Falling for Ribchester - The Romans saw the value of this riverside community
PUBLISHED: 11:26 17 October 2011 | UPDATED: 12:06 28 February 2013
Cheshire girl Rachael Hogg take a look at one of Lancashire's finest villages and likes what she finds
It is written upon a wall in Rome; Ribchester was as rich as any town in Christendom. It probably wasnt and it certainly isnt but this lovely Lancashire community is rich in many other respects.
Its location, its Roman roots, quaint cottages, lovely churches and scenic walks along the River Ribble, make it a village with an awful lot going for it.
Ribchester (or Bremetenacum Veteranorum as it was known in Roman times) is best known for its ancient history. It was the home of the nations second favourite Roman discovery the Ribchester Helmet. This bronze ceremonial head-piece dates from the beginning of the second century.
Few complete face masks have been found in Britain, and the original is now on display in the British Museum, while Ribchester holds an impressive bronze copy in its museum.
You can visit the remains of the bathhouse and granaries at the Roman Fort, and spot the original Tuscan columns from the fort which support the entrance to the White Bull, a Grade II listed pub dating back to 1707.
For a sedate afternoon tea, visit The Carmen Rose, a quaint ivy-covered barn which attracts worldwide visitors and has won many awards over the years for its food and friendly service.
Relatively new owners have refurbished the premises but it retains its welcoming atmosphere, offering an open fire to warm you on a cold evening and a wonderful garden. The gift shop upstairs offers everything from local produce to novelty gifts.
Art lovers wont be disappointed by Ribchester. For those with a passion for traditional countryside scenes, Geoff Rollinsons front room is packed with expert works executed by this well-known ex-gamekeeper. His work has been bought by fans worldwide.
If your tastes are more modern the Ascot Studios in the old Bee Mill displays work by local, national, and international artists. Featuring seven resident artists, and regularly showcasing other talents, the gallery has established a great name for itself as a leading independent contemporary gallery. Exhibitions are held throughout the year.
Bee Mill itself is well worth strolling around its a warren of small independent businesses making and selling anything from handmade furniture, swish wood burners and environmentally-friendly household products.
Back on the history trail, St. Wilfreds Church is a 13th century, grade I listed building standing in a lovely location near the river. It contains many interesting details including evidence of old wall paintings that would have once covered the interior. Equally, interesting but much smaller is St Saviours on the edge of Ribchester at Stydd. The tiny whitewashed buildings was used in the 13th century by Knights Hospitallers of the Order of St John of Jerusalem.
The stories about ancient Ribchesters wealth are probably myths and today, if you drive through, youll miss it if you blink. But stop for an afternoon and it can turn into a rewarding diversion.