View from the Bridge

Now that summer has arrived and the sun has made an appearance, I thought we should take another stroll down to the River Wye and admire the view from the Old Bridge. Don’t lean over too far!Photo of River Wye and arch of Old Bridge

The river banks are looking very green and bushy.Photo of River Wye in Hereford

On the left you can see Hereford Cathedral.Photo of Hereford Cathedral

Walking back into town there is an enticing little continental cafe with a rather natty advertising sign.Photo of bicycle decorated with flowers advertising a cafe

This is apparently also the site of Nell Gwynne’s old home. Hereford claims her as its own, but there seems to be no actual evidence for this. Nell was famously one of Charles II’s mistresses and bore him two sons. Photo of Nell Gwynne plaque

She seems to have started out rather unpromisingly as the daughter of a drunken “madame”. She managed to get herself into the orange selling trade at the London theatres before becoming an actress. It was quite a new fangled thing to have actresses in the seventeenth century; previously men had played all roles. This was where she caught the eye of the merry monarch, and they began an affair in 1668. Apparently the King’s dying wish was, “Let not poor Nelly starve,”. His brother, James II did indeed pay off Nell’s debts.

Portrait of Nell Gwynne

Portrait of Nell Gwynne – Peter Lely [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

She died three years after Charles, probably of syphilis, in 1687. She was renowned for her quick wit, Samuel Pepys referred to her as “pretty, witty Nell”. She is also credited with persuading the King to found the Chelsea Hospital for poor military veterans, now famous for the Chelsea Pensioners.

Photo of Chelsea Pensioners

Chelsea Pensioners – By Chelseapensioners (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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