And as I was stood, admiring this,
a local historian stepped out of the scenery. We exchanged pleasantries, and I was about to walk off when he began to speculate as to whether a wooden bridge might have spanned the river back in the 16th century. A conversation developed in the sunshine, and pretty soon I discovered, among other things, how the population of the town increased in the late 1800s, many of the 'incomers' arriving from the west country. My great great grandfather Asher Gregory, was one of that number, and ended up farming in the area, having made the move from deepest Dorset.
Our friendly historian also mentioned Mr Ellery, a stonemason originally from Swanage, who plied his craft in the area, including some restoration to Romsey Abbey. His former home is now a listed building, on the front of which he left his mark. British Listed Buildings state, "The elaborate stone carving on the front was intended to display his skill as a stone mason."
This rat is a fine example of Mr Ellery's handiwork.