musings while allatsea

Musings of a curious individual

Tag: Churchyard

Connections: it’s all in the name

I found a great set of connections this past week and while I have it more or less down pat there are still a few things that I need to do. The story goes like this:

Very close to where I live is the parish church of St Nicolas in Aschurch. It is a pretty church with a long history and I visited there in November 2016.

What I did not know at the time was that there was a war memorial associated with Ashchurch, in fact it is right across the road from the church. I photographed that one on Boxing Day last year

When I had completed my blogpost I decided to create a community at “Lives of the First World War” for the 24 names from the First World War commemorated on the memorial. Three of the men commemorated on the memorial were Majors in the British Army, namely:

Major The Hon. Alfred Henry Maitland

Major Frederick Eckersall Nixon-Eckersall

Major James Bertram Falkner Cartland

Fortunately for me, a lot of the research had already been done on these officers and I really just had to tie them into the parish of Ashchurch. 

I knew that Major James Bertram Falkner Cartland (CWGC LINK)  had a Memorial in the grounds of Tewkesbury Abbey which could be a connection. 

Actually there are also two Cartland brothers commemorated on that memorial, both being killed a day apart during WW2. ( Major John Ronald Hamilton Cartland (Worcester Yeomanry, KIA 30/05/1940) and  Captain James Anthony Hamilton Cartland (Lincolnshire Regiment KIA 29/05/1940))  Remember this surname as it is important. Both of those two men were from Poolbrook in Worcestershire, while Major James Bertram Falkner Cartland was from Pershore in Worcestershire. The border between Tewkesbury and Worcestershire is not too far away, probably about a kilometre but so far I did not have a tangible link to Ashchurch

Major Frederick Eckersall Nixon-Eckersall was my next puzzle. According to his CWGC Casualty Record he was born in Ireland, however the record listed his wife as being from “Gainsborough”,  College Rd., Cheltenham. But, no real link to Tewkesbury. 

Major The Hon. Alfred Henry Maitland: According to his CWGC Casualty Record he was killed very early in the war (September 1914). And, his wife was listed as being “Edith, daughter of Sanford G. T. Scobell”. As yet I do not know where he was born, but I will find it given enough time. He served in the Boer War too, so he connects to South Africa. The Scobell link looked interesting and I accessed the 1881 Census record and discovered the following.

The Scobell family in the 1881 census comprised of:
 
Father: Sanford George Treweeke Scobell   Born 1893
Mother: Edith Scobell (Born Palairet 1850)
Edith M Scobell  daughter, born 1872 (Brighton)
Florence Eleanor Scobell daughter, born 1875 (Brighton)
Emily K Scobell, daughter, born 1876 (Worcestershire)
Mary Hamilton Scobell, daughter, born 1878 (Worcestershire)
Sandford TG Scobell, son born 1880 (Brighton)

I checked the names against my three majors and discovered:

Major James Bertram Faulkner Cartland,  married Mary Hamilton Scobell.
Major Frederick Eckersall Nixon-Eckersall,  married Florence Eleanor Scobell.
and The Honourable, Major Alfred Henry Maitland married Edith M Scobell.
 

That connected all three men to the same family. The Scobell family are listed in the census as living at “The Down House”, Redmarley-D’abitot Worcester. Google maps puts Redmarley in Gloucestershire, although it was part of Worcestershire up till 1931.

The Down House was recently on the market ( £3,250,000) and is described as having 7 bedrooms, 3 reception rooms, 4 bathrooms, morning room, formal drawing room, impressive library and dining room as well as separate three bedroom staff flat in the grounds, coach house and yard, stables, garaging, in all about 130 acres. It is a Grade II Listed Regency house and was originally designed and built by the well-known architect Thomas Rickman between 1820 and 1823.  Tewkesbury is 7 miles away, Gloucester is 10 miles, Cheltenham 15 miles, and Worcester 25 miles. (http://www.rightmove.co.uk/property-for-sale/property-59662366.html)

The connection to the Scobell family was complete, but what connected these men and the Scobell family to Ashchurch? To find that out I shuffled through my photographs of St Nicholas in Ashchurch to see whether there were any wall memorials in the church that could tie into the Scobell family. 

The answer to that was not inside the church, but outside the church in a family plot.

There are a number of individuals named on these graves, including Maj Gen. Sandford John Palairet Scobell (1879-1955) and his wife Cecily Maude (1885-1955), as well as Sandford George Treweeke Scobell (1839-1912) and his wife Edith (+1929), Charles John Spencer Scobell (illegible – 1918) and a number of others. Unfortunately I did not photograph individual graves at the time but rectified that in January 2017. 

The 1911 Census has the following information:

Sandford G T Scobell Head, Private Means, 72, 1839, Southover Lewes Sussex
Edith Scobell Wife Married Female, 61, 1850, Bradford Avon Wiltshire
Meloney E, Scobell, Daughter, Single Female, Private Means, 39, 1872, Brighton Sussex

Address: Walton House Tewkesbury, Parish: Ashchurch, County: Gloucestershire. 

