Harewood, Yorkshire – All Saints’

Tuesday 29 August was a day for a drive. Harewood House near Leeds has some of the costumes from Victoria, the TV series which will bring beauty to my Sunday evenings now Demelza Poldark has finished. Julie was keen to go, and researched disabled access and ticket prices – it isn’t NT – website. The house itself has a disabled lift to get in, and then the whole place was on the flat. There was a sequence of rooms to follow, and lovely rooms they are too. Amazing ceilings, furniture, and so much to look at. Owls and chess pieces, Chinese wallpaper, portraits and a wonderful State Bed.

After several hours exploring, we found the second hand bookshop. After what seemed like several hours of my wife finding books, I left her to it and walked to All Saints’ church Harewood, which is in the grounds of the estate – SE313451. It is a Churches Conservation Trust church, open in the summer months, and access can be arranged in the winter – see this website for details. There is a also church page on the website of the main house  – here. It is a C15 church, and not particular stunning outside. It was restored in 1862-3 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, of St Pancras fame, and is a lovely high church inside.

When the roof was replaced in the 18th century this inscription was found cut into a beam: “We adore and praise thee thou holy Jesus, because thou hast redeemed us by thy Holy Cross, 1116”, so we have a precise date for its foundation. The founder was William de Curcy, son-in-law of Robert de Romelli, the Norman Baron to whom the manor of Harewood was given by William the Conqueror after the Battle of Hastings.

In a moment we will start with the ruling classes, but first let us remember those who have died in two World Wars. A large number. There is a complete list of names here.

Time for wonderful alabaster tombs. This is Edward Redman (died 1510) of Levens, Westmorland and of Harewood, and his wife Elizabeth Huddlestone (died 1529) of Millom, Cumberland. He succeeded to the estates in 1482/3 when his elder brother William died childless. He had been a staunch Yorkist supporter. On Henry VII’s accession, he was included in the general pardon, and kept a low profile under the Tudors. Elizabeth was a widower whose father, Sir John was a prominent Yorkist and fought for the king at Bosworth Field. Ready for lots of photos?

Sir Richard Redman (died 1426) of Levens, Westmorland, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Elizabeth Aldburgh (died 1434) of Harewood Castle, his wife. He was Sheriff of Cumberland several times between 1390 and 1413, then Sheriff of Yorkshire, and an MP. He was elected Speaker in 1415, after helping to mobilise the English army before it sailed with Henry V to France and victory at Agincourt. Elizabeth was the eldest daughter of William de Aldburgh, Lord of the Manor of Harewood. In 1392 she and her sister Sybil jointly inherited the Castle and estate, and were responsible for building this church in 1410.

Sybil (died 1440) is here, with her husband Sir William Ryther (died c1426) of Ryther Castle, Yorkshire, between Selby and Tadcaster. Sybil’s family and Elizabeth’s families shared the house alternately or together more than 200 years – this kept the manorial possessions intact. I love the dog’s expression.

Sir William Gascoigne (1350?-1419) of Gawthorpe, sited where there is now a lake below Harewood House. According to the noticeboard he studied at Cambridge (other sources say Oxford – which reminds me of John Snagge and the Boat Race “it’s either Oxford or Cambridge in front”). He joined the Inner Temple, progressed in the law, and was made Lord Chief Justice by Henry IV in 1400. Even Shakespeare tells of his courage (Henry IV part 2). Elizabeth Mowbray was his first wife.

This is the tomb of Sir William Gascoigne (died c1465) of Gawthorpe, grandson of Judge Gascoigne. He had become a knight by 1436, was with the Lancastrians in the War of the Roses, but was pardoned by Edward IV in 1461. He married Margaret Clarell, after she had been twice widowed, in 1425/6. Margaret survived Sir William, and entered her third widowhood.

The final one is Sir William Gascoigne (died 1487) and Margaret Percy, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Northumberland, his wife. They had probably married by 1467, only a year or two after the deaths of both his father and grandfather. Margaret’s father had been killed at the Battle of Towton in 1461, possibly with his daughter’s future father-in-law fighting alongside him. After 1470 William received a number of appointments as a Commissioner in Yorkshire, and in 1478 was appointed a Knight of the Bath. In 1482 he campaigned in Scotland with the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III, but after Richard’s death on Bosworth Field, he seems to have been reconciled with the House of Tudor.

