September 28 – A Geocaching trip for some Church Micros

Winchcombe Church and Sudeley Castle

Hi from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We have done a lot of church micros in this area but we decided to go out today in a different direction to see if we could find a few. First, we headed to Hawling which is a small village off the beaten track. St Edward’s Church dates from Norman times. The tower was added in the 14th or 15th century and the rest was rebuilt in 1764 and further restoration in 1873.St Edward’s church had a lovely colourful tapestry, unlike anything we have seen before. There was also very very lovely Bible. We also found ‘A Fine Pair’ in Hawling but it was soggy and needs replacing.

Next, we headed to Charlton Abbotts. The church there was completely hidden and if it was not for the GPS we would not have known it was there. We parked nearby then walked down a footpath and then all of a sudden it was there to the left. The cache was easily found. It was an old stone church with a plain flat sided font and a tiled floor. The faces on the stained glass windows were nearly completely gone. I wonder whether they were made like that or whether they have been worn or washed away. Maybe the black paint used was not long lasting. Many stained glass windows of this age are like this.

St Peter’s Church in Winchcombe is a lovely big wool church. The CO for the geocache has gone to great effort to write a lot of interesting information about the church. Unfortunately, despite a long look by each of us we never did find the cache. The first written record of the church dedicated to St Peter in Winchcombe comes from 1175 but there was likely to have been an earlier Saxon church dedicated to St Nicholas. Amond the highlights of the church is the altar frontal stitched by Catherine of Aragon when she visited Sudeley Castle dated from 1380 – 1390. Her symbol, the pomegranate can be seen. There were also some Saxon coffins of King Kenwulh and his son St Kenelm. There was a collection of 40 amusing gargoyles on the outside of the church. Twenty depict demonic creatures and the rest appear to be caricatures of locally important people. There was a George III coat of arms, a 1634 font, some lovely floor tiles and door for Winchcombe Abbey, a 15th-century chancel screen and a gilded weathercock. One of the gargoyles is thought to be the model for the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. The church was also full of amazing flower arrangements and decorations for Harvest Festival. There was a lot of creativity in these arrangements.

We thought we would visit Sudeley Castle but it was £14.95 to enter and dogs were not allowed in so we walked around the outside on a walk through the fields picking up six geocaches. We also found a geocoin. Mike managed to get some excellent photos of the Castle.