Moody Monday…..

It is a moody Monday …and it has been a moody weekend.  Maybe our love affair with summer and the delayed start of autumn has come to a grey end. As the clocks went back one hour yesterday we are already noticing a change in feel to the day.

A new month starts tomorrow and so the circle continues….

31st October

(C) David Oakes 2016

Sunday…..So Off to Church


Saint Giles, Hartington, Derbyshire.  

Sheltered from the North Winds, Saint Giles stands on an outcrop above the village of Hartington. By all accounts the main church structure was completed in or arround 1250. Like most Derbyshire Churches, and I suspect many more across England, it is suggested that the foundations are probably laid upon an earlier place of worship. Over the intervening centuries the church has been modified and added to.


The Nave is broad and edged with solid columns and low sweeping arches leading you forward to the Chancel and Sanctuary…


This is the oldest part of the original building which today is dominated by a towering  glass window. The decoration of this window was added in 1848 and the work of Thomas Wilmshurst a famous Glass Artist


Apart from the East Sanctuary Window there are several others worth your attention.

The simple style of the South window (in the South Transept) is just as eye catching….central and towards the lower half of this have been insert fragments of a larger medieval glass window.  It is a simple circle within which you can make out the Star of David, not a great deal is known as to its history other than the glass is most certainly older than the church.  The Angels above are very similar in style to the East Window….


Look upwards in the South Transept and you will see some Wood Panel paintings.  they date from about 1690/1710 and depict the Tribes of Israel also refered to as the Sons of Jacob.  To the side of these is a large Bass Drum.  The Crest depicted on the Drum is that of the The Hartington Volunteers, a local militia from the mid 1800’s.  They were eventually incorporated into Sherwood Foresters Regiment.


Whilst you are gazing upwards you will also find high on the walls of the Nave you will see some fragments of early Wall paintings.  It is more than likely these would have graced all the nave walls but only these remain and visually so clear following restoration in 1985 and could possibly be Royal Coat of Arms.


Before leaving the church let’s take a look at just one more of the colourfully crafted windows.  This one is in the North Aisle and is based upon the parable of the talents, a fitting tribute to a local family of craftsmen


Saint Giles is a large Parish Church, its size reflecting the importance of the village over the centuries. Mining and Quarrying have been key industries but Farming in particular Sheep and Dairy Farming have added to the communities wealth over the years.  Like many villages their importance has diminished.  Hartingtons most significant loss is the Old Creamery….it was one of the few designated producers of the famous Stilton Cheese, producing over a 1/4 of the World’s total Stilton production. But it is a common factor of modern economics….. a major conglomerate acquired the Dairy and not long after moved production elsewhere.  But Hartingtons fame also has links with Izaak Walton and his fishing exploits on the River Dove in the historic publication The Complete Angler.  Come and explore.


30th October

(C) David Oakes 2016

Fall Backwards……..


Sundown over Derbyshire

Once the sun has set tonight we can mark the passing of another milestone in the annual cycle of seasonal events. We have to reset our clocks and watches…back by one hour so that the UK is back on good old GMT…..British Summer Time is over  till the 26th March 2017.

I think that this year we will notice the change in more ways than one.  The days are getting shorter, it will be dark sooner and I am reckoning that the autumn that has yet to come will descend in a rush

29th October

(C) David Oakes 2016

Muted start to the day on the Moors


Stanton Moor, Derbyshire

The morning started very slowly, grey cloud did its very best to hide the sun.  Last time I was on the moor the heather was in full bloom, now all that remains are the dry dead seed heads.  Although Stanton Moor is not that high it is high enough for the Birch to have lost most of their leaves.

The day may have started with a stutter but it seemed inevitable that as the day developed the sun would have its way. The low rays giving added colour to the bracken that had started to fade ready for winter…





Apart from a few skylarks dipping in and out of the heather and a Buzzard soaring overhead we had the Moors to ourselves….always a spiritual experience.

29th October

(C) David Oakes 2016