"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 25 May 2012

Wildflowers in a Country Churchyard

Earlier this week I stopped off at St Michael's Church which is located close to Baddesley Clinton moated manor house. I had read that the churchyard was a haven for wildflowers.

From the National Trust car park the route to the church follows a shady path bounded by trees on one side and fields on the other.

Blubells, Buttercups and Germander Speedwell lined the path.

I found these Garden Snails on the edge of the path - I think they might be mating?

The lambs are growing up quickly and one of them was bleating at the top of its voice for its mother - all to no avail as she wasn't responding.

I strolled over to the gateway to try and get closer and look - I've been spotted!

Two of the lambs came to say "hello"!

This lamb seemed to be saying "No food here - I'm off!"

A lovely place to sit and rest and enjoy the view and listen to birdsong.

Nearly there...

The earliest record of a church on this site is dated 1305 but there may have been a church on the site 200 - 300 years earlier. Lord of the Manor, Nicholas Brome, built the church tower as penance for killing the parish priest who he found in his parlour "chockinge his wife under ye chinne". He is buried just outside the south church door so that people would tread on him as they entered the church.

The churchyard was full of wildflowers - Cow Parsley, Greater Stitchwort, Dandelions, Buttercups, Bluebells, Red Campion, Cowslips, Speedwell, Crosswort, Plaintain, Sorrel, Lady's Smock and Garlic Mustard.

Greater Stitchwort

Cow Parsley


Crosswort - the smell of honey around the flowers was overpowering

Apparently, Crosswort is a plant known as a calcicole - an indicator of lime-rich soil, it is adapted to grow only on chalk or limestone.

The churchyard had a mixture of short and long grass and areas where wildflowers were left to flourish.

Germander Speedwell was everywhere

Garlic Mustard

Lady's Smock was in flower - I did look for Orange Tip butterfly eggs without success.

Lady's Smock is also known as cuckoo flower. Although an exceedingly delicate and pretty flower, country folklore suggests that the plant is best avoided as it has fairy connections. If it was accidentally included in a May Day Garland the whole wreath was often remade!


I couldn't resist including yet more Red Campion flowers. I think I ought to change the name of my blog!

Dandelion "Clock" - why do these always remind me of childhood and a time when you half expected to see fairies at the bottom of the garden?!

I was going to have a look inside the church but the only door I tried was locked. (I later asked at Baddesley Clinton Visitor Centre and apparently the entry door is the one in the middle of the church - seen on the photo below. It was covered in mesh - what I took to be a security measure to keep people out was in fact a "bird" door to stop birds entering - doh!! Well at least I now know how to get in when I go again")

Return path

and look who came to say "hello" again!

Although this is not meant to be a "Following in the Footsteps of a Edwardian Lady" post, Baddesley Clinton is one of the areas she often mentions visiting. Much of the filming for the TV series on Edith Holden (many years ago and sadly, I don't think its available on dvd) was done at Baddesley.

Hopefully my flower id's are correct but please let me know if any are wrong.


"Discovering the Folklore of Plants", A Shire Classic, by Margaret Baker

"The Encyclopedia of British Wildflowers" by J. Akeroyd

"Marjorie Blamey's Wildflowers by Colour", Dorling Kindersley


Toffeeapple said...

I shan't be seeing any Crosswort here, we are strictly clay. A lovely post, I do so enjoy seeing wildflowers though I must get a good book to help me with identification; I found one yesterday that looks like the Lady's Smock but was rather pink.

Enjoy your weekend.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks.

I was surprised to see that Crosswort was a lime lover as I never think of there being much limestone/chalk here in Warwickshire but research shows a band of limestone running across the county.

Lady's Smock can be pinky so you may well have seen it. I need to experiment more with the white balance on my camera as in sunlight pinky or white flowers tend to get "bleached" out. There are lots of good wildflower books - I am saving up for the Collins Guide!

Hope you have a good weekend too.

ShySongbird said...

A lovely post Caroline and lovely photos. It didn't really surprise me that you thought ou couldn't get into the church as sadly that seems to often be the case these days, I think we expect them to be locked.

Lovely to see all the wildflowers. I don't know whether it's my imagination but Speedwell seems to have done particularly well this year. Lady's Smock, on the other hand, I haven't seen much so far. Were there any butterflies about? I would have thought all those flowers would have attracted lots.

Lovely lamb photos! Sheep are such inquisitive creatures :-)

Great photos of the Tree Bee on the previous post...huge pollen baskets!!

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Many thanks Jan.

Yes - you are so right about churches - their reasons for being locked are understandable but it is very sad and says so much about today's society. A lot of the churches seems to be taking measures too to protect lead on roof!

I agree about there being masses of Speedwell around this year - I made a similar comment on someone's blog a few days back but I haven't seen much Lady's Smock either.

Surprisingly I only saw one butterfly - one of the whites fluttering in the distance and too far away to id.

I was very pleased with my Tree Bee :) Keep your eyes out Jan - I am sure one will visit your garden soon!

Pete said...

sheeptend to run when i point a camera at them! lovely post

Ragged Robin said...

Pete - Many thanks. I usually have same problem as you with sheep but these lambs proved the exception to the rule :)

Rohrerbot said...

Another magical hike through the woods. Your picture of the lambs is truly remarkable. The lighting, the space, and the subjects make this shot excellent. However, the other shots are wonderful and always frame your story and historical lessons. While reading this, I was wondering, "Would you want to be buried somewhere that would have people walking over you?" I don't know if it's arrogance or just clever:) Wonderful wildflowers!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris - Thank you so much for your lovely comment - I am so glad you enjoyed the post :)

I didn't look at the gravestones very closely but I think most are really old. The paths in the main are away from the grave area though you can wander over the grassy areas. I don't think I would mind being buried somewhere with so many wildflowers and birds!

I have to admit I am not at all religious but I always find churches and churchyards have a very special quiet and peaceful atmosphere - totally unique.