“Are you setting yourself a target?” asked one of my congregation today. “How long will this walk along the Wall take?” Well, I could start at one and end and march towards the other – or I can be easily sidetracked. I blog churches because I like blogging churches. I will also blog some other places of interest as I explore.
As I walked through the village of Burgh by Sands in Cumbria the other day I photoed the statue of Edward I. When we went back to look at the church I had another look at the statue, and also checked to see who the sculptor was – Christopher Kelly in 2007. An email to people in the village (thank you!) led me to this information about him – website. The text of a lecture given by John Watts of Corpus Christi, Oxford, entitled “Edward I: from Westminster to Burgh by Sands” is available at this website.
North of the village, in the middle of the marshes, is a monument. It is at grid reference NY325609. We parked and I had a walk. Down the track and across the field. It was an atmospheric place, with the sun glinting off the hills and wind farms the other side of the Solway. The Monument, which is a Grade II* listed building, was built in 1685 by Thomas or John Longstaff for the Duke of Norfolk and John Aglionby. It is made of red sandstone ashlar. “Tall square column on moulded plinth, moulded cornice, shaped cap surmounted by cross. There was a Latin inscription on the south side to the memory of the King, other inscriptions on the other sides, and a bronze plaque which records the restoration by the Earl of Lonsdale in 1803. There was a further restoration of 1876, but it could do with a bit of work now.
The cause of Edward’s death was dysentery – he is the sort of king who should have died in battle. The church guidebook says he died on 7 July 1307 “in the village”. One website says he died out in his camp on these marshes. Can anyone give me the definitive answer? This picture by William Bell Scott is on the display panels in church. All I can find out is that it is in a private collection – I would love to see the original. Can you imagine being the village priest and finding out that the King has died in your parish, that his body is being brought to your church, and that the high-ranking clerics in his retinue are taking over.
I liked this BBC Scotland website about him, and I am now reading this book. I might update this blog when I’ve finished it!