"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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Walk Around Temple Balsall

Last weekend on Mothering Sunday afternoon we went along to Temple Balsall. It is a lovely area, steeped in history, and is one of my favourite short walks.

This is The Court - the Foundation of Lady Katherine Leverson Housing. The buildings are early 18th century.

The Old Hall or Templar's Hall - which was a Preceptory of the Knight's Templar in Warwickshire. It is a 13th century aisled hall encased in brick during the 19th century Sir Gilbert Scott Restoration.

In March 1312 the Pope abolished the Order of the Templars and transferred their properties to the Knights of St John (the "Hospitallers"). St Mary's church was built in the 14th century initially as a chapel for the Hospitallers.

The churchyard was full of flowers - Primroses, Lesser Celandine, Grape Hyacinth, Daisies, Squill and Violets.

Leaves of Wild Arum or Jack in the Pulpit

We continued along the Bread Walk

to the brook

and then followed the Green Man Trail through woodland.

View of St Mary's from the wood.

We walked along the lane to Temple Balsall Nature Reserve seeing Dog's Mercury in the hedgerows

and on to the small Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve

Yet again this year Butterbur was past its best (I never seem to time my visit for the right time!)

but I found some Scarlet Elf Cup in its usual spot.

Plant and mosses growing on the stone bridge as we walked back towards the Cemetery.

Lots of flowers on the grass verges - Daffodils, Dandelions and clumps of Lesser Celandine

Male Yew Flowers in the Cemetery

and more Primroses and Wood Anemones as we walked back along Bread Walk.

The garden of the Old Hall was full of flowers too - Forsythia, Hellebores, Flowering Currant, Lungwort and Snakeshead Fritillary.

I think this is probably Quince?

There were quite a few Bumble Bees around but I am still waiting for my first butterfly sighting of the year!

Primroses in the churchyard.

A snippet of information - for those who love the "Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady", Edith Holden writes of visiting this area in her nature journals.

I've done so many posts on this lovely area that this time I have kept the text on history to the minimum. It is a very beautiful place to wander - I always feel as though time stands still here.


Rosie said...

Is there anything more lovely than primroses in a churchyard? Snowdrops perhaps but little else. It looks like a wonderful walk with so much of interest. The lungwort in our garden is doing well this year and this morning I spotted the first dandelion flower in one of the flower beds. The red flowers are beautiful, I wonder if it is a flowering quince tree?:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. I totally agree with you about primroses in a churchyard - it always takes me straight back to my childhood. I've just been a walk round our garden and lungwort is flowering well here too and found one dandelion in one of the beds too :) Tawny mining bees and bee flies are appearing :)
Yes, I agree about quince. It was certainly a beautiful flower. We had a quince here when we moved in and how I regret now that we got rid of it! :(

Pam said...

There's so many lovely flowers about at the moment isn't there, it looks like a great place to visit :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks Pam - yes I love this time of year :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

So much to see! Wood anemone is rare here in the parks but I found some in a small wood. Plenty of butterflies on sunny days now, brimstone and stall torts the most common on the wing here.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon - glad you found some Wood Anemone :) I was chuffed today to find some Wood Sorrel in our garden which has self-seeded from somewhere :) You are doing much better than me with butterflies - still haven't seen one!

Caroline Gill said...

What stunning photos, RR. I was immediately drawn, too, your explanation about the Knights Templar and Hospitaller - something that had been confusing me for a while. I'm wondering if your Quince might be a form of Japonica - I feel sure they are very closely related. Thank you for your kind comment on my Comma sighting.

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill -Thank you so much :) I didn't go into the history re: Knights Templar and Temple Balsall too much because in the past I've done quite a few posts detailing it all. But I did buy some booklets on the subject from the church and they all go into it all in great detail which is so interesting. Agree about Japonica - that was my first thought - then quince looked more likely but have googled again and they do appear to be closely related!

amanda peters said...

The Old Hall is such a lovely building, daft question ... but are they grave stones on the green round the tree ?
Lovely to see all the spring flowers, have to make the most of them as they don't last to long. I too have missed out on Butterbur this year not getting out with my camera as much..
Lots of lovely photos...
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters Thanks Amanda. Yes, they are gravestones. I knew I had some information on them and have just found a booklet on the history of Temple Balsall. The ones with crosses round the tree and in an earlier photo between the church and Old Hall are the graves of 19th century Dames. The court was a hospital/almshouses set up Lady Katherine Leveson in the 17th century for 20 poor women. Apparently they initially had to wear a grey gown with the initials KL in blue on the chest.

Someone on twitter sent me a photo of Butterbur on the same reserve in full bloom today!! I must have been looking in the wrong place! Although to be fair I didn't scramble down the bank to where they were so perhaps they weren't going over but what I could see were buds!!

amanda peters said...

Hi RR, interesting about the grave stones, they look so small after seeing the ones in Edinburgh, but it will be down to money, good that they even marked the girls passing. Did they have names on ? I seem to remember the church keeps records, and would know who was buried here.
Tea with my sister was in a church school now called The Arch cafe, have tried to look it up, the plaque on the wall said it was a charity school, they trained young girls to be maids.. they had to wear blue dresses.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters Hi again Amanda - so many stories behind tombstones! I don't think they have names on but I will check next time I go. The history booklet I have mentions that some of the Dames were long-lived - Mary Green died aged 97 in 1810 after 51 years in the hospital and Mary Edwards aged 90 died in 1820 after a 53 years stay.

Yes, you can find out details from Parish records. Some these days are online as I've discovered with family history research some are kept in local history archives etc. The main library in Solihull Town Centre has a local and family history section - may be worth asking there as they may have more detail.

That is fascinating to read about the school where you had afternoon tea - it is amazing the interesting stuff you can find if you research :)

Learning a lot from the Trevor Yorke, Gravestones and Memorials book. Was relieved to read that bodies weren't buried in those churchyard chest tombs but underground! When I have seen cracked and crumbling ones I have often wondered!!!! The book is a bit macabre in places but getting lots of interesting information from it!!