Silent Sunday…… Off to Church

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Early morning autumnal sunshine lights up the tower of All Saints Church standing proud above the Village of Dulverton, Somerset in the Exmoor National Park.  All the signs of a peaceful Sunday.

Please Remember ….

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

4th October

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday….. Off to Church

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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

Silent Sunday……… Stone Sentinel’s and a Church

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Two Stone Sentinels from different era’s,  many generations apart and many generations ago…

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The top stone is at Nether Largie and is one of several Standing Stone.  It dates back to Neolithic times.  The image directly above is at Kilmartin Church.  Just a few of the intricately carved Crosses, Grave Markers and Memorial Stones, all dating to a period between 1300ad and the1600’s ad.

These stones can all be found  in Argyll, south of Oban in Kilmartin Glen.  It is just one location in this area of Argyll that is littered with Standing Stones, Burial Mounds and Neolithic and Bonze Age remains and settlements.

 Kilmartin Glen has perhaps the largest location of sites in very close proximity to each other.   Nether Largie is the where you will find many of the Standing Stones, most displaying ‘Cup and Ring’ markings.  They are also surrounded by Cists and Burial Mounds.

Just a short walk away you will find Temple Wood.

FIDDLESTICKS FREE

Temple Wood is a much more compact and concentrated Neolithic Site.  The standing Stones are also more in the style we know as a ‘Henge’.  I also understand this Henge is on and was intended to mark a burial site.

Although these are two different locations you do tend to link the two together.  But both create an independent atmosphere of their very own.

Nether Largie and Temple Wood are both within sight of Kilmartin Parish Church.  It is this Church that now plays host to the Caved Memorial Stones.  More modern they may be but still of an age.  Many of these stones were not originally from the Church or Kilmartin.  Some have been discovered in the surrounding countryside and brought to Kilmartin for safety over the centuries.  Within the Church you will find two Celtic Crosses and within the grounds of the Church some of the most precious stones have been placed in shelter…open to view but safe from the elements.

Visitors wanting to fine out more can also visit the Kilmartin Museum and Visitor Centre, you will probably come out with your head spinning with new found knowledge.

But before you leave the Church , take a look at the Lunar Dial…. a rather nice modern addition.

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

 

Please Remember ….

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

5th July

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

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The ruins of Kilchattan Chapel, Isle of Luing, Argyll, Scotland

Little remains of this tiny chapel at the heart of Luing.  What does remain contains a history of this once busy and prosperous (for some) Island on Scotland’s west coast.  The story is told in the graveyard that surrounds what is left of the chapel.  It tells of the Fisher folk, the Crofters and a large number of Slate Quarrymen.  Of the later, many were incomers to the island, who lost their lives in this dangerous quarry environment….  they came but never left…..just an inscription on a simple slate stone remains.

Travelers to Luing should pause and read these well weathered stones.  They reveal the true identity of this now tranquil island

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The Island of Luing is one of many, in a chain of islands along the  Atlantic coast of Argyll.  All had one thing in common.  They were all once important producers of Slate, a valuable building resource, that was exported from Luing and its neighbouring islands by ship across the world.

I once described Luing as   ‘The Island with a Hole in It‘.   The hole, is of course, one of the many quarries that dot the islands.  As the slate lies beneath the island these quarries go down deep, well below sea level.   These soon fill with water well disguising the island industrial past….now an attractive tourist view.

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In todays world Luing  still survives on a fragile Crofting way of farming.  This is supplemented by Tourism, but this is also limited and fragile.  But for visitors to Luing they can enjoy  an island that in many ways is still in the past.   Village names such as Tobernochy, Killchattan and Cullipool, names which are larger than villages themselves.  Houses that once were Quarrymen’s homes, Agricultural workers homes and Fishing communities.  Many of course today are Holiday Homes.  Many with great vistas, though for the quarry workers that was possibly of little importance. Well worth exploring on peaceful roads…

In true island style, visitors arrive by way of the small Cuan Car Ferry…

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Then explore this little piece of Scottish Island solitude, relax at Cullipool and reflect that this was one of several Atlantic coast ports from where Luing Slate departed to all points of the compass….

SCOTLAND ARGYLL

Please Remember ….

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

28th June

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… So off to Church

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Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire

At first glance you could be fooled into thinking Southwell Minster was a relatively modern building….those twin spires are very contemporary in style.  In some ways you would be correct and others very wrong.  There was a religious building here in Anglo Saxon times.  Records of a building date to 627 and possibly earlier.  Then in 1108  the Norman’s started a reconstruction programme. I guess the main structure is very much part of that.  But history was to see many other changes and disasters at Southwell.

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You do need to google the full history, but in a very simple outline here are some key facts.  In the English Civil War the Minster was much abused, with the nave being used as stabling and other parts of the building as soldier accommodation.  Charles 1st was also capture in Southwell.  Just as the Minster was being restored in 1711, one of the Spires was hit by lightening, the resulting fire caused extensive damage.

1720 repairs again were started,  some suggest that these repairs were very poor.  A new programme of change was started and in 1805   the spires were removed in.  Extensive restoration and architectural changes followed..  The Barrel Vaulting to the nave was added and the then in 1879 the twin spires were erected…… the spires that make Southwell’s exterior so distinctive.

Much of the restoration over the years has maintained its traditional original style, but   sympathetically adding,  a mix of the ancient with a slightly more modern look. All in all Southwell Minster is well worth a visit, as is a serious dig back into its rather troublesome history…… but here is a taster.

The Minster has many great glass windows.  One of the most dramatic windows is one of those more modern additions.   It is known as the Angel Window (or maybe that should be window’s).  Installed in 1996 it is the work of Artist Patrick Reyntiens.   I said dramatic…..  but maybe awe inspiring in design and craftsmanship would be a more fitting  description.

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Maybe another location for your bucket list for when times are easier.

In the meantime…

Please Remember ….

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

14th June

(C) David Oakes 2020