As you can see from the inscription above, Walton House is mentioned on the grave of Sandford Scobell and that definitely connects to St Nicholas parish church in Ashchurch. Three of their daughters connect three Majors from three different families into Ashchurch and in turn they connect to the Ashchurch War Memorial as they lost their lives in World War 1.

But what about Walton House? 

Google is my friend and I hit paydirt when I picked up a link to the Smithsend Family. Amongst the information I found the following: “In 1911 the house was bought by a Colonel Scobell (the maternal grandfather of the Novelist Barbara Cartland) and the house passed to his wife Edith and then his son John Stanford Scobell in 1929 (including the Lodge and 1 and 2 the Poplars on the main road). From 1937 to about 1945 the house was owned by a Vet – Mr Maguire.(http://smithinfamily.co.uk/page17a.html)  

The house they were referring to is called Walton House in Tewkesbury, The paragraph puts the house firmly in the Scobell family from 1911 at least till 1937 and it is 1,9 kilometres from the parish church of St Nicholas. The house was granted to Gloucestershire County Council in 1946 from a John Carradine Allen and used as a children’s home. In 1994 it was sold and converted into flats. Incidentally the area where the house is is now called “Newtown” and it is roughly midway between Tewkesbury town and Ashchurch. 

After visiting St Nicholas I went looking for Walton House and found it. Unfortunately it is not an easy place to photograph as it faces an area that is not accessible. This is probably the back of the house

while the image below is the one side.

Remember I said that we need to remember Major Cartland? The very popular romance novelist  Barbara Cartland‘s mother was Mary Hamilton ‘Polly’ Scobell, and she grew up at the Down House and as a small girl Barbara was a regular visitor from Pershore.  Her father was Major James Bertram Faulkner Cartland,  She was born in Edgbaston, West Midlands, July 9, 1901 and Christened Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland and she attended Malvern Girls’ College and Abbey House, Netley Abbey, Hampshire. Her paternal grandfather allegedly committed suicide when he went bankrupt and her  father was killed in Flanders in 1918. and her two brothers were killed 1 day apart in World War 2.  Cartland was reared by her strong mother, who moved the family to London and opened her own business, a dress shop in Kensington  http://primrose-league.leadhoster.com/cartland_files/cartland.html

There is enough evidence to connect Ashchurch with Walton House, the Scobell family and the three majors who lost their lives in the First World War. Like so many families in the United Kingdom they lost their sons and fathers in the Great War. That war really decimated the professional class of officer from the army, and it was really the beginning of the end of the “gentry.” 

The Scobell family connections may be found at The Peerage, A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.

I am more or less happy with this series of connections, the only additional find that I did make was the grave of Col. Henry Gillum Webb (1842-1904) who was one of the previous owners of Walton House. He bought the house in 1879 and it was probably Webb who made many of the later modifications to the house..

And inside the church is a wall memorial to members of the Ruddle family of Walton House.

There is an interesting observation in (http://smithinfamily.co.uk/page17a.html)  website that may be found on a PDF at http://smithinfamily.co.uk/Smithsend-tewkesbury.pdf   (page 61 onwards) it mentions Walton Spa, a potential rival to Cheltenham Spa, and it was centred around Walton House…. 

I won’t delve too deeply into that, suffice to say I am confident of the connections I have found. And can really publish this blog post.

Connections are everywhere though, you really just need to find that start and endpoint.

DRW © 2017-2018 Completed 07/01/2018.  

Updated: 24/03/2018 — 14:35

Cemetery in the snow 2017

In 2015 while I was in Basingstoke we had an overnight snowfall and I headed off to my local graveyard for some photography. That was quite a large cemetery and I spent a lot of time in it. Tewkesbury Cemetery is on the opposite end of town from where I live so any excursion to it in snowy weather on foot was not really a clever idea. However, apart from the churchyard of the abbey the closest cemetery was technically the old Baptist Chapel, which is literally over the road from the abbey. Unfortunately I can never remember where it is so had to backtrack a bit to find it. In fact, this post is going to backtrack all the way back to 2015 when I first arrived in Tewkesbury, because I have never done a post about the chapel before. This post covers the chapel and it’s associated burial ground and I am using a mix of images from my other visits as well as my Dec 2017 visit.

Situated at the end of one of the many alleyways in the town, it is one of those places you could miss unless you were actually looking for it.

The alley leads into The Old Baptist Chapel Court and the chapel is situated to the right in the image, while the burial ground is just past the building. A sign above the entrance to the court gives a brief history of what is within this small space.

I was fortunate enough to get a “tour” on my one visit so at least I know what it is like on the inside. The history of the chapel is quite interesting too.  

The old Baptist Chapel started out in the mid 15th century as a Medieval hall house and it is thought that by the mid 1700’s it was the meeting place for the Baptists, who were another of the many non-conformist groups who held clandestine meetings of their faith. In the 18th century it was transformed into a simply decorated chapel with a pulpit, baptistery and pastor’s room.

The trapdoor on the right is the Baptistery, and water was presumably  led or carried from the river at the bottom of the court. Prior to 1689, Baptists were persecuted by the authorities leading them to perform baptisms in secret at the nearby Mill Avon. The Baptistery was installed once the persecution ceased. 

