Kirkharle, Northumberland – St Wilfrid

A couple of days in Newcastle, and on Thursday 11 July we had a drive through Northumberland. One of the churches worth re-blogging is St Wilfrid’s church Kirkharle, just off the main A696 at NZ 012826. I last visited in 2015, moaned about the website, and commented “It is a lovely spot, but it is only used for one service a month. They are talking about an improved heating system, but can that really be justified for a building used so rarely. How can we get the tourism and the visitors going to the shops up to the church – and get them thinking about more than shopping?”

There is a new website for the shops – https://kirkharlecourtyard.co.uk, and it includes this page https://kirkharlecourtyard.co.uk/make-a-day-of-it/the-church/. Capability Brown was baptised here, and the whole site has built on its CB links – it was his anniversary in 2016. We did some “Spirit in Stone” work with these parishes, so I would like to think they built on that. (Have a look at the end of this blog to find out about “Spirit in Stone”.

The website proclaims that in 2018 “with generous grant support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Community Foundation, All churches Trust and Northumberland Historic Churches, essential restoration to the drains and the masonry has been completed, a brand new oil heating system installed and the vestry upgraded to provide basic catering facilities. The £90,200 funding has saved and restored the building’s fabric, and with the new modern heating system it’s hoped that besides regular church services, other events can be held in St Wilfrids, including talks, concerts, exhibitions and weddings bringing the building back to life for the community. Enquiries are welcome.”

Electricians were working in the church when I called in, and it was lovely to see the work they were doing. Also great to see new guide, information boards, and a buzz about the place.


The HLF funds even allowed them to have a new altar frontal in memory of CB. It is inspired by the landscapes he created, and by the botanical paintings of Henrietta Loraine of Kirkharle Hall. Between 1826 and 1829 she painted always daily, a different local wildflower, inscribing on the painting the date, the Latin name of the flower and its location. The 214 paintings are in a private collection, but are one of the earliest surviving record of wild flowers of the area. The charity, Fine Cell Work, was commissioned to undertake the embroidery, designed by Kate Paton-King. It was undertaken by prisoners at HMP Frankland in County Durham. The background painting by Sabina Rose suggests a typical Capability Brown landscape with rolling hills and a serpentine lake.

The font is special, now with a display board, and the eagle is fun.

Spirit in Stone was a 2013 project linked in with the coming of the Lindisfarne Gospels to Durham. A team in Newcastle and Durham diocese produced a gazetteer of 120 churches to visit (copies were widely distributed), and a website – http://www.spiritinstone.co.uk/ .

The website still exists, and thanks to Andrew is still updated – no thanks to either Diocese. A link is hidden in the depths of the Newcastle diocese website, but I can find no mention of it on the Durham one. One of these days the Church of England will realise that heritage and tourism are worth promoting (but I’m not holding my breath). Fortunately there are some people in our parishes who still have this vision – well done Kirkharle.

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Breadsall, Derbyshire – All Saints

The Churchwardens were sworn in at a service at All Saints church, Breadsall, on Tuesday 18 June. It’s a church close to home, with a lovely spire that looks down on the Derwent valley. SK 371398. They have a website – https://www.breadsallchurch.org.uk/  – which has a section on disabled access, but it makes nothing of the history of this Grade 1 church, and has no comments as to when it is unlocked. The two noticeboards in the churchyard have no contact details at all. There are details of the church at https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101328833-church-of-all-saints-breadsall. I went back on another occasion to get a few outside photos – you can decide whether you like the evening light, or the gathering storm.

The tower is C13 and I like the line “Clasping buttresses rising to crenellated parapet on corbels.” The spire is C14 – Pevsner says it is “one of the finest steeples in the county.” The main entrance is not easy, but there is a south door, probably C12 with some old wrought iron work.

The church was rebuilt after a fire in 1914, and tradition says that was started by Suffragettes. An article in the Derby Telegraph looks at this – https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/nostalgia/breadsall-church-fire-suffragettes-arson-1473287 and has some photos of the damage. The Vicar was in no doubt it was the women! The tower and spire and walls were almost all that was saved. They did a good job of the rebuilding. I like the carving on the screen. There are some burnt papers, and a memorial plaque. Nice angels high inside, but my photos failed.

