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