However, the property is much higher than the river, so I do not know how they got water to it. Although who knows what it was like 2 or even 3 centuries ago.  

Most of the images were taken from the mezzanine level around the chapel and I seem to recall that there was a bricked up window that has a long story behind it. Unfortunately I no longer remember what it was  (stare too long at the window and you loose your memory perhaps?). 

In 1805 a new chapel was built and the old chapel was subdivided into two cottages with the remains of the chapel in the middle. The chapel may be amongst the earliest Baptist chapels in existence in the UK, and it was restored in the 1970’s to look as it did around 1720. It is almost impossible to get an exterior view of the building due to the narrowness of the alley at that point.  

This is really the best that you can do. The chapel is the timber framed building.  

The burial ground.

Layout by Tewkesbury Heritage (1024×252)

The earliest identified memorial in the burial ground is that of Mary Cowell and is dated 1689, with the newest dating from 1911. 

That is the extent of the burial ground, it is not a large area at all, and is hemmed in by houses on either side and the river beyond the trees. 

The Shakespeare Connection.

One of the more  interesting burials in it is that of Joan Shakespeare, who was William Shakespeare’s younger sister. She married into the Hart family, and one of the Hart descendants moved to Tewkesbury. John Hart was a chairmaker, and so was his son, and there are two Shakespeare Hart burials in this tiny plot.

Thomas Shakespeare

Will Shakespeare Hart

Somewhere amongst my photographs is a sign that pointed to a boat builder called Shakespeare in Tewkesbury but naturally I cannot find it at this point in time. A list of the interments in the burial ground may be found at the Gravestone Photographic Resource,  (and I believe there are records in the chapel too). According to that list the oldest identifiable headstone dates from 1777 and they identify 11 graves with 23 individuals. I doubt whether that list is complete.

Generally speaking many of the headstones are in a remarkable condition, and there are some very fine examples with intricate carving on them.​

 

If you stood at the river end of the court and looked towards  the chapel you can get a much better idea of the crowded area. The entrance would be on the top right of the image.

It is amazing to see how different the same space looks when it is blanketed by snow.  

And having revisited the burial ground it was time to head off home. It had been an interesting visit, and at some point I must compare the images that I have with what is on that list. And of course find that sign from the boat builder. I will return here again one day to have a look at those registers because I would like to document the individual graves. My existing images are from 3 different dates and they really show how a relatively undisturbed plot of ground does change with the seasons, although Winter left its mark on this chilly day and of course there was however one occupant that I did not see on this visit, but I expect he is curled up somewhere warm.

 

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 10/12/2017. Some text originated from a Tewkesbury Heritage information board at the burial ground. 

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 17:01

Striding out to Stroud (1)

When I was on my way home from London in April this year, one of the stations we passed through was Stroud in Gloucestershire. It seemed like pretty place to visit and I filed the information away for future reference. However, this past summer was a no go for excursions, the weather has been lousy and I have really missed hitting the trail. Somewhere along the line I decided that a visit to Stroud should happen and my original planning was for last week. I had all the timetables printed out and was really raring to go. But, the weather went icky and so did I. So I never went.

This weekend the weather looked promising so I grabbed my goodies, printed my maps and set my internal alarm clock for 6am this morning, The plan was to grab a bus to Cheltenham, arriving before 8.30 and then walking to the station to catch the 8.59 train to Paddington, bailing out at Stroud, in fact I still had my timetable all printed from the week before. 

The best laid plans of mice and men had it in for me though; when I arrived at the station I discovered that my train did not exist, in fact, had I checked the times before traveling I would have found that out. I was working from a timetable for 16 September and that train had been canceled today.  The problem was that the next train was only at 10.01, and trying to kill 2 hours at Cheltenham Spa Station was not going to happen.

I hung around for awhile and read and reread the Metro that I had picked up at the barriers. Then just as I was about to head off out of the loo an announcement was made about the train to Stroud. As usual I could not hear it so I head up to inquiries. The local GWR staff were evidently waiting for news, but by then I was browned off and decided to head off to Cheltenham, buy sausages at Lidl and then head for home. I went to cash in my tickets, and in the midst of that transaction GWR came to the party and organised a taxi for me to Stroud. A shining example of customer service. Thank you Great Western Railways.

 And so I headed off to Stroud with an amiable Turkish driver. The town is about 19 km from Cheltenham I believe, and is technically closer to Gloucester than Cheltenham. As we rode along we eventually came to a built up area with some really stunning buildings, and one of those typical Anglican Churches that I keep on bumping into. One of the places on my list was St Laurence Church in Stroud and I made the assumption that this was it and decided to bail out here. You know me, I am a sucker for churches and graveyards, so this was right up my alley. Sun? there was none, although the forecast said it would clear a bit later.

I was feeling very smug that I had managed to arrive at my destination, and could look forward to a day of photography and walking. In fact I asked a local what was the name of the street that the church was on. He looked at me strangely, and said that the church was not on my map because we were not in Stroud! So if we were not in Stroud, where were we? 

The village of Painswick.

