"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, 19 August 2016

A Walk Around Temple Balsall

Tempted by tea and cake we returned to Temple Balsall last Sunday afternoon for a walk. First stop though was the farm shop at Meriden which has a rather lovely rural view from the car park.


The Bread Walk

The Templar Hall

Temple Balsall was the Preceptory (Headquarters) for the Knights Templar in Warwickshire and farming activities in the County were supervised from here. The Old (or Templar) Hall itself was used as the Senior Court. The original timber-framed building was built in the 13th century - however, it was greatly restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in the 19th century when he encased the house in red brick. The Hall contains one of the few examples of timber aisle pillars which support the original roof timbers.

Apologies to those who visit my blog regularly as I know I do a lot of posts on Temple Balsall - if you've read it all before you may wish to skip the history bits!

We continued to walk along the public footpath - those who love "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden may remember that Edith visited this area.

St Mary's Church in the distance.

The Solihull Green Man Trail passes through the area - when we visit the church later in the post you will see why.

Someone's been den building in the woods.

Behind the gate in the distance is part of Temple Balsall NR - a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve well worth a visit especially at Butterbur time.

The walk continues through the cemetery.

Sometime ago I posted a photo of this gravestone in St Mary's churchyard where the date of death has been weathered away

and also discovered another gravestone, this time in the Cemetery, with the same family name.

John Scurr from the Stray Rambler Blog (hope you are still visiting Blogger and read this John) very kindly did some research for me into the gravestones. The 1871 Census for Balsall shows Thomas Truelove aged 65 as a farmer of 223 acres employing 7 men and 3 boys at Lodge Farm. This meant he would have been born in 1805/06. He is still there in 1881 but was replaced in 1891 by Thomas Hood Truelove (a 42 year old farmer and coal man) who was not Thomas's son but probably his nephew. This would have meant that Thomas Truelove died in 1884 so we have the missing year of death. I had a good look round this time and have now find another memorial for the aforementioned Thomas Hood Truelove tying in with dates mentioned above. The memorial also mentions his wife, youngest son and two other members of his family.

Fox and Cubs

Then back to the Templar Hall

I've not noticed this flagstone in the garden before.

Tea and Carrot Cake :)





According to the church guide book St Mary's was built by the Knights Hospitallers (who took over from the Knights Templar) in around 1340. The church was restored in 1667-70 under the will of Lady Anne Holbourn and again in the 19th century by George Gilbert Scott. Interestingly though, the new Pevsner Guide to Warwickshire does ask the question is this a church of the Templars or Hospitallers? and says "on historical evidence it has been argued that it was built for the Hospitallers c 1320 or later. Stylistically though it seems much more likely to belong to the late 13th century and the Templars". Fascinating.

D took some photos of the stone "silent faces" around the exterior of the church.






The Green Man - I've only ever found this one here but I suspect there are more.


The churchyard has a Wildlife Conservation Area

I found this gravestone so poignant.

I've never visited the Walled Garden before but eventually found it this time at the bottom of the churchyard. You walk past the compost heap turn a corner and there it is just like discovering a "Secret Garden"

I thought the fact that it was slightly overgrown just added to its charms.

Good to see so much Golden Rod - we grow lots at home and insects just adore it.

Temple House

Soon be time to go blackberrying :)

I am pretty sure this is a larvae of the Harlequin Ladybird which seems to be shedding one of it's instar skins.

I love walking round this area the history is so fascinating and it feels as though time has stood still.

Lady Katherine Leveson of Trentham Hall, Staffordshire, set up the Christian Foundation in her name in 1674 and her work and wishes continue to this day and focus on support and residential care for the elderly, education of children in the school and the nurture of Christian disciples through the Church of St Mary.

*D denotes photos taken by D with the Canon S50 HS

References :
The Church of St Mary the Virgin Temple Balsall a Visitors' Guide
The Knights of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem and their connection with Temple Balsall by FR Fairburn
Temple Balsall 1150 - 1870 - a Short History

"The Buildings of England Warwickshire" by Chris Pickford and Nicholas Pevsner published by Pevsner, 2016


hart said...

Truelove--a wonderful name and a long-lived family.

Margaret Adamson said...

Another pissed visit you manage to get a great photographs did you mention carrot cake? I have a patient that if you don't mind

Ragged Robin said...

Hart - Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It can be interesting when you look into the history of names on gravestones.

Margaret Adamson - thanks Margaret - I think your predictive text may be working overtime!! lol :) I love carrot cake too - made one not long back and it was delicious :)

Rosie said...

What an interesting post and interesting place. I love the stone faces and all the research about the Truelove family. The carrot cake looks good too and how wonderful the hidden walled garden looks:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much Rosie - so pleased you enjoyed. The bridge camera is very useful for zooming in on stone faces. I have a feeling John is taking a break from blogging which is a shame as I would have liked him to see the other memorial I found after he was so kind to research the older one for me. Was pleased to find the walled garden this time - even places you visit regularly can yield new surprises :)

Wendy said...

It is lovely to keep going back to favourite places and still discover something new there like the walled garden. How interesting, too, to find out information about some of the people who lived around there like the Trueloves. It is generally such a shame that the oldest and most interesting gravestones are the ones worn away.
I must find a space for golden rod here - I did have some years ago and as you say it is great for insects.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks very much Wendy. I was very pleased to finally find the walled garden :) Churchyards and graves can be so interesting. One day I want to revisit Broseley in Shropshire where my father's side of the family lived for centuries and see some of the old family graves. Golden Rod is one of my favourites and it seems fairly hardy (if not invasive!!). I keep losing newly bought perennials but 3 of the originals - GR, Phlox and Michaelmas Daisies come up year after year!

John Scurr said...

Hi Caroline, yes I do still follow along, but not sure I would have picked up the Truelove piece if you hadn't reminded me. Thank you for the reminder and the mention in your blog. In fact I had forgotten altogether about doing that little bit of research. My own blog rather stalled when I went away on holiday for two weeks and brought back 1,000s of pictures and became overwhelmed. I need to get going again! Best wishes, John

Ragged Robin said...

John Scurr - Thanks John - glad you have seen the post :) I know the feeling about coming back from holiday with loads of photos and feeling rather overwhelmed!! Doing posts after a holiday can turn out to be horribly time consuming - I found it hard to get motivated after our last holiday.

I do hope you start blogging again as I really miss your posts. So many people at the moment seem to be taking a break from blogging.

Best wishes Caroline