Love growing in peace
Healing the horrors of war
A fitting tribute
Evergreen memories stand
The photo for this week’s prompt was taken at Whipsnade. While the little Bedfordshire village is better known for its zoo, now a major contributor to species conservation, it also holds the Tree Cathedral, created by Edmond Blyth in the 1930s. Blyth was born in 1898 and, as a young man, trained as an infantry cadet at Sandhurst. There he made three close friends, Arthur Bailey, John Bennett and Francis Holland. Bailey and Bennett were killed in battle in 1918 and Holland died in a car crash. Blyth bought two cottages in Whipsnade to be used as country holiday homes for poor London families, but felt his friends deserved a lasting memorial.
Inspired by the building of Liverpool Cathedral and seeing trees gilded with sunlight as he drove through the Cotswolds one day, he decided to plant a living cathedral whose walls would be the green and growing things and whose roof would be the vault of the sky.
In 1939, with the outbreak of WWII, Blyth returned to active service and the sapling cathedral was left to become choked and overgrown. Only after the war was over did work recommence. The first service was not held in the cathedral until 1953, but they continue to this day and Blyth’s vision of creating a living place of ‘faith, hope and reconciliation’ is now the most beautiful church I have seen.
Echoing the traditional cruciform plan, the cloisters are ash trees, the nave is of oak and seasonal chapels hold rowan, spruce, whitebeam and many other mature and magnificent trees, while at the heart of the cathedral is a dew pond, where the heavens are mirrored in still waters. I can think of no more beautiful way to build a place of faith.
I was only a little girl when I first visited the Tree Cathedral. many of the trees were still young, little more than saplings. Half a century later, it fulfils Blyth’s vision.
Thank you so much to everyone who took part this week. My apologies for the reduced number of reblogs this week, things have been a bit hectic around here. All the posts are listed below, so please click on the links below to read them and leave a comment for the author! Thank you too, to everyone who reblogged the prompt, round up and the individual responses!
A new prompt will be published later today. I will reblog as many contributions as space and time allows, as they come in… and all of them will be featured in the round-up on Thursday.
Pingbacks do not always come through… if you have written a post for this challenge and it does not appear in the round-up, please leave a link to your post in the comments and I will add it to the list.
Come and join in!
Many thanks to this weeks contributors: