Summer Walk Report No 6, Historic Alnwick - Tuesday 8th July 2014.

 

On Tuesday 8th July 2014, members met at the Greenwell Road car park in Alnwick for Walk Number Six on the summer
programme. Alnwick has a mix of old and new buildings but the centre of the town retains much of its original character
with some narrow streets & hidden alleyways. The aim of the walk was for members to practice their photography, to
look for items of interest and record them in their own style.
Cutting through to the main street we started our circular walk by turning right and heading north up Bondgate Within.
Several shops caught the eye before we came to Ye Olde Cross public house, home of the infamous " Dirty Bottles ".
Legend has it that two centuries ago the inn keeper dropped dead whilst changing the display of the bottles in the pub
window. His widow declared that anyone who did likewise would suffer the same fate. As a result the Dirty Bottles have
remained sealed between two windows and have lain untouched ever since.
Continuing up Narrowgate we came to the imposing entrance to Alnwick Castle. The Barbican and its gatehouse are
believed to have been completed around 1475 and in places the walls are over 7ft thick. The castle overlooks the River
Aln guarding one of the main river crossings, walking down The Peth we stood on the Lion Bridge over the river and
recorded the classic views of the castle.
Returning to the castle entrance we headed west into Bailiffgate and after a few hundred yards came to St Michaels,
the parish church of Alnwick. This Anglican place of worship was built in the 15th century and several old gravestones
drew the attention of members. Leaving the church grounds we walked up Northumberland street to the Pottergate
Tower. This building was built in 1768 in gothic style and stands on the site of an earlier medieval gate that was part
of the towns defensive walls.
We then passed through the base of the tower and down Pottergate to a small park. Here stands a large bronze statue
of a man in a full suit of armour with his sword raised. This is a bronze of Sir Henry Percy - (1364 - 1403), also known
as the legendary knight " Harry Hotspur ", and it was erected to commemorate the seven hundred years of occupation
of Alnwick Castle by the Percy Family.

        

It was now clear why Alnwick is called a historic market town as there appeared to be a feature of interest around
every corner and Fenkle Street was no different as we cut through a dark alley under the Town Hall emerging out into
Market Place, the centre of the town. Passing the Northumberland Hall and the ancient Market Cross we joined Market
Street where part of the street is still cobbled and two Pants or public water fountains survive.
Walking south we came to another castle like structure the Hotspur Tower, a medieval gate dividing Bondgate Within
from Bondgate Without and we continued to the Alnwick War Memorial.
A figure of a Soldier, Sailor and an Airman stand upright on a triangular base around a lamp column, and brass plaques
commemorate those who gave their lives in the both the 1914-18 and 1939-45 conflicts.
This left one more item on our circular walk, The Tenatry Column that dominates the local skyline at 83 ft tall and is
topped by a lion, symbol of the Percy family. Four further lions protect the base of this landmark erected in 1816 as
a thank you to the Second Duke of Northumberland following a reduction in tenants rents.
Camera Club members then returned to our starting point after a two hour amble in the warm sunshine and retired to
a local hostelry to round off the evening. Another good visit and thank you to the sixteen members who attended.

                                                                                                                                                                  Davy Bolam.