I was still 5 miles from my intended destination! The local took pity on me and seeing my interest in the churchyard showed me one of the more interesting graves in it.

It belongs to the stonemason John Bryan, and I will be frank and say that while it is unusual it is nothing compared to some of the other gravestones in the churchyard.

The churchyard is amazing, it has one of the best collections I have seen in ages, and they seem to be unique to this churchyard. In Lichfield the slate headstones were popular, over here a ground level ledger stone with a brass plaque seems to be the favoured grave ornamentation. 

The real beauties were closer to the church and I have never seen anything like them before. Unfortunately time and weather has rendered them to be mere shadows of what they looked like originally, but even today you can still marvel at the artistry.

The local showed me one of the end faces similar to the two above that had been restored and I was astounded.

The parish church of Saint Mary  was open, so I was able to go inside and have a peek. 

And like so many parish churches in the UK it is a grade I listed building and parts of it are very old. Various areas were added on over the centuries, so its really hard to tie the building down to a specific date. It is a very beautiful building inside, and my photographs do not do it justice. 

And then it was time to face reality. I was over 5 kilometres from Stroud and there was a long walk ahead. Would I be able to do it? I had no alternative, there was no other place where I could get a bus or train back to Cheltenham. I would have to hoof it.

But first:  the war memorial. 

There are supposedly 99 Yew trees in the churchyard and a number of them surround the war memorial in the churchyard.

The problem was that I had last taken an extended walk of this distance in 2015 and even then I knew that my extended walking days were more or less over. I was OK with short distances, but long ones were problematic. Fortunately the route was straight forward, just follow the road.

Painswick was a very pretty place and I would really have liked to explore it more, but the big question was weather and time. My biggest fear was getting to Stroud and finding that the trains from Paddington were canceled too, then I would have really been in trouble. I upped anchor and headed down the road. Striding to Stroud. 

The countryside around here is very beautiful, although it would have looked much better if the sun was shining.  Large areas are of National Trust Woodlands and are ideal for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Undulating areas of pasture land fall to the Wick stream which supplied the power for the woolen mills which can still been along its length. (http://www.painswick.co.uk)

I have always associated the UK with scenery like this, vast areas of green and rolling hills. It is very beautiful. 

The road seemed endless and the only way to know how I was doing was the occasional peak on the my map on my phone. That road was long, but fortunately the verge was tarred so I was not dodging and diving oncoming traffic. At some point bells started ringing as I approached an area called Stratford Park which is where the Stroud Society of Model Engineers has their track. I had been looking at the map last night to see where it was and while I had not intended going there I took note for possible future reference; and here I was walking past it! Unfortunately it was not in operation so my luck was out.  

and then….

Finally!! Break out the bubbly! I had arrived!

forwardbut

Domesday Book entry.

Naturally I was curious as to what they say about Painswick in the Domesday Book.

Yes, it is illegible. That’s why it is easier to go look it up.  

A lot of odd things happened to me today, and I have to admit that I have a sneaky suspicion I was supposed to see Painswick, and I am glad I did. I would love to explore it more but it is not an easy place to get to. The churchyard of St Mary’s was magnificent. and my special thanks must go to GWR for excellent customer service, as well as the gentleman who took me around the churchyard and church. I often think that many times were are predestined to see or do things, and Painswick was one that I had to experience. 

Now, onwards to Stroud!

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 23/09/2017. Domesday Book entry courtesy of the Open Domesday Project, under the CC-BY-SA licence, with credit to  Professor John Palmer and George Slater. 

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 17:04

Visiting St Giles in Bredon

With Winter slowly heading towards the door I am slowly coming out of my torpor and considering expeditions. Unfortunately my limitations nowadays are many, and I am always hampered by the capacity of my bladder and the comfort of my shoes. 

The Village of Bredon falls under Warwickshire and not Gloucestershire as I expected. In fact the border of the two counties is not all that far from Tewkesbury.  It is roughly 3 miles from where I am, a mere brisk walk on a Winters day.  My target was the Church of St Giles in Bredon where there are 4 CWGC graves to photograph. This would also be a test of my new camera, and of course a bit of much needed leg stretching for me. 

My route was along the B4080 road, through farmland and countryside.  

I stopped on a number of occasions to wave at the sheep, but they just looked sheepishly at me and continued about their business.

At some point I came to the road that comes off the top of Northway into the B4080, with the Cross Keys pub on the corner. I made a mental note of it in case the bladder decided to explode on the way home.

 

After more trudging I started to see the church spire in the distance, and it was a high one. At least now I had an aiming point. 

A bit further one I spotted what I thought was a war memorial but it turned out to be a large milestone instead

The church was behind the milestone, and I was in gravestone mode.

The churchyard is quite large, dominated by the church itself and the usual trees that thrive in churchyards like this

The CWGC graves were easy to find, and I also found two private memorials. I then walked the rows, looking for interesting headstones and tryng to find the oldest legible one, which turned out to be be close to the church.

It appears to date from 1703, and it is very possible that this is not the oldest, there are others very similar to this, but the dates are not legible.

