Friday The Thirteenth

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Why would I go out to photograph a churchyard on such a dull day as was this one?

All will become clear later in the post.

Gravestones 1Gravestones 2

Here are some of the gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Bransgore;

Gravestone with anchor chain

many ivy clad, like this one bearing an anchor chain,

Gravestone, holly

or this already sporting its Christmas holly.

Gravestones, holly

A few are upright,

Gravestone leaning

some less so,

Gravestone in grass 1Gravestone in grass 2Gravestones 3

and others had given up the battle with gravity.

Tree stump and gravestones 1Tree stump and gravestones 2

The stump of a fallen tree was in good company.

Roller

This roller hid round the back of the church.

Door handles

St Mary the Virgin 1

As in most of our churches today, the front door was locked.

St Mary the Virgin 2

Fortunately for me, Jenny was working in the small office accessed by an open side door.

This very friendly person showed me into the church, currently set out for the various community activities offered, that can be found on https://bransgore.org.

Stained glass 1Stained glass 2Stained glass 3Stained glass 4

She put on the lights so that I could photograph the stained glass, much of the original of which has been lost.

Stained glass July 3rd 1922

In particular, climbing on a chair to do so, Jenny was keen to show me the preserved panel from July 3rd, 1822, bearing the etched date in the bottom left hand corner. To the left of the bottom of the orange cross the name of R. Carter, glazier, Priory Glassworks can be discerned when the image is enlarged.

Wikipedia tells us that ‘the church of Saint Mary the Virgin was erected in 1822 as a chapel of ease.[10][11] The church is of brick with stone dressings,[11] with a tower and originally a spire.[12] However, the spire was removed in 1967. The early 16th-century font, which is said to have come from Christchurch, is octagonal, with a monogram J D, perhaps for “John Draper,” the last Prior of Christchurch Priory.[11] The ecclesiastical parish of Bransgore was formed in 1875 from parts of Christchurch and Sopley.[11][13] Henry William Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce (known for his campaign against slavery), was once the vicar of Saint Mary’s church.’

When we visited MacPenny’s Garden Centre two days ago we were given this brochure:

We would always welcome an opportunity to try out a new curry restaurant. When the proprietor had the courage to open the venture on Friday 13th, this proved irresistible. Jenny explained that the church had the facilities and was there to help local activities.

The evening in the church hall was most convivial, and the food served by the Bartlett family quite superb. Jack was a splendid sommelier who assisted his sister Sophie with the waiting tasks.

From the moment of entry our nostrils were enticed by the authentic aromas emanating from the kitchen on full view of diners. Everything was cooked to order.

Dave’ s cooking was a marvel. We began with superb crisp popadoms with a variety of chutneys. The prawn puris that followed were as good as any we have ever tasted.

Majid, the manager of the Akash in Edgware Road that I regularly frequented for more than 35 years, would remove from the table any onion bhajis that his eyes told him were not up to scratch. He, and I, would have given Dave’s full marks, for their perfect crisp texture and exquisite taste.

Prawn jalfrezi

My main course was prawn jalfrezi, and Jackie’s prawn bhuna. Both were succulent, and superbly flavoured. We shared delicate pilau rice and soft chapatis. Encouraged to bring our own bottles, we brought an Argentinian white wine that I can’t remember. Jack kept it in the fridge for us and kept our glasses replenished. That’s probably why I can’t remember what it was.

 

Defying Gravity

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Our final resting places are often a matter of circumstance, history, and almost arbitrary geography. So it was for my father, whose grave we visited yesterday, featuring it on my post. Having, apart from his war years in France, spent the majority of his life in and around Wimbledon where he was born, Dad retired to the village of Horndean in East Hampshire, expecting to spend his retirement there. It was not to be long before his death, leaving my mother to spend the next thirty years alone. She will be 95 in two days time.

Although she now lives in West End near my sister, Elizabeth, Mum has booked her place to join him when the time comes, as she first did in the early 1940s.

A short distance from my parents’ then home lies Catherington Cemetery which opened in 1966, in time to receive my father’s body 21 years later. It is managed by East Hampshire Council.

