Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
For a long time we have been intending to go to Folkestone to relive some old memories from when we lived in Folkestone for three or four months back in 1979 and today is the day. It was a half hour drive from Deal to Folkestone on a good road.
As we passed White Cliffs at Capel-le-Ferne we stopped to visit the Battle of Britain Memorial where there was a replica of a Spitfire, a memorial built by Harry Gray in 1993 and a Remembrance Wall. When you look on the site from above the whole area is in the shape of a large propellor-shaped base with the figure of a seated pilot sitting in the centre. The Remembrance Wall lists the names of almost 3000 fighter aircrew who flew in the Battle. A new visitor centre opened there in 2015.
We had a list of church micros to do in Folkestone but we did not have a lot of luck and only found one out of the three we looked for. At St Saviours church, there were several possible places that matched the hint but we could not find it anywhere. St John’s church was founded during the Victorian Era, to help provide religious needs to the quickly increasing population of Folkestone, mainly due to the coming of the railways. We parked near the cache and found the cache easily before we went to see if the church was open. It wasn’t. The magnificent building that is now home to the Folkestone United Reformed Church was designed by Joseph Gardner and opened in 1897. It was designed and built in the English Gothic style, with an aisleless nave, transept, apsidal sanctuary and has a crenellated tower. The coordinates seemed a bit out but we did find the appropriate hint item. There was no cache that we could find and it was in a tricky place as it looked like we wanted to cross the road.
At this point, we got frustrated with geocaching and headed down to the seaside and promenade. We have a memory of watching Folkestone rock being made in a small rock shop in Old High St. Passersby watched through the window as the sweet was pulled and manipulated and various colours were added to make the stripes in the rock. It was a bit of a long shot that the shop might still be there and it was not. Apparently, it closed about 15 years ago. The Old High Street is a tiny cobbled street which would not be wide enough for vehicles with lots of small shops all the way along its length. We walked all the way up and around the familiar feeling area. We use to come down here at the weekend and play in the amusement arcades. We could make £1 each last for hours. The same machines are there but they are loaded so that the coins cannot drop except possibly one or two at a time. It is a pity because I am sure people would play them more if there was some chance of making small wins. I do not think the arcade owners are doing themselves any favours. Still, we played our £1 each again.
We had fish and chips at a cafe near the sea and it was very nice. Then we walked along the promenade and onto the beach. One of the things I have been looking for since we arrived in the UK was a childhood memory of arcaded seawall. I always thought it was in Ramsgate but it was not. Then Dad said he thought it was Folkestone and today I found it. My sister and I used to run along inside the seawall when we were very little and I think this is the place where I got lost on a crowded beach in the middle of summer. There were not many people here today as the weather was drizzling from time to time and generally not beachy at all. The beach is wonderful here with soft, lovely sand and I can still see it full of people in my mind. We found one geocache along the other end of the seafront in an empty car park near the funicular railway.
We decided to go home via a different route and found a church micro at St Luke’s in Hawkinge but the church was not open. St Anthony’s Church in Alkham overlooks the village green and is Grade I listed and the surrounding churchyard contains 15 Grade II listed headstones. The origins of the church are 12 Century and inside the church is a coffin lid bearing one of the oldest inscriptions in Kent. The coffin belonged to Herbert de Averenches, a monk from St Radigans. It was the only church we have found open all day. The church had an unusual layout with a side aisle that was not as long as the nave. The chancel had ledger stones, some to the Slaters. There were a few stained glass windows which were all good especially the modern one which was designed and painted by Joan K. Catte and E. Patteng. The East window was lovely with lots of angels above the main characters. When I collected the numbers for the multi I made a mistake but rechecked it as it looked like it was quite a distance away. Just as well I did because the second coordinates I came up with were very close. It had an excellent hint so we kept looking until we found the cache. It was pouring with rain and we were getting quite wet so it was time to go home to Boris in Deal.
A lovely day despite the dodgy weather but full of memories both old and new. We even drove to our flat in Lime St which we did not recognise at all and to David and Joan’s old house and to where Mike worked at B.Y. Simulated Furs in 1979.