Hello from 1066 – Medieval Mosaic
We left the hotel about 10, armed with a list of churches to visit around Warwickshire. Firstly we went to Rollright to visit the stone circle. The stone circle is also referred to as the King’s Men and is part of a set of three Neolithic and Bronze Age megalithic monuments near the village of Great Rollright. A short walk took us to four upright stones and a huge fallen capstone called the Whispering Knights, a dolmen of oolitic limestone used as a place of burial. Over the road was the King’s Stone, a single monolithic Bronze Age grave marker. This is a free English Heritage site. Rachael rang while we were here and she has been to a festival here. I imagine it is a great place for a festival.
Our first church of the day was St Peter and St Paul at Long Compton. It had an amazing lychgate which was actually a building over the gateway. The first one of its kind that we have seen. There was no church micro here but a lovely church with a modern patchwork altar frontal with wooden reredos behind and tapestry kneelers in a yellow and brown colour scheme. There was a long floor mat which had been hand latched with flowers and birds. There was also a lovely embroidery of all the houses of the village made in 2004. There was also a great variety of corbels, one corbel showed the patron saint of farriers and blacksmiths, St Eloy, with a horseshoe and nails. There was also a mass dial and an ancient tomb.
At St Michaels in Whichford (CM 11065) there were tombs in the chancel and a monumental brass. The stained glass window over the altar showed the birth of Christ with the kings, shepherds and angels. The church also had some Medieval stained glass. There was a triptych of St Michael presented by the local Royal British Legion Branch of Long Compton and District on the Golden Jubilee on 2nd June 2002. The vicar’s list from 1267.
St. John the Baptist church at Cherington made a stunning impression as you walked in. It was Harvest Festival time and the whole church had been brilliantly decorated in flower arrangements along with fruit and vegetables even placed along the tombs. A wonderful riot of colour. It had an unusual font in the shape of a diving bell. It also had some medieval glass and vicars dating from 1200.
The next church was St George’s in Brailles which was church micro 7879 but my GPS started to act up again and I could not get it to lock on properly. I used the hint and soon had the right pace but where was the cache? Then suddenly there it was, I knocked it off as I touched it, it was a magnetic bolt. We needed a hook to extract the log as it was firmly trapped in the container. The pattern-book font was from 1350 and the church also had a triple sedilia and a piscina which were carved decoratively. The altar frontal was really inspiring. It had an autumn theme and I think the church may have four frontals, one for each season. I would like to see the others. Behind the altar was a stone reredos and the stained glass window above had 5 scenes of Jesus’s life. Embroidery is quite a theme in this church with a wonderful embroidered lectern cover and tapestry squares of the village and local clubs etc made in the 1990’s. It had some beautiful harvest festival flower arrangements and a wonderful model of the church made from 250,000 matchsticks. It was completed in 1979 taking seven years to make and was created by Mr Fred Hall. Does that remind you of anyone? The mudstone frieze around the outside of the church is quite lovely though quite weather-worn in places.
We also visited St Martin’s church, Shutford and Broughton Castle as we were passing. Broughton Castle had its own church, St Mary the Virgin, however, both the castle and the church were only open on Wednesdays and Sundays and guess what? Today was Thursday. The grounds were open so we were able to walk around the moat to get some good photographs. Broughton Castle is home to the 21st Lord and Lady Saye & Sele, whose family name is Fiennes. The ownership of the castle has remained in the same family since 1447.
The next church we visited was St Annes in Epwell. We could not find the church micro there despite having a really good look. The highlight in this church was a cross stitch named ‘The Spirit of Epwell’. It is a compilation of 98 squares all showing different houses around the village. More inspiration for projects when we get home.
St. Nicholas church in Tadmarton had a 13th-century font with ball flowers and grotesques. It also had a lovely piece of medieval fabric covering a chair.
St Peter and St Paul’s church in Swalcliffe was our last visit for the day. It featured a late 19th century Caen stone reredos as well as a 15th-century screen and some heraldic corbels. It also had some lovely stained glass windows.
A great day visiting lots of wonderful churches but only actually finding three church micros. We were really impressed by the harvest flower arrangements in particular and all the lovely inspiring fabrics we saw today.