Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blipmeet in Cumbria

As promised here are all the photos of my most enjoyable blip meet with Paula yesterday. Paula lives near Appleby in Cumbria along a little lane that is just as tiny as ours. She had provided me with excellent instructions so I found it easily. We had lunch at a fun place called Llama Karma along the A66 and for the first time ever I had lunch while watching llamas have theirs too. I was very taken with the button mosaic at the entrance too.
Afterwards we visited the little church of St. Ninians that Paula had discovered and blipped in the past. She knows how much I enjoy visiting old churches and graveyards and this is a very unique place the likes of which I have never come across before. You can see above how the church and graveyard sit in the middle of a field and are surrounded by a very substantial, circular stone enclosure. The only time I have come across such a surround is at Lamington Church and graveyard which by pure chance I had passed on my way down South that very morning. The walk to the church from the A66 took about 20 minutes or so and the weather gods were very kind to us. The walk was a pleasure with beautiful views over the river Eamont.
Paula found some information about the church online here, and this is just about everything I know about it so far. It was amazing to see this church is open to visitors and there is even a visitors book. It is looked after by the Churches Conservation Trust who seem to be doing a sterling job maintaining disused churches of historical and architectural interest. They are active in England and Wales, but not Scotland thus far.
Surprisingly the graveyard seems to have been used till fairly recently but there are also many old graves to be seen here. The church itself was built in 1658 although it is believed an older church stood here before that time. The church was built by Lady Anne Clifford after she fought a prolonged battle about her inheritance.
 According to the visitors' book people come to see this lovely building regularly and evidence of that is here with the little wooden cross tied to this gravestone that has some connection to the Borders Regiment according to the inscription.
The inside of the church is sober but lovely and to my surprise I discovered that there were (and are still present) locks on the pews. Were people locked in during the sermon? I suppose that's one way to keep their attention.
 There was one beautiful stained glass window from a much later date (1860) in memory of John Jameson who died aged 25. The window was donated by his parents and above is a detail.
The thing I found most fascinating and intriguing was a carved  oak wooden screen which according to the information in the church was supposed to come from a Jacobean vestment chest but although the dating seems to be about right I cannot imagine a vestment chest being decorated with what look to be very pagan images.  The detail I showed yesterday has no religious connotations that I could detect and seemed to be more like a goddess than anything else.

There are dragons depicted too (you can see part of one on the top left of the picture above) as well as an energetic drummer.
At the very top (and thus quite dark and hard to photograph) is this very determined looking personage and after reading about Lady Anne Clifford's fierce determination I can imagine she could well have looked like this. We will probably never know, sadly.
There are also some ancient grave monuments in the church itself, connected to the important local Brougham (pronounced Broom!) family of nearby Brougham Castle. I could definitely detect some wings on the one seen above, perhaps connected in some way to the winged souls seen so frequently in Scottish graveyards.
 An impressive array of church brasses was also on display, connected to the same family.Some paint was still present as you can see.

 I was very taken by this Agnus Dei (lamb of God) detail.

After we came out there was a magic moment of light over the surrounding field where a farmer was busy rounding up his sheep. One (seen at the left) was in danger of being left behind and my mind made a brief connection back to the Agnus Dei just seen. Paula captured this for her blip yesterday..
And then as if the day hadn't been special enough already there was a rainbow to be seen over the hills once we got back to where the car was parked.

It was a very special day all round and many thanks are due to Paula and Gordon for giving me such a wonderful time!


Linda Kunsman said...

oh what a very special outing indeed! Fabulous photos Frieda! Locked pews? That is a new one I never heard before. Interesting. Thanks so much for taking me along:)

Susan Briscoe said...

A very interesting post. We'll have to visit sometime when we are going along the A66. The carvings, including the dragon, are very similar to some of those at Plas Newydd, Llangollen - have you been there?

Jewels said...

This was wonderful Frieda - I do so envy you having access to all this history. I've been reading up on Scottish history lately - partly because of my Dad and partly because of the vote. I need to cross the big pond some time and visit my relatives that are still in the UK...

Erica said...

Such a fascinating place. Thank you for sharing both your thoughts and photos of what was a memorable and special day for you and your hosts.

Lenna Young Andrews said...

so beautiful frieda, all of it -inside and out!


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