White Ladies Aston, Worcestershire – St John the Baptist

We went on and turned off the main road to see St John the Baptist, White Ladies Aston – SO 922527. A small hamlet, a little village church, no website that I can find, but an excellent guidebook. A well kept churchyard with some ancient yews. The White Ladies are the Cistercian nuns of Worcester, who held part of the manor. The tower timbers date to circa 1545, the time of the ‘Mary Rose’ says the guide, the North Aisle is 1861, and the porch 1864.

It always seems odd to find bell ropes hanging down into the congregation, and there is an interesting ladder up the back (which I didn’t photo and didn’t try to climb!). The font is “of uncertain date” but has twelve well-cut sides. Interesting Lord’s Prayer plaque.

They had a WW1 at the back of the church – I bet I’ll be visiting churches in ten years time and still find WW1 displays untouched since 2018 – and three Sherwood memorials by the pulpit. The Reverend Henry Martin Sherwood was Vicar here for 70 years. He would have led the restoration of 1861, and died in 1912. His wife, Mary Emma, who died two years earlier is also remembered. You can imagine the work the pair of them must have done – and the changes that they saw.

In the Chancel are two memorials to military men of the C19. Major General John Montresor Pilcher (there’s a name to conjure with) died aged 90 in 1873. He was a member of the Royal Marine Infantry and helped for nine months looking after Napoleon at St Helena. Major General Richard Goodall Elrington died in 1845. He wins the prize for the number of words you can get on a memorial. On a quick read, I thought his wife Louisa only got the four lines at the bottom. Then I realised Louisa is one of his daughters, and “his wife Hannah” is simply recorded in the penultimate two lines. Did she travel with him as he conquered the world, or remain in Worcester waiting for him to return for his “brief intervals of repose.” That would be a fascinating bit of research.

In the East Window is a picture of Christ holding the bread and wine of Holy Communion. This is a 1938 window, designed by Donald B. Taunton, installed by Hardman’s of Birmingham.

Just a village church that most people would have driven past! I’m glad we stopped.

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