For my Five On Friday post this week I am once again joining with Amy from Love Made My Home and this week I am showing you more of our long weekend away that we spent in Somerset last week. In particular I thought I would show you some of the rich maritime history of the area that is still evident today.
First of all there were some new plaques on the harbour wall at Minehead that depict the town's rich seafaring history through the ages.
The photos below show two of these plaques, the first shows a 1500's galleon, a full rigged vessel capable of long sea voyages. At the time Minehead was a major port trading on a par with Bristol and Bridgewater. Piracy and privateering were rife and many from Minehead found themselves in this lucrative trade.
The second photo shows a 1700's Tops'l Schooner - in 1703 a great storm wrecked many ships in harbours in the west of the country but Minehead with its sheltered harbour escaped. Local ships would pay a shilling to shelter here for a tide. Trade to and from Minehead had become global and a new harbour had to be built.
The pub and houses near the harbour also show signs of Minehead's seafaring heritage.
Along the coast in Watchet there is yet more evidence of this area's maritime history as Watchet was once an important and bustling port which is quite hard to believe now.
On the esplanade by the harbour is a wonderful statue of Yankee Jack, whose proper name was John Short. John was born in Watchet in 1839 and was one of Watchet's most famous sailors and shantymen. It was a tradition aboard large sailing ships for the crew to sing sea shanties and John had a strong and tuneful voice which often led to him taking a solo role. Over the years he memorised words and tunes of dozens of shanties, many of them being transcribed by Cecil Sharp, an eminent collector of folk songs and shanties. John died in 1933 at the age of 94.
Another statue on the esplanade depicts the Ancient Mariner from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' which was inspired by a visit that Coleridge made to Watchet in 1797.
Coleridge is very much linked with Watchet, an extract from the poem was for many years displayed on one of the old wharf buildings at the harbour although this building is now no more.
Lastly I wanted to show you this mosaic which will form the centre of a new seaspray gallery in Watchet. This was organised by the Watchet Arts Group who invited children and adults to decorate a tile which were used to create the mosaic - a total of 1500 tiles make up the mosaic, many of which were created by pupils from Knights Templar First School at a special arts day.
Do go along and visit Amy's blog where you will find links to more Five On Friday posts.