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.
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.
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
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")
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