August 3 – 10th Anniversary of the Original UK Mega

The Stray in Harrogate for our Teddy Bear’s Picnic

Hello from 1066  A Medieval Mosaic

Today’s first event was in Harrogate and was to be a ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ in the Stray. Harrogate is not very far from where we were staying, only about a 20-minute drive but trying to find the stray which is a big park was another matter. The “lady in the phone” took us all around the centre of Harrogate which was fun, not. When we finally got to the park there did not seem to be anywhere to park the car. We turned left which was not correct and took us all through town again. We finally saw a pay and display car park and went in. It was very reasonable so we put in money for four hours and set off towards the park on foot which was over 700 m. Just as we got to the edge of the park and saw a large group of people which was just what we were looking for, the first drops of completely unexpected rain started. By the time we reached the geocachers, it was chucking it down. The English had come for a Teddy Bears Picnic and that’s what they were going to do. They sat on blankets on the ground with jackets on and umbrellas up eating picnics. We had no jackets as they were in the car and after signing the log we headed back to the car. It is a pity as there were going to lab caches again but we were completely soaked. We also found that everyone else had parked their cars down the side of the park which we would have found earlier if we had turned right.

It was not cold just wet so we headed off across the park to Christ Church. There was not a church micro there but it looked like a nice church. It was open and there was a meeting going on in the hall so we went into the church to have a quick look. Harrogate is a relatively new town which developed in the 18th-century as a spa town. Spas were big business from the 18th century onwards and the increasing fame of Harrogate’s healing waters brought many distinguished, aristocratic and royal visitors to the new town. The church was dedicated on 17 June 1749 and was built in the Early English style. Inside it has an upstairs gallery which goes around three sides of the nave. Over the years there were additions to the church and the style of the new work was muted Decorated Gothic, a touch more ornate than the nave, with flowery capitals and carved heads on the corbels. Behind the new altar at the east end is a remarkable carved and painted reredos. This was installed in 1939 and the work of Ninian Comper.

After returning to the car which we left with three hours remaining on the metre however it was still raining so no fun walking around in the centre of the city. We headed further out to St Wilfrid’s church. A mass was taking place in the Lady Chapel but we were able to look around the main part of the church and it was spectacular. The 3D paintings of the life of Jesus around the nave were very special and below them were small round painted pottery stations of the cross. The pulpit which had panels depicting St Oswald, St Veronica, St Barnabas, St Luke, St Peter, St Wilfrid and St George painted around the edges were wonderful. The West end of the church had a domed apse with the font in with a modern sculpture above it and behind were two long stained glass windows. It is a cruciform church and when you come in the north door you are already in the crossing of the church. Above the rood screen are three large statues of Christ on the cross and 2 saints either side. The high altar had a green altar cloth with two sets of windows above.  The Chapel of the Holy Spirit and the Chapel of Saint Raphael are also beautiful. The church was wonderful and we were so pleased to visit. We were forced to stay a little longer as the heavens opened again and so we were able to see the Lady Chapel once mass finished. It had a beautiful painted and gilded reredos above the altar. It is also the only Grade 1 listed church in Harrogate. We are so glad we came to visit this church and we also found the cache over the road easily.

The church was the work of Temple Moore starting in 1903 and later his son in law, Leslie Moore. Temple had been a pupil of George Gilbert Scott. The church was designed in 1903, the nave built in 1904 – 1908 and the crossing and the chancel were built in 1912 – 1914. Temple Moore died suddenly in 1920 and his son in law took over the work with the church being finished in the 1930s. In June 1935 the Lady Chapel was designed by William Temple, the Archbishop of York and I am so glad we did not miss it.

We then headed to Ripley where I had noticed that there was a castle. It is a lovely little village not far from Harrogate, just off the A61 with a nice big, free car park. It was still raining so we ducked into the church first. St Mary Magdalene church is a lovely 12th-century church with three funerary hatchments and a painted ceiling in the chancel and the sanctuary. There were some lovely tombs, one of Sir William Ingilby who lived from 1546 – 1617 and the other was a marble tomb of Elizabeth Ingilby in 1679. There was an even older tomb of Sir Thomas Ingilby with his wife and children who lived from 1290 – 1369. The 14th-century rood screen was made from one piece of oak which is impressive. The rector’s date from the early 1300’s. The West window is of St Augustine and St Aidan, two of my favourite saints.

It was still raining but we obviously cannot wait for it to stop today as it was set in for the day. We did not visit Ripley Castle but we did walk up the hill behind it to get the geocache and to get some good photographs.

Several days ago we went to Ripon but the cathedral was closed so today we went inside to visit it. The Cathedral Church of St Peter and St Wilfrid was founded as a monastery by Scottish monks in the 660’s and it was refounded as a Benedictine monastery by St Wilfrid in 672. The cathedral has a gothic west front in the Early English style and it has Grade I listed building status. The West window dates from 1220. The pulpit and tester were lovely in bronze with statues of St Chad, St Cuthbert, St Hilda and St Ethelreda around it and mounted on marble pillars and was made in the Arts and Crafts style in 1913.

The rood screen is a real treasure, it is medieval probably dating from 1408 and is 8 feet thick with a door inside the passage to the rood loft and another door down into the Saxon crypt. The Victorian sculpted figures on the screen depict important people in the life of the cathedral and Ripon and include from the left, King Eadfled, Archibishop Willibroud Utrecht, Archbishop Thurston, Archbishop Hutton and on other side are King Athelstan, Henry II, James I and Archbishop Langley. There are a further 24 statues in niches above the doorway arch all holding musical instruments. The screen is a delight, beautifully carved and wonderfully ornate. Sir George Gilbert Scott undertook much of the Victorian restoration.

 The quire is famous for its 15th-century medieval misericords, seventeen on each side, and they are in fantastic condition, probably some of the best we have seen. One of these carvings shows a gryphon pursuing a rabbit, and is said to have inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland story. Since Carroll’s father was a canon at Ripon from 1852-1868 this story may have some truth in it.

The cathedral also has a huge Markenfield Chapel with some wonderful tombs to two different Sir Thomas Markenfield with their wives, one from 1398 and the other 1497. There is also a library with the treasures of the cathedral. In the crossing, there are two Norman arches and two gothic arches adjacent to each other.

In the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, there is a modern sculpture doorway and an altar rail in metalwork by Leslie Durbin. These are lovely and represent the wind and fire of the dramatic coming of the Holy Spirit.

Behind the altar is a wonderful gilded reredos by Ninian Cowper in 1923 which was made as a memorial to Riponians killed in WW1. Mary and Jesus are depicted in the middle with five saints either side including St Aldfrith, St Ethelburga, King Edwin, St DavidusSt Augustine, St Columba, St Aidan, St Oswald (King), St Hilda, King Oswy. In front of it was a wonderful green and gold, quilted and embroidered altar cloth.

There are many wonderful stained glass windows around the Cathedral including some quite beautiful modern windows.

On our return to the campsite, we walked around the site collecting tracking numbers to discover later and which gave us a great opportunity to meet and talk to fellow geocachers. One lady had a huge collection of meerkat soft toys each with tracking numbers which she displayed across the dashboard of the car. I think we have met her before at the UK Mega in 2016. One group of girls and their dogs were dressed ready for the evening’s event which was “Our 10th Birthday Disco”. We stayed for the early part of the evening eating great food and meeting interesting people. We met one couple from Canberra who was part of the organising committee for the Australian Mega being held in Queanbeyan, N.S.W. at Easter in 2019. (GC7MVHE)

Another great day despite the rain at times. But there is always something to see and do, whatever the weather.