"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, 24 February 2017

Snowdrops at St Michael's, Baddesley Clinton

We went in search of Snowdrops at Baddesley Clinton last Thursday afternoon. It was dull and gloomy but at least the drizzle which had started on the journey stopped as we pulled into the car park.

I spotted a lovely legend on the Baddesley Clinton website that tells of the snowdrop becoming the symbol of hope when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Eve was giving up hope that the freezing cold weather would ever cease when an angel appeared and changed some of the snowflakes into snowdrops. Each year the appearance of snowdrop flowers provides proof that even the coldest of winters will eventually end as Spring arrives.

Snowdrops are also know as Fair Maids of February, Snow Piercers, Candlemas Bells and Purification Flowers. It is thought that they may have been brought to Britain in the 15th century by monks as they are often found in churchyards and monastery gardens. They were planted in the latter to provide flowers for Candlemas Day.

".... Brother, joy to you!
I've brought more snowdrops; only just a few,
Cheerful and hopeful in the frosty dew
And for the pale sun's sake."

From "The Months" by Christina Rossetti


"Thou first-born of the year's delight
Pride of the dewy glad,
In vernal green, and virgin white
Thy vestal robes array'd"


First view of the Church of St Michael and Snowdrops

St Michael's dates back to the 13th century

The whole of the churchyard was covered in a wonderful snowdrop display.

A few Primroses and Daffodils were also starting to flower.

Lichens on twigs and gravestones. I think the orange coloured one is Xanthoria parietina

We had a quick look round the church. Some of you may remember me mentioning before Nicholas Brome who murdered two people during his life time - his father's murderer and then in 1485 he killed the Parish priest in a fit of rage when he caught him "chockinge his wife under ye chinne". Throughout his life he paid various penances for these murders and he is buried standing up under the entrance at the church South door so that visitors to the church will walk on his head when entering.

This Altar Tomb contains the remains of Sir Edward Ferrers (1465-1535) and his wife Constance (daughter of the above-mentioned Nicholas Brome)

The East Window

Ancient gravestones covered in moss

Sheep in the parkland - no lambs yet!

We popped into Baddesley Clinton briefly to look round the walled garden. Baddesley is a medieval moated manor house which was home to the Ferrers family for 500 years. I must go into the house on one of my visits this year as it has a wonderful history and contains several priest-holes.

Hellebores and Lungwort on sale in the shop and

the flowers on this white Scilla were covered in honey bees.

There were some interesting books displayed in the second-hand bookshop but the presence of B meant I resisted the temptation to browse and buy!

A lovely selection of miniature irises flowering in one of the borders.

No cake this time!

Just as we reached the car it started to rain again so we were lucky that it held off whilst we walked round.


Coquetnaturelover said...

What a great collection of snowdrop photos - definitely one of the best I've seen this year! I have a few snowdrops dotted around the garden but to see so many together really catches the eye. Hellibores are a favourite of mine but they are a bit behind here so no photographs to post on my blog yet. Hopefully soon!

Rosie said...

Oh, how beautiful! The churchyard looks so full of snowdrops and it must have been absolutely beautiful to walk amongst them all. The church looks fascinating, such a strange tale about the man buried under the floor by the South door, if ever we get back there again we must visit the church as well as the manor house. I have been in the house and gardens a couple of times over the years and I do remember there being a second hand book shop which are always a temptation aren't they? Lucky you managed toavoid the rain too. Thanks for sharing your lovely visit:)

Ragged Robin said...

Coquetnaturelover - Thank you - it was a really lovely display. We only have a few in the garden too and they are only just showing buds. Hellebores in our garden never seem to do that well and just one plant has survived and no sign of flowers yet!

Rosie - Thank you - I think it was one of the best displays I have ever seen. I usually try and go somewhere to see them en masse but this is the first time I've tried St Michael's. When you return to Baddesley the foot path to the church is to the left of the visitor centre (it is signposted) and is just a few 100 metres. It is lovely in Spring with bluebells and lady's smock and usually Orange Tip butterflies. Have made several purchases over the years from that particular second hand book shop :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

jkust slightly over their best now here, but we now have daffodils, primrose and squill joining the party

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. It certainly looks as though Spring will soon be here - wild primroses are my favourite :)

Countryside Tales said...

Glorious snowdrops! Poor old Nicholas with everyone walking on his head! We went inside the house when we visited- wonderful.

Lowcarb team member said...

It's always good to see snowdrops like this ...
The crocus and daffodils are coming through now though - perhaps Spring is around the corner!

All the best Jan

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you. Yes, the house is superb (only partially open at the moment due to some maintenance work). There is the most beautiful portrait of a lady in one of the bedrooms.

Lowcarb team member - Thank you. It is lovely to see the return of Spring flowers and hopefully you are right and Spring is on the approach :)

CherryPie said...

The snowdrops are so pretty :-) I must make an effort to take a photo of the snowdrops that survived from my 'garden project' last year.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thanks so much :) Such beautiful flowers :)

Toffeeapple said...

Honey bees in February - that isn't usual is it?

So many Snowdrops; we saw great swathes of them somewhere in Oxfordshire recently but we didn't get out and walk around.

You were very restrained in the bookshop!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks :) To be honest don't know a lot about honey bees but I don't usually see them quite this early - perhaps it depends on temperature?

It seems a good year for Snowdrops :)

OH thinks I already have more than enough books!! Hence I am very restrained when he is with me!

David said...

A most enjoyable post with plenty to admire and so many beautiful photos, the annual display of Snowdrops has been rather good this year hasn't it. Daffodils are starting to appear up here now, though I haven't seen any flowering Primroses yet, whilst the Aconites have already begun to fade and go over for yet another year.

Lovely church, both inside and out, the moss and lichens are wonderfully vivid :-)

Hope you are well and my kindest regards to all :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks so much for your very kind comment. Snowdrops, I agree, do seem to have had a good year. Sadly not seen any Aconites this year at all - should have gone to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens but I am still waiting for my new membership cards to arrive!! Daffodils and Primroses here seem just to be starting to flower.

So pleased you liked the church and mosses/lichens. I never tire of looking round churches and churchyards - always so much history and so many things to see :)

Fine here thank you David and hope you are well too. Best wishes to you all :) Caroline

amanda peters said...

"Catching up" how lovely are all those snowdrops and the church is so nice to. Some stunning grave stones, when walking through the ground of a church you can feel the history , I often look at the names and wounder what stories these people could tell.

Nice to see some flowers in the walled garden, think I would have been tempted by the books on offer...
Saw my first lamb today while out on my bike.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. I love the history of churches and churchyards too :) The church at Castle Bromwich (near the Gardens) has done a little booklet about the history of some of the people buried in the churchyard - it is very moving.

How lovely to see your first lamb :) Another sign of Spring :)

Millymollymandy said...

Oh the snowdrops are just gorgeous! I don't think there is anything else than can rival that, seeing how early they appear in the year. I saw loads of wild ones on the roadside verges and banks/hedgerows when I was in England last week. We don't see that here. I loved that Pulmonaria flower as mine are the pale blue and pink ones (also pretty) and I didn't know you could get them in such a colour.

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much Mandy. So glad you saw snowdrops when you were over in England recently. They are hard to beat en masse until you remember churchyards full of wild primroses!! Must go in search of them too soon. We have the pale pink and blue and just blue Pulmonaria flowers in our garden but for some reason both flower much later in the Spring.