 

The church is stunning, and that spire is a tall one, but unfortunately I could not get into it to have a look. But, like all of these churches you can bet it had some really beautiful memorials inside of it. In the meantime I walked around the churchyard, admiring the lychgate on the way.

The gravestones were a mixed bag of 1800’s and 1900’s with a lot of very nice modern stones. In 200 years time those modern stones will be magnificent! There are also a number of family plots in the churchyard, but that is to be expected as many of the families have probably lived in this parish for generations. 

The Dyer family is particularly well represented. 

The church yard is surrounded by a number of beautiful houses, like the old Rectory (one of 3 rectories that I saw in my trip)

And I believe this is the church hall and associated buildings:

Not too far from the church is the local school, which shows its age somewhat.

and of course yet another pub:

In many cases these village pubs are amongst the older buildings around, and many are stunning examples of country village pubs. If ever I run out of graves I will start photographing pubs! 

There is even a local SPAR in Bredon, 

Although I doubt whether they are in quite the same price range as those back in South Africa. 

I strolled down the road, ever wary of low flying 4×4’s who seeming trundle out of nowhere. The narrow streets were never designed for the vehicular traffic that dominates them, and village can be quite dangerous places to drive in as evidenced by the many reversing mirrors I saw outside driveways.

Lo and behold, there was another pub in the distance.

Then it was time to turn around and head back to the church before tackling the walk back home. 

Now is it left or right? either way I can see the church spire next to the chimney so I am heading in the right direction.

Back at the church, a quick walk around, and some wonderful Soul Effigies on view

 

and then I was on my way home, pausing only to wave at the local lawnmowers ruminating in the adjacent field.

Ugh, I still had far to walk. Would my bladder hold out?

And isn’t that Shaun the Sheep?

It had been a great walk, I was bushed and frankly had enjoyed my outing, I must do that more often. The 4 CWGC graves were in the bag, and that was really why I was there in the first place. 

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 13/03/2016

 

Updated: 01/01/2018 — 15:59

Newnham and Rotherwick churchyards

Following on with my quest to complete as many of the CWGC graves in churchyards close by, I decided to head to Hook, and from there to visit the churchyards of Newnham St Nicholas as well as Rotherwick Parish Church.
Hook is the next stop from Basingstoke on the line to London Waterloo and I was there by 10H30. I had some sort of plan in mind, and it really depended on my energy levels. The first part of my plan included photographing the Hook War Memorial.
  
And from there starting the long walk to my destination which was roughly 2,3 km away. I am not too keen on walking these country lanes because they are narrow and often have blind bends. There is no real pavement either so it can be risky, but the job has to be done.
 
Eventually I came to the junction that I needed and turned left to the church. It was a very pretty spot, and with Spring not too far away and a luke warm sun it really made for a nice day.  There are 4 CWGC graves in Newnham St Nicholas churchyard, of which two are private memorials. 
 
The lychgate is magnificent (as these lychgates tend to be), and is dated 1910. The church itself is very much older.
 
Like so many of the churches I have come across in my meanderings it is really difficult to date its origin because of all the changes that were made during the history of the church, at any rate it seems to show up in history round about 1130. The chancel arch has been dated to about 1135, with major restoration being completed in 1848. A more complete history of the church may be found at its website.
 
And like so many of these small parish churches it is not easy to get an image of the complete building, but there is at least one spot where you can make a good attempt.
 
My first grave was an easy one, it was amongst the first graves in the churchyard by the gate. And the churchyard was quite a nice one too, well shaded, lots of very old graves, and the occasional gem that makes you gasp. There were a number of cast iron markers in the one area, and I had seen quite a few of these in Southampton, but not too many in Basingstoke, I had also not seen this style of cast iron marker before either. They were really nice, but sadly a definite target for scrap metal thieves.
 
In the one corner I found two of the other graves I was looking for, as well as a really pretty collection of moss encrusted graves. These seemed to be of previous ministers of the church, and possibly a few important locals. 
I still had one more private memorial to find and there was no description of what it looked like. I explored further, working my way around the church.

 

My soldier was a World War 2 casualty and the area was now looking much more promising, although the graves immediately next to the church all dated to the 1800’s.

 

I started at the top and started checking each grave, hoping that I was not looking at a toppled headstone or an illegible inscription. Then I hit paydirt and I was able to tick him off the list too. The rent was paid, now I could explore. I headed back to the rear of the church where the entrance was (the entrance does not face the lychgate), and found that the church was open. Inside I met the vicar, and he told me a bit about the church and the various war memorials in the church (of which there were 4). It is not a very ornate building though, it’s much smaller than it looks from the outside, but has a humble feel about it, and a friendly atmosphere. 

Interestingly enough the oldest identifiable grave in the churchyard is that of Mary, daughter of Peter Justice, who died 14 August 1728, aged four months.

 

The vicar also showed me a safer route to Rotherwick which clinched my decision to head there next. All in all though this was a pleasant visit, and getting into the church was a bonus, because some of these churches have wonderful wall monuments in them, as well as war memorials to the local parishioners which seldom see the light.

