Silent Sunday…. a Hall with a Chapel

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Haddon Hall, Derbyshire……  standing high above the River Wye

Over 900 years Haddon Hall has towered over the River Wye.  It has withstood all the turmoil and dangers that time and English history has endured over the intervening centuries. 

It is also one of the oldest  Houses in the country.  Surprisingly Haddon Hall is still owned by the Manners Family over all those years….  it has also remained very much as it was built, avoiding all the fashionable Georgian and Victorian restyling that many other old houses have undergone.

Stand in the Lower Courtyard, you can literally drink in the historical atmosphere created by the passage of time…

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Like so many Castles and Country Houses, Haddon has its own Chapel.

The Chapel may well be small… but it is well worth a visit in its own right.  It is an intriguing Medieval Chapel.  Wooden  Box Pews and Carved Screen, Flagged Stone Floor, Exposed Timbered ceiling, Coloured Glass window, and even more stimulating the rather stylish 15th century fresco wall paintings.  A design ,that would not be out of place, on a designer wall covering in the 2021’s

If your visit is a summer visit, then you can also enjoy the bonus of a walk arround the Terraced Rose Gardens…..  a treat in their own right.

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Haddon Hall is a worth inclusion on any tour….but until we can all start planning such trips…

Please Remember to ….

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

7th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

Silent Sunday…… Spring Time

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Spring comes to Saint Anne’s Church, Beeley, Derbyshire

The Derbyshire hamlet of Beeley has been home to Saint Anne’s Church since 1150ad.  Like many of our old churches,  it was built on a site of even earlier religious importance.  Like others, it has also seen restorations over the years…… not surprising for a church that is over 870 years old.

Saint Anne’s, is an integral part of life for this Derbyshire rural community..  emphasising its rural roots, it holds a Service in September, for all animals great or small. Now that must be quite a congregation to behold.

Please Remember to ….

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

28th February

(C) David Oakes 2021

Silent Sunday…… Two Churches in one small Location

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Saint Peters Church, Heysham Head, Morecambe Bay, Lancashire

Heysham is a rather quaint old village, on a headland, that juts out into Morecambe Bay.  On the top of that headland is this 11th century Church of Saint Peters.  A distinctive Bellcote tower with two bells, an equally distinctive Anglo Saxon Doorway and the solid Stone Slate roof create a solid character. The origins are indeed 11th century, but study the building outline you can soon detect the additions and extensions added over the following centuries.

Saint Peters is still  Hesham’s  Village Church….. but only a few yards behind the Church, and even more prominently locate on this exposed headland, are further signs of  even earlier religious occupancy.

The most dramatic are the tombs (or graves) that have been carved out of a sold rock.  Known at times as the Martyrs Graves and by others as the Pilgrims Graves, they lie on the highest point of Heysham Head.  Exposed to all the wind and weather that Morecambe Bay can deliver from across the Irish Sea…..possibly the same winds the assisted Saint Patrick on his journey from Ireland.

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Dating these stone hewn graves is problematic.  Let me try to explain.  These graves rest beneath the shadows of Saint Patricks Chapel.  Possibly built in either the 6th or 7th century and attributed to Saint Patrick.  However,  historical records still find it hard to be definitive on the exact date of Saint Patricks death, a time arround 490ad is very likely. Whatever that date is, it is still 100 or more years before the Chapel was built.

Saint Patricks Chapel has not worn as well as Saint Peters.  The chapel is now a ruin… all be it, ruin with a great outlook.

As with most religious locations across the UK, they are usually on the sites of much earlier places of worship or spiritual importance.  Various archaeological digs have taken place to try and discover the heritage of this Heysham location. Excavations arround the Stone Tombs did discover artifacts and tools, these would indicate that this site was occupied over 12,000 years ago.

One thing is for sure, no matter the legends and mysteries, these twin Religious ‘settlements’ capture the imagination of any visitor, and with a bonus view over Morecambe Bay, that must lift the spirits,

Please Remember to ….

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

21st February

(C) David Oakes 2021

Silent Sunday…….. Off to Church

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St. Michaels Chapel, Rame Head, Cornwall

Many years ago, when we were walking a part of the Cornish Coastal Path, we approached Rams Head.  It is a rocky outcrop that protrudes into the English Chanel and because of it high elevation also has a clear view down to Plymouth Sound.

As we approached we could see a Stone building at the highest vantage point.  We were to discover that this building was in fact called St. Michaels Chapel.

But the Chapel was not the first construction on this summit.  As far back as the Bronze and Iron Ages there has been a Hill Fort on this very spot. Not a bad strategic position, commanding expansive views  across both sea and land.  The building of the Chapel is ascribed to St. German and dates back to 981.

The weather and age has taken its toll on the Chapel, but I suspect it has always been very utilitarian building.  Apart from a place for prayer, I guess it was also a place of sanctuary for travellers and pilgrims providing basic shelter from the weather.

St. Michaels may not be the most imposing of buildings, but what cannot be denied is its spectacular location. It has proven to be an important vantage point.  During the 2nd World War it played an important roll, as a Coastal Lookout Point, in the efforts to safeguard  Plymouth Sound and its Navel base.  But it is also said, that it was from here, in 1588, that the first sightings of the Spanish Armada was made.  Warning were sent down to Sir Francis Drake, who legend tells, was playing Bowls on Plymouth Sound and despite the imminent challenge,  insisted on finishing his game. True or not,… its great yarn.

Please Remember ….

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

31st January

(C) David Oakes 2021

Silent Sunday….. Off to Church

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Good Morning Lisbon, Capital City of Portugal

Towering above  the Lisbon skyline, dwarfing all below, is the National Pantheon.  Originally, I understand, it was a 16th century Baroque style Church…..  but converted to become the resting place of Tombs for the Portuguese Greats.

A peaceful place to visit is such a busy City, a place to pause and ponder.

Wherever you are this Sunday…

Please Remember ….

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

24th January

(C) David Oakes 2021