"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, 29 April 2016

Return to Temple Balsall

I gave E a lift into Solihull yesterday where she was meeting a friend for lunch which gave me a couple of hours to myself before I had to pick her up. My initial plan was to go and visit a church at Rowington and also check out a lane near there which has a wonderful display of Wild Garlic. Sadly, I discovered the church is locked. Second idea was to revisit St Alpheges and check out a rather gorgeous (and I suspect expensive!) teddy bear called Mr. Bumble in the Handmade Boutique. I decided that Mr Bumble might prove irresistible and not good for the bank balance so I eventually decided to return to Temple Balsall in the hope of seeing some butterflies.

It was lovely and sunny, if rather cold, when we left home but by the time I reached the car park at Temple Balsall it was starting to rain. Definitely not butterfly weather :(

The Old Hall of the Templars

The cottage garden of the Old Hall is full of a mixture of wild and cultivated flowers.

There were more wild flowers appearing in the churchyard compared to our visit earlier this month - Primroses and Lesser Celandine (still abundant), Bluebells, Snakeshead Fritillary, Cowslips, Oxlips and Dandelions. This churchyard is a superb example of how beautiful God's Acre can look if wildlife is allowed to flourish.

St Mary the Virgin

(If you read the post a few weeks back you might want to skip the next few sentences as it might be a trifle repetitive).

The church was built in the first 30 years of the 14th century as the Chapel for the Knight's Hospitallers who had taken over the estate a few years before following the Dissolution of the Knights Templar. The latter had worshipped in a chapel attached to the Old Hall.

Following Henry VIII's Dissolution of the monasteries and religious communities, the Church was neglected for many years.

It was restored in the second half of the 17th century by Lady Anne Holbourne. A full restoration by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who was renowned for restoring medieval churches, took place in the mid 19th century. In the 1860's St Mary's became a parish church.

During the Gilbert Scott restoration the Lady Anne Holbourne Font (pictured below) was replaced by Scott's choice and the older font was removed to the garden of Temple House where it remained until 1920 when it was moved again to a local farm. The font was eventually returned to St Mary's in 1984.

The pulpit dates from the GS restoration and panels depict Christ surrounded by the 4 Gospel Writers

I understand the floor also dates from the GS restoration

The East window dates back to 1907 whereas the

West Window is slightly older.

The next few photos were taken with the Canon Bridge SX50 - (yes, I took 2 cameras with me!). I think the Canon takes better photos of the stained glass partly because you can zoom in more but also because I like the brighter colours.

There are many stone carved heads just below the roof and many are of Knights ready to serve as Soldiers of Christ. Most date back to the mid 19th century Restoration.

The Organ was bought during the 1840's restoration when the Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson spent large amounts of money on the church.

Piscina and Sedilia

Carvings of wood - very lovely I thought

I don't remember seeing this memorial before.

I was hoping to look for more gravestones with the name Truelove both in this churchyard and the cemetery but due to the rain I didn't really get chance and it was time to return to Solihull.

Walking back along the Bread Walk

No flowers yet on the Lords and Ladies

You can see the trails of the Holly Leaf Miner on these Holly leaves.

Violets and Green Alkanet are now flowering.

Reference:The Church of St Mary the Virgin Temple Balsall, A Visitor Guide


Wendy said...

The old hall looks interesting with such a beautiful garden. It's also good to see that the spring flowers have been allowed to spread in the churchyard. The church has an interesting history and it's fascinating that it was so completely restored some time after the Dissolution. It looks quite impressive for a parish church.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks very much. I will try and get some photos inside the Old Hall when we return for afternoon tea. The church is impressive - there is at least one Green Man carving too :)

David said...

What wonderful wildflowers in the church yard and it is just a shame the weather wasn't better for butterflies. Loved seeing the Snakeshead Fritillaries, a flower which simply won't grow in our dry and barren chalky soil, though it might do better up at the cottage (hopefully.)

Enjoyable tour of the church and since I haven't made my mind up as regards cameras I found the comparison between your old camera and the SX50 interesting. It certainly looks better in these photos and as you say it really brings out the wonderful colours of the windows.

Wonderful wood carvings as well what with the different leaves and plants carved on to the Fleurs-de-lis.

Hope you are having a great weekend and kindest regards :-)

amanda peters said...

Great place , nice to see all the different things inside and out. Like the wood carvings and the windows.Plenty of flowers to look at.
Not done much this weekend due to the snow and cold weather, Sat evening much better might put the moth trap out!
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much. I have a just one Snakeshead Fritillary in the garden which somehow struggles on even though it attracts the attentions of lily beetles :(

I think the SX50 is good and poor results are all due to my lack of knowledge of camera settings:( I noticed yesterday two entomologists with brilliant photos of insects on twitter and they use the SX50 so it can take good close ups which is what I struggle with the most. I know I keep saying it but what I really need to do is sit down with the manual and camera and work out how to use it! I think the main problem is that I do tend to use my Olympus most of the time and know it inside out but I only got to that stage by going through the manual and working through a superb magazine that told you how to use a dslr etc. Certainly think SX50 worth considering David if you can still get that model.

Have a great weekend too - best wishes Caroline

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda - there is plenty to see there and I especially love the churchyard.

Haven't done much here either - rain on and off most of day and son and OH have horrible colds and coughs :( Good Luck if you put the moth trap out tonight - think I will leave it here until tomorrow when it looks milder and dryer!

Rosie said...

It was wonderful to pay a return visit to Temple Balsall. I love to see churchyards full of wild plants and flowers. Love the Fritillaries. Lovely to see the inside of the church especially the stained glass and the wood carvings:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. I agree about it being so wonderful to see churchyards flourishing with wild flowers - so much better than ones that are manicured. The stained glass in there is lovely - I especially like the Rose Window :)

SeagullSuzie said...

I really like the acorn carvings. A beautiful natural churchyard full of pretty flowers which makes the gravestones look a lot nicer and less severe.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks Suzie - I love looking for wood carvings in the churches and the acorn ones were my favourites :)

Deb said...

The Old Hall looks and gardens look lovely. I love the wood carvings too and the pretty flowers in the churhyard. :)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much. Its a very lovely area and so tranquil there.