 Rotherwick Parish Church

  
My next destination was roughly 2,8 km away and a short detour would take me through Tylney Park Golf Club and past Tylney Hall Hotel. The hotel is quite an interesting one, and I was hoping to get a chance to have a good look at it. Unfortunately as I arrived at the hotel my phone range and I had to speak to a personnel agent so ended up taking pics on the fly, and missing out on a lot of what there was to explore.
 
What is interesting is that in 1919 both the Hall and much of the original estate was acquired by Major Cayzer, later created Lord Rotherwick, owner of Clan Line Steamers Ltd, and the Hall became the headquarters for the shipping line. 
 
A previous owner had been Sir Lionel Philips, but whether this is the famous Baronet from Johannesburg history I cannot say. 
 
Irrespective though, from what I saw it was magnificent, I just wish I had been able to see more of it. Unfortunately though, my distraction did take me away from the buildings and I was not in the mood to turn back. Besides, I still had some graves to find. And that was still a long walk away.
    
Finally I arrived at Rotherwick, and the church was easy to find. It is not a big church, but again it is an old one, or  should I rather say, there has been a church at this spot for a long time.  More information about the church may be found at it’s website
 
I had two CWGC graves to find, and I started my round of the church.
  
There was not a lot of space in front of the church, the major part of the churchyard was behind the church and that was where my two graves were. 
  
The churchyard was evidently still being used, and it was quite a large space, slightly separated from the original churchyard.  Sadly though, at some point a lot of the old headstones had been uplifted and used as a wall at the bottom of the church. It was nicely done though, not a haphazard leaning of headstones as I had seen in so many other places.
 
Getting a pic of the church was difficult because of the sun, and because there was no real spot far away enough to fit it all in. I would have to go outside the churchyard to do that.
 
 
 
And then it was time to head off back to the station. I had two possible routes I could take. The first was to retrace my steps, and the other was to carry on with the road where the church was until I found Hook Road and turn into that one. It would take me to the one side of Hook and close to the Hook Village Garden and Cemetery.  It was also the difference between a 5 km and a 3.7 km walk. I chose the the latter. (Did I mention I discovered the ruler function on Google Earth? )

 

The walk was uninteresting, dodging from side to side of the road to avoid blind bends and impassable pavements. I was starting to tire too, and the sun was starting to hide behind clouds that were forming. I was ready to give up for the day. I had one more church to see, and it proved to be one of those modern featureless churches, with the cemetery next to it.

 
The cemetery was a modern one, but there was nothing really to see, so I took a quick walk around and then headed off to the station.

 

It had been a productive morning. Two more sets of graves had been added to the record, and 220 images had been taken. I had seen some really nice headstones, as well as a really pretty church. I enjoy these rural settings because every now and then I see something that literally takes my breath away. Maybe it is the countryside, or the history all around me, or just maybe I feel an affinity with here, it is the type of place I have had in my mind since I was a child, and the sort of places I read about in books, and what I was seeing did not disappoint.

© DRW 2015-2018. Created 18/02/2015, images migrated 26/04/2016

Updated: 31/12/2017 — 09:31

Random Churchyards: St Lawrence, Stratford Sub-Castle.

I have been meaning to visit St Lawrence for quite some time, but it is a bit of a long walk so have been able to blame the weather for not going there. On my trip to Old Sarum in February I was literally in stone throwing distance of the church, but could not quite spot what I was after, however I could probably find it now without too much trouble (as well as find the footpath that connects the two)
 
 
That’s Old Sarum in the distance, and it doesn’t seem that imposing from here, but its a different ballgame looking down on this area from the complex. But by the time St Lawrence was erected (1711), the church had moved to Salisbury Cathedral and the castle/fort had been abandoned. 
 
The church seen from old Sarum

The church seen from old Sarum

The church is quite a pretty one, although not too large and not too ornate. you could almost say it is a dead ringer for the typical English country church. The area around it is mostly farmland with some very impressive houses on the way. 
 
  
I had not done any homework on the CWGC graves at the church, I thought there were only a few, but it turns out that there are 49, and there is a Cross of Sacrifice.
 
  
Most of the burials are Australians who died in local hospitals during the First World War, and there are also two WWII burials too. 
 
The churchyard isn’t a big one, and by the looks of it is still in limited use. However, I expect there is more unseen than seen in this case, after all, the church dates back to 1711. Headstones are not too spectacular, and most of the older ones are not legible. 
 
 
The church was locked, although while I was there the bells tolled the hour, and the organ was playing, but I could not find any door that I could enter through as all were burglar barred. I was able to look through the windows but there wasn’t too much to see. 
 
 
It was a weakish sort of sunlight that filtered down on the landscape, and we were definitely heading towards Spring as there were quite  a few flowers on the footpath leading to the church.
 
 
While in front of the church there is a World War I Memorial, which could do with a but of restoration.
 
 
A last round of the churchyard and it was time for me to go. I am sorry I was not able to see inside the building, or to climb the tower, but maybe another time?
 
 
  
From a gravehunters perspective it was a bit of a disappointment, but from a war graves perspective it was a good find. Most of the graveyards I have visited in Salisbury have CWGC graves in them, although never on this scale. This is probably the third biggest CWGC plot in the city, and I am glad that I finally have it under my belt. 
 
