Where were we? Going local…

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We wouldn’t have much time, the three of us. My friends were arriving a mere day after I got home and one of them was away to London the next afternoon. Still, we had the evening and a meal at the local hostelry over which to talk and catch up on the Transatlantic gossip and the important things, like just being with each other for a while. Email is all very well in its way and I wouldn’t be without it, but you can’t beat eye to eye, smile to smile contact. Oceans can be far too wide sometimes.

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Next morning I was down to Nick’s where my friends joined me when they were packed from the hotel. We had a little time before the train was due to leave so we went into the town to see a tomb in St Mary’s church. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin sits quietly in the old town, surrounded by the few surviving streets of historic houses. There was a church on this site in Saxon times, around 570AD and evidence remains of that early building in the crypt. The present church, however, dates back only to around 1200, with later additions and alterations spanning the centuries.

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The building continues to evolve. When my son sang soprano in the choir there, the interior was still full of old wooden pews. Now it is a wide space with a stage around the Norman ‘Aylesbury’ font, a particular style that is found in the area. The space is used for purposes both religious and secular and we were lucky enough to arrive for the rehearsal of a concert of violin and piano. The acoustics are magnificent.

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I can’t say that I am happy about the loss of the old wood, any more than I am happy about the loss of the ancient glass in Victorian times… but in order to maintain the buildings, the churches have to move with both the times and the local community. It seems to have been a learning curve here and the space has evolved, preserving the sanctity of the Lady Chapel and Chancel whilst making communal use of the nave.

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Some traditional features are still preserved though. A knight lies sleeping in pale silence, but it was the tomb of Lady Lee we had come to see. A formidable looking woman, knelt in prayer amongst her alabaster children for nearly five hundred years. Her husband, Sir Henry Lee of Quarrendon, was personal Champion to Queen Elizabeth I. he had founded the Grammar School, housed within the church at its beginnings. My sons had attended the school five centuries later and the remains of his home were one of the first places we had visited, finding the traces in the fields when we had first moved south. The verse upon her tomb (included with the picture above) requests that her resting place be strewn with crimson flowers… and to this day fresh crimson blooms are placed there.


About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Ancient sites, Churches, Friendship, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Where were we? Going local…

  1. It looks like another very beautiful old church. The Norman font looks in pretty good condition considering its age. I wonder how many babies have been christened there over the centuries. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Not just babies either… baptism used to be an adult choice 🙂 We see a lot of these remnants from almost a thousand years ago… even some Saxon ones…it is amazing how well they still look.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. A lot of Protestant sects consider baptism an adult choice too. Others seem to accept both, a baptism at birth and another as an adult.

    570 is Arthurian. There are so few remnants of that time anywhere in England. What a treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      This church is Anglican…which is technically Protestant, but only really politically as far as I can see 🙂 I don’t get the need for so many schisms and compartments… but that’s another discussion.
      Yeps, that’s the time we believe to be historically Arthurian, regardless of the later romances.We are lucky to still have so much left…though that is still not a great deal.


  3. Sixeighty says:

    I love the feel of old churches, there’s something formidable and overwhelming when you first enter them.
    For me anyway.
    I had it going into the church in Great Malvern, it’s massive interior was incredible, and the detail on the outside was phenomenal.

    There’s one at the top of dudley that my wife and I were thinking of getting married in but we had monetary constraints at that point so we couldn’t have it.
    It’s got an incredible interior and the outside of the church is pocked with shrapnel holes from a bomb that landed nearby during the war.


  4. Stained glass…I am drawn in, always. Beautiful post of a beautiful place. 💕


  5. Fantastic. Thank you for taking us along to this one Sue!


  6. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.


  7. macjam47 says:

    A fascinating post, Sue. The photos of the old church and the tombs are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


  8. Ali Isaac says:

    How lovely that her wishes are still remembered and observed after all these years.


  9. Alli Templeton says:

    That’s a truly stunning window, Sue. And it looks as though it’s quite unusual in some ways, too. I haven’t been there, but next time I’m over in the area I’ll be sure to go and see it for myself. Thanks for sharing and introducing me to another interesting church and it’s stories. 🙂


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