"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

Monday, 22 April 2013

Primrose Weekend at St Patrick's Church, Earlswood

On Saturday afternoon I visited St Patrick's Church, Earlswood, which was holding a Primrose Weekend event. The church is an outstandingly beautiful Grade II listed Victorian Church described by English Heritage as "A striking and unexpected accent in a wholly rural landscape".

The churchyard was a delight to behold with clumps of primroses everywhere.

As can be seen from the sign in the photo below part of the churchyard is now being managed as a wildlife conservation area. There was a variety of birdlife to be seen, nestboxes had been erected, bumble bees were everywhere together with 3 Peacock butterflies.

A few photos of the Primroses

Lots of other Spring flowers on show too

including one of my favourites - the Wood Anemone

There were quite a few plants for sale and I added an Auricula to my collection - one day I'll have enough for an Auricula Theatre of my own :)

The entrance porch to the church has typical Victorian Gothic Revival decorative stonework

with St Patrick looking down on visitors as they arrive.

The Font features carved emblems of the four evangelists - some shown below.

Brass Eagle Lectern

The Parson's stained glass Window on the south wall depicts the figures of St George and St Martin and was given in memory of Charles and Eric Parsons (father and son)

The Chancel

contains the choir stalls and organ loft. Of particular note are the intricately carved "poppy heads" (eight octagonal-shaped ends to the choir stalls) depicting various plants mentioned in the Bible.

The East Window contains stained glass depicting St Thomas, St Patrick, Christ in Majesty, St Mary Magdalene and St Anne.

I've posted quite a few photos below of the really beautiful Sanctuary.

The West end of the Nave contains two large murals depicting the life of St. Patrick. They date to 1913 and were painted by Bernard Sleigh. They show St Patrick leaving France for Ireland and preaching on Easter Day to the King of Ireland. The balcony was also added in 1913.

Many thanks to TP who very kindly emailed me to tell me of this event. I am very grateful as it gave me an opportunity to look round the beautiful church and admire the wildlife friendly churchyard and beautiful display of primroses.

Reference: Welcome to St Patrick's Church, Salter Street - A Guide for Visitors


Chris Rohrer said...

I love all the details around the place. Worn and yet not. Those are ideas I'd like to incorporate into the gardens here. I don't know why but I do like the headstones with the lovely wildflowers around them. There is something very beautiful about it all.

Em Parkinson said...

What a beautiful church. I particularly like those worn carved heads. there are some fabulous ones on Exeter Cathedral but, because it's sandstone, they've deteriorated much more than these. Thanks for a lovely trip around.

Ragged Robin said...

Not sure why the comments are appearing way below the post :) Blogger seems to have mind of its own at the moment :)

Chris Rohrer - Thanks Chris - I find churchyards very atmospheric and there is something special about seeing wild flowers appearing amongst ageing grave stones.

Em Parkinson - Thanks Em. I thought it was beautiful too :) The first carved head was almost identical, from memory, to one I saw last year at a church at Temple Balsall. The church is not actually that old - dating back to 1840 with later additions.

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) What a lovely post and lovely photos too! So cheering to see all the pretty Primroses, I particularly liked how they were growing on the old grave, so natural and peaceful looking. It is so good that churchyards are starting to be recognised as important places of wildlife conservation and managed accordingly. Lovely to see my other favourite (garden) flower too, the Daffodil, I know it's probably a vain hope but they weren't our native, wild Daff were they? That would be wonderful, there are so few places to see them nowadays.

Isn't the interior of the church magnificent? The stained glass, stonework and carvings are beautiful. A lovely, peaceful place to spend time.

David Turner said...

What an interesting and well illustrated post, I love the wildflowers while the church itself is very beautiful indeed, especially inside. Those wood carvings are superb and the church appears well maintained and obviously cared for by the local community :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird Hi Jan :) Many thanks :)

Are you feeling a bit better? - I do hope so and that you have been able to get out today and enjoy sunshine or at least sit outside and enjoy sunshine if you are under the weather still.

I thought you'd like the primroses :) The plants seem to suit churchyards or grassy banks on country lanes so well. It is good news about churchyards being used as conservation areas as you say. Seem to remember there is a project called Living Churchyards to encourage this. I'll google and check later.

No, sorry, I don't think they were wild daffodils. Can only remember one place where you can see them - Dymock in Gloucestershire. Although there must be other places.

The church, especially the Sanctuary area was so beautiful. I first visited the church last year - one of Brian's friends suddenly passed away (a dreadful shock) and his funeral was held at the church. I thought at the time how I would like to visit on another occasion but its not normally open to the public so I was rather pleased to get the email re: the Open Day.

David Turner - Thank you :) Have got in the habit during the last year of visiting country churchyards and its wonderful to see how many wildflowers you can find. Glad you enjoyed the wood carvings - got a bit carried out with amount of photos of those but they were lovely :)

Tricia Ryder said...

What a wonderfull springtime post Caroline.

I love those wooden 'pew' carvings - nothing like carved wood of any description for me.

And all those primroses... I think spring has finally sprung!!

Ragged Robin said...

Tricia Ryder - Thanks Tricia :) There was some nice carved wood at Charlecote too - but too dark to get photo :(

Lovely day here today - so warm and lots of flutters and bees about :)

Linda said...

This is such a lovely tour!

Ragged Robin said...

Linda - Many thanks for leaving a comment - so glad you enjoyed the tour :)