Tim Lambert, in http://www.localhistories.org/catherington.html gives us the following information: ‘During the Middle Ages Catherington was a small and isolated village. It stood in the Forest of Bere. That was a great forest that stretched from the border of Hampshire to Winchester. At that time Waterlooville and Cowplain did not exist. Catherington must have been a very quiet and secluded place [which developed slowly until] in 1901 its population was only a little over 1,300. Meanwhile Catherington Church of All Saints was rebuilt in 1883 by the architect Edmund Ferrey (1845-1900).’ Villagers now number around 4,000.

All Saints Churchyard

As I wrote yesterday this public cemetery stands next to that of All Saints Parish Church, which has its origins in Saxon and Norman times. Currently the church is undergoing repairs to the drains and the roof. The tombs of Admirals Sir Charles Napier and  Sir Christopher Cradock in company with that of the actor Edmund Kean are among the residents of this plot.

Gravestones 1Gravestones 2Gravestones 3

Whereas the graves of those in the modern cemetery are laid out in straight, upright, rows,  those in the churchyard are the more familiar lurching, lichen covered relics giving rise to the unfortunate description

Gravestone

tombstone teeth.

Gravestones and Please walk on the path

I do not wish to be disrespectful. These stones may well continue to defy gravity for many years to come.

All Saints Church 1All Saints Church 2

We explored the inside of the rather splendid little building,  the Norman nave of which has been encased by Ferrey’s additions;

Vicars of All Saints Catherington

but, apart from the extensive list of incumbents, have been unable to trace historical documentation supporting the claim that the original church dates from the twelfth century. Wooden information boards at the back of the church state that the wooden Saxon building was replaced in the 1180s.

Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our dinner this evening.

 

 

Flower Arranging

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Today is the hundredth anniversary of my father’s birth. Born on Michaelmas Day 1917 he died on Christmas Day 1987, so did not live to see this one.

Catherington cemetery 1

This afternoon Jackie drove herself and me to Elizabeth’s where we decanted into my sister’s car and she drove us to Catherington Cemetery where our father is buried.

Gulls at Catherington

The resting place is on high ground and surrounded by fields over which gulls flew

Horses in field

and in which horses grazed on this day.

Dad's Gravestone 1

We gathered at Dad’s grave and paid our respects.

Elizabeth with watering can

Elizabeth fetched a watering can

Elizabeth watering

from which she filled the vase.

Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 1Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 2Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 4Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 5Elizabeth arranging flowers

Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 6Flowers on Dad's Gravestone

With Jackie’s assistance she then arranged the flowers she had brought with her,

 

Elizabeth photographing

finally photographing the result,

Catherington Cemetery - Dad's gravestone bottom right

which lies in the bottom right of this picture.

Catherington cemetery 2

Behind the hedge beyond the upper level of this modern graveyard stands the Church of All Saints with the much older stones of this parish dating from the twelfth century. We did visit the church and its surroundings, but, because of the lateness of the hour, I must leave reporting on that until tomorrow.

We took a leisurely drive back to Wickham where we dined at the excellent Indian restaurant, the Veranda. My choice of meal was tender and spicy Lamb Lal Maas, with my share of special fried rice, plain paratha and a vegetable dish containing cashew nuts, the name of which I cannot remember. Elizabeth and I drank Kingfisher while Jackie drank Diet Coke.

Elizabeth then drove us back to her home whence Jackie drove us home in her Modus. As we travelled over the moors from Beaulieu we experienced the benefits of a reflective collar around the neck of a dusky pony crossing in front of us. It is good to see that some of them retain their luminosity.

Stand-off

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Sunshine having returned, we took a drive in the forest this morning, and found ourselves centred on Brockenhurst, on the outskirts of which stands

The White Cottage

The White Cottage. I’m no expert, but this looks to me to be a relatively new building in keeping with its bucolic neighbourhood.

St Nicholas's Church Spire

When we last visited St. Nicholas’s Church with Jessie and Guru I concentrated on the New Zealand War Graves, also featured in ‘There Is Some Corner Of An English Churchyard’ which has a close-up of the fern sculpture in the bottom left of this picture.

