Silent Sunday….so off to Church

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St. Josephs Shrine, Foxlow Edge, Errwood in the Goyt Valley on the Derbyshire/Cheshire border

A simple shrine set in some stunning moorland countryside on the Derbyshire and Cheshire county border. It was built on the once prestigious Errwood Estate by the owners of Errwood Hall in memory of a Miss (Sister) Delores who was once a treasured governess to the families children.  Errwood Hall is long gone and indeed much of the surrounds are now underwater having been drowned to create a Reservoir.

It all adds to a certain sadness when one explores the valleys and moorland edges in this unique part of the Peak District. But it also a place for ramblers to pause relax and ponder.

What I also find very sad is that today is what is called the “Glorious Twelve” the day when the guns come out to shoot Grouse on the Moors.  I see nothing glorious in organising parties (for not inconsiderable amounts of money) to shoot small birds that have been specially bred, released on the moors and then blasted out of the skies as they are ‘encouraged’ to fly by teams of drivers.  Moors that are no longer habitat rich due to sporting land management. They call it sport…. one has to wonder. Not such a Glorious Twelve.

12th August

(C) David Oakes 2018

 

Silent Sunday……So Off to Church

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St. Stephens, The Chapel in the Forest, Cheshire

High above Macclesfield Forest and on the very edge of the moors stands this rugged but beautiful little church.  It would appear isolated with only a Manor House, a couple of Farms and an Old School House in close proximity.  It was once one of three Chapels for this rural farming area known as Macclesfield Forest, now St. Stephens is the only one that provides a regular place of worship.

Dating back to 1673 and renovated in 1834, the simple rugged exterior with its saddleback roofed square bell tower is matched by an equally rugged interior…

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Simple and practical, a stone flagged floor, solid oak beams are a contrast with a more delicate white wooden pulpit and simple alter behind which a Stained Glass window adds a hint of colour.  Simple though it is there is however a rather magical feel to the building and explains why folk still wish to be married here.

As mentioned St. Stephen is in an isolated location which is probably best illustrated from the graveyard with all its ancient headstones, each telling its own story…

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Macclesfield Forest is the area of Rainow and Wildboarclough, that stands on the high ground to the south east of  the Silk Town of Macclesfield.  It is firmly and proudly in the county of Cheshire but is also on the very edge of the Derbyshire Moorlands and is within the Peal District National Park. So any inquisitive visitor will enjoy discovering this little historic gem but also a some beautiful yet vary varied scenery from wooded dales, many streams and then the open moors.

29th April

(C) David Oakes 2018