There is a pieta – described by Pevsner as “somewhat strident in expression.” It’s C14 Nottingham alabaster, found in 1877. There was a gallery of Nottingham alabaster in Nottingham Castle Museum, but when we went last year it was a gallery that needed some work. The museum is now closed, so we’ll see if the religious artefacts get the care and display that they need, or whether they’ll just be put in store because no one’s interested in religious stuff.

Nice east end, and some interesting embroidery.

The memorial is to Erasmus Darwin, “A Physician, Poet and Philospher”. He died in 1802 at Breadsall Priory – now a location of wedding and funeral bunfights. The Erasmus Darwin Museum at Lichfield is well worth a visit  https://www.erasmusdarwin.org/. I’m sorry I couldn’t get better photos.

I like the angel tree, and the memorial to an organist.

Let’s also remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice – and the church people who maintain the churches, churchyards and everything else. Let’s give thanks for those who look after our churches today – here’s my lovely wardens (Patrick, Michele, Peter and David).

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Nottingham – St Barnabas RC Cathedral

I had an email a few weeks ago from +Libby, the new Bishop of Derby, asking if I could go to the 175th anniversary service of St Barnabas Catholic Cathedral in Nottingham (the delights of being Diocesan Ecumenical Officer). Friday evening 7 June 2019, and the weather was not good – I really don’t want to drive down the A52 and go to a service of Solemn Vespers. Mutter, mutter. I followed the sat nav, found somewhere to park, and was welcomed by name when I entered the Cathedral – and it was worth entering.

The service was lovely. The music was excellent, a choir of young people, many university students I should imagine – have a look at their excellent website https://www.nottinghamcathedralmusic.com/. One of the clergy had the title of “Bishop’s Chaplain and Diocesan Master of Ceremonies” – I want his job. What took me back was the all-male procession, how life used to be 25 years ago! (Only the Catholics were processing). They had welcomed lots of Ecumenical people and, as the Catholic Diocese covers a large area, lots of VIPs. Best of all, the service was over in 47 minutes – the Dean of Leicester and I agreed that no Anglican Cathedral can do a posh service in less than an hour! Then there was time for an explore, and to enjoy the Flower Festival, and some excellent refreshments. The Cathedral’s website is http://www.stbarnabascathedral.org.uk/00_site/start.html

The church was built in 1844 and the architect was A.W.N. Pugin. When it was built it was the largest Catholic church in England. They have an HLF grant to do a lot of working telling the story, and there are some good events on over the next few months – see http://www.stbarnabascathedral.org.uk/02_Barnabas/175.html. Just enjoy the building, the paintwork and the flowers.

Sat at the front I had a good view up into the roof, and the Barnabas banner and flowers.

Lovely flowers around the Cathedral – spot Rolls Royce and the Nottingham Goose Fair.

Pugin’s work comes to the fore in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and there is some lovely glass.

And don’t forget the refreshments.

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Moseley Old Hall, Staffordshire

The nice thing about being on holiday not too far from home, is you have time to visit other places on the way home. My plan was the NT property at Wightwick Manor, but when we got there the car park was packed. We continued driving, thinking we’d continue home, perhaps stopping somewhere en route. En route we saw a brown NT sign to Moseley Old Hall, so followed it. We were very glad we did! A nice welcome – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/moseley-old-hall Loo and tea room to start with. The Hall was fascinating, garden gorgeous, 2nd Hand bookshop, and I purchased a rose. Several trips were required to get everything to the car.

Henry Pitt built a half-timbered farmhouse in around 1600. He was a Catholic, and built this nice house in a rural area, not far from the main Wolverhampton Stafford road. His daughter Alice married Thomas Whitgreave, a Protestant Royalist, but she (and her children) kept their faith. After Thomas’ death, she managed the estate. The Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651 was a disaster for the Royalist forces fighting for the heir to the crown, Charles II. As the remnants of his defeated army straggled its was past the Hall, she tended to their wounds, and gave refuge to a stranger (who she later discovered was Charles himself). Alice’s son Thomas had fought at Naseby, but was ill and did not fight at Worcester, he agreed to let Charles shelter here. Charles had fled north to Whiteladies, then tried to escape west into Wales, back to Boscobel, then to Mosley. He arrived here on 7 September, and spent much of his time in what is now known as The King’s Room. There was a hiding place in the corner, which might have been very necessary. The King continued down to Bristol, disguised as the servant of Jane Lane, from a Protestant Royalist family who lived at Bentley Hall, four miles from Mosely. From here he escaped to the Continent.

