By the time we had watched the flock of crows and wandered around the churchyard we were about ready to try the door. Would it be open? There is always that question… Many of the churches in villages and small towns stand open to visitors, but not all, and not always in winter when tourists are thin on the ground. But we were in luck.
“You’re not going to believe this…” No. It did seem a bit much of a coincidence… another hogback stone. You have to remember these things are rare… and we weren’t looking for them. In fact, the only one I had ever seen was the one in the little church at Heysham that had been closed for renovations the day before… was it only the day before?…. when we had tried to see it. This was the third since then. Though badly damaged, it was still something of a gift.
There has been a church on the site here since the sixth or seventh century. The earliest church would have been Saxon and probably a wooden structure, replaced a thousand years ago by a stone-built Norman church. The present building is Victorian. Curiously, the history says that foundation stone was laid in 1846 with full Masonic ritual. The builders did, however, retain the dog-tooth chancel arch, now at the base of the tower and a Norman doorway with its distinctive chevron of stone. Once again, we were looking at red sandstone.
The piscina and sedilia in the sanctuary have been painted and gilded in the manner of the elder days, giving a feel of the light and colour that once reigned in our churches. A side chapel preserved, holding the memorials to the great and good of the area. The stained glass is lovely, and includes a set of windows showing the Canticles… the great songs of the Bible. Which means there was the Nunc Dimitis… which means another Simeon window… remind me to tell you about the Simeon affair one of these days…
Continue reading at France & Vincent