Sunday, 18 January 2015

Through the looking Glass

...Just maybe Alice and Lewis Carroll visited Winchcombe. The real Alice Liddell often visited her grandparents at Hetton Lawn, Cudnall Street, Charlton Kings. Her grandfather had been the Dean of Christ Church College, Oxford when he met and became good friends with Charles Lutwidge Dodgson....or as we know him best, Lewis Carroll. The original Looking Glass was still in the house at Hetton Lawn  when the house was for sale last year.....Tenniel didn't draw it unfortunately but it is thought that he went to Oxford to sketch an eccentric furniture dealer called Theophillus Carter   who stood in his shop doorway wearing a top hat.......but then a lot of men wore top hats in those days.
The Mirror inside Hetton Lawn, Cudnall Street, Charlton Kings.
The overmantle mirror at Hetton Lawn....Please click link for more of the story from Daily mail.

It is thought that one of the grotesques on Winchcombe church is the Mad Hatter. Hatta as he is known in Through the looking glass- its the Cheshire cat that calls him mad. When Charles lived up north the town of Stockport was well known for making hats. Hatters at the time used mercury in the process and many became confused and muddled, later dying from the mercury poisoning.

 Other possible characters are found in old carvings in churches such as the standing rabbit on one side of an arch in St Marys Church, North Bar, Within Beverley, it even holds a messenger bag ! We do have a carving of a rabbit above a doorway of  of a house just up the road from the Church.

There is a carving of a cat 16th cetury on a wall in St Wilfred's Church, Grappenhall, which might be the Cheshire Cat. This village is very close to Daresbury where Charles was born. Most of his relatives were Church of England Clergy so I'm sure he visted lots of churches.

Carved stone cat
 There is also a grinning cat carving at Croft Church, Tees,Yorkshire, where Charles' father was rector.

Another weird Lewis Carroll link to Winchcombe is Micheal Cardews mother was one of Charles favourite child models ! In 1926 Micheal Cardew rented the old pottery buildings and really started the world famous studio, Winchcombe Pottery.

If you like stamps the Pst Office have just launched a set of Alice in Wonderland stamps.

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