Gates to St Nicholas's ChurchSt Nicholas's Church

Today I paid more attention to the church itself

Gravestones, St Nicholas Church 1Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 2Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 3Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 4Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 5Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 6Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 7Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 8Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 9

and to its older, tilting, more weathered, gravestones.

http://www.newforestexplorersguide.co.uk/heritage/brockenhurst/parish-church.html tells us this about this historic place of worship:

‘Brockenhurst Parish Church of St. Nicholas is located in beautifully peaceful surroundings just under 0.5 kilometres (1/4 mile) to the south-east of the village centre. It is considered to be the oldest church in the New Forest. Indeed, Brockenhurst is the only New Forest village for which a church was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD – along here with 6 smallholders and 4 slaves with 2½ ploughs; and woodland at 20 pigs.

An earlier Saxon church was located on the same site as Brockenhurst Parish Church – Saxon herring-bone work can be seen in the south wall of the old Nave – and some consider that there may have also been a pagan temple or Romano-British church here, too, as the mound on which the church sits is thought to be at least part man-made.

Other elements of the current Parish Church structure date back to the 12th century, whilst the tower was added in the 18th century, and now blends well with the timeless surroundings.

This and other alterations were not, however, always so favourably viewed. John Wise, writing in the early 1860s, noted that: ‘The church has been sadly mutilated. A wretched brick tower has been patched on at the west end; and on the north side a new staring red brick aisle, which surpasses even the usual standard of ugliness of a dissenting chapel.’

Wise did go on say, though: ‘If the church, however, has been disfigured, the approach to it fortunately remains in all its beauty. For a piece of quiet English scenery nothing can exceed this. A deep lane, its banks a garden of ferns, its hedge matted with honeysuckle, and woven together with bryony, runs, winding along a side space of green, to the latch gate, guarded by an enormous oak, its limbs now fast decaying, its rough bark grey with the perpetual snow of lichens, and here and there burnished with soft streaks of russet-coloured moss; whilst behind it, in the churchyard, spreads the gloom of a yew, which, from the Conqueror’s day, to this hour, has darkened the graves of generations.’

And most of that remains true to this day, although the old oak tree no longer stands. The churchyard yew was, though, carbon dated in the mid-1980s, and found to be more than 1,000 years old. Its girth was 15 feet in 1793, 17 feet in the early 1860s, 18 feet 4 inches in 1915, and now, at 5 feet from the ground, it is more than 20 feet round.

Richardson, King and Driver on their late-18th century New Forest map show what is now the tarmac road leading to the church from the then turnpike, but give equal prominence to the green lane running north-south on the eastern side of the church.

Maybe in those days both were of similar status, and kept in a similar state of repair. But whatever, the green lane now offers quiet passage to and from the village, away from the small number of cars on the modern road. Overarched by coppiced hazels, and in places a very definite hollow-way with moss-clad banks, the lane in spring is bright with bluebells and pennywort. Here walkers can re-trace the footsteps of church-going travellers from many centuries ago.

Brusher Mills (1840-1905), the celebrated New Forest snake-catcher, is buried in the churchyard – the ornate headstone shows Brusher outside his woodland hut, holding up a tangle of snakes.

Here also can be found the graves of more than one hundred New Zealand, Indian and other soldiers who died in Brockenhurst field hospitals during and immediately after the First World War. An annual service, attended by a representative of the New Zealand High Commission and of the New Zealand Forces, is held on the Sunday next to Anzac Day.’

References:
Domesday Book, Hampshire: General Editor, John Morris
The New Forest: Its History and Scenery: John R. Wise
A Guide to the New Forest: Heywood Sumner
Churches of the New Forest: Barry and Georgina Peckham
Brockenhurst New Forest Hampshire: http://www.brockenhurst-newforest.org.uk/churches.html

Pigs at pannage 1Pigs at pannage 2

Further on Jackie spotted a sounder of swine snuffling after fallen mast.

Ponies and pigs 1Ponies and pigs 2

Suddenly one of the saddlebacks began tearing around the trees out from which trotted three ponies who then stood off, at a safe distance, watching the pigs that had ousted them from their pasturage.

Ponies and saddleback

Eventually the horses gingerly returned, but, occasionally offering an irritated kick, still kept the pigs at leg’s length.

Ponies and pigs 3

Perhaps they were talking about this one. At any rate, its ears were apparently burning.

Pigs at pannage 3Pigs at pannage 4Pigs at pannage 5

The standoff was eventually acceptable to both parties, and we went home to lunch.

Later this afternoon we will set off for Emsworth where we will visit Nicolino’s restaurant for Ian’s birthday meal.

