Saturday, 30 May 2020

Graves of the Famous

One first blogs I wrote was called Famous People which I found the photos were linked to my old Flickr account that I deleted, rather than update the blog I decided to write a new blog with a few more photos as well as the church they are buried at, I hope this does it more justice.

The first one I started off with was Agatha Christie, she is buried over in the North West corner of St Mary's Cholsey  near the footpath that runs though

A few years ago the headstone was very grubby with age but recently it has been cleaned up
 A few miles away is a place called Ewelme where you find this wonderful old church of St Mary the Virgin
In the churchyard you will find the grave of Jerome K Jerome of Three men in a boat fame. It is also worth going in the church where you will find some interesting tombs in particular the one of Matilda Chauser who was married to Tomas Chauser the some of Geoffrey Chauser.
Over in  Sutton Courtney at All Saints Church
 you will find this grave to Eric Arthur Blair or George Orwell of 1984 fame, his friend Davis Astor in behind. Finding Orwells grave is not that easy I might add
Not far away is another famous person, this time a former Prime Minister Herbert Asquith who lived just across the road from the church. You might have heard of his Granddaughter also Helena Bonham Carter
Couple more famous people on the right Sir Arthur Harris also known a Bomber Harris who was in charge of Bomber Command in World War Two, His headstone is at Goring Cemetery. During his funeral a lone Lancaster from WWII flew over is grave
The photo was sourced of the internet I suspect it is a cutting from a local newspaper
Lord Nuffield lived in house not far from his memorial at the Holy Trinity Church. He started Morris Garages in Oxford
Sir David Frost is also buried at the church but I have seen no grave. I might add the funeral of Gerry Anderson took place here as well.
 At St Bartholomew Lower Basildon you will come across this headstone
It belongs to Jethro Tull who invented the Seed Drill, he lived locally all his live and is buried in the churchyard but this headstone is not original. He died in 1740 and his old headstone has most likely sunk in the ground somewhere, someone must have had this one made and placed it by the church.
 This beautiful little Church in Little Sombourne called All Saints is where you will find the grave of Tommy Sopwith
 He helped win the First World War with is plane the Sopwith Camel and the Second World War with the Hawker Hurricane
I cannot say I was over impressed when I found the grave of J R R Tolkiens At Wolvercote Cemetery in  Oxford when I found it I thought it would have been looked after better considering who he was. I left very disappointed
 I was quite disappointed at the Holy Trinity Headington Quarry
 when I saw the grave of C.S.Lewis, I thought it could do with a clean.
Highgate Cemetery has a wealth of famous people to see though most are opposite in the new side

 Douglas Adams who wrote Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy
 Corin Redgrave is the son of Michael Redgrave and his sisters are Vanessa and Lynn
 Karl Marx
 Danny Wilder was with a band called Kings of the City
Malcolm McLaren 
And Jeremy Beadle who was a TV presenter
St Michael & All Angels Hughenden is where you will find the grave of 
 In the family Vault of The grave of Benjamin Disraeli, along with his wife plus also his benefactor where they are buried here beside each other 
 Bladon Church is where I will finish
With the person I feel stands out the most Sr Winston Churchill who is buried here with his wife
Till Next Time Stay Safe and have a pleasant weekend

Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Churn Benefice

Still not had a chance to visit any new churches and rather that post up an old blog I thought I would show you the Churn Benefice. Most churches in the UK now belong to a group or Benefice with either a single minister of two that look after it along with their lay preachers. Some of them can comprise of one or two churches others can be many more. One of the bigger ones in my area is the Church Benefice and is one of the few where I have visited every church.

The first one which is the next village to where I live is St John the Baptist South Moreton 
I found this quite a frustrating church to visit and see the inside as it was always locked. I eventually got hold of a key holder and went along to see the church. The church is not in a good state and needs some TLC  but from what I can glean it is on the verge of being closed, personally I think it is a good candidate for the Churches Conservation Trust to take on.

