I’m a non-believer

For a fairly devout non-believer I’ve spent a relatively large amount of time in churches over the past month. Firstly for my inaugural enrolment as a godfather (fingers crossed at appropriate times) and then twice in 12 hours over the cusp of December 24th & 25th – midnight mass in St Laurence’s in Ludlow and the Christmas morning service in our village church. Feeling non-festive at the close of the shop on the 24th I thought that midnight mass might engender some spirit of the season in me.

Today, on a rare day trip away from both work and home, we had 2 rural churches in the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire border lands in our sights. There was also the additional impetus of a visit to the wonderful Butcher’s Arms in Woolhope for lunch.

All Saint’s in Brockhampton is that rare beast, an Arts & Crafts church. Completed in 1902 and designed by William Lethaby it’s a complicated piece of architecture; making use of thatch, stone and timber, but all executed to such a high standard and sitting so neatly next to each other.

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The craftsmanship and attention to detail continues inside: beautiful light fittings (both electric and candle), altar tapestries by Burne-Jones and these amazing hand stitched covers to the prayer books.

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The second church on the list was St Mary’s at Kempley was more ancient; boasting the oldest roof of any building in Britain and the most complete set of Romanesque frescoes in Northern Europe. Sadly . . . . those that are habitually programmed to not look for opening hours for churches will find that it is closed until March. So both frescoes and roof will require a re-visit; but the Norman exterior (with add ons) was enough on a sunny January day.

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3 Comments

Filed under Art, Buildings, Food

3 responses to “I’m a non-believer

  1. Ooh, beautiful photographs Dear .. & as for those embroideries .. Well, rather lovely!

  2. I swear when you two aren’t keeping shop, you’re out living the life of Denton Welch. I agree, religion is much easier to take without the fervour of faith. I also agree that those are very pretty samplers… although that equally pretty pink paint was traditionally achieved by adding pigs’ blood to slaked lime. We can be a visceral race, for sure, but that’s no reason for Alex to do THAT in the font!

    • To my shame, I have just had to google (other search engines to exist etc etc) Denton Welch – now in the process of tracking down some of his writings. Will reprimand Alex for his font usage. The (more) local vernacular for external lime rendering is a mustardy yellow colour, by repute coloured with urine so maybe Alex’s church actions were a means to this particular end.

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