Wednesday, July 01, 2015

England 2015: Day 3--Old Parish Churches in North Cornwall


When I first planned this trip to England for my 70th birthday, a gift to myself, I told Lisl I wanted to see some of the ancient churches of England.  I like the huge cathedrals, of course (one of which is coming), but it's the smaller parish churches that are most soulful to me. 

This is that day.  If you're not careful, it'll all run together for you, especially when you see the outside architecture.  But the insides are as different from each other as can possibly be.  Just watch.

1.  St. Winwaloe Church, Poundstock, North Cornwall, 13th century.

Lisl and Pauline have been friends forever.  This is old-hat for them.
But they led the way for my own amazement...because they're still amazed, too. 

They had no clue why the chairs were decorated like this.  
This was Wednesday, 17 June.  Left over from a weekend wedding, perhaps?

The old wood.  The chairs.  The hymnals.  The cushions.

And a churchyard full of old gravestones.

It so happens that the Poundstock Gildhouse is also on the churchyard.

It's "the best perserved example in Cornwall of a late medieval church house which has been in continuous use since it was built.  Church houses were built with the aim of using them as extensions of the church and the one in Poundstock is contemporary with the late phases of the medieval church building."

 I can imagine a church council meeting in there, similar to a Native American council house.

A very nice gentleman volunteer showed us around the place.
He's wearing the Cornwall national tartan around his wrist.

They all had fun downstairs dressing me up.
HA!  If we can't take a joke!

2.  St. Mary's Church, Week, North Cornwall, built in 1643. 

 See what I mean about similar outside architecture?

But the inside is definitely different from the first church.

But still, the old wood.  The chairs.  The hymnals.  The cushions.

3.  St. Anne's Church, Whitstone, North Cornwall, 15th century.

It so happens this was the only church not open that day,
and the keeper of the key from the nearby house was not there.

But because of the overgrown churchyard, it was very soulful to me.
I didn't need to go inside this church that day.

4.  St. Marwenne's Church, Marhamchurch, North Cornwall, 16th century.

You notice, of course, that I have a soft spot for the Celtic crosses.
All crosses, for that matter.

Again, different on the inside.

But still, the old wood.  The chairs.  The hymnals.  The cushions.

 That floor (top-left) is made of slate that's stood on end (just the edges that you see).
And yes, we always examined the doors...and windows!

5.  St. Swithin's Church, Launcells, North Cornwall, 15th century.

This was the ultimate goal of our church-hopping day and appropriately the last.
This is the oldest Cornwall church that escaped Victorian restoration.

I was most impressed by how full of light it was.

And still with the old wood.  The chairs.  The hymnals.  The cushions.

 We almost didn't make it to this church because it was late in the day.
But it ended up being a healing place for us all.
And once again...with the overgrown churchyard, it seemed extra soulful.

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All 5 of the above churches are in the NW area of Cornwall near the city of Bude.
We started out from the St. Austell area, to give perspective, 40 miles away.
But because of one-lane roads most of the way, it took time and guts to get from church to church.
Bless Pauline for daring the drive!

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We saw more than the churches, of course, as we drove from here to there.
This is my first ever CAMEL weathervane, from...where else...Camelford, England.
(After 10-15 minutes, I gave up on the bird flying away.)

We even had a picnic after the first church, thanks to Pauline and Lisl!

 And some flowers, though surely I saw hundreds more.

We even stopped in Bude for the obligatory English afternoon tea.
Impressions.  Impressions.  Impressions.

Kernow = Cornwall in Cornish.
Now you know.

12 comments:

  1. The age of these places is just incredible. So beautiful. Imagine all the stories they've seen.

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    1. I know, Ruth. It still totally blows my mind...and is one of the reasons why I love living in Europe. Thank you.

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  2. My first degree in college was a B. of Architecture, and at the peak of my teaching career I was teaching English Literature and a humanities course that surveyed Western Civ through the arts. When we finally got to England, we tried to get into every Cathedral we were near. I was eager to photograph all to bring pictures back for my students, but also because, as you say, these buildings may look similar on the outside, but inside they’re all remarkably and intriguingly different.

    Thanks for taking me to the parish churches, but alas, they have no tall towers to climb.

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    1. No tall towers to climb, thankfully, Ted, because I would have been tempted to climb them but not able...so many in one day with my new knee. It was a long day and tiring. Each church had so much to tell us. I was "short of eyes." I can just imagine what it must have been like to have had you for a teacher!

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  3. You had the best time on this birthday trip. I am dying with envy with all these stops. It seems as if we like to visit the same places Ginnie. I'll just have to bookmark this so that when I finally cross the pond I'll hit the same spots you did.

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    1. Once you go, Maria, you'll want to keep going back again and again. Trust me. For us, it's so close and cheap, it'd be a sin not to go at least once a year, if possible!

      I agree. We both like the same places and things. That's what's so fun about following you. :)

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  4. Oh!!! Love the dress up!!! They are all beautiful...thanks for sharing your gift with us!

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    1. HA! Dress-up is fun, Robin, isn't it...even at our age. :D You are so welcome, of course.

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  5. They all seem so lovely and I have not been in any of them!

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    1. Well, then, Cherry. It's not like you don't already have so many OTHER things to see! I think it would take several lifetimes to see your country from top to bottom. Seriously!

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  6. I adore old churches and old cemeteries and those are amazing ones your visited...the oldest in the US is from the 1600s in Santa Fe...and the oldest cemeteries are usually from the 1700s.

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