The Harewood website says “The pale, glowing alabaster figures you see today are substantially different from how they would have first appeared. The originals would have been brightly coloured (you can still see traces of paint in the carved folds of their garments) and some would have been covered by canopies (removed in the 18th century). They were restored in the 1970’s with support from the Redundant Churches Fund and moved to their present positions. Looked at carefully they are full of character, portraits of real people, not just formal depictions of lords and ladies of rank and status.” I would love to know where these alabaster figures were made, how they transported them, and how carefully they had to bring them so as not to break the angels. Where do I find this information?

There are other memorials. This one is to Sir Thomas Denison, who died in 1765, aged 67. He was a Yorkshireman by birth, and became a Justice of the King’s Bench. A contemporary commented that “he rais’d himself chiefly by his own industry; his exaltation to the Bench was by the Interest of the Chief Justice, William, Lord Mansfield, always desirous of having some person of great skill on the Bench with him. It was said that he used to take Sir Thomas in his coach to Westminster, to take instruction by the way; or, to use a vulgar phrase, to suck his brains.” This monument was erected by his widow. It was by Nathaniel Hedges. His work is also found at Stourhead and Westminster Abbey.

Both the pulpit and the font are very marble!

There’s some nice Victorian glass too.

I had a wander outside, though it was a dull day. A good visit.

Julie had spent lots of money in the second hand bookshop – we enjoyed Harewood. Well worth a visit.


Posted in World War 1, Yorkshire | Leave a comment

Huddersfield, Yorkshire – St Peter

It was a pleasant surprise to find St Peter’s church open. Grid reference SE146167, website. They have obviously spent the last decade and a bit sorting out the building; postcards state very clearly that they are “Open, Warm and Welcoming”, and ask “Did you know we are your Church for Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals? We are open every day.” Looking at the list of services, I see that Simon the vicar was in the year above me at Lincoln Theological College – it is good to see someone else keeping the Lincoln tradition of serving all.

There was discrete CCTV, and I assume that the café in the basement means a physical presence. There was some sign of difficult visitors (look closely at the icon), but the number of candles lit suggests that this church is doing its job.

Interestingly though, according to the magazine, they are “not sure as to our place/position within the overall Diocesan plans” – I am not the only one who finds all the push for mission and growth, all the money being thrown at the “successful” churches, means that those of us who are not in that category feel insecure. I know I couldn’t minister in the middle of a town like Huddersfield. I have great respect for those who are there day by day, coping with whoever walks through the doors (and ensuring those doors remain open).

The first church on the site was built by Walter de Laci, the second son of Ilbert de Laci, a wealthy nobleman and Lord of the Manor. These banners tell the story of Walter de Laci. Apparently, as he was riding from Huddersfield to Halifax, he was thrown from his horse into a swampy marsh. Fearing for his life, he vowed that if he was spared, he would found a church. They were made by Catherine Ogle, a previous Vicar … you can tell.

The church isn’t mentioned in Domesday (1085) but can’t be much later. The first recorded Vicar was Michael de Wakefield (1216). One I’d heard of was Henry Venn – and his memorial is in the Nave. It turns out that this Henry Venn is the father – he was Vicar here until his death in 1771. His son John (1759-1813) and grandson Henry (1796-1873) were founders and pillars of the Church Missionary Society. (The church leaflet has it wrong).

The church was rebuilt between 1503 and 1506, but by 1830 its fabric was in a poor state, and it was far too small. Mr Pritchett, the York architect who designed the station, gave an estimate of £2,000 for a simple rebuilding. The project became more ambitious, and for £10,000 they got a raised floor and crypt, a nave extended 30 feet to the west, and a taller tower. The new church was consecrated on 27 October 1836. According to the leaflet, “Unfortunately, many of the stones were laid ‘the wrong way round’ and, as a result, have weathered very badly in years since.” There is more information about James Pigot Pritchett (1789-1868), architect at York, here.

