Monday, 1 August 2016

Breast Cancer

Utterly unconnected to the usual content of this blog:

A friend of mine has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and her 16 yr old daughter has decided to undertake an 18 mile walk to raise money [she's aiming for £1000.00 but let's make it more]  for Maggie's Centres which like you I'd never heard of before today.

If you happen to find this post please contribute  here.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Wilburton, Cambridgeshire

St Peter is utterly charming from the setting to its welcoming open status. Inside there are bits and bobs such as the impressive brass to Richard Bole [and two other less than impressive brasses], some good panelling, a nice rood screen, a modern sculpture, Ecce Homo, commemorating the Pell family and a, what can only be called garish, striking east window. I'm sure this is a marmite feature but I liked it. Oh and a wallpainting as well.

Even though when I arrived a pre-Mass meeting was being held the lovely lady vicar more than welcomed me to look around; all in all a thoroughly enjoyable visit.

ST PETER. Of a previous Norman church two fragments of shafts with capitals are kept in the S porch. The tower and the chancel arch seem to be late C13. All the rest is Perp, except for the transept which was added in 1868. A generously spacious nave of four bays, with the windows set in blank arcading. The wall shafts of this are slim and lozenge-shaped. Perp also the good-original nave ceiling, the upper parts of the smallish W tower, the two-storeyed N porch, the low SE vestry and the chancel. The chancel has a five-light E window and three-light side windows. Inside there are niches to the l. and r. of the E window and again tall blank arcades embracing the N and S windows. - ROOD SCREEN. Perp with single-light divisions. They have cusped arches and panel tracery above. - COMMUNION RAIL. With twisted balusters, probably c. 1700. - BENCHES. Two simple C15-C16 benches in the chancel. - PANELLING. Elizabethan or Jacobean, from Stretham church, put up along part of the W wall. - PAINTING. Original wall painting of two bishops, and another more defaced representation on the nave N wall. - PLATE. Chalice and Cover of 1569; flagon of 1714; Paten of 1724. - BRASSES. Richard Bole, Archdeacon of Ely d. 1477, 4 ft figure with architectural surround (ogee gable). - John Hyll d. 1506, wife and children, 18 in. figures. - Will. Byron d. 1516, wife and children; the figures c. 21 in. - MONUMENT. Three panels of a tomb-chest with quatrefoil decoration (chancel, N wall).

Richard Bole d 1477, Archdeacon of Ely (1)

E window (2)

SS Blaise & Ledger (1)

Ecce Homo David Hughes 2001 (2)

WILBURTON. Its life was going on far back in the mists of time, and sometime in the Bronze Age men tipped into the fen of the Old Ouse near Wilburton a great collection of swords, spears, and axes. We may hope they had no more use for them. Three thousand years later this strange rubbish heap was found and some of its treasures are now in our museums. The church, with a tiny spire on its tower, is young compared with all this, 500 years old and much restored, but we come into it by a porch with something of a Norman arch left in its wall, and Norman stones in its roof supporting an upper room. There are lofty arcades and great nave windows, and the east window has a carved niche on each side. In the peace memorial window are the two warrior archangels with their dragons, and another window has St  Etheldreda with a model of Ely Cathedral. The twisted altar rails are Jacobean. The old wall paintings are fading away.

On the last pilgrimage to Etheldreda’s shrine at Ely the rector here, Thomas Alcock, entertained Henry the Seventh and his young Prince Hal at the rectory, and the three cocks from the Alcock shield appear in the fine old roof, with six more over the opening of the rich medieval chancel screen, which has dragons in the tracery, rude faces in the spandrels, and a new vaulted canopy. Thomas Alcock’s predecessor, Richard Bole, is on a fine brass in rich robes, under a pinnacled canopy, and another brass has on it John Hyll of 1506 with his two daughters. William Byrd of 1514 has his family of nine with him on another brass, and inscriptions tell of the Markwell family, who made a record in the belfry, each ringing the six bells for 50 years.

A hero of the Great War, Albert Pell, has a monument in medieval style, taking the shape of a little tomb under an arch. He lived at the big house designed by Pugin in the park, where also stands the red gabled manor house built for a London alderman in the last years of Queen Elizabeth. It was long neglected, but has been restored and is a charming home again; on the way to it we pass a venerable oak six yards round the trunk.

Haddenham, Cambridgeshire

On the face of it Holy Trinity is a Victorian build but according to Pevsner it is "in fact genuine and only fiercely restored" which is borne out by the S porch windows and what appear to be original, re-used, rose windows in the tower.

Mass was ongoing when I visited so I didn't get inside but was compensated with some great headstones instead; I think it is normally locked with keyholders listed.

