Six hills, two political prisoners and a nunnery…

Called in at this place, this afternoon…

..a tiny village called Sixhills. It’s mostly perched on one particular hill, a little way west of a Roman road and, looking further westwards from here, there are rare panoramic views across twenty miles of plain to the Cliff where Lincoln Cathedral stands up squarely on the horizon.

It only has a little church, which was almost completely rebuilt in the 1860’s, so very little of the 13th century building remains:

Still, it’s pretty enough and, one day, it will also be very old all over again….

   

It’s attractive and almost peaceful, but one interesting thing about the place, for me, is the house up there in the first photo, on the left, under the magnificent old horse chestnut tree; and here:

It’s called  the Nunnery and is a Grade II listed building: http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-197156-the-nunnery-sixhills

The house apparently still displays architectural evidence of almost every stage of its development, from its time as a mediaeval open hall and may, from its name, have links with the site of the Gilbertine Priory of St Mary, just down the hill on the road to (yes, another) Little London. This religious community – housing  order members of both sexes – was founded in the time of King Stephen – about 1150 – and made quite a decent living from it’s landed interests stretching for miles around, apparently, as well as a tidy profit from the wool trade.

From about 1283, it was the ‘home’ of  Gwladys ferch Dafydd, a daughter of Dafydd ap Gruffud, the “Last Free Prince of Wales”. After having her father executed for treason, Edward I had Gwladys – a young child at the time – sent as a prisoner to remote Sixhills Priory, to keep her out of the way of producing any further Welsh rebels in the future. Edward provided the priory with an annual payment of £20 for her upkeep. She died there in 1336, having lived out her life there as a nun presumably. Another of Edward’s prisoners there, albeit more temporarily, was Lady Christina Seton, the sister of Robert the Bruce and husband of Sir Christopher Seton whom Edward had, once again, executed for treason. Imprisoned in 1306, she was released sometime after the Bruce’s victory at Bannockburn, in 1314.

A downturn in fortunes during the 15th century, a dalliance with plague and, finally, the Dissolution spelled the end for the priory, which was surrendered to the Crown at the end of September 1538. Nothing really remains of it now, apart from a few carved stones which were used as part of the  building material for the farm which now stands on the spot. And, who knows, perhaps part of The Nunnery, too.

After that, the dogs were getting very impatient for their walk, so on we went:

This wood is very popular with “fairweather dogwalkers”, so – as Guido doesn’t like company – we tend to walk here more in the winter, usually. It’s also quite a busy wood from the “industrial” side of things, so it’s quite conifer heavy:

However, there are quite a few broadleaves on the fringes:

some of them have managed to reach quite an age:

and are starting to shed:

A couple of these old Douglas Firs are being made use of by Green Woodpeckers:

Then,the final stage in the life-cycle of the forest tree….

the Squirrel Picnic table.

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4 responses to “Six hills, two political prisoners and a nunnery…

  1. I agree — and I love the way you explain the photographs and provide the compelling backstory(ies) to each. Did a squirrel or other small creature bring the pine cone to the stump to dismantle it for the pine nuts, or did you break the pine cone up for them as a kindness?

    • Thank you, too. The history’s just below the surface, if you look for it. As for the squirrels, the picnic table is all their own work, though neater than usual. They don’t always use stumps or fallen trees, but I think they like to see around them, while they eat.

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