In the nave are the Constable staves. Each parish was responsible for providing constables for the town, before the founding of a modern police force. (Nowadays each business is responsible for providing security guards as police numbers continue to be cut).

The organ dates to 1908, and was restored by Philip Wood in 1984. The church continues its choral tradition, but Evensong happens at 3 pm – the magazine comments that “Evening events are not popular, poor transport and safety concerns.”

The east window and baldachino were designed by Sir Ninian Comper in memory of the fallen of the First World War. Three of the figures in the east window, Mark, Paul and Aidan, all represent daughter churches – now closed.

The font dates to 1570, with the royal cipher ER and the arms of England and France quartered. Its cover is supposed to be that given by Joshua Brooke of New House in 1640. Some information boards as well.

The church had a nice feel, and we were glad we called in. When they update the Transport Walk leaflet, could they mention the fact that the church architect is the same as the station’s?




Posted in Yorkshire | 2 Comments

Huddersfield, Yorkshire – a transport explore

On Monday 21 August Alex and I had a day chasing trains. For various reasons, we started at Burton on Trent. I had had a search yesterday and found that a return to Huddersfield was valid via Birmingham and Manchester, and via Sheffield (indeed even Sheffield and Leeds) – so we caught the first train after 0930 and went south. They may have spent a fortune on the top of Birmingham New Street, but the platforms are just as grotty as ever. We headed north to Manchester, then caught a Trans Pennine up through Stalybridge. That’s another fascinating line that would be worth an explore.

Huddersfield station has a proper buffet and we enjoyed a proper bacon roll. This meant that we missed the 1313 to Sheffield. We picked up a walk round leaflet exploring the transport history of the town, and went for a three mile walk. Here is the trail – website.

The station was designed by the architect James Pigott Pritchett and built by the firm of Joseph Kaye, 1846-50. John Betjeman said it was the most splendid in England – he is correct. The other end was the booking office for the Huddersfield and Manchester.

We walked up, over the bridge at the south of the station, and then had a look at the Goods’ Yard, Warehouses and Water Towers. Much of this was added in the 1880s by the LNWR, and there is a fascinating hydraulic wagon lift. They have started renovating some of the block, but the offices are empty and too many windows are broken. We wondered if they would be better opening them as flats – there is a 15 minute service north to Leeds and south to Manchester, both of which are thriving cities. The wealth is not working its way up the valley – Huddersfield needs a lot of money and a lot of effort – in the current political climate there is no chance of that. I would buy a flat at the top of the lift, overlooking the line!

We crossed the line at the north side of the station, and realised what a huge viaduct this is. After the 1883-5 widening, it carried five tracks.

We walked through the retail park which was the bus depot – Huddersfield has a hideous Tesco – and came down to the canal by the gas works. Not much sign of the former gas works railway, and siding from the main line (it ran from 1922 to 1966). We joined the Huddersfield Broad Canal, which was opened in to link the town with the Calder and Hebble navigation to the north. I assume these abutments are the Gas Works railway.

More dereliction – so many buildings that could be reused to cope with this country’s housing shortage.

then the Locomotive Bridge, Turnbridge, of 1865. It was restored in 1975 when electricity replaced the windlass operation, and is a listed structure.

Then comes Sainsbury’s, who could improve their part of the canal bank with some cleaning, some paint and some flowers. Some money has been spent at Aspley Basin, which is where the Broad Canal joins the later Narrow Canal – making a through route through the town.

We walked back along the main road towards the centre, and the leaflet pointed out these lampposts. Apparently they used to support the wires for the trolleybuses, and slope outwards to take the tension of the wires.

We walked into the centre – once a fine town. In 1837 almost forty daily coach services departed the central inns to all points of the Kingdom.

We explored St Peter’s church – that will be the next blog. When they update the Transport Walk leaflet, could they mention the fact that the church architect is the same as the station’s?

We walked back past the covered market and across the main square to the station. The George Hotel, the flagship hotel for the town, on the main square, right outside the station, is now abandoned and derelict. Abandoned so quickly they didn’t even lower the flags.

We had time for tea before the Sheffield train. It is a lovely ride south to Sheffield, then to Derby and Burton on a East Midlands train.







