"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

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Berkswell Churchyard and a local Rookery

D and I popped to the farm shop at Meriden last Sunday. It was a lovely day and we went along to the churchyard of St John the Baptist in Berkswell in search of Brimstones. There were no butterflies around but plenty of flowers.

St John's dates back back to the 12th century and was built on the site of an earlier Saxon church.

Primroses are starting to appear.

Lovely to see Lesser Celandine flowering.

The flowers are also known as "golden knobs" or "golden guineas".

"Before the hawthorn leaves unfold,
Or buttercups put forth their gold,
By every sunny footpath shine
The stars of Lesser Celandine"

Song of the Celandine Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

We found lots of 18th to 20 century graffiti on one of the church walls.

An Ordnance Survey benchmark

Plants in Walls

Mosses and Lichens

The village stocks are around 200 years old. Unusually they have five holes and local stories suggest that they were designed to accommodate 3 regular local offenders one of whom had only one leg.

The ancient Bercul's Well which may have been used for baptism during Saxon times

Well House now a private residence but it was once the Rectory and home to Maud Watson (1864-1946) winner of the first Ladies' Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon.

On the way home we stopped off in Meriden to watch the activities of birds at a rookery (there were at least 20 nests). (Photos taken by D with the Canon Bridge HS50)


Rosie said...

What a super post. Same you didn'r see any butterflies but there were so many other interestng things to enjoy. I always wonder about the people who left their initials behind on ancient walls, who they were, what they did, where they came from and what happened to them. The mosses and lichens and celandines are lovely and the primroses too. I love the tale attached to the stocks, I wonder if the offenders left their initials on the church wall?:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. Yes, I wonder too about the stories behind the people who leave the initials and a delightful thought about the offenders leaving their initials :) Sounds worthy of research :) Will see if I can find out any more. I think there is a local history section in the main library in Solihull.

Miranda Bell said...

What a lovely posting - have just discovered your blog via MM John! I will definitely be back for a visit again soon :-)

David said...

A lovely looking village and church, the wooden porch is rather charming (certainly something I have never encountered up here), whilst all the primroses and other spring flowers are beautiful.

The Rookeries are certainly full of activity now aren't they :-)

Kindest regards and best wishes to all :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Miranda Bell - Thanks so much for visiting and leaving such a lovely comment :)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks very much David. The church at Berkswell is rather special. One day I will go back on my own and do another post on the interior - I need to find all the Robert Thompson mice and there is a lizard too :) The crypt is very beautiful. Unlike many other churches round here it is always open too.
I could spend hours watching rookeries :)

Best wishes to you all - Caroline

amanda peters said...

Lovely post nice to see the church in the sunshine, I like the pot the flowers are in . What a great selection of graffiti, have you thought about taking a rubbing, something I had thought of doing...You do have to wonder who etched out their initials on the church wall.Thinking about it they would have to have had some education to write ?
We have some stocks, they sit on the boarder of Guiseley and Yeadon, the church is over the road now, and there is a fresh water well/trough down the other road.
Most nights there is a mass gathering of Jackdaws on Yeadon Banks, one year I did try and find out were they roost, moved of to far. but first they gather and feed on the Banks fields..
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks very much Amanda. The pot with flowers is new I think - haven't seen it before. That is a good idea about a rubbing. Will have to go prepared next time! Not sure if I have seen the graffiti before - its a place where you find something new on each visit!

I do like seeing stocks in old villages - they are always such a feature of olden times :)

Interesting about the Jackdaws feeding up before roost - must be quite a sight :) Have you read Crow Country by Mark Cocker - brilliant book about Corvids :)

amanda peters said...

Have looked at grave rubbing and it's some thing you are not to do, people have put things on the stones to clean them, causing damage. I recon if careful rubbings of small graffiti on walls wouldn't cause damage ?
I have read Crow country.. one of my favourite books.
Amanda x

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - I knew cleaning items could damage stones lichens etc and also brass rubbings in some churches are banned because over the years they damage the brasses. When I thought about the graffiti at Berkswell I did think it would be best to ask permission as there are often people around the churchyard and they might wonder what you are doing! Brass rubbing was something I always wanted to do when I was a teenager but never did.
Yes agree about Crow Country - one I could read again and again and never tire of :)

CherryPie said...

What a fabulous post. So many interesting things; the church, surveyors mark and the rookery all fascinate me :-)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you so much - it is a fascinating area :)

Toffeeapple said...

I love it when I spot a Rookery. I think I would rather see Rooks than Crows but that might just be because I see Crows all day every day.

Great post as usual Caroline, thank you..

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much and very pleased you enjoyed :)

Where we live too I see more crows than rooks so I always take advantage of any opportunity to watch rooks.