Churchyard

The Small Cross, Kilmartin, Scotland

Inside Kilmartin Church, Kilmartin, Scotland, there are three medieval crosses.  The Kilmartin Cross which I have posted about and two others, the Large Ring Cross and the Small Cross.  This post is about the Small Cross which stood in the graveyard from about the 1400’s.  Its style matches that of another cross, The Kilmichael Cross, which is displayed in the Kilmartin Museum next door. (I have also posted about this one)

The photo shows the cross in the churchyard where it had stood since 1400.  This fragment of cross is unusual in the curious volute forms which have been carved as angle brackets to support the side arms.  The representation of the crucified figure is perhaps rather stiff an crude, and does look very similar to the Kilmichael Cross.  Dating from the 1300’s or 1400’s it could be attributed to a group of stone carvers working in the area around Loch Awe.  All three cross stood in the graveyard, but have since been brought into the church to protect them from the elements.  A post on the Large Cross will follow shortly.

From a visit in 2016

The Antiquity of Kilmartin Churchyard, Scotland

 

Kilmartin Parish Church stands in the centre of  Kilmartin Glen, and just south down the glen, are a profusion of prehistoric remains, including a linear cemetery, numerous standing stones, and several sites with cup and ring carved rocks.  But for me, it was the graveyard and church that lured me in to explore this ancient site.   You can see the church from the road, and in 2014 we didn’t have time to visit, but in May of 2016, we did.  You know when you see sometime, and you hold your breath, think wow, this is going to be amazing, thats what I felt when we walked through the arch to explore.

I have already posted about some of the stones, those thought to be most at risk from weathering, under cover of a former mausoleum building at the rear of the churchyard, this post is of what is still in situ in the graveyard.

Together with the sub-circular form of the church graveyard, the stones hint at a much longer history of religious activity at Kilmartin, ranging in date from the 900’s to the 1600’s. 

 

 

 I think most of the mediaeval grave slabs in the raised enclosure, photos above, beautifully carved slabs that once covered the graves of members of the Malcolm family, are from St Columba’s Chapel in Poltalloch, which have been move to Kilmartin.  Many of the stones were the work of a group of sculptors working in the Loch Awe area through the 14th and 15th centuries.  The carvers may have had a workshop at Kilmartin itself or in the surrounding area.  The quality of the carvings of the highest order, and the designs are similar to others in the West Highlands, such as Kilberry, Keills, and Kilmory Knap.

I found an early Christian Stone with a cross very similar to the one I found on Tiree, a Hebridean Island, but as yet I haven’t found any information on it.

The above slabs are still in situ and have wonderful symbols on them.

I will post about the museum, church and the two remain stone crosses later.  It is worth a visit before going off down the Glen to visit the more well known sites.  

Village Sign & Church of Great Dunham, Norfolk

Norfolk is full of wonderful churches and Great Dunhams Church, St Andrews, is a little gem.  This lovely little church is more Saxon than everything else, so it has a right to be on the village sign, which is great for my ‘Village Sign & Church Category’.   I haven’t be able to find anything out about the sign, but its the church that is really interesting…..post to follow soon.

January 2016 ‘Village Sign & Church’ Category 

St George’s Church, Woolhope, Herefordshire

 

On the day we visited Ledbury, Herefordshire in February 2015, which was last nights post, we found a church to explore.  Herefordshire has some wonderful churches and much to my shame, I have hardly posted any, so to make amends, this post is St George’s Church in the village of Woolhope.   I have posted some of the wonderful stained glass windows before, but will included them again.

The church is approached from the south by a long path from the timbered ‘Skallenge’ (lych gate), dating from 1581.

On the day of our visit, the graveyard was full of snowdrops, almost like a carpet in some parts.  I found several interesting cherub headstones and one very upset looking one, as the following photo shows.

I wasn’t too worried about the church not being open, as all the churches we stopped to explore in Herefordshire had been open and yes it was unlocked.

The one thing I did notice very quickly were the extremely thick columns as the structure is largely Norman, from the second half of the 12th Century.  The Norman work is seen in the North arcade, a window in the Sanctuary and a carved head under the tower, but much of the present fabric, internal woodwork and fittings, date from a major restoration in the 1880s under the benefaction of the Booker family of Wessington Court.

The 13th Century tower commands the valley named after Wulviva who, with her more famous sister Godiva, gave the land to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford. The sisters are commemorated in a striking window in the North aisle.