Posted in Railway interest, Yorkshire | Leave a comment

Shirley, Derbyshire – St Michael

On the afternoon of Friday 11 August we went for a drive, and ended up at the village and church of Shirley – St Michael’s, SK 218416. It is part of the Brailsford benefice, with this website – click on it just to see the name!

A pile of church and village guides produced in 1991 – not a lot has happened since then (or has it?, read on). Sewallis, a Saxon Thane, held land at the Norman Conquest. At Domesday Henry de Ferrers was Sewallis’ overlord, and Sewallis’ son Fulcer had a mill and four oxgangs. Fulcher’s son, Sewallis, and his wife Matilda, probably took the name “de Shirley”. Members of the family fought at the Crusades, at Shrewsbury and at Agincourt. Sir George became a Baronet in 1611, and his great-grandson became Lord Ferrers and Viscount Tamworth in 1711. Tradition has it that Bonnie Prince Charles spent the night here during his invasion of England in 1745, an invasion that petered out at Derby. Walter Shirley was Vicar and Archdeacon of Derby, he restored this church in the 1840s, then went on to be Bishop of Sodor and Man. John Cowper Powys (1872-1963) – author, critic, novelist, poet – was born here.

The church is mentioned in Domesday. In 1230 it was given by Fletcher de Ireton to Darley Abbey – I want it back! There is a cross in the churchyard. The leaflet says the “Churchyard cross is a reconstruction of part of the only memorial there would have been to all the people buried in the graveyard between 1086 and late mediaeval times, when private gravestones began to be used.” Really? I have never heard this theory. I think it’s wrong. There is a rather nice yew tree as well – is it older than the one in Allestree?

Entering the church, I like the fees and memorial plaque – thank you Vergers.

The chancel arch is probably the oldest part of the church, although when they re-ordered the south aisle recently they found the remains of the old altar.

By now I had been joined by two congregation members who showed me round. Box pews, organ and a C15 font.

The War Memorial has some lovely wording. There are other memorials too.

The south aisle window – 3 pm on Good Friday.

A kitchen under the gallery, ground source heat pumps and solar panels. We need to know more – sounds like a project.

A lot has happened in this church since 1991.

Posted in Derbyshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Lichfield, Staffordshire – Cathedral church of St Chad, the East end

Here we are in grey Lichfield (grey because of the weather). Having done the Nave and the Transepts (see the last blog), it is time to move east. The bust by the entrance to the Chapter House is of Bishop Woods, bishop during WW2, by Jacob Epstein. They often have a copy of the St Chad Gospels, an Anglo-Saxon treasure, on display – but the electronic version is probably safer to look at. There is a pdf about it here. I also need to “do” the Staffordshire Horde – website.

The Chapter House was built in the 1240s. It is often used for exhibitions, but was empty at the moment (apart from some display stands). The Chapter House carvings are lovely, and the medieval wall painting shows the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We have lots of gorgeous glass. My photos of glass are never very good, and really we need a guided tour of the glass. I think these are in the North Quire Aisle. I like the musicians.

The shrine of St Chad was dismantled at the Reformation, and the saint’s relics were smuggled out. In 1972 the floor tile was placed here, along with an icon by Aidan Hart and the prayer candles.

The Lady Chapel is the area to the east of the main altar and quire. By the C18 the medieval glass had disappeared, and in 1802 a local landowner, Sir Brooke Boothby, found C16 coloured glass from the Roman Catholic abbey at Herkenrode, which had been removed during the upheavals of the French revolutionary wars. It was now in Rotterdam. He wrote to the Dean, “My love for a place which I consider with the affection of a second home induces me to trouble you, my dear Sir, with this letter … I have contracted to the purchase of 17 windows of what appears to the be the finest painted glass which I have almost ever seen”. I hope the Dean was pleased! Apparently the glass was packed with straw in crates, transported to Hull, then up the Trent, and onto the canal to Gallows Wharf, about a mile from the Cathedral. They have an excellent screen with lots and lots to read – I wish they would make material like this available (and easily findable) on the www. We have lots of digital exhibitions and information – how do we make it available, and keep it up to date and accessible?