Although the house is no longer half timbered, you can imagine what it felt like on the day the King arrived. The Chapel would have been less visible – too dangerous to be a Catholic, so you put everything out when you need to.

Less than an hour to get home, which means we are not very far from Moseley. Julie had a very large pile of parcels to review for northernreader.wordpress.com, and there were no phone calls on the answermachine. That must be a first!

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Cotheridge, Worcestershire – St Leonard – and The Firs, Elgar’s birthplace

Friday 31 May, the last day of the holiday – but we live life to the full! We were out of the flat nice and quickly, and headed towards Elgar’s birthplace. We were there so early we went and had an explore. St Leonard’s, Cotheridge church – SO 787547 – is now part of the Lower Teme Valley parish, in the Worcester West Rural Team – https://wwrt.churchinsight.com/Groups/305347/Lower_Teme_Valley.aspx. No guidebook, just a laminated sheet, and nothing about the building on the website, but at least it was open. Reading the sheet, they’ve done a good job of putting it in context. It is one thing to tell me it’s an early C12 church, but when they say “Henry I, 50 years before the murder of Thomas a Becket” I can have a bit idea of when that actually is. Then the church was altered in the C15, and restored in 1684 for Rowland Berkeley (I love the way we know who it was restored in 1684). British Listed Buildings tells me that at the time of surveying (June 1984) the south tower and nave were out of use due to  their deteriorating condition – so well done to all those who have got it back into a good, and open, condition.

I headed round to the north side, and found flat access into a kitchen (mugs and a kettle provided if I wished to make coffee) and a disabled loo (for this relief, much thanks). The Chancel has a C15 east window and I like the altar rail. I missed the “interesting glazed floor tiles of the C14 and C15” on the Chancel floor. I should know by now to look down at the floor as well us up to the window.

The Chancel Arch is not just some wooden screen or metal bird cage, this is a proper Norman arch.

Reading the sheet, the Nave itself had a roof which collapsed in 1947, and was rebuilt by 1961, then another major rebuild in the late 1980s – my admiration for them increases again. I like the welcome too – there are many open churches, but not many open organs.

The South Window dates from the time of Magna Carta, and the pulpit is C17. The North Chapel (now the vestry) was added then.

I enjoyed the machine which told me some of the church stories – it seems a robust contraption (though the trailing wire could do with sorting), and I assume it was grant funded. I know there’s a lot more work being done now with clever apps (though I take some convincing that the technology is up to it in the middle of nowhere). It was also nice to see that they had done some walk leaflets – they may no longer have a service every Sunday, but they are seeking to serve in different ways – well done to them. How about producing a combined leaflet for all the churches of the benefice, and persuading the National Trust and other tourist magnets in the area to stock them?).

In the South Porch we have some material on display. The timber bell tower, built with large oak beams, was added early C16. The weatherboards were added in the reign of Queen Anne. Just one bell in the tower now – there were four, but one is safer!

Neither font is mentioned anywhere – I like the skull as a reminder of mortality.

This is a church that would benefit from an exploration with Pevsner in hand. What are all the buttresses and odd bits of wall? Answers on a postcard please.

On to The Firs, and it was well worth a visit – https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-firs. It’s been run by the Elgar Birthplace Trust for many years, but now the National Trust are in charge. They have built an excellent Visitors’ Centre – I liked the way the speed bump had been removed to facilitate wheelchair access. A very good film about Elgar, and a small museum. They had based their display on “All you need to write a symphony”
· Mark making tools, paper, and a steady hand,
· A pipe and tobacco (or a cigar), glue and scissors,
· A partner who cares for you, a ruler, and a rostrum (which is the five pointed ink pen to draw the lines of a stave)
· A metronome, a patriotic feeling and a manly moustache,
· The love of friends, a bicycle and some wealthy patrons.

