"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

Thursday, 31 January 2013

An Interesting Warwickshire Church

I've been meaning to visit the church of St Mary the Virgin at Lapworth for some time and on Tuesday as I was in the area I decided to go along and have a look. It took me absolutely ages to find the car park but I was fortunate in that the forecasted heavy rain never arrived although it was very gloomy.

The first sight to greet me in the churchyard were the first Snowdrops I had seen this year.

The church which is a Grade 1 listed building dates back to the mid twelfth century although it is believed there may have been a wooden chapel on the site from the Saxon period. A restoration of the church occurred in the nineteenth century.

I was a bit nervous about exploring the interior of the church as part of it is alarmed and I seem to remember another Blogger, who shall remain nameless :), set off the alarm by leaning into one of the alarmed areas resulting in the verger appearing in a hurry! If anyone was going to accidentally set off the alarm again it would be me but luckily someone had just set the church alarm and very kindly turned it off so I could explore the whole church for half an hour.

Last Supper Reredos

There were some beautiful stained glass windows in the church the photo below shows a window showing the Adoration of the Magi, the Nativity and the Shepherds

The Lady Chapel - now known as St Catherine's Chapel rededicated to those who died in the First World War contains the Adie Wade Memorial Window which is beautiful. Adie was from Lapworth and he died towards the end of the war when the hospital he was in recovering from an injury was bombed.

The chapel also contains The Florence Bradshaw Memorial tablet by Eric Gill. It was commissioned in 1928 and is called the Mater Amabilis and depicts Madonna and Child. It is made from Portland Limestone and is situated on the west wall of the chapel.

Above the Memorial tablet is a fragment of a Medieval wall painting.

This window with Heraldic shields was reconstructed after serious damage by severe gales in 1925.

The Madonna and Child statue by A John Poole was dedicated in 2001.

The fourteenth century octagonal font has carved faces at each corner.

The Royal Arms were painted in 1819 by Isaac Brown from nearby Rowington

The Lapworth Missal is considered the most important surviving Medieval manuscript associated with St Mary. It was handwritten in Latin with colourful illuminated borders and contained text of the Roman Catholic Mass and prayers used throughout the year. It was made in the fifteenth century probably for use in St Mary and was used in the church until its removal during the Reformation. It is now in the archives of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. A reproduction of the painting of the Crucifixion from the Missal is on display.

The West Porch was built around 1250. The room above the passageway known as the West Chantry Chapel since 1373 was once used as a place to display holy relics.

St Mary's Church is a rare example in Warwickshire of a church constructed with a detached tower. The tower was built in around 1380.

I stopped off at Baddesley Clinton for lunch - Parsnip Soup and Ginger Cake - both delicious!

No sign of any lambs yet but the sheep were munching happily away

i like the stacked logs by this pruned tree. The logs will provide good habitat for fungi and invertebrates


Em Parkinson said...

I love that fragment of the painting and the faces. Beautiful - thank you!

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson. Many thanks - glad you enjoyed. There were lots of stone faces and gargoyle type figures but they were too high up to take photos which was a shame.

ShySongbird said...

Oh joy!! Snowdrops, how lovely :-) What a very welcome sight Caroline and what an interesting post. It's a lovely old church with so much history attached. I love those beautiful stained glass windows, so pretty! I couldn't help a little giggle at the thought of the possibility of you setting off the alarm, wouldn't you just die of embarrassment, I know I would ;-)

There are some lovely artefacts there although that last gargoyle looks a grumpy soul and the first one not much better! The tapestry kneeler is very pretty. It makes me think about getting my tapestry work out again....ah, those were the days, before blogging took over my life ;-)

Well done Caroline, a very enjoyable post and lovely photos too. Have a lovely weekend!

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Hi Jan - I was pleased to discover the snowdrops. To be honest I wasn't particularly looking for them so it was a lovely surprise. Amazing what you can find when you go looking for something else :)

Glad you liked the church and history. Oh gosh yes I would have died of embarrassment but its just the sort of thing I would do! By the time I'd worked out which bits were alarmed I would have set the thing off :)

I must admit I love the gargoyles you find on churches - there were some even better grumpier types :) but too far up for the camera lens.

Hope you get chance to get out your tapestry. Yes internet and blogger are so time consuming - I spend far too much time on the computer :)

Loved your waxwing photos btw - they were very good. I was just incredibly lucky with mine - the light was perfect and the sun in the right position and even though I was so excited and couldn't stop shaking :) and forgot to change camera settings :) I was pleased with the photos. In some ways I was glad I hadn't got the camera a few weeks ago as the light was so poor and any photos would not have been good :)

Thanks again for your lovely comment :)

Have a lovely weekend too :)

Tricia said...

Well a fascinating interior to the church.. and yes embarrassing when alarms are set off however accidentally ;)....

And isn't it wonderful to see the snowdrops in flower now!!

Dartford Warbler said...

What an interesting church . A treasure trove of beautiful pieces of art from across the centuries.

How lovely to find snowdrops in flower!

Ragged Robin said...

Tricia - It is a beautiful church :) LOL re alarms. though not as bad as my most embarrassing moment when my mobile went off at a famous tennis tournament. Still cringe at the thought :(

Yes lovely to see snowdrops flowering :) Spring not far away :)

Dartford Warbler - Many thanks - glad you enjoyed the church visit. I love the history and atmosphere of old churches.

Snowdrops a pleasant surprise :)

Pete said...

much more fun to set the alarm off !!

and nice blog!

Ragged Robin said...


Hope you got to see the Eric Gill piece!

Actually thanks are due to you and Tricia as it was after seeing your photos I decided I had to visit :)

Pete said...

yes we did see the Gill. the chap gave us a tour!

Ragged Robin said...

Good - glad you managed to see it :) Lovely church - nice to find one open - most round here are always locked! Tours are useful as it saves you going backwards and forwards through guidebook in case you miss the most important feature!!! Although I don't like taking photos when accompanied!