The altar is Victorian, and the reredos shows scenes from the Nativity. Apparently the figures were made in Oberammagau, Germany.

The screen which separates the Lady Chapel from the Quire has this memorial tablet to Mrs Selwyn, and her husband is buried nearby (I wonder why they weren’t buried together).

Bishop George Augustus Selwyn was the first Bishop of New Zealand, and then Bishop of Lichfield. He gives his name to Selwyn College, Cambridge – website. There is a New Zealand account of his life here. This is the man himself – from the College website. He is buried in his own little chamber, with NZ and Pacific images – and here is the Vicarage cat that shares his name.

There is a piece of medieval wall painting It apparently shows the Holy Trinity, the knees of God the Father supporting the crucified Christ.

This lovely statue is, according to the guidebook, The Sleeping Children, by Sir Francis Chantrey. It is in memory of two daughters of a Cathedral prebendary – am I being nosy in wanting to know his name, and their names? Whoever they were, may they rest in peace. You might like to have a look at this painting of his studio – here.

There are some interesting lumps of stone, and I tried to photo various corbels – and failed.

This window, made by the Kempe studio in 1901, shows damage inflicted in the Civil War.

I climbed up the steps to St Chad’s Head Chapel. It was built in the 1220s and was where the head of St Chad was kept – but you, dear Reader, probably worked that out. I photoed the view across into the Quire, and Bishop Hacket’s tomb. He was bishop of Lichfield and Coventry from 1662-69, and he was the one behind the rebuilding of the cathedral after the Civil War.

The Quire is very Victorian, with a lot of the work done by Sir George Gilbert Scott. He used alabaster from Fauld near Tutbury, grey and red marble and Blue John from Derbyshire and Staffordshire, and tiles from Stoke-on-Trent.

We will finish with the angels on the Quire screen.

There is so much more to see, and I must come back. I must come back and explore, I must come back and worship, I must come back and photo the outside. We will be back!



Posted in Personal, Staffordshire | Leave a comment

Lichfield, Staffordshire – Cathedral church of St Chad, Nave and Transepts

Lichfield Cathedral is located at SK 116097, dedicated to St Chad, website here. You can read the whole of the Victoria County history here, but sadly a 360 degree panorama shot by the BBC here no longer seems to be available. Julie and I first visited when we were young and in love. I went on a Precentors’ Conference visit when I was at Bury, and we have been back once since. Today was a chance to have a proper look round. Outside was a bit grey, so we need to go back and walk round properly.

Having entered the Cathedral, one of the first things we saw was a kneeler which reminds us how big Lichfield diocese is. I wonder how different life would have been if I got the job in Oswestry in 2008?

The first Cathedral was built by Bishop Hedda in 700 to house the bones of St Chad. The Normans rebuilt it, and it was rebuilt again in the 1300s. The Lady Chapel is C14. The Shrine of St Chad was demolished at the Reformation, and the Cathedral suffered in the Civil War. By time the monarchy was restored, only the Chapter House was useable. In the C18 the architect James Wyatt reordered the Cathedral, the George Gilbert Scott did another reorder in the C19. The C20, especially the end of it, and the start of this century, have been the times of restoration.

Let’s start in the Nave. This is the West Window.

Why didn’t I move the yellow cleaning sign in front of the Nave Altar, or at least park Julie in front of it? It is a 2003 altar – rather nice.

I think the choir stalls and plastic chairs need replacing with something better.

I think I like the saints by the prayer stands.

There is some good Victorian glass – including St Edmund.

The South Transept and St Michael’s Chapel is an area of remembrance. Dr Johnson, compiler of the 1755 dictionary – go and watch the Blackadder episode – and David Garrick, the actor. The busts are by Richard Westmacott (1799-1872), who also produced the pediment of the Royal Exchange in London – wikipedia is here.

There is a row of fascinating stones opposite – all of them would have wonderful stories to tell.

There are lots of fascinating military memorials too – I like this one with the Egyptian theme. It commemorates the 80th Regiment of Foot, which was the forerunner of the Staffordshires, later the Mercians, and their involvement in the Nile Campaign 1801-2.