There was plenty of music, some good art, and an excellent tea room (with superb scones).

Julie, please note …

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Stoulton, Worcestershire – St Edmund

I started the day by walking across the road to St Edmund’s church, Stoulton. S0 907497. When I go online in June to find out the details of the church, the website I find is that of Sandy Marchant, the owner of The Old Vicarage – https://www.stoultonworcester.org/. Have a look at it, find out about the holiday flats (but if we can’t book it again because a reader of northernvicar has got there first, I shall be most annoyed!), and read their Vision 2020 documents. This is what can be done when one or two people get the community behind their village church. St Edmund’s churches are very special to me – and I’ll do anything I can to help. (I’ve suggested to our choir we have an afternoon out next summer).

The church is Norman, dating to at least 1120. The West Tower was rebuilt in the 1930s, and the porch is modernish (though it doesn’t feel like it). Flat access and usually unlocked (though I know where the key is kept!).

It is not a church you walk into and go “wow”, but you find a folder of info about the plans, a sheet about the Community Mural (have a look at https://www.stoultonworcester.org/community-mural/  for more details) and a kneeler featuring the Vicarage.

There’s a nice Hatchment, a memorial or two, and a font made of a substantial piece of stone.

There is a memorial to a hard-working and long-lasting Vicar, a memorial to a head-working and long-lasting Churchwarden, and a memorial to men who served their Country – I suspect many of those who died were anything but ‘long-lasting.’

The Chancel has more comfy seats for worship, and a nice east window and carvings.

I then went for a stroll round the back. Part of their Vision is to reopen the south door. With a second exit you can do rather more with a building, and we know our buildings have got to be used. Rather nice blind arcading over the door. I will return.

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Upton upon Severn, Worcestershire – St Peter and St Paul

After Pershore we went on to Upton upon Severn, and found it was a bigger village than we expected. We parked in the centre and found most of the shops were inaccessible if you have a Julie in a wheelchair. We went round by the old church, the bridge and Severn, then found we could get into the Old Butchers Shop – and they did a good pizza. They didn’t have a disabled loo – fortunately there is a public one in the village (another reason why Councils should not be allowed to close loos).

We continued down to the church – and found we could put the ramp down to get in. It’s at SO 852402, and has two websites – http://www.upton.uk.net/townmatters/stpandpchurch/stpeters.html and http://www.hopechurchfamily.org/. It is the sort of church where the history of the building gets five short paragraphs. I’m not sure whether I’m ready for a bouncy castle on a Sunday morning – must recommend it to my lot!

The old church is by the river – just the tower remains. By 1879 it was in a bad state of repair and not big enough to accommodate the town’s population. The plans were drawn up by Sir Arthur Blomfield and built by Mr T. Collins of Tewkesbury for £12,000. Unfortunately they only raised £11,000 – so it was all a bit tight. The church was consecrated on 3 September 1879 and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. The first Rector of the new church was Robert Lawson. He was incumbent for 31 years from 1864 to 1895. He also donated the Font. A few things remained from the old church; the bells, organ and some monuments, including a crusader knight. He was William Boteler, a local man, who, with his brother, built the 14th century church. William’s brother’s effigy has never been found.

Sarah and Robert Baines have a rather lovely memorial. He was born in 1747, the son of John Baines of Layham, Suffolk. He was educated at Tonbridge, Charterhouse, Christ Church Oxford and then Christ’s College Cambridge. He was ordained as a priest in 1771 and married the same year. He held two curacies in East Anglia, was Chaplain to the Bishop of Chester, then went to Upton in 1772 (which makes me wonder how he managed all that in one year). Mr Lawson, wife of the first Rector, recorded in her writings that the family knew a lot of tragedy. They had 13 children – one son was drowned while bathing in the Severn, a daughter died in a fire, and another was lost in the shipwreck of The Earl of Abergavenny off the Isle of Portland. Have a look at https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/110519.html

Elizabeth Kendal (died 1799) was probably the sister of Ann Ross, the mother of baby Elizabeth – she was baptised on 14 January 1793 and buried on 9 September. Her father, Ann’s husband, was a maltster and publican. 