 

 

 

An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

From Antiques To Ancestors

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Recently, Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, cleaned out our chimney and removed the wood-burning stove in order for us to enjoy an open fire next time we run out of oil. Barry recommended Richard at Gordleton Barn to supply the iron basket to hold logs in the grate.

Today we visited

Gordleton Barn entrance 2

Gordleton Barn entrance 1

Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained

mostly wooden artefacts

Log burning stove and scales

and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.

Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout

Interior

this interior reeking history.

Door and window

Fascinating doors, like this one that would no doubt interest Robin Cochran who makes excellent contributions to Norm Frampton’s project, are propped up around the place.

Mask

Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,

Sculpted face

and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.

Scrap yard

Outside in the yard stand various items that may be considered enhanced by a patina of rust.

As it was a fine, warm, day, we continued on a drive through the forest.

Such was the overnight rain that it has added to the ponies’ drinking supply, being particularly helpful in lying in roadside gullies so that, like a human drinking wine with a meal, they can slurp up the water which then drips from their mouths and trails back into the ditches to provide another sup.

Ponies

The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,

Pony

while another watched from the other side of the road.

Moving on, we discovered

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist noticeboard

This church was built in the early 11th century, but there is some speculation that it is much older because three Sarsen stones have been discovered in the foundations. Neither, situated as it is on the top of a hill, is it very near Boldre. The parking referred to is nearer than the parishioners’ one further along the road.

The building itself, entered through a kissing gate,

 is surrounded by an extensive graveyard,

most of the older stones of which are so weathered as to be barely legible.

The William Gilpin Tomb

An exception is this memorial to an 18th century vicar and his wife, who, like everyone else, needed to be pardoned for their repented transgressions.

Jackie was particularly intrigued by the name Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis and the less exotic, to modern ears, of his wife Louise Fanny. They warranted a marble column which bears a legible inscription. The other two sides name their one year old daughter; and a woman whom we assumed to be Jules’s first wife.

Mary's casket

Most graves were marked with stones, but Mary was graced with a stone casket.

Some of the windows were particularly interesting. Through one could be seen the light pattern on an inside wall from a smaller light.

On enlarging the photograph, it should be simple enough for those comfortable with mirror writing to decipher the inscription on this beautifully etched glass. The second picture shows an older window on the other side of the church. I longed to enter the place of worship to gaze at this work of art from inside. Unfortunately, like so many of our churches today, it was firmly locked, denying entrance to nice people like us as well as nefarious thieves and vandals.

A wild garden has been planted around one area. We could see snowdrops just beginning to break the soil, and vowed to return to see this a little later.

Donkey on road

No trip through the forest would be complete without at least one animal blocking the road. This duty was taken on by a drowsy donkey at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, leeks, and peppers, and Jackie’s trademark piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

The Leap

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(YVONNE SPOILER ALERT. THE RECIPE IS NOT YET READY, BUT YOU MAY WISH TO AVERT YOUR EYES FROM THE FINAL PARAGRAPH)

Lamb Inn

Late in the morning Jackie drove us to Nomansland where we lunched in the Lamb Inn.

Even at midday, ponies on the green outside dined on defrosted food, avoiding the refrigerated options.

In the hostelry, beside a fine log fire, and beneath a display of character jugs, I enjoyed a burger, chips, and Doom Bar beer; while Jackie chose a bacon, brie, and cranberry baguette with coffee.

Horse and rider

As we drove away, we passed a rider who led her steed through the gate to her left.

At St Peter’s Church, Bramshaw, the autumn leaves blended well with the groggy lichen-covered  gravestones, mostly dating from the eighteenth century. Steep steps lead up the hill from the roadside; there is also a slope to the side, no doubt for those parishioners who cannot climb.

St Peter's Church wall

Most of the structure seemed to be Georgian in date, although one stone wall looked older,

Chimney

and I am not enough of an architectural historian to date this fascinating chimney.

Hedge cutting

Thinking it unlikely that the Modus would obstruct anyone, Jackie tucked it in beside the church. She was unlucky. Along came a hedge cutting machine.

Pony jumping

We paused at Wootton so I could photograph a couple of ponies drinking from a stream. As I raised my camera, one leaped from the water to the bank above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver casserole, crunchy carrots and green beans, with creamy mashed potato. She drank sparkling water and I drank Collin-Bourisset Fleurie 2015.