The screen by Hardman of Birmingham commemorates the Zulu War (1879). The chapel is a World War 1 memorial.

Pretend you are the eagle, fly up to the roof, and enjoy the windows. I don’t know who made what – just enjoy them.

The south window is a Kempe window, showing Christ in Glory and the spread of the church.

Coming back down to earth – the Rummer is an early C18 goblet which holds 2 1/2 pints and was originally used to measure the daily allowance of beer for each of the gentleman of the choir of Vicars Choral. It is still used annually by the lay vicars as a loving cup.

The North Transept has children’s activities, with an amazing font,a rather nice cross, and a very patient bishop.



Posted in Staffordshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Yoxall, Staffordshire – St Peter

St Peter’s church, Yoxall, in on the busy main road – SK 142190. They have a website, but don’t seem to have a Vicar at the moment. We parked in the pub car park – lovely flowers, we must go back for a meal – website.

The church was open, with some friendly people. Nice “Discovering Yoxall” leaflet from the parish council, with a walk around the village.

Bright sun for the photos, and a welcoming notice! Traditionally the church is Saxon, but there is no evidence for this, and no mention in the Doomsday Book. The capital and arch of the South Door date to about 1200, but as we enter by the North Door, I failed to photo it. The first named Vicar is Roger de Yoxall, circa 1241. In 1533 there existed a chantry chapel endowed at some unknown date by Robert Rose, and two chantry priests, Richard Rauynstall and Thomas Mason are named in wills of the period. In 1547 the churchwardens’ accounts state “It(em) the costs at the takynge downs the images xijd”, and six years later (after the accession of Mary) “It(em) payd fr the rde and the ymages and to the clerke for settynge them upper ixs.vd”. As we can see, the rood screen was taken down again.

They did some work at the back of the church, with St Swithin’s room in 2002, and I like the sign reminding the choir to behave as they enter church. Some nice banners – a bit different to what is normal.

When Humphrey Welles’ died in 1564 he specified that his body should be buried in an alabaster tomb between the pillars that stood between the body of the church and the Lady Chapel. The tomb is probably the work of Boyleys, a Burton firm of tomb-makers, and was moved to its present position in the restoration of the 1860s. I have very rarely thought about who actually makes tombs, who has the skills to carve in alabaster.

There is a memorial to Admiral Henry Meynell, although I can’t find anything in the guide about him. He died in 1865, and I assume it the same admiral whose portrait is in Leeds Art Gallery – website. According to the listing statement for the church – website – the tomb is by Baron Marochetti. You can find out about him here – what did we do before google? He also did the statue of Richard the Lionheart that stands outside the House of Lords.

There is a plaque to James Thompson, VC. He was awarded his VC during the Indian Mutiny – there is information here. “For gallant conduct in saving the life of his captain (Captain Wilton), on the 9th of July, 1857, by dashing forward to his relief, when that officer was surrounded by a party of Ghazees, who made a sudden rush on him, from a serai – and killing two of them before further assistance could reach. Also recommended for conspicuous conduct throughout the siege.”

An interesting War Memorial and window, though I don’t know who made either of them,  and please can we remove the Christmas lights.

Some of the other glass is William Wailes.

This altar and alabaster reredos was added in 1917 – and that’s all the guide tells me.

Nor does it tell me anything about the clock. I can’t think of another church where the face is simply painted on the tower. I could go back through this blog and see … or not.



Posted in Staffordshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

King’s Bromley, Staffordshire – All Saints

Thursday 3 August was my 55th birthday. We drove to Lichfield, which is a town we enjoy, with a nice coffee shop by the car park. We did some shopping. We had a good explore of the Cathedral – I’ll blog that separately (it’ll be a while, it’s a big job) – and lunched in their café. We drove home via the back road, the A515, and called at King’s Bromley and Yoxall.

All Saints church, King’s Bromley SK 123170 is in the Diocese of Lichfield. I can’t find a website and I don’t have a Staffordshire Pevsner (must add it to the Christmas list), but there is a small leaflet.

The porch is apparently Victorian, and I don’t like the doors, but the south wall is fascinating. There is an early window (Saxon or Norman). I missed the scratch dial and arrow sharpening hole.

