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Last week, I traveled, virtually, to Inveraray Castle in Scotland. Tina read the second book in the Vera Stanhope series, Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves. Jean told us what little is known about Aphra Behn (1640-1689), a professional writer from earlier than I would have imagined women did that, and read her proto-novel, Oroonoko.
This week, I got to Banbury in Oxfordshire and I couldn’t figure out why that name was paired so strongly in my brain with the word “Cross” and an image of a lady on a horse. Of course, a quick internet search gave me the answer:
Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.
Here are the lady and the cross in statue form:
While we’re in Banbury we can also visit the town museum and Tooley’s Boatyard that was built in 1790 and has a 200-year-old blacksmiths’ shop. There are lovely canal and river walks, especially in Spiceball Country Park.
Since this is Independence Day weekend here in the US, let’s extend our trip about eight miles to the east and visit Sulgrave Manor, home to ancestors of President George Washington. Sulgrave Manor was built by Lawrence Washington, George’s fifth-great-grandfather. His great-grandson, John Washington, emigrated to the US during the English Civil War in 1656.
The connection all seems pretty slim to me, but benefactors on both sides of the Atlantic have worked to preserve the lovely house and grounds and to maintain museum exhibits detailing the genealogy of the first president of the United States.
I think I would enjoy a day in the small city of Banbury and the surrounding countryside. How about you?