March 18 – A Favourite Point for St John the Baptist, Huntley

A Church Micro day around Longhope, Huntley, Churcham, Minsterworth, Bulley, Tibberton and Taynton

Hello for 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

Yesterday we finished the collection of the numbers for the Ariconium Quest and today we went to find the cache but first, we found another cache also named Ariconium. It was a traditional cache and was an easy find but I managed to get stung by a nettle which means my hand is going to hurt all day. Those nettles are so feisty at this time of the year even though they are only about four inches tall. The geocache was in a tin. Tins do not make good cache containers as they do not keep out the water, they go rusty and make the contents of the cache rusty. All of which happened here. The log was very damp and barely signable. We took a travel bug from the box as it was not safe there. The travel bug is named Manny de Mammoet after the mammoth in Ice Age. It was started in Iceland four years ago and has travelled 10058km but it has not been to many places in England.

We drove to another side of the field and found the Ariconium Quest cache. It was an easy find in a well-camouflaged, dry container. We were the first to find it in nearly a year. We enjoyed doing this quest and we gave it a favourite point for a well-designed quest.

We were driving past one of the caches in the Weston series which I had not intended to do but we were driving right past it so we decided to stop and have a look. It required me to climb up the bank so Mike came to find it for me. At Weston-under-Penyard we also found “A Fine Pair”.

All Saints church in Longhope is a Grade II listed building and has five lovely stained glass windows in the chancel. The wonderful purple altar cloth was embroidered with silver quilted embroidery. There were many wall monuments to the Probyn family and an amazing angel lectern dated 1897. Outside the church were six tea-caddy tombs which are quite unusual. The funny thing was that we both felt like we had been here before.

OMG! What a beautiful church St John the Baptist, Huntley is. You don’t know where to look first! All the doors and windows have Bible verses were written around them and wall paintings with flowers and patterns. There was a wonderfully carved matching set of an alabaster lectern, pulpit and Last Supper reredos which was made for and displayed at the London Exhibition of 1861 at Crystal Palace. This area has had a church since 1303 but this church was built in the mid-1800s and is a beautiful example of Victorian decoration. The chancel arch is highly decorated in paint and gold. The altar frontal is awesome in black, purple and gold. Five of the windows are in yellow and gold painted onto the glass in the grisaille style. The carved corbels and capitals are also beautiful and highly ornamented with polished granite rocks to add colour. The octagonal font was heavily carved and stands on marble stands and the font was surrounded by a brass rail. This is a fabulous church and if I could give it two favourite points I would.

All Saint’s church in May Hill is a tiny church in a hamlet which was closed. We quickly found the geocache which did not really seem to follow the rules of church micros. Not only was it on church grounds which is OK with the vicar’s permission but it was actually on the church building too which seemed very wrong.

St Andrews in Churcham was a very plain church with only one stained glass window, the East one but we found the cache easily although the logbook was damp.

St Peter’s at Minsterworth had a wonderful memorial stained glass window for F.W. Harvey DCM, Soldier, Poet, Solicitor and Broadcaster from 1888 – 1957. It was designed by Graham Dowding. The church had lots of stained glass windows and an alabaster reredos. The rectors date from 1264 and it had some lovely tapestry kneelers.

St Michael and All Angels in Bulley is a small Norman church with an apse and three lovely Millenium windows. These are the only stained glass in the church and one is particularly beautiful depicting the Garden of Eden and the six days of Creation.  A Perpendicular Gothic window on the south side of the nave is a 15th-century addition. In 1886 the building was restored under the direction of the architect Sidney Gambier-Parry. The church is a Grade I listed building. The cache was easily found with a good hint even though the GPS was showing 17 metres out.

We stopped at the cache site for Tibberton Methodist and found the cache easily under the stile but the container needs replacing as that lid is terribly hard to remove. It took us a few minutes to recognise the church. The Wesleyan Chapel was dedicated in 1859. At Holy Trinity in Tibberton, the East window is a grisaille stained glass. This is a small, plain church with a Norman chancel arch. In the churchyard is the Price mausoleum with a small stained glass window to Francis, the widow of the late William Price from 1860. It has a Greek cross plan and is built in stone. The stone roof has an ingenious system of drainage at the corners and a tall pinnacle in the centre. The wrought iron door has a pretty design of ivy leaves and berries growing over a trellis of diagonal mesh. Inside the floor is of Minton tiles, and the ribbed vault with its central foliate boss is supported by pink granite columns at the corners. Opposite the door is a stained glass window representing an hour-glass. We have not seen many mausoleums but in such a small churchyard it was even more interesting. This is a beautiful area and there are daffodils on both sides of the road from Tibberton to Taynton and the village had many plaques for the Bledisloe Cup for the best-kept village. I thought the Bledisloe Cup, being a Kiwi,  sounded very familiar so I decided to look up the origins.

Lord Bledisloe, the Right Honourable Sir Charles Bathurst, was the fourth Governor-General of New Zealand from 1930 to 1935 and it was in 1935 that he was created Viscount Bledisloe of Lydney. The Earls Bathurst have lived at their family seat at Cirencester Park, Cirencester, Gloucestershire since 1690, the park is well known to the polo-playing fraternity as Ruins Polo Ground, a place where Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales has played on many occasions. Viscount Bledisloe donated the Bledisloe Rugby Cup for the New Zealand – Australia rugby and also ‘Bledisloe Best Kept Village Competition’ in Gloucestershire award”.

St Lawrence in Taynton is a long, thin church with no stained glass windows. It has a wonderful dark purple altar frontal. We met an old gentleman who told us all about the church. The church was built during the Commonwealth and was dedicated in 1660. It replaced a Norman church that was situated half a mile away that was burnt down in 1642 by Royalist forces at the time of the siege of Gloucester. It was built on behalf of Thomas Pury the younger. who was a Colonel at Gloucester during the siege and who lived at The Grove, Taynton. In defiance of the Catholic tradition, it was built on a north-south alignment instead of the usual east-west which is highly unusual in England. There is a lovely driveway next to the church that leads to the rectory where the flower beds are a riot of colour.

Finding the church micro at Taynton gives us our 1100th church micro and we are now under 150th on the Church Micro Hall of Fame.