An interesting yew arch, wooden grave marker, and the Victorians renovated the cross for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

The nave is the original Saxon/Norman church, the clerestory was added about 1450, and the roof renewed in 1927.

The font is dated 1664, and was a replacement after the restoration of Charles II. The initials WU and SH were churchwardens at the time.

The pulpit dated 1656 is the top part of a two tier pulpit which stood in the right hand corner by the rood screen, and was moved here in 1927. The choir wood seems to be early C20, with some nice angels. The organ was originally in the north aisle, then moved to its present position in 1927. The sealed vault of the Lane family is underneath.

The high altar is the original stone slab removed at the Reformation and rediscovered during the 1870 restoration. The reredos is of marble and Staffordshire alabaster, by Jones and Willis, 1911. The east window, based on the Light of the World, also dates to 1911. On the south wall of the Chancel is an original WW1 wooden cross – and there is a website about them – here. It marked the grave of Captain George Roland Lane MC, born 27 February 1894. He was previously wounded in 1914 and killed in action in France on 15 September 1916 during an attack on Lesboeufs.  He is buried in Guards’ Cemetery, Lesboeufs. On the north side is a rare, wooden, missal shelf – C13 or C14.

I think this is the Eginton window, fragments of mixed glass by Francis Eginton – here is his Wikipedia entry, though it does not mention this church.

There was also a nice photo of the W.I., and good displays as I left church.

Finally, the clock is by John Smith of Derby. It originally had one dial, now it has three. In the estimate of 1898 they offered to “form a first class clock which would keep accurate time and which we guarantee to maintain perfect accurate time with less variations than 15 seconds per month.” The guide comments that “This guarantee still stands.”






Posted in Staffordshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Bradbourne, Derbyshire – All Saints’

Back home we tried to have a day off on Friday 28 July. We had coffee at the National Stone Centre, and then cut across to Brassington. Sadly the church was locked. We went on to Bradbourne. Here is All Saints’ church which is at SK 207527. They are part of the Wirksworth team, with a website here.

It was not really the weather to wander round outside. If I had, I would have found that part of the north wall is Saxon, and the tower is Norman. The main body of the church is C13 and C14. Restoration in 1909.

In the churchyard is Saxon cross-shaft. We’d like to imagine it standing there for centuries, but it was apparently erected here in 1947, “having been resurrected in the late 1880s from fragments reused in the porch foundations and churchyard stile” (Pevsner). Late C8, early C9.

This painting of the Adoration of the Shepherds was given to the parish by the Reverend R.F. Borough after WW2. The artist is unknown, but it is probably C16/C17, of the Italian school. Not easy to photograph. The parish have produced “A Spiritual Journey” round the church, which invites us to pause and look. It points out that there is a lady at the top of the painting who is simply getting on with her work, and missing he significance of what is going on.

In the chancel is a lovely south window by D. Marion Grant. It has lots to look at. There is a little about her here which says that the design for this window (though Bradbourne is not in Dorset) was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1940. During WW2 she worked for the Air Ministry, designing camouflage – you never think of camouflage being designed!

The East window is a bit boring in comparison, but the lights are fun.

In the Lady Chapel, the size of the statue leaves you in doubts whose chapel it is! It was given in memory of the Reverend Arthur Gamble, curate here from 1887-91, then Vicar until 1918. The days of one man serving one village 31 years have long gone!

Pevsner says this is a “Primitive C16-C17 wall painting … domed polygonal towers surrounding a black-letter inscription from Ecclesiastes 1”. I can understand why the roof support had to go there, but who let them put that wire down one side, and the noticeboard and switch so close?

This is a sad memorial – do you think it was to a son so young he didn’t have a name?

I did find it rather amusing that the MU banner is kept behind bars – do they do the same with the Mothers’ Union?

Pevsner thinks this font is Victorian – apparently there is a possible pre-Conquest one which I missed.

