"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, 4 January 2013

St Giles on a Winter's Afternoon

Regular visitors to my Blog may recall that I first discovered this beautiful church and churchyard when I went searching for Snowdrops last February "following in the Footsteps of an Edwardian Lady." The churchyard is a haven for wildflowers and I made several visits last year.

I had an appointment in Knowle late this afternoon so on the way I stopped off to see if any Snowdrops were yet in flower in the churchyard.

As you can see from the photos the light was already going as it was mid-afternoon. The church is over 800 years old.

I couldn't find any Snowdrops in flower or bud but I did find one clump of primroses.

Many parts of the churchyard are "neglected" to encourage wildlife.

Flower display in the church porch

The Church Tower is known as The Tower of Atonement and was added in the late fifteenth century by Nicholas Brome, Lord of nearby Baddesley Clinton, as an act of atonement for murdering a local priest who he found in his parlour "chockings his wife under ye chinne". (Ferrars). I think I mentioned the blood stain in the library at Baddesley when I did a post on visiting Baddesley Clinton in December.

I spotted Moorhen and Mallard on the moat which surrounds nearby Packwood Hall and a kestrel in nearby fields.

I drove past Packwood House in the hope of finding some snowdrops there but no sign yet. The House and Gardens are shut until the 1st May as the National Trust is doing extensive work developing a new car park, cafe and Visitor Centre and I believe the house is being rewired too.


Dartford Warbler said...

What a peaceful, natural churchyard and how lovely to find primroses in flower!

Deano said...

Love to see neglected areas of establishments. Generally there`s far too much tidying up done these days.

Ragged Robin said...

Dartford Warbler - Its a beautiful place. Will go back in February to see the Snowdrops and March when there'll be lots of primroses out :)

Deano - Really pleased that last year I found several country churchyards that were "managed" with wildlife in mind and lots are areas were allowed to go "wild".

ShySongbird said...

It looks a very nice, tranquil place Caroline which I do remember you showed us before, was it there you saw the Spotted Flycatcher? Churchyards do seem to be becoming important places of conservation. Lovely photos despite the time of day. A lovely flower arrangement too.

Rob said...

Great photos. They really capture the contemplative atmosphere of the place. A spine-chilling murder story too. Does 'chockings' mean choking?

Pete said...


some Snowdrops at Anglesey Abbey but another 3-4 weeks before they all come out. There were bees and a daff starting to come out

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Many thanks. It is incredibly quiet there Jan. What struck me was the absolute "silence" of the place. I'm not religious but churches and churchyards do have a special atmosphere.

They have had Spotted Flycatchers here I've been told but this year's sighting was at Berkswell churchyard - probably about half hour's drive away.

I've checked the flower painting book I mentioned - its called "The Water Colour Flower Artist's bible - it mainly shows you how to paint "garden" flowers but you could easily transfer techniques to wild flowers which is what I'm more interested in. Have been inspired by Edith Holden :)

Rob - Many thanks. I think "chockings" means to "tickle" from what I've read elsewhere - assume like flirting :) !!!!

Pete - Great to hear of snowdrops starting to appear somewhere :) I've started to keep eye out for bumbles too having heard of several sightings :) Oh well done on the waxwings - am VERY jealous :)!!!

Tricia said...

I'm sure you'll see some snowdrops before long... as Pete says, some at Anglesey Abbey but only a very few where the buds were open. :Love the murder story!

Ragged Robin said...

Tricia - I think there will be some at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens but the don't re-open till next week so will try and pay a visit. Might be aconites out too :) Murder story is rather fascinating. If you revisit Baddesley Clinton - look for the blood stain on the hearth in the library. Although sadly tests have revealed it is blood but pig blood not human - rather spoiling it all!

Rohrerbot said...

It's nice to let it grow as it will and maintain the historic quality. But I always find winter is a way to organize and "make better" on things like the rewiring. I've been doing that in our garden as well. The story is interesting....but the blood sounds rather gross:) Not one for horror stories. I love your little part of the world. It's so beautiful.

Ragged Robin said...

Rohrerbot - Many thanks Chris :) So glad you enjoy the posts :) Have been to Solihull Library today to do some research on Edith Holden (Country Diary Lady). I was looking at big scale old OS Maps trying to track down her Violet Wood - fear it has probably now been built on :(