HOLY TRINITY. The church looks large and Victorian, but in fact is genuine and only fiercely restored (R. R. Rowe, 1876 etc.). Building went on chiefly in the later C13 and the earlier C14. It seems to have begun at the chancel end (E window by Rowe). Lancet windows on the N and S sides. One two-light window inserted on the S side c. 1300. A little later the transepts, aisles, with arcades, S porch and W tower. The tower was entirely rebuilt by Rowe. But it recalls what must have been interesting work of its date: W doorway with finely moulded surround, W window with reticulated tracery and a surround of one order of ball-flower and one order of dog-tooth, then the next stage with one circular window on each side, also surrounded by ball-flower, then the bell-stage with two single lancets on each side, cusped and not shafted. The top-parts and the slim lead spire were added in the C15. Tower arch towards the nave on triple shafts with moulded capitals. Early C14 also the (removed and re-erected) S porch with doorway on triple-shafts and ogee-headed side openings (altered inside), and the nave arcades with octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches. The piers are continued above the C11 moulded capitals in small broaches dying into the arches. The arches into the transepts are almost round and seem later. The transepts themselves are specially drastically restored; but the S transept E window (two-light and a spherical triangle above) may well be earlier than arcade and W tower. Clerestory and chancel arch remodelled in the C15. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp, four griffins seated against the stem, demi-figures of angels and rosettes on the bowl. - ROOD SCREEN. With single-light divisions. Plain arches and panel tracery above. - MONUMENTS. Low C14 recess in the chancel N wall. - Parts of the canopies of the lost brass to William Noyon d. 1405. - Brass to John Godfrey d. 1I454 and wife; 21 in. figures.

S porch window (1)

 Headstone (3)

Gargoyle (2)

 HADDENHAM. Here where Holy Trinity's fine tower marks the highest and most southern village in the Isle of Ely, Ovin the Saxon founded a church in 673, the same year when Queen Etheldreda, to whom he was steward, founded Ely Cathedral. When his queen no longer needed him, Ovin turned to St Chad’s monastery at Lichfield, and Haddenham was left with his cross inscribed “Give, O God, to Ovin Thy light and rest.” For centuries it remained here, the goal of pilgrims, but now, battered and worn, it has found sanctuary at Ely, and there we have seen the old steward’s cross in his queen’s cathedral.

Ovin made Haddenham holy ground, and Hereward the Wake took refuge close by, where Aldreth’s cottages cluster near a windmill. Here came the Conqueror against him, to build the strategic Causeway which carried the Norman soldiers to the conquest of the Isle after a three-year struggle, a half-mythical story told in Kingsley’s Hereward the Wake.

Ovin’s church fell down and the medieval church which took its place at the end of the 13th century has been largely made new, the massive tower rebuilt stone by stone, with its row of little arches supporting the flower-carved parapet, its three rose windows in circles of trailing ballflowers, and a new bishop keeping watch on each side of the grand west doorway where a squirrel nibbles a nut and birds peck among the leafy capitals.

It seems strange to find clear glass without leads lighting the long church, where a medieval kingpost roof covers the nave and a 15th century arch opens into a chancel 200 years older. It has a windowsill sedilia, and a dainty peephole gives a view of the altar from the vestry. The 15th century chancel screen was patched and brought back after spending a generation in a builder’s yard, and the plain font bowl in the south porch was dug up from the churchyard. The fine font used today was made 500 years ago, with angels and Tudor roses round the bowl and caricatures of lions round the base. Two griffins support the carved arches of an Elizabethan altar table in the lady chapel, and a brass of 1454 shows John Godfrey in a little cap and a belted gown, still praying for himself and his wife, whose portrait has disappeared.


Sunday, 28 February 2016

Mepal, Cambridgeshire

Fortuitously I visited St Mary half an hour before Mass today and found a lovely lady practising on the organ in preparation for the said Mass who kindly allowed me to have a look around and take interiors [I say fortuitously because this feels like a building that is normally kept LNK - an assumption on my part but I had no expectation of gaining access so it was a pleasant bonus].

Having said that this not a terribly interesting interior having undergone three restorations which left little of interest and the exterior, whilst crisp and spruce, is equally pristine but the location and churchyard are attractive.

ST MARY. Small E.E., but much renewed in 1849, 1876 and again in 1905 (by Carée). The chancel has lancet windows on both sides. The E window is new, but has C14 niches to its l. and r. The W side has a larger lancet.

St Mary (2) 



MEPAL. Here the Isle of Ely dips down to the fens and New Bedford River and Old Bedford River run side by side cutting across the great loop of the Ouse like a chord of an arc. They mark one stage of the work of draining the fens. When the island was held for Parliament in the Civil War General Ireton, wanting a road for his troops, made the Causeway which begins at Mepal and now bridges the two rivers; it is still called Ireton’s Way.