Bradbourne proclaims itself to be a “doubly thankful” village. Most websites are happy to accept it is a Thankful village of WW1, when 18 who served all returned home. The village has researched, and produced a good booklet, which says that 11 who served in WW2 also returned home. However, on 30 March 1944 a plane that took off in poor visibility from RAF Ashbourne, hit high tension cables near Kniveton, then trees on Haven Hill, and crashed by Bradbourne Mill. The four crew members were all killed.

Before the rain started, I went to photo the South door. Rather lovely carvings. This is a church to come back to when the sun is shining.



Posted in Derbyshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Papa Westray, Orkney – St Ann and St Boniface

We will be return to Orkney (probably in 2019 – 2018 will be a bit busy with Hannah and Bertie’s wedding). Before we leave, let me blog about a visit to Papa Westray on Monday 29 August 2011. In those days I only blogged Northumberland churches, but it was a very special day – made more special in memory because it was a wonderful day I had with Gareth (my eldest son, who died on Boxing Day 2013).

One of my ambitions was to fly the shortest scheduled air flight in the world – the route from Papa Westray to Westray, less than 2 minutes. There is lots of information about the island on this website – including details of the plane, the ferry, and ways of seeing the island once you arrive. I booked us on a tour.

There was only one spare seat on the day we wanted to fly, so we ended up with me catching the ferry from Kirkwall to Westray at 0630.

Then a minibus across Westray, and the ferry to Papa. Stuart, who was showing us round the island, collected me, took me to the Co-op Hostel so I could have coffee while he used the minibus for the school run. He then picked Gareth up from the 0930 flight, which arrived at 0953, having done the hop from Westray en route.

We were given a guided tour of the island, went into the little museum, met Chris the RSPB Warden who – it turned out – had been a pupil at the school in Ponteland I was governor of. He asked after various members of staff. “Can I take your photo and mention you in assembly?” I asked. “Yes. You can tell the little b*****s, that if they don’t do any work, they’ll end up on an island off the coast of Scotland”, he replied.

We had lunch, cooked by Stuart’s wife Mary, at St Ann’s church – HY495516 – website. They have a weekly service – last week she had taken it (with a congregation of 15). They have modernised the church, it now has a hall, a doctor’s surgery, and a flat for a visiting medic or minister. The felt banners are lovely, though my photos do not do justice to them.

My diary says “Fed and watered, we continued to St Boniface Kirk. This ecclesiastical site dates back to the 8th century and stands above the rocky shore towards the north west of the island. A Norse hog-back gravestone and two Early Christian cross-slabs found in the Kirkyard all combine to indicate a site of great significance. There is a good write up here. The woodwork inside is good – rebuilt quite recently. One lump of panelling is said to be from a ship lost after the Spanish Armada, the lamps came from St Ann’s, and the tiles were made by the school children. The lichens and the fuchsia hedge are rather special too.”

Our last visit was to the Knap of Howar – website. This is the oldest known dwelling in Orkney, and the oldest standing buildings in northern Europe. Skara Brae is 5,000 years old. The Knap is 600 years older. Here you can crawl through the entrance tunnels and enter the houses themselves. They are incredibly well made – you can imagine people living there. The larger standing slabs of stone that seem to divide the rooms, the cupboards, hearths and quernstone.

Back to the church for a final cup of tea, then Stuart ran me to the airport for the 1651 plane, to go via Westray and arrive at Kirkwall at 1714. I got the seat behind the pilot. It is odd when he turns round and addresses you. “It’s a bit noisy and the corner we turn over to Westray is a bit tight. We’re landing on the grass when we get there, so don’t think I’ve missed the runway. Your lifejacket is under your seat, but if an engine cuts out I can glide into land.” He wasn’t kidding about the tight turn. We did take off to landing in 1 minute 46 seconds. The flight back over the islands to Kirkwall was stunning.

Gareth got the 1655 ferry, the bus across Westray, and arrived back at Kirkwall at 1920. A marvellous day – and this was the only photo I got of my son!

In 2014, some Ponteland friends went north for the wedding of Chris the bird man. They must have chatted to Stuart and told him Gareth had died, as a few days later I got a card saying how he remembered this day, and the pleasure he had had showing us round the island. That meant a huge amount. You meet some lovely people in this world.

Posted in Personal, Scotland | Leave a comment