Then it struck me that I have a long way to walk to get home, and I was not looking too forward to that. 
 
© DRW 2014-2018. Images recreated 17/04/2016
Updated: 30/12/2017 — 20:50

Random Churchyards: St Andrew Laverstock

A misheard name, and an informed resident. Voila! a new graveyard to visit. This one was in an area I had not explored before, so with the weather becoming increasingly more pleasant I dashed off to take a look around St Andrews in Laverstock.

 Like so many of these parish churches I have seen this one is beautiful, and it really fitted in with the warmish spring day we were having. I was very impressed by the tree on the right, it had a huge flat canopy, just a bit taller than I was and it was really pretty. I have no idea what sort of tree it is though, it is the first I have seen like this.
 

I chose to approach the graveyard from the right, (as I tend to do). and almost immediately came across an angel. Usually these are quite rare in a churchyard like this, but I am not complaining. This one is a beaut.

 

Of course angels are not the only highlight of a cemetery, although they do make for great images. Very close to this was a fenced off grave, the cross of which was inscribed “Make her to be numbered with thy Saints”, unfortunately a lot of the inscription on the grave is not legible due to vegetation, but it seems that this was the wife of an important clergy member.

Surprisingly there are five CWGC headstones in the graveyard, and unusually for me I managed to get them all! 

 

The graveyard isn’t very big and it is in regular use, but the newer headstones do seem to be a bit too regular in size and shape for my liking, although there are the odd older stones scattered amongst the newer.  

On the other side of the graveyard are the remains of the original church that stood at this site, it had been erected somewhere between 1080 and 1200. However, by the 1850’s the church was described as being “damp and ruinous” and it was demolished in 1857 and the current building was erected in its stead.
  
The current church still has a number of artefacts from this building although I was unable to go into it because a service was being held at the time. Interestingly enough, the outline of the old church and one of its walls still exists, and within the outline are a number of graves. 
  
while outside the church there were a number of graves too, although at the time the churchyard was probably much larger, but it is possible that the buildings next to the fence are now partly built on parts of the original churchyard. 
  
 
The church sports a pair of bells in its belfry and surprisingly these were tolling away, calling the faithful to get out of bed and get themselves across to church. Most of the parishioners that I saw were elderly, and I expect many had attended here since they were born.  Many of these parish churches see the a complete lifespan of an individual, and are really fixtures in their communities. This particular one has been around for over 150 years, and looks set to be around for another 150.
 
 
It was almost time for me to head off home, and I took a quick circuit around again, grabbing any other graves of interest. 
 
 
And then I was off home. Another churchyard under my belt. And a very pretty one it was too.  This used to be farming area, and judging by street names possibly there was a mill and a fishery close by, but the road I walked along to get here was called Church Lane, and I can see where that comes from.
 
 © DRW 2014-2018. Created 23 March 2014, images recreated 17/04/2016
Updated: 30/12/2017 — 19:34

Random Churchyards: St Johns Lockerley

On my way to work each morning by train I pass a church in Lockerley. It is one of those churches that stands out in the countryside and as it had a graveyard I was definitely interested. I had tried many times to get a photograph of it from the train but most of my attempts were lousy. I especially wanted one of those misty shots so beloved of horror movie makers, and this is probably the best I was able to do. 
  
The church is almost halfway between the stations of Mottisfont & Dunbridge and Dean on the way to Salisbury, although it is a shorter distance from the former. The station is a typical country station, with a  level crossing and very few people waiting to catch trains. 
Mottisfont & Dunbridge Station.

Mottisfont & Dunbridge Station.

With hindsite I should have taken more pics around the station, but I was more intent on getting to my destination.   I had quite a dodgy walk along a country lane with no pavements, in constant fear of being run over by a passing vehicle. I do not always know why I do these things, but I will keep at it anyway. I also had the weather to contend with, and as I left Southampton it started to drizzle, but had cleared by the time I reached Romsey. 
 
 
20 Minutes later my goal was in sight, and it was hard to believe this was the same church that I passed every morning and afternoon. It was even better up close and personal.
 
 
 
  
The foundation was laid in 1889, and this church replaces an older Saxon era church that occupied an area where the churchyard is today. The slightly sunken area is where that older church once stood. 
 
  
I was told that the local “Lord of the Manor” wanted a more picturesque church to look out on, and the present church is the result. The church has an extensive graveyard, and surprisingly enough there were four CWGC headstones, which made this trip worth while making. 
 
  
The churchyard is still in use too, and an additional area has been consecrated next to the church to cater for new burials. Unfortunately there is no crypt to explore (much to my dismay). Most of the headstones in the older area of the churchyard are illegible. Time, moss and materials have rendered many of them beyond recovery, but there is a map of the layout of the churchyard, so it is possible that somewhere a list of names exists too.
 
 
There is one tantalising item in the churchyard which may have been the altar of the former Saxon church, and there is an engraving of sorts, but most of it is missing. 
 