The next village along is South Moreton where you will find All Saints Church  I have been here a few times and found it a very interesting church to look around. It quite a bit of history surrounding it and still have a lot of very old features to see.
Another church not far away in the Benefice is St Michael & All Angels Blewbury a very old church which dates back to before the Normans but was rebuilt by the Normans in 1190, you can see a lot of the old church when you look around. The church is near a place called Churn which lends it's name to the Benefice
The Next village along you will find St Mary Upton
a nice little church dating back to the 12th century  and rebuilt in 1885
The furthest away is St Andrew West Hagbourne 
and one which I seem to take a long time to get around to visiting but I feel worth it 

Going back to the other side of Bluewbury you find the the Astons which comprise of two churches, the first is All Saints Aston Upthorpe which is the oldest church in the group and one which is associated with the Battle of Ashdown where King Alfred defeated the Danes
If you walk back though the village and along a footpath you come to St Michael Aston Tyrrold
The church looks a lot newer though dates back to Saxon times and rebuild by the Norman. The village lays along the bridleway from the village I live in and I need to go back sometime to revisit the church.
That concludes my tour of the  the Church Benefice I hope you found them interesting. I may well show other benefices in the coming weeks.
Till Next Time Stay Safe 
and have a great Bank Holiday Weekend

Saturday, 2 May 2020

The Clerics Trail

Over the past few weeks I have been struggling to find what to write in the Church Explorer and though at first I was republishing early blogs or at least highlighting them for you to visit it did not seem right. I did manage to write on trust which look after churches and even managed to come up with some new posts on chapels I had not written about in this blog. The last resort will be using the two churches I have to write on yet as I thought they could start things going when this crisis ends.
The other day I was left a message on one of my older blogs. It concerned a person called the Rev Frances Kivert who wrote a book called Kilvert's Diary which I have just started reading on Kindle. The person who left the message said Kivert had visited the church. I found this interesting as I have visited a few churches he had been to and tagged them with The Clerics Trail. I remembered seeing a poster advertising the trail and showing the churches, it gave me an idea for a blog so in this one I will show you the churches from the trail I have visited. I do intend to visit more when I go back to Wales again mind you there are 20 on the list to see. What I will say after reading around 20% is that Kivert was Vicar at Clyro and use to radius out to the various places and churches he visited sometimes walking others going by pony and trap

 St Cewydd Aberedw
which is situated along the Wye Valley outside Builth Wells. I have visited it a couple of times as it is not far from where I stay in my Caravan.  The poster above is what you see inside the porch as you go in.The first place mentioned in the book is Clyro so this is a fair way from that place, I could not tell you at the moment if he ministered here or just preached. The church it's self is very nice and has links to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd who was killed in the woods nearby
St David Colva
Was mentioned in the first part I am reading, Kivert walked here from Clryo to get a few songs from a fellow there and they had to be sent by post in the end again I do not know if he did anything other that preach here
St Peters Llanbedr
 Described by Kivert as a Ruin it now looks like a typical country church though a little out of the way on it's own. I seem to remember one Vicar having to pay the local vagrants and people a farthing to attend church and one tramp had to be thrown out for cooking in there
  A church in the hills above the Wye and and even further from the First church mentioned, a long church with a little history. You will find a WWI grave cross in the church a memorial to Second Lieutenant J Willaims Vaughan who  worshipped at the church
Built around 1400 and restored in in 1856 there are few features that remain from the early time, it stands not far from the Offas Dyke Path and has a welcome for walkers who come by in that you can have tea and coffee. On my visit a group were eating their lunch in the church. Kivert used to walk here from Clyro to teach though how he worded the paragraph seemed dubious.
 St John-in-Bedwardine
This was the last church that Kivert was vicar here till his death in 1877 aged 38 he is also buried here. At the time of my visit I happened across the church on my way to visit the cathedral and stopped off. I found it deceptive from the outside as inside is quite different. I did not know about Kivert at the time otherwise I would have found his grave and memorial. It would be nice to have the chance to visit again. Those are the only churches I have visited so far but no doubt when I get a chance I will visit more.
Till Next time Have a nice weekend and Stay Safe