The booklet about the Memorials doesn’t seem to mention the War Memorial. The other ones I’ve photoed are to George and Maria Martin. He was educated at Eton and Merton College Oxford, then was a banker in Worcester. They were major fund raisers for the church. The writing is by Eric Gill – these were installed in 1906 and 1923, both moved from the chancel in 1966.

The East Window is Victorian stained glass – it is a Te Deum window, and I like the figures. The reredos was in memory of Robert Lawson. The light was not very good. It is one of the most colourful Churches Together banner I have ever seen. Enjoy more Victorian glass.

The West Window is a memorial to Mr Martin, and is by Christopher Whall, leader of the Arts and Craft movement in the field of stained glass – the Lady Chapel in Gloucester is by him. The Works of the Lord and the Servants of the Lord – Air, Earth, Man and Angel; George, Edward the Confessor, Martin, and the Makers of the Song ‘O all ye works of the Lord’, the Three Holy Children, Ananias, Azarias and Misael in the fiery furnace, and the fourth ‘Like unto the Son of God’ who rebukes the flame, and upon whose face and kingly robe it presumes not even to glow.

Over the Nave altar is The Corona (Latin for crown), a 1987 installation which is made up of a circle of eight winged ‘Spirit Figures’ and puts a strong focus on the altar. It was designed and made by Anthony Robinson, as were the candlesticks on the altar. It was a dull, grey afternoon – be lovely to see it when the sun is shining.

We found a bakers we could get into, so that’s cake for tea sorted.

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Pershore, Worcestershire – Holy Cross

Wednesday 29 May, and we drove to have an explore of Pershore. We parked by the church – SO 948 457 – and had a wonderful visit. Pershore Abbey is officially the Church of the Holy Cross. Website at http://pershoreabbey.org.uk/ an excellent guidebook in three parts – a short history, a guide, and a longer historical essay – and a very good children’s guide (though they can’t spell millennium). They also invite me to dress up and explore – I want grandchildren so I can!

The earliest reference to a religious foundation here is in 681 when the King of Mercia gave land to fund a Christian community. The Vikings attacked in the 900s – that must have been quite a sail to get here – and in 972 the Abbey introduced the Benedictine Rule. In 976 a local earl seized two-thirds of the Abbey’s land. In 1065 Edward the Confessor gave this land to fund his new abbey at Westminster. The parish was split in two, and the tenants of Westminster Abbey worshipped at St Andrew’s church. Pershore Abbey remained an important medieval abbey – which was a good thing as the church suffered fires in 1002, 1223 and 1288, plus storms and an earthquake. In 1540 Henry VIII’s commissioners arrived in Pershore and ordered the demolition of the lot. The people of Pershore paid £400 for the quire (the area where the choir set), the tower and the north and south transepts. The nave and chapel were destroyed, which has led to all sorts of problems since. The Victorians had a major restoration in 1862, with George Gilbert Scott in charge. He opened up the lantern tower and installed a unique ringing platform suspended high in the tower (which I didn’t photo). They offer tower tours – which I would very much like to go and do some time soon.

The historical story is shown in two of the Victorian windows – planned by the curate Canon Wickendon, and were made by the firm of Hardman & Co. They are rather lovely. There are also some Saxon foundations – the Saxon church was destroyed by fire in 1002. It probably looked like Deerhurst.

The War Memorial is in the South Transept. Alfred Drury RA was the designer and sculptor – his best known work is the bronze figures on the frontage of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Immortality has just alighted on the terrestrial sphere, holding the olive branch of peace and the crown of eternal life. 460 men went to War – 1010 did not come back.

The crusader’s tomb is probably that of Sir William de Harley. They were a local land-owning family who were given land and a manor house in exchange for military service. The crusader is wearing ‘mail’ armor and has mittens and a horn. The abbot’s tomb is probably that of Abbot Edmund Hert, abbot 1456 to 1479. Apparently the position of the mitre under his head suggests that he retired from the position before he died. Good interpretation banners (all the notices in this church are of a very high quality).