The little church has been here 700 years but is much made new. In it we found a tablet to James Fortrey, a refugee from Brabant who lived at the old farmhouse. We are told of him that he was bred in court and in camps, was page to the Duchess of York under Charles the Second and groom to her husband, James the Second, but that he did not follow his royal master into exile for reasons of his health.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Gascoigne Weld 1617 - 1701

Gascoigne first appears in his father's will (actually seemingly only appears here) who died in 1650 "therefore in the first place I do give unto my son, Gascoigne Wild, which is now my only son living that I had by her all my houses, lands and tenements both free and copyhold situate, lying and being in Braconash, Hempnall, Fordham or in any other town or towns those manors, advowsons as also those any lands and tenements free and copyhold lying in Mulbarton that I lately purchased of George Euston Clarke and also my manor and manors, lordship and lordships of Tasburgh which I purchased of Sir Robert Gaudie and George Gaudie [Gawdy], Esq., also all other my lands and tenements situate, lying and being in the town of Tasburgh aforesaid and with the marsh and meadow grounds I late purchased of Sir Robert [illegible] known or called by the name of Clarke Marsh or by what other name or names whatsoever the same are known or called by as all what is copyhold or freehold to the same belonging as also I give unto him, the said Gascoigne, my lands in Saxlingham and Tasburgh I bought of Mr Marmoll and my capital messuage or tenement with all the lands, tenements and appurtenances as well freehold and copyhold to the same belongings which I late purchased of Henry Elms, gent, and others situate, lying and being in [illegible] and the towns adjoining in the county of Suffolk to have and to hold all the aforesaid manors, messuages, lands, tenements and premises as well freehold and copyhold with all and every their rights, members and appurtenances unto my said son, Gascoigne Weld, and the heirs male of his body begotten or to be begotten".

Matthew, his father, anticipated familial fall out following his death as his opening paragraph is a plea to the beneficiaries to accept his will and not dispute any part of it although where dispute should come from is hard to see since his eldest son, another Matthew, pre-deceased him as did his eldest son from his second marriage, Edmund, leaving Gascoigne as sole heir.

Gascoigne, on his father's death, became a landed gentleman but left a remarkably small footprint behind.

He married in around 1640 Ann Hall, daughter of Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter, by whom he had Judith died young, Elizabeth married Richard Rutter, Anne died young, Mary married Rev William Starkey, Joseph died 1712 unm, Gascoigne died young and Matthew died young.

He then appears to have married Margaret Long the widow of Francis Batchcroft by whom he had no issue.

His third wife, who he married in 1671, is commonly noted as Philippa Calthorpe but given she was 39 at the time of the marriage, and I have been unable to find any trace of her in various Calthorpe lineages, I think she was a widow rather than a Calthorpe by birth. By Philippa he had Barbara who died unmarried in 1690 aged 18.

And that appears to be the extent of his footprint on time; with the death of his only surviving son, Joseph, in 1712 the Welds of Norfolk disapparate.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Little Paxton, Huntingdon

St James was open but only because Mass was being celebrated; normally it's LNK when not in use however it is open on Friday's between 10.30am and 12.00pm - so that's alright then.

It's a stunning building with a fantastic churchyard full of interesting headstones but the highlight (externally) is the crude Norman south door tympanum

ST JAMES. Barbaric and entertaining Norman tympanum with a cross in the middle, on the l. Christ and the Lamb (?) on the r. two indefinable animals. In the chancel S wall the head of a Norman window. The chancel arch responds are Norman too, square with an angle shaft. So nave and chancel were once Norman. Perp W tower with its buttresses inside the church. Perp S arcade of four bays, very rough. Octagonal piers, but the responds just corbels in the form of a knot.. - PLATE. Cup and Cover Paten inscribed 1569; Plate 1685-6. - MONUMENT. In the churchyard N of the N porch plain coped stone to the architect John Buonarotti Papworth (d. 1847), architect to the King of Wurttemberg, as the inscription tells you. Paxton Park, which he built, has been demolished.

S door tympanum (1)

John Buonarotti Papworth 1847

Headstones (3)

LITTLE PAXTON. An enchanting hamlet in a lane, it has a park, thatched barns, and cottages that have been company for the church for 300 years. But best of all is the peep of the Ouse shining among reeds and willows.

For nearly 600 years the tower of the church has stood in all this loveliness, its little tiled cap peeping through the battlements. The chancel is older and comes from Norman times. The 13th century font has an oak cover 400 years younger; and in the chancel are fragments of red and yellow glass 500 years old. Two odd things we noticed by a window in the chancel, scratched drawings of horses on the wall, the work of old artists or mischievous boys.

Perhaps the best possession of the church is the south doorway, with its small arch on simple shafts. The stone over the door has a cross in a circle between two sculptures - a figure of the Good Shepherd and a wolf attacking a sheep. Roughly but finely carved, it is Little Paxton’s oldest picture.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

George Robarts 1749-1805

George is infuriating.

His death notice reads: At Hull, George Robarts, esq. formerly of Beverley, in Yorkshire, and brother to Abraham R. esq. MP for Worcester.

5th, 3rd living, son of Abraham & Elizabeth I know he lived at Linfit Hall, Slaithwaite, Yorkshire for a while but don't know when.

I've found on the web that a diary exists chronicling George Layland Robarts' life which was written by his cousin George Robarts who also lived in Beverly, York, England; could this be my George - yes; can I find a link - no.

As Joyce Grenfell said "George don't do that"