Saturday, 25 April 2020

The Fair Mile Chapel

Today I am going to address a chapel I should have posted a long time ago. If you look at the churches in my maps you will find this one listed but it is attributed to another blog I have that is in long need of some work doing to it.The chapel was where patents and staff could go and worship and no doubt back when the place was first built you had to go to for Sunday worship as part of the job. No doubt part of the Victorian thinking was to healing that going to church  was for the good of your soul. One side chapel was consecrated as Catholic sometime in the 1950s before that they used a building nearby.My parents both worked at the Hospital from around 1942 till they retired in 1978. Dad died a couple of years later aged 60 Mum went on till she was 88 before joining him up at the local churchyard. After she died I as sorting out the old photos and came across a treasure trove of picture taken at Fair Mile. They became the reason I started writing Forgotten Fairmile. Many of the photos were used in a book a colleague wrote on the place and went towards a huge Exhibition we had on the place. Sadly the hospital closed in 2003 and lay empty till 2010 when they started converting the place to housing. I managed to get on site during all this time to photograph what was going on. I wrote a blog on the chapel for Forgotten Farimile but it never appeared on the Church Explorer, best part is it was one of the first explores I did. I have updated the original blog with more photos of the outside and tried hope you enjoy the story though you might find some of the photos a little disturbing.

The blog was written around some photos I found of my Mother and her friends I thought it would be good to find out where the picture was taken
This is the photo of my Mother and friend that was taken outside the chapel

 It seemed a popular place to have a photo taken 

The Chapel would have been used for the salvation of the people who worked there and some of the patients who were able to go. From what I could see the place was not used that much and I think in the end the catholic  priest was the only one who had any service there though even that went out the window and he used one of the old rooms in the admin block after services could not beheld there because it was too cold in the winter.

And it could get cold, this is what it looked like in Jan 2010 after the hospital closed

Almost lost in the snow here

Looking very cold an unwelcoming

I cannot say it looked a lot better during the day which is how I saw it for the first time in around ten years back in 2008

The Shrubbery around the East end had really gone wild

  I September 2010 the contractors moved in to begin converting the hospital, the offices were plonked in the car park beside the Chapel. I might add this is where the old security used to be sighted as well not that it was up to much from what I saw from the inside of it. Half the cameras did not work proplerly
 This was an old entrance  to the chapel

The area looked like this when it was cleared away

it has some very nice Victorian brickwork decorating it

 Though it did not look that good after years of neglect. 

 Around the North side was a covered porch which no doubt was the main entrance, if you look to the left a little more you see another door which used to be the one we used to go to the Catholic chapel

 The West entrance which I cannot ever remember being used

 The door to the chapel was open when I visited the site one Friday so I wandered in and took a load of photos, it was the fist time I had been in the place for over ten years, I was pretty shocked I must admit. I went to the back where the West door is and took this shot down the nave
The one is near where I cam in and you can see both transepts right & left and the chancel. The left transept is where the catholic chapel was and a sliding screen could be pulled across. On the right was where the organ is

I used to remember a meber of the congrigation playing this at Mass

The keybords looked like they wanted to be played

Over in the North transept where the Catholic chapel was I noticed the altar had gone and the tabernacle was missing the front.
That was left on the table where the altar wine used to be kept during mass

It was broken and ripped off the hinges, some skanky chave had torn it off.

On the windowsill were a couple of metal vases, wonder they had not been thrown around

The altar in the main chapel was there and the hangings draped over it
Looking back up the chapel the sunlight poured in and lit the aisle up

I took some more photos round the organ in the South transept, it looked proud and I hoped it would be saved


All it need is the music and an organist

Above the inside of the organ was on display

Left the clerks desk beside the choir stalls in the chancel

A bible was still on the Pulpit lectern where you could see empty pews which no longer would seem people sat in them in this chapel

I had to wonder what would happen to the pulpit

Along on the south wall one of the windows had a hymn board in place with the number 193

Neaby on one of the pews hymn books were stacked
By the organ a vase and music waited

Must have been a year or so later I found myself back in the chapel again. The organ had gone

taken away and in it's place flat pack kitchen units stored
The beautiful cross on which the switches used to be taken away
I left not wanting to see any more and felt deflated at the loss of the place

Back to my first photos of my Mother and friends, I'm sure it was here the pictures were taken all those years ago.
I walked past the chapel in 2019 and got this photo, it was for letting though I could not say if any one and taken up the offer
Back across the lawn it looked a bit more welcoming in the sunlight.
Till Next time Take care and stay safe