A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"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, 11 March 2016
Spring Flowers in a Country Churchyard
I met E for lunch in Solihull yesterday and decided to visit St Giles churchyard, Packwood on the way home.
St Giles church dates back over 800 years and is dedicated to St Giles, the patron saint for beggars and the lame.
Snowdrops are a little past their best and Primroses are just coming into flower - the churchyard will be covered in the latter just in time for Easter.
I only found a few flowers of Lesser Celandine (have they already finished flowering or are they just starting?). In the Language of Flowers Lesser Celandine symbolises "joys to come".
I found very few violet flowers perhaps I was too early but there were plenty of daffodils.
I've visited quite a few local churchyards over the years where wild flowers and wildlife are allowed to flourish but St Giles is probably my favourite. Over 100 wild flower species have been recorded. In the areas of the churchyard where the older graves are located nature is left to its own devices with ferns, brambles and ivy scrambling over ancient tombs, gravestones and crosses.
The grass is kept shorter and tidier in the area with newer graves which seems a good compromise.
A strange inscription on a gravestone left me wondering if you pushed on it would a gaping hole and stairs appear leading down to a vault?!
There are several mass/scratch dials on the walls of the church. Centuries ago a stick would be inserted in the circular depression to act as a kind of sundial so that the times of masses could be calculated.
These depressions show where arrows were sharpened in the days when archery was regularly practised in churchyards.
Lichens on a fence and church walls
Memorial to Graham Baron Ash and his parents, owners of nearby Packwood House, who gave the house to the National Trust.
The Tower of Atonement
Some of you may remember me mentioning Nicholas Brome from nearby Baddesley Clinton who not only murdered his father's killer in 1471 but then killed the minister of Baddesley church in 1483 when he discovered him in his parlour "chockings his wife under ye chinne". His atonements for these deeds included the construction of a tower at Baddesley Clinton church where he was buried standing upright at the church entrance so all who entered would walk over him and he was also responsible for arranging the constuction of the tower at St Giles - still called The Tower of Atonement.
Next to the church is Packwood Hall which dates back to the 17th century and has a moat. Fans of the "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden may remember her visiting the Hall on 24th February 1906 and seeing and picking a bunch of snowdrops from the grounds of the hall and being shown a lamb by the farmer who lived there. No sign of any lambs today but it was good to see that the snowdrops are still flowering in profusion!
Edith lived in nearby Darley Green between 1880 and 1890 with her parents and siblings. I've managed to discover in the past the houses where she lived in Dorridge and Olton but never been 100% sure of the house in Darley Green although I suspect it may have been one of the those in the photo below.
I drove past Packwood House on the way home to check on the daffodils that line the road.
There are still many buds so I think they will be looking at their best in about a week.
Apologies to those of you who have been visiting my blog for some time because I tend to return to St Giles in early Spring each year and have already done a series of posts on Edith Holden and the locations she mentions in her Nature Notes so I hope the post isn't too repetitive!
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.