Churchyard

St Peter’s Church, Hayling Island, Hampshire & A Russian Princess

On a visit to Hayling Island in June, 2017, we visited this ancient 12th century church, which had a lovely sign with the magical words…..Church Open…..that makes me so happy.  St Peter’s is the oldest church on the island and is situated in the north.  Built in 1140 and is a grade 1 listed building.

 

The font, like the church, dates back to the 12th century.

A little history for you……..The church was originally built in about 1140 by the monks of Jumièges Abbey not as a parish church but as a chapel of ease, Northwode Chapel, to serve the people of North Hayling for whom going to their parish church of All Saints in the south of the island was not convenient. The original building probably occupied most of what is now the nave, and was apparently built without foundations; the central pillars rested on large sarsen stones (boulders probably deposited by glaciers during the Ice Ages). Buttresses were added later to help support the walls. In the early 13th century the building was expanded to its present dimensions, with the porch being added later. It is believed that St Peter’s three bells are one of the oldest peals in England, on suspended wooden axles and half wheels. The tenor bell has been dated by the Whitechapel Foundry as from about 1350.

 

The church is partially surrounded by a ditch, and has a substantial graveyard. Among those buried there is Princess Yourievsky (1878-1959), a natural daughter of Tsar Alexander II of Russia who was legitimised by her parents’ marriage and who spent the last 27 years of her life on Hayling Island, dying in relative poverty.

 

 

 

St Luke’s Church, Broughton Sulney, Nottinghamshire & Belvoir Angels

In May 2015, we were travelling through Nottinghamshire, I can’t remember why, the reason is now lost in the mist of time, when I suddenly shouted stop, now I do remember that.  I had seem a wonderful honey golden ironstone church, St Luke’s the parish church for Broughton Sulney, the time was late but, when would we ever pass this way again.  Of course husband stopped and out I jumped, I knew it would be closed, but some exterior photos would be ok.  Before I even got to the door of the church I stopped in amazement, there were ‘Belvoir’ angel headstones everywhere.  

I love coming across these headstones and took my photos quickly before the light faded.  

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 is a winged angel face on a Swithland slate headstone found in the district, named after the Vale of Belvoir, in the East Midlands.

 

 

 

After the angel photo shot, I did try the door, just in case, but it was closed, although I’m glad I entered the porch, because I found a wonderful fragment of a tympanum, but it wasn’t until I did a little research, I found out it could be Norman.

 I have added a little history about the church, although not much, as it is being researched at the moment.

Luke’s is a small village church built of brown ironstone and has a heavily weathered appearance. There is no mention in Domesday Book of a church here but there is evidence in the porch for a Norman building in the form of a fragmentary tympanum with a crude figure in the right-hand corner.  There were originally two aisles but the south was demolished when the porch was constructed in 1733. However, one bay of this aisle survives, built into the wall, giving a date of c1200. The north arcade is of the 13th century though the rest of the aisle was rebuilt in 1855, as was the chancel. The west tower is also of the 13th century. There is a 14th century font with some carved tracery. In the churchyard are many fine 18th century slate head stones, typical of the ‘Belvoir’ school of carving.

May 2015

St Leonards Church, Bursledon, Hampshire

Today 13.09.17, in the South of France, it was another beautiful hot day.  We went along the coast to Nice and Monaco, visited a few places on the coast and then popped over to Italy, and then made our way up into the French Alps.  Found a lovely Alpine Town with a wonderful church, which I will post about when the laptop is better.  So, as I can’t post about the lovely churches I have visited in France, I found an English one that I can.

St Leonards Church is in Bursledon, a village in Hampshire, on the south coast of England.  We were visiting Hampshire back in July and on the way home stopped for something to eat in Bursledon, when I noticed the church.  It was about 7.00 pm, so I knew it would be locked, but it’s such a pretty church I took photos anyway, as goodness knows when we will be passing again.  

A little history…..

The church in Bursledon can trace its history back to the last half of the twelfth century.

All churches can be given a ‘date’ by the styles of architecture they contain: St. Leonard’s has features that seem to confirm that it was indeed founded in the later twelfth century. The simple elegance of the Chancel Arch, dividing the nave from the raised area at the east end of the church, is of early English style and can be dated to 1190-1300. The font is perhaps earlier and, although unfinished and retooled in places, it is of transitional style dateable to 1160-1190.

The blocked doorways in the nave, presumably once the main access points for monks and congregation before the Victorian extension, date to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The small lancet window in the chancel, although restored in 1888-9 is of a thirteenth-century design.

In the 1830′s St. Leonard’s had two transepts added, making a cross-shaped church in plan. However, these proved unsatisfactory and in 1888-9 the church was extensively re-modelled. There is a brass plaque in the nave detailing the work that the architect, John Sedding, carried out. It seems that Sedding kept what was best about the old church and sensitively extended the nave and replaced the transepts, to accommodate the growing population of Bursledon.

 

 

 

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.