 
I was fortunate that during my visit the church was open, and I did manage to have a look around inside. It is not an elaborate building inside,  but it is a good solid building, with not too much ornamentation, and it does have a good feel about it.
 
 
  
I was hoping that there was at least a war memorial inside the church but thus time around I was disappointed, the closest was a small framed list of names.  
 
 
The spire houses a working set of bells, and I heard them chime on my way back to the station, although I was not able to access the belfry. 
 
 
The carving behind the altar was magnificent. almost out of character with the rest of the church, and it was surmounted by a beautiful stained glass window.  I also found a modest brass plaque, attesting to the origins of the church. 
 
  
And with that it was time for me to go home. I had a train to catch at 11H14, and it was already 10H55, would I make it? 
 
  
I got to the station as the train pulled into the platform, and was fortunate enough that I did make it in time, but no photographs of the station were possible. See, I should have taken them when I arrived. 
 
It was a great mornings outing, and I was very impressed with what I saw this morning. I really enjoy finds like this, they make it all worth while. 
 
© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 14/04/2016
Updated: 05/02/2018 — 20:35

Random Churchyards: St Thomas and St Edmund’s Salisbury

There are a number of really beautiful churches in Salisbury, and often you find them by accident. St Thomas and St Edmund’s is one such find. Even though I go past it 10 times a week it still does not dominate the skyline the way Salisbury Cathedral does. If anything the church does sit in an awkward place in the city, and trying to get any complete photograph of it is almost impossible.
 
I was originally interested in the Churchyard, but the church doors were open so I ended up going there first. It is a very pretty church inside, with large windows and a serene lightness about it. I had a similar feeling about the Cathedral.
 
 
The church dates from around the 15th century, and the has a number of historic artefacts within its stonework. The history of the church may be read on the Church website (PDF Document).
 
One of the more famous items at the church is the “Doom Painting” which was painted around about 1470. It was covered by whitewash for a long time but has now been restored and is really magnificent. Unfortunately it is difficult to really examine because it is so high up.
(1411x876)

(1411×876)

There are a large number of monuments in the church, some obscure and others very prominent as well as a number of military monuments and memorials. 
The Humphrey Beckham Panel

The Humphrey Beckham Panel

The altar is dominated by the east chancel window which dates from the 1840’s, although this is not the original window that occupied this space.

 
Unlike many of the churches that I visit, this one is well documented with large information panels that explain a lot of the history behind the church and its contents. 
St George's Altar.

St George’s Altar.

The pulpit.

The pulpit.

 

And what of the churchyard? It is difficult to really know how big it was. Certainly there is a very obvious area with headstones, but there is also an area that is more park like. I could not work out how to access the latter though, but the former wasn’t too difficult. I was able to access the park like area one afternoon after work, (easy enough if you know where to look), and it contains the modern Garden of Remembrance.

 

I do suspect a number of the buildings around the church are built on top of the graveyard, but again there is no real way of knowing.

 
 
 
I did not seem to take many pics of the churchyard, which seems to indicate that there were not too many headstones to photograph originally. I did do a return visit to the church, and was able to satisfy my curiosity on at least 2 aspects that puzzled me before. 
  
The church is a gem, and well worth looking for if you are in the area, and I expect there is still a lot to see that I have missed. The biggest problem is that due to its location it is really difficult to photograph the buildings, and it is quite a busy area too, so you do have to run the gauntlet of tourists and unconscious cellphone maniacs.

What is interesting is how this church has literally had a city centre built around it, and integrated itself into its surroundings. I suspect that many politicians would have loved to raze it to erect some fancy office block or high street storefront, but it has outlasted them all.

© DRW 2013-2018. Images recreated 12/04/2016.  

 
Updated: 29/12/2017 — 07:54

Random Churchyards: Holy Trinity Church Weston.

A turn in the wrong direction led me to this beautiful church with attendant churchyard in Weston. It is roughly half way to Netley Abbey, and of course almost in view of Southampton Water. 

I have not been able to get into the church itself, in fact I thought that I would only visit there once, but it turns out I had to make a return visit as there is a CWGC grave in the churchyard as well as a Titanic related grave

 
 
The churchyard may still be in use because I saw a number of new headstones, and there is a portion laid out as a Garden of Remembrance. It is however a nice shady and peaceful part of this area, and it is well worth the detour away from the shoreline. 
 
 
As usual there is no real way of knowing how many graves there are, or when they started using this as a burial ground. The foundation stone for the church was laid on March 17, 1864 and it was consecrated on the 26th of  July 1865. (http://www.winchester.anglican.org/assets/downloads/Weston_Info_Pack2.pdf)  
 
It is very possible that the founder and first vicar of the church are buried in this churchyard, certainly the third vicar is.
The grave of the third vicar of the church, George William Walter Minns (1879-1914)

The grave of the third vicar of the church, George William Walter Minns (1879-1914) 


 
 
Leaving behind the church, it is a quick walk back to the shorefront with its views along Southampton Water and the cruise ships berthed at the terminals, or down towards the Isle of Wight and Calshot.
 
  
DRW © 2013-2018. Images recreated 11/04/2016
Updated: 12/04/2018 — 13:14
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