Sunday, 17 November 2013


More from a Brief October Holiday- Chepstow

Chepstow Castle, situated on a clifftop above the Wye and its bridge, is often cited as the oldest surviving stone castle in Britain. The castle was established by William fitzOsbern immediately after the Norman conquest, and was extended in later centuries before becoming ruined after the Civil War. A Benedictine priory was also established within the walled town, which was the centre of the Marcher lordship of Striguil.

You've got to be fit to live in a town with so many hills...

You have to keep looking down at the pavement- there's always something interesting.  There are coins (or replica ones), quotations and informative tablets.

"This snug town good meat and drink abound".

Some Chepstow Inn Signs...

These two were happy to tell us about the Five Alls...

These are the Five Alls -

The figure on the right is a candidate for Parliament from the days when many electors votes were bought an the bar or by 'ale tickets'.  In 1784, his first year as an MP, Richard Brinsley Sheridan (the playwright) paid out £40 for ale tickets.  How much of his £1,302 election expenses was for beer, brandy and the like is not known but estimated at around £100.  If you think buying votes is a bit corrupt you should be aware that the election expenses would also include the cost of 'secretly' bespeaking and collecting mobs - some to commit riots, incite your enemies, and break windows and some to shout huzza at your speeches and beat up the opposition's hired mob who will, of course, be shouting you down.


  1. The last paragraph well documented in Tressell's The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist: One of the hardest to read books I've finished (including very many Russian novels). I can't remember Chepstow. So many places to re-visit.

  2. Vote buying been a thing rampant in the past. Looks like politics had been the same all along. Thanks for sharing John!


  3. I'm enjoying your holiday. You should take more of them.

  4. They can no longer overtly buy a mob, but it seems they do so by simply promising to empty government coffers into your program now. The more things change...

  5. Oh I like that grim-looking old castle... Especially set against the magnificent autumn colours! :)

  6. Chepstow is a pretty place, the castle is probably my favourite castle. We stayed in a great b&b there once which overlooked it at the back. As for buying votes.... well, there is something of that going on now. I used to think we had come on a bit, although I am less certain about that every day I am afraid as I see more and more fat cats benefiting and nobody really following up or answering as to why Royal Mail was undervalued and why nobody will renationalise the railways or utilities whose shareholders don't seem to think it's up to them to invest.

  7. Thanks for sharing. Loved taking that walk with you.

    Mersad Donko Photography

  8. What a fascinating town and castle.

  9. Politics was ever thus! Is there such a thing as an upright, honest politician? I always feel a little sad about idealistic young people entering politics hoping to change the world.

    I do like the pastel shades of the row houses. How they rewally brighten up the street!

  10. Love the history in your travels! I'm pretty sure I'll never make it over there, so thank you for taking us along! Speaking of hills, you should try hiking San Francisco sometime. Yikes!

  11. Chepstow looks like my kind of place. I'd love to explore the castle, and very much like the row of pastel-coloured houses and the idea of putting quirky bits of information etc. into the pavement.

  12. Chepstow Castle still looks quite grand in its old age.
    Loved the interesting pavements and the pub signs which I'm really enjoying.
    I'm glad that you took this brief holiday and also shared it with us....I have learned quite a bit from your one week of travel.
    Honest politicians are hiding under a rock somewhere not in this world.

  13. What an interesting post. Love the first photo of the Castle with the autumn leaves. Very evocative. xoxox


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