There are two tombs for the Haselwood family – one in the South Transept which I photoed when we arrived, and the other behind the bookstall in the North which I photoed on the way out (having spent too much with the lovely lady on the stall itself). The Haselwoods wre landowners who lived nearby in Wick in the 1500s and 1600s. The tomb in the south commemorates Thomas Haselwood, who died in 1624. The two kneeling figures facing each other are his widow, Elizabeth, and their son, Francis. The tomb in the north commemorates Fulke Haselwood, Thomas’s father, who died in 1595. The carvings of the children are known as ‘The Weepers’, because they are weeping his death. The child facing outwards probably died before their father and is shown welcoming him to heaven. I hope my boys will be there to welcome me when my time comes.

The font is located by the west door and is thought to be Norman, dating from the mid 1100s. It is decorated with an interlacing arcade of 13 panels, one each for Christ and the twelve apostles. It was replaced by a new font in 1840 and then used as a cattle trough and a garden ornament. It came back in 1921.

Not sure about the fencing by the lectern – the old problem of getting wobbly knees to the eagle – and the altar is rather lovely. Some nice memorial brasses too.

Let’s also enjoy some more stained glass.

In this church you must look up – and wish I had a camera and a tripod. The quire, aisles and NE chapel were rebuilt after the fire of 1223, and again after a 1288 fire, they did more rebuilding. The Abbey’s vaults are called ploughshare vaults, reflecting a medieval ploughshare (in case you hadn’t guessed). There are 41 stone bosses, and each one is different. Originally each one was painted. Just enjoy.

In 1913 the stone buttresses were added to the outside – be patient, we’ll be there in a minute – and between 2005 and 2017 there has been major conservation work. They had a touch screen which obviously dates from this time – and it was well worth watching. (They could do with putting it on their website). I sat and worked my way through every film – lovely to see the architect talking about the project, and explaining what sort of vaulting is what.

It was starting to rain as we went outside, so I had a quick scoot round with a camera. It is quite a place (that’s the sort of description Pevsner would never have used!)

The sculpture is called “Leafing through history” and was made by Tom Harvey in 2007. It’s a shame he’s lost his hand, but wood is not concrete – nothing natural will last. What has lasted is skill, and a building built to the glory of God.

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Avoncroft Museum of Buildings

Avoncroft Museum of Buildings – https://avoncroft.org.uk/ – is one of those places I have read about, but never got to. It is near Bromsgrove, and we found it easily. They have a mobility scooter you can borrow, so we were able to get to the whole site. They have an interesting mix of buildings, and other bits and pieces. The ecclesiastical pieces – this started as a church crawling blog after all – are the spire of St Paul’s church Smethwick and a tin tabernacle from Bringsty Common, Herefordshire, and a hearse.

The original St Paul’s church was built in 1857 – West Smethwick Working Men’s Church, designed by G.B. Nicholls. By 1961 the base of the spire had rotted, and a fibreglass replacement was cheaper. Two years later the church was burned down, only the spire remained. It was kept when a new building was constructed in 1966. That was declared redundant in 1991, and the spire was re-erected here!

The Tin Chapel was built in 1891 at a cost of £70. The Anglicans were worried about the number of people attending the Methodist church. It was purchased from the catalogue of J.C. Humphries, a London iron merchant and manufacturers – similar chapels were installed across the Empire (they had a photo of the Railway Mission chapel in Bury St Edmunds). It arrived in a flat pack at Brockhampton railway sidings, and was taken by horse and cart to its final site. It could host baptisms, but not weddings or funerals – wonderful Ecclesiatical Law! It was closed in 1988 and moved here in 1995.

The Tollhouse comes from Little Malvern. It dates to 1822 and stood where the current A4104 meets the current A449. When they rebuilt it here they discovered the bread oven – and they rebuilt the privy.

The Chain Shop comes from Scotia Works at Cradley Heath near Birmingham. Mid C19, fourteen hearths, worked until 1969. A recording of some memories helped us picture how hot (but freezing in winter) and noisy it must have been. There was also a Blacksmith’s Shop.

The C15 Town House from Bromsgrove was rather lovely – though they need a gardener.

The Perry Mill is from Hunt End, Redditch, and was built between 1790 and 1810. Perry is an alcoholic drink made by fermenting pear juice.

