A Fallen Angel,
A Yorkshire Church
A cold, clear day with sparkling skies and sunshine, the frost now gone with birds feeding from berries in hedgerows and gardens. The soft slip of a metal latch whilst the smell of bacon still lingers on mohair and jeans…..the exit is quiet and nobody notices except the robin who flits in and out of twisted branches. Gloves of wool for warmth and a coat of bright red for keeping the spirits up help as I make my way along a quiet country lane and up a steep winding hill towards an ancient church, which is perched high above the village on which it serves. There are wooden stiles to be negotiated and sheep to dodge as I make my way up and up and up…….
The wind buffets the clouds in the sky and tugs at my hands as I steady the camera…..the cold steals my breath but it is invigorating and makes a pleasant change from the warm cocoon of the house. Still I climb towards the old church and the brow of the hill. Birds wheel about above me and I can see the red roofs of the tidy cottages in the valley below now, whilst toy people toil in their gardens and miniature animals graze in the fields. The bacon sandwich that I had for breakfast seems like a distant memory as I reach into my coat pocket for a mint……red winter coats always have mints or toffees in their pockets, it’s an unwritten rule.
The old gravestones tumble amongst rough tufts of grass…..molehills decorate the walk way towards the church and there is an air of peace and serenity as the centuries are recorded, chisel on stone and moss on wood….old fashioned names of families, wives, sons and daughters…..sadly not all remembered now. I say the names aloud, my voice thin and reedy in the wind…..Samuel, Hannah, Martha, Edward, Thomas, Josiah and Susan…..
The view of the Wolds Valley is magnificent and the sky is big, Big Sky, it reminds me of a Western film, but this is not Nevada or Nebraska, but Yorkshire, and the Church is a 12th Century church with roots going back to Saxon times, although there are no remains of the Saxon church now; it was Herbert of Winchester who built the church, in honour of the apostle Andrew…..
…..the church is of early Norman style with some overlaps to earlier Saxon times. I love its commanding and lofty position and its grey austerity, it is the beacon of the village and it’s such a shame that the congregation has dropped to a level where it may be closed soon; if we lose this historical and sacred place, we lose a little bit of us and our heritage, maybe never to be restored, lost forever, sold to property developers for a trendy chapel conversion.
My walk is nearly over now and as I leave, I pass a bin full of festive greenery that must have adorned the church for Christmas……holly, cypress and ivy along with bright red ribbons, all fighting to escape in the wind……the churchyard is an area of conservation for rare plants, one of the leaflets on the notice board informs me, whilst another lists the flowers and plants that are to be seen here…..there is a schedule of services, not daily now, not even weekly, what a sad demise for a community. My thoughts race ahead to a warm cottage kitchen with tea and cake, maybe a slice of Christmas cake, with its fallen Angel…..
…..or, maybe as it is still early I may indulge in another bacon butty, as I have walked over hill and dale! Winter is one of my favourite seasons, just trailing a little behind autumn in the popularity stakes, and winter walks are the best ~ no heat and humidity to contend with, and after all you can always add an extra scarf or jumper…..food is enjoyed with elemental pleasure and hot drinks take on a new medicinal pleasure if a wee dram of whisky is added to them. I hope you have enjoyed my “virtual” photographic walk today, with the big sky of Yorkshire and our wonderful church at Weaverthorpe, as well as my fallen Angel and that bacon butty! I will leave you with some more images and will see you later with more culinary treats and a recipe for a special day tomorrow.