Silent Sunday….. Off to Church


Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire

The Abbey Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the buildings  official name today……  but will always be known as Tewkesbury Abbey. It was once a Benedictine Monastery, dating back to the 12th century.   Like so many of our old religious buildings it was built on a even earlier site of religious worship.

Tewkesbury Abbey is a fine example of Norman Architecture, in particular the Cross Transept Tower is claimed  to be the biggest in Europe.   With Tewkesbury standing  on the flood plain of Severn and Avon, its tall tower is a clear landmark for many miles.

Like all our old religious buildings Tewkesbury Abbey has seen some violent and testing times over the centuries.  During the “War of The Roses” ( 1455 -1487) witnessed this violent period of English history at close hand.  After the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 the Abbey provided sanctuary for the Lancastrian forces.  Then it had to overcome the challenges of the Dissolution of the Monasteries  that occurred by Royal Order between 1536 & 41.  It was at this time that the Abbey became the Parish Church.

Apart from being the Parish Church, Tewkesbury Abbey is also a major tourist attraction, the centre of a equally attractive Town in an equally attractive location. Tewkesbury nestles below the  higher ground of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire’s rather fabulous countryside.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

9th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Summer…by the tranquil Avon


The River Mill Avon, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire

It was one of those incredibly hot summers days, when if we were being sensible, we would be looking for the shade.  The tranquil waters  of the Mill Avon* did bring that touch of freshness to the afternoon.  Whilst perhaps it is too hot to have been out and about, the benefit is that you do tend to have these places pretty much to yourselves.

* Mill Avon is the name of this ‘river’.  Just up stream ,the River Avon joins the River Severn. Just before that junction the River Avon has this cut, through which it passes, created to power Water Powered Mills.  Having completed its task, it then moves on to join the River Severn.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

2nd  July

(C) David Oakes 2020





Silent Sunday…Off to Church (Two for the Price of One)


Hailes Parish Church

This tiny country church stands on the edge of one field and surrounded by many others.  This building was constructed in 1135 and as is often the case it is suspected to be on a much earlier religious site.  However because of disputes over land ownership and gifting, together with Church bickering, Hailes Church was not consecrated till the early 1200’s.

The interior is stone flagged, simple in style, a carved wood rood screen and basic  furnishings.  It  is also home to some wonderful wall paintings.   Many church were decorated with such paintings, most were painted over as religious custom and threats occurred over the centuries…but some like these at Hailes are still there, in part, to see.


Churches that I have visited usually have a ‘Saint,’ as well as a location link, in the name, but I have failed to find any such name.

Now, if you visit you may puzzle as to where the community, the Parish of Hailes is.  The Church stands, as I described in fields – no houses.

The answer to that question can be found less than a quarter of a mile away at Hailes Abbey.


Hailes Abbey

Hailes Abbey is like many of our Abbeys, in a state of ruin. It is though younger than Hailes Church.  It was a Cistercian Monastery.  The Cistercian Order usually sought isolate rural locations with land around.  So Hailes Church was more than a little inconveniently close.  There solution was not to knock down the Church…. but to move the village further down the valley, nearer to the Gloucestershire and Cotswold Market Town of Winchcombe.

These magnificent ruins are surprisingly expansive and great to explore.  Enough of the architecture and stonemasonry still remains to illustrate the wealth and skills of the period….

Hailes Abbey was part funded by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and founded in 1246. Richard was brother to King Henry III who’s blessing for the project he had received.  It is rather ironic that it was another King Henry…this time King Henry VIII who ordered its closure and ultimate destruction in the Dissolution Act of 1536.


It is also rather ironic, that the church that is much older, the church that had its Parish moved to make way for the Abbey, should remain in the 21st Century, standing proud and very much intact still serving the community….


So there you have your bargain for this Sunday..  Two for the price of One!

Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

26th April

(C) David Oakes 2020