Thursday, 29 October 2015
We had a pub lunch at the Sixteenth Century Bear Inn at Berkswell last week - we had gone the week before on our Wedding Anniversary but the pub had been closed due to a leaking water pipe :(
Photo of The Bear from a previous visit.
The dining area in the pub is called Cromwell's Room which refers to Cromwell's troops lodging in the village before the Battle of Kenilworth. During recent renovations a Cromwellian helmet and boot were found in an interior wall. For centuries the annual October Stattis Fair (when workers and servants from the surrounding countryside met up in seek of employment from local farmers) was held here.
We were due to pick up E on the way home and had 15 minutes spare so paid a brief visit to the beautiful Church of St John the Baptist which dates back to 1150.
Wayside Preaching Cross
The stone steps pre-date the church and are probably Saxon.
The porch dates from the Sixteenth century and the room above was originally the Priest's room, then the village school and later the parish council house. It is now used as a Vestry - access is via a series of steps.
The Oak door leading into the church is 600 years old and was made with hand made nails.
The Font (1946) and the Pulpit (1926) contain vineleaf motifs that copy the ancient screen carvings and are the work of Robert Thompson of Kilburn. Hidden around the church are 9 carved mice (the mark of the woodcarver Thompson). I've only found 2 on previous visits but found a third today in the Lady Chapel - really need to take a torch with me I think to examine all the carvings closely.
Mouse on the Font
the Pulpit and in the
More carved wood - sorry not the best of photos - it was a dull and gloomy day and consequently it was dark in the church.
A rare example of a Sanctus Bell dating from the 16th Century or perhaps even earlier.
Such Bells were often placed in a wooden frame inside the rood screen which separated the Chancel from the Nave. In Medieval times it would have been rung just before the consecration of the bread and wine.
I didn't have time to go down to the Crypt this time but its a beautifully peaceful, tranquil place so I've included a few photos from a previous visit.
The Crypt is a fine example of Norman architecture and dates back to the 12th Century (the East part was built around 1150 and the Western Octagonal part later in the century). It is believed to be a reconstruction of an earlier crypt that dated back to Saxon times and there may have been a shrine on the site.
Sadly, there was no time to look for graffiti (Medieval or otherwise).