Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sunday Times Where Was I? Holiday Competition

Near as I can figure it, through the possibly flawed perceptual filters of my own reality tunnel, the most likely answers this week, seem to me to be:

Q1. Dundas Aqueduct

Q2. Bradford-on-Avon

The initial clues seem to place us in the village of Claverton, next to the river Avon and the Kennet and Avon canal. A twenty three year old statesman, called Winston Churchill, according to the spiel on the American Museum in Britain web site, made his first political speech at Claverton manor (which appears to be where said museum is currently situated), c 26 July 1897. There seem to be two pumping stations on the Kennet and Avon canal, one at Crofton, which was steam powered and one at Claverton, which is powered by the river Avon turning a waterwheel, which raises water from the river, around forty eight feet into the canal, to keep it topped up. The pump at Claverton, according to some of the sources I checked, was opened for business c 1813.

The canal was constructed by a civil engineer called John Rennie the Elder (born c 1761).
Rennie the Elder designed London Bridge, though it was actually his son who finished building it, as
Rennie senior passed away before he could begin work on it. The bridge is now situated on Lake Havesu, in Arizona, where it was relocated after being purchased by Robert McCulloch c 1968.

Travelling around one and a half miles south of the pumping station, would likely bring us to the Dundas Aqueduct, which carries the Kennet and Avon canal, across the river Avon. The Kennet and Avon canal connected to the Sommerset coal canal at the aqueduct but this seems to be no longer operational and has fallen into a state where it is no longer navigable.

The Eastender had to look up what a charter house was but it seems to be a monastery that was run by the Carthusian order. There is a village called Hinton Charterhouse in the location described by the puzzle author and there was a priory of Carthusian monks there c 1222. The only Charterhouse older than this one that I could find, was the one at Witham, which dates to c 1178.

Following the canal East, would bring us to the Avoncliff aqueduct and this lies to the south west of Bradford-on-Avon, which appears to be where c ad652, a Saxon king called Cenwalh of Wessex, did battle with the local British tribes. The  Norman bridge in the town had a 'lock up' added to it c 17th century and some references claim that it was a chapel dedicated to St Nicholas (on account of there being a Gudgeon fish on the weather vane above it), while others claim it was a jail for drunks, who while incarcerated there, were said to be 'Under the fish and over the water'.

The Saxon chapel in the town (St Laurence's), is thought to have been built by St Aldhelm (born c 639, feast day 25th May).

N.B. Due to the number of people who normally write poison pen letters in green ink posting on his page, the Eastender has moved to moderated comments but rest assured, if you have a non abusive comment relating to solving the puzzle, he will endeavour to publish it

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