 

 

Village Sign & Church, All Saints, Fosdyke, Lincolnshire

 

Fosdyke in Lincolnshire is another village with a church depicted on the village sign.  But as with the church in Great Gonerby, it was locked.  I wasn’t having a good day, every church had been locked, but least there were some village signs to explore.

There has always been a Port at Fosdyke, which dates back to the 12th century, and together with agriculture, these were the mainstay of employment in the village until recent times when the old Port and its shrimp fleet ceased to trade. Today, the main source of employment is still agriculture, hence the vegetables and tractor on the sign,  The new bridge over the Welland is the third, but the bus has me a little lost, unless……In the 18th century this was a popular bathing resort for Sunday afternoon outings, treacherous though the waters were and still are.  

As I said, the church was locked and I think by this time, I was just a little tiny bit fed up of locked doors.  Its the spire that always catches my eye as we drive past going north.  On that day back in May 2015, I actually got my husband to stop the car outside the church.  All Saints is not an old church, consecrated in 1871, but its the slightly leaning chevron leaded spire that makes you want to go and checked it out.  

A little I have read about the church….Resembling the early English style, the interior of the building is magnificently simple, and yet beautifully proportioned, only the plainest of materials are used, save the 3 lancets of stained glass which make up the imposing East window, and yet the overall effect for a small village church is a masterful example of the work of architect Edward Browning.  This church replaced an earlier one, see below photo, which, unfortunately burnt to the ground and this church had replaced an even older church.  The very first church would have been Medieval( first records 1439) as there is a lovely 15th century font, which I have yet to see…… such a shame the church was closed.

May 2015 ‘Village Sign & Church’ Category  

St Sebastian’s Church, Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire – Gargoyles & Angels

 

St Sebastian’s Church, Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, another church which was well and truly locked, in May 2015, the same as on the first occasion that I tried to visit, in 2014.  I think actually that the exterior far out weighs the interior, from what I have read, although again it would be nice to make up my own mind.  Externally the 15th century builders added battlements and pinnacles to the roof line to give the building a uniform appearance. Below these, on the tower and clerestory, there is also a frieze of shields.   From what I have read that the earliest parts could be early 13c, the south arcade and the chancel.  Late Romanesque capitals on the eastern most bay of the north arcade suggest that there were transepts here that were superseded by the aisles. The north arcade is much taller than its southern counterpart and is in Perpendicular style.  The Late Romanesque capitals are worth a third visit, maybe one day.  The exterior is full of wonderful medieval gargoyles and grotesques,

There are some very interesting creatures on a frieze, although I only took a few photos, I’m sure that they must have a symbolic meaning, but as yet I have no idea.

The churchyard is full of fascinating headstones, including some “Belvoir Angels” winged angel faces, which are a type of early 18th century Swithland slate tombstone found in the district, named after the Vale of Belvoir, in the East Midlands.  

A little history ………The Belvoir Angel is a motif local to the Vale of Belvoir (Beever) and the Framland, in the East Midlands, carved in slate in the late 1600’s and first part of the 18th century. Usually found immaculately preserved on small slate headstones, it speaks of the blessing of God at the time of passing from the earthly to the heavenly state, with a protective angelic covering. A typical Belvoir Angel design has certain standard features, stylised as the following first photo.  

I found a lot of these angels in America and even one on the Isle of Lismore in Scotland.  There are highly decorative ones and the plainer ones are called Naive, which are the one I like most.

Dated 1719, a true Belvoir Angel Headstone.

A more ornate Belvoir Angel.

This angel is on stone and not slate, so is not a typical Belvoir, but still a nice angel.  It could be that the Belvoir Angels were expensive and some people copied them.

Again a more ornate Belvoir Angel.

An angel headstone, although not on slate.

A very ornate Belvoir Angel.

 

 

 

St Lawrence Church, Long Buckby, Northamptonshire

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We stopped to have a look at this church back in November 2015, but unfortunately it was locked.  It’s a shame because I can’t even find any photos of the interior of this very nice mellow looking church, St Lawrence, Long Buckby in Northamptonshire.  I found out that it’s Medieval and grade 2 listed, but has had two restorations.   So I’m not sure what is left of that period, maybe one day in passing I will find it open, so until I do, I have posted the photos to remind me, that I did try.