August 5 – A Touch of Tartan

Church Micros and a Disco

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

This morning’s event at the campsite was “A Touch of Tartan” so we arrived just after 9 to attend. This event was hosted by the Aberdeen Mega group who is hosting next year’s 2019 UK Mega. I would love to go but it is a seriously long way to drive but you never know maybe we will be able to arrange some house sits in various places around Scotland next year. We will have to see what happens.

There was a queue when we arrived which we thought was the queue to sign the log ‘sheep’. However, it was to try out various bits of Scottish food including haggis and shortbread. We finally found the log and signed it and watched a game of Bingo words begin in Scottish. Sounded like fun. We did not stay long as we have planned a church micro day. Later we saw a video of a father and son playing the harps who entertained the crowd after we left which was very good.

The first church we visited was All Saints in Kirby Hill. There was no church micro there but it was a nice church with some lovely stained glass windows. Parts of the church are Anglo-Saxon dating from the 10th-century and in and around th church are 12 stones with celtic carvings.  St Johns at Minskip was closed but we found the cache without any problems. At Minskip we met another geocaching couple called Batesandlaw who are just above us on the church micros league tables so we have become friends with them and will have some gentle rivalry seeing who can stay in the lead.

St Stephens at Aldwark is a grade II listed church. It was commissioned by Lady Frankland Russell who lived in Aldwark Manor and it was consecrated in 1854. It was designed by “rogue architect”, Edward Buckton Lamb (1806-69) and constructed between 1846-53 to one of Lamb’s notoriously unorthodox designs. There was a lovely Yorkshire rose window and a 3 light west window with perpendicular tracery and glass by C.E. Kempe from 1885.

Next we passed through Boroughbridge which did not appear to have a church micro but did have a lovely Market Cross. We then visited St Nicholas’ church in Husthwaite which again had no church micro but the stained glass was lovely including one modern glass depicting “fishers of men”.

St Michael’s church at Coxwold (not to be confused with the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire) is a lovely church with the first rector, Richard, in 1175. There has been a church on the site since 700 AD but the present church was built in 1420 in the Perpendicular style with an unusual octagonal west tower. There were some wonderful stained glass windows and a double-decker pulpit with a tester. It had a very unusual tongue-shaped communal rail installed in the 1770’s. There were some fantastic tombs including one huge multi-coloured tomb for the Belasyse family from 1647. The altar had a wooden frontal depicting five saints and a gold and painted reredos. There was another coloured chest tomb which Thomas Browne carved to commemorate William Belasyse d.1603 and his wife Margaret from Hessalwood stone. The lectern was carved in wood and the organ was in the minstrel’s gallery overlooking the low box pews. Laurence Sterne, a novelist was reinterred here in 1969 after dying from consumption in London in 1768. The ‘multi’ numbers took us to a country footpath not far away from where we had a short walk to find the cache.

The cache at All Saint’s church at Thirkleby was quickly found even though the church itself took some getting to as it was out of the village. Michael took quite a long walk up to the church to see if it was open while I planned rest of the day’s route. The church is a Grade II listed building. It was designed by Victorian architect Edward Buckton Lamb and built in 1851 for Lady Frankland-Russell of Thirkleby Park, in memory of her husband Robert. Lady Frankland was very interested in designing and painting stained glass windows. The church has some examples of her work, the most noticeable being the window in the Frankland Chapel.

This was followed by St Mary’s in Bagby was closed but we soon found the church micro.

There were several churches in Sowerby and we found a cache at the Methodist church but we spent ages at St Oswald’s trying to get the right numbers. I was sure I had them right but the checksum did not correspond with the numbers I had and after checking out a fence around a field we eventually gave up. The great thing about geocaching this area at the moment is that because there are so many geocachers attending the UK Mega so there is usually a path to the cache which clearly marks the spot. Unfortunately, this did not help us at this cache. St Oswald’s church had some lovely stained glass windows including one with three lights depicting St Cuthbert, St Wilfrid and St Hilda and another depicting with St Oswald and St Aidan. The church dates from 1145AD, when Roger de Mowbray, nephew of William the Conqueror, gave the care of the Chappell of Sowerby to the Prior of Newburgh. For about 500 years the Lords of the village were the family of Lassels. In 1446 AD William Lassels is recorded as buried in the Chappell of St Oswald’s of Sowerby, in the tomb of his ancestors. There are records of all the vicars of St Oswald’s from 1569. St Oswald’s also has a lovely painted and gilded reredos and some wonderful Norman doorways.

After visiting Tescos for some lunch we continued onto Skipton-on-Swale, another church which was not open. Finally, St James’s church at Baldersley was open and just inside was a lovely oldgabled painted clock which is an unusual sight inside a church. It also had an octagonal inlaid marble font with a tall spire cover and a coloured marble stand. The lovely tapestry kneelers at the altar rail were made as a Millenium project by the ladies of the church in 500,000 stitches. The tapestry kneelers match the lovely brick and stone patterning in the chancel and sanctuary. The sanctuary walls are made of red-veined alabaster. St James’ was built between 1856 and 1858, was consecrated in 1857 and is a grade 1 listed building as is the lych gate. The Victorian church was designed by William Butterfield and commissioned by William Dawnay, 7th Viscount Downe. There were lots of wonderful stained glass windows and a stone rood screen.  On our way to this church, we saw some geocachers collecting another cache further down the road so we stopped there on the way back to add another cache to today’s tally.

Our last church micro for the day was St John the Evangelist church in Sharow. Here we saw some wonderful stained glass windows by William Morris, O’Connor and Sons, and others. But the West window was designed by George Hedgeland and it is said to be one of the 50 hidden gems of Yorkshire. It was the first of this style to be made. It is brightly coloured as are many of the others in the church. In the last year, all the windows have been professionally cleaned and some were removed for renovation. We met a gentleman in the church who told us all about the church. The church was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant which allowed them to restore the historic and beautiful stained glass and wall decor, build new facilities to increase the early 19th-century church for concerts and community use and create a new car park in the village opposite the church. The church apparently has very good acoustics so lots of concerts take place there.

Outside the church in Sharow is a pyramid tomb with a cross on top. This is the tomb of Charles Piazzi Smyth and his wife Jesse. Charles Piazzi Smyth (3 January 1819 – 21 February 1900) was an English astronomer who was Astronomer Royal for Scotland from 1846 to 1888 and he is known for many innovations in astronomy and his pyramidological and meteorological studies of the Great Pyramid of Giza. One of his sisters was Henrietta Grace Smyth, who was the mother of Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, the founder of the world Scouting Movement.

In the evening we attended another event at the marquee at the campsite and had some tea there. The event was called “One Last Big One” which was a disco. Lots of people were dressed up, one as Michael Jackson and another as Freddy Mercury. When they played “We are the Champions” Freddy got up to strut his stuff which was very entertaining. Some people go to a lot of effort to prepare for these evening events and each night the marquee is decorated with different flags and bunting to match the theme. We did not stay too long as we were very tired after another big day and a long, busy week. We said goodbye to geocaching friends both old and new including a couple who are two of the sixteen geocaching reviewers in the United Kingdom, GizmoKyla who review South Wales and South West England. We had hoped to buy a Yorkshire flag which we understood were going to be auctioned off but they were raffling them instead.