The Windmill is from Hill Farm, Danzey Green, Warwickshire. It is a typical West Midlands Post Mill. The upper structure, called the Buck, pivots on a huge central post. It turns into the wind, and the sails have an 18 metre wide span. The mill was built in 1830, though the post comes from an earlier mill that had been taken down in around 1784. It was rebuilt in 1969/70.

The Museum has the National Collection of Telephone boxes. I could write a piece about each sort of box, or you could just enjoy the photos.

A wonderful collection of AA and RAC boxes too – what we did before mobile phones.

And some police boxes (in the days when we had police).

They had a very nice café. I had a large pot of tea, and a very small cup and saucer.

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Worcester Cathedral – Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary – 4, Quire and Crypt

After the tower I needed a late lunch, then we went and explored the Quire. The volunteers directed us out of the main north door, then in to the Quire by another – easier than coping with a large lift. Then there is another smaller lift, so Julie could get to most places. Having said that, some of these photos might be of things elsewhere in the Cathedral – just enjoy them.

The Quire is the original centre of the Cathedral and its worship – and it is worth looking up at the organ pipes and ceiling.  The organ was built by Kenneth Tickell in 2008. The stalls are Victorian, but the misericords are C14 – including a series of the seasons of the year. I didn’t photo them all – they are rather lovely.

In a really convenient place between the choir stalls and the altar rail is the tomb of John, King of England (like many others I automatically think “bad king”). Born in 1166 he died at Newark on Trent in 1216 (younger than me). His plan had been to be buried at Beaulieu in Hampshire, but the abbey there was in the hands of rebels, so he came here (that must have been an interesting journey). His tomb was moved further east in 1232, and the effigy dates from then. The tomb itself dates to 1529. I think the altar frontal works well.

To the left is the Chantry Chapel of Prince Arthur. He was the eldest son of Henry VII, married Catherine of Aragon in 1501, and died the following year in Ludlow. His body was brought here, presumably because it was the nearest place already housing a Royal tomb. Work started on this chapel a couple of years later, and it took about 12 years to finish. You can walk in from the Quire, but also go and look at it from ground level. Wonderful!

The Chapel of St George, the small North East Transept, was rededicated in 1936, designated as a War Memorial chapel. I wondered if they expected another War just three years later. There is a memorial to Woodbine Willie – a man I know a little about (you can download my talk about him at https://www.stedsandstmatts.co.uk/world-war-1-at-st-matthew-s (scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the link)). There is a Walk Round Worcester leaflet available, following his life and residences.

There are lots more tombs and memorials, all of which have fascinating stories. Lord Lyttelton (1817-1876), the brother-in-law of Gladstone, was largely instrumental in raising the funds for the restoration of the Cathedral in 1874. Charlotte Elizabeth Digby, the wife of the Reverend William Digby, daughter of the Honourable Colonel and Lady Lucy Digby – one assumes she was not his sister … . Born on 7 August 1778, appointed by HM Queen Charotte as one of her Maids of Honour in 1802, married in January 1803, and “died at Malvern of a rapid consumption” in 1820. What beautiful toes she has!

The area behind the High Altar is rather good. Lovely to look up, and I like the panel on the back of the reredos. The east wall is a C19 recreation, Mr Pearson the architect imagined a pattern of C13 windows. The stained glass is Victorian, and shows the life of Christ.

There is some very good AV – I enjoyed the picture of what the Cathedral would have looked like when John was buried. Plenty to watch and work through.

I went down into the Crypt, and could imagine I was in St Wulfstan’s Cathedral. Late C11 architecture, originally much bigger – indeed so large that it would always have needed candles in the centre part. It is still used for regular worship – part of me is very pleased by that, part of me feels guilty that Julie would not be able to get to a service there. The Pieta is by Glynn Williams, made in 1991 according to the guidebook, 1984 according to http://glynnwilliamssculptor.co.uk/pagep/eightyfive.html. The website has an interesting map of where his works are – the only one I think I know is to the diver at Winchester Cathedral. Time for another explore – last time I went there was when we handed James our Dean over from St Edmundsbury to Winchester.

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