on the church walls, and my Uncle becomes animated at seeing the name of his Uncle engraved into the plaque, and tells us all a story about how this ancestor injured his leg in a horse-riding accident, but still went on to serve his country for three years during the Great War. A lesson in resilience, perhaps, that would put some of our young people to shame. We say goodbye to St Peter’s, thank the Rector and stop by for the promised photographic shoot, before piling into the car (I didn’t manage to secure any horses) and galloping forth to visit Humphrey.
We are not disappointed. Standing at the top of stand-stone cliffs, peering down at the Shrewsbury road, we can picture the notorious highwayman, Humphrey Kynaston, emerging from his cave-home, leaping down from great heights, on the back of his now mythical horse, Beezlebub, and robbing some poor unsuspecting passer-by of all their worldly goods – before doing a trade-off for a tankard of ale at the Three Pigeon’s pub. The image has been partly induced by a spot of dizziness (none of us are keen on heights!), so I decide that we all need some liquid refreshments. First, though, there’s the small issue of our descent! We go for the let’s-all-shuffle-down-the-steep-slopes-on-our-bottoms mode of travel. Done.
Scuffed and shattered, we invade The Three Pigeon’s. I order Cola, lemonade, J2O and – no, I still can’t sample the Shropshire scrumpy (why didn’t we all come on horseback?) – more Beck’s Blue! The barman points out Humphrey’s old seat, carved into the stone chimney place, and I wonder how my old Great Uncle managed to park himself there for so long, without getting a scorched bum! So we settle for the modern option of table and cushioned chairs, sit back and recover!
Back to Myddle. And, tomorrow, a walk with Scoggan!
(Please note, that the author’s ancestral claims are courtesy of personal research via Ancestry.com, and are, therefore, unproven, and subject to the not-insignificant possibility of human error!)
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