"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, 31 January 2013

An Interesting Warwickshire Church

I've been meaning to visit the church of St Mary the Virgin at Lapworth for some time and on Tuesday as I was in the area I decided to go along and have a look. It took me absolutely ages to find the car park but I was fortunate in that the forecasted heavy rain never arrived although it was very gloomy.

The first sight to greet me in the churchyard were the first Snowdrops I had seen this year.

The church which is a Grade 1 listed building dates back to the mid twelfth century although it is believed there may have been a wooden chapel on the site from the Saxon period. A restoration of the church occurred in the nineteenth century.

I was a bit nervous about exploring the interior of the church as part of it is alarmed and I seem to remember another Blogger, who shall remain nameless :), set off the alarm by leaning into one of the alarmed areas resulting in the verger appearing in a hurry! If anyone was going to accidentally set off the alarm again it would be me but luckily someone had just set the church alarm and very kindly turned it off so I could explore the whole church for half an hour.

Last Supper Reredos

There were some beautiful stained glass windows in the church the photo below shows a window showing the Adoration of the Magi, the Nativity and the Shepherds

The Lady Chapel - now known as St Catherine's Chapel rededicated to those who died in the First World War contains the Adie Wade Memorial Window which is beautiful. Adie was from Lapworth and he died towards the end of the war when the hospital he was in recovering from an injury was bombed.

The chapel also contains The Florence Bradshaw Memorial tablet by Eric Gill. It was commissioned in 1928 and is called the Mater Amabilis and depicts Madonna and Child. It is made from Portland Limestone and is situated on the west wall of the chapel.

Above the Memorial tablet is a fragment of a Medieval wall painting.

This window with Heraldic shields was reconstructed after serious damage by severe gales in 1925.

The Madonna and Child statue by A John Poole was dedicated in 2001.

The fourteenth century octagonal font has carved faces at each corner.

The Royal Arms were painted in 1819 by Isaac Brown from nearby Rowington

The Lapworth Missal is considered the most important surviving Medieval manuscript associated with St Mary. It was handwritten in Latin with colourful illuminated borders and contained text of the Roman Catholic Mass and prayers used throughout the year. It was made in the fifteenth century probably for use in St Mary and was used in the church until its removal during the Reformation. It is now in the archives of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. A reproduction of the painting of the Crucifixion from the Missal is on display.

The West Porch was built around 1250. The room above the passageway known as the West Chantry Chapel since 1373 was once used as a place to display holy relics.

St Mary's Church is a rare example in Warwickshire of a church constructed with a detached tower. The tower was built in around 1380.

I stopped off at Baddesley Clinton for lunch - Parsnip Soup and Ginger Cake - both delicious!

No sign of any lambs yet but the sheep were munching happily away

i like the stacked logs by this pruned tree. The logs will provide good habitat for fungi and invertebrates

Sunday, 27 January 2013

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Its the weekend of the RSPB Garden Birdwatch held every year in January. I've been taking part in this for years now - ever since the children were little.

I counted birds for an hour yesterday and managed 14 species - about average. As always there are always a few of the regular visitors that don't visit during the hour - I think everyone encounters this :)

Fieldfare 1

Robin 1

Great Tit 1

Dunnock 2

Goldfinch 2

House Sparrow 8

Wood Pigeon 3

Coal Tit 1

Blackbird 1

Blue Tit 2 (noticed them for the first time this year starting to check out one of the nest-boxes)

Feral Pigeon 1

Greenfinch 1

Magpie 1

Long-tailed Tit 3

No signs of the Fieldfare today - its looks as though now its much milder it has moved on so glad I didn't leave the Birdwatch until today.

I started the Birdwatch with the overly ambitious idea of trying to photograph the birds I saw. I soon gave up on the idea as I was spending too much time trying to take photos instead of watching birds! Also, the birds are really too far away for the 70-300 lens.

Here's a few I took at the beginning - just a few record shots!

House Sparrows



Friday, 25 January 2013

Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens in the Snow

I popped to Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens for an hour yesterday afternoon. Snow had turned the Gardens into a Winter Wonderland. It was very quiet and peaceful there and I didn't see a single soul as I wandered around.

Upper Wilderness

Lady Bridgeman Garden

The Green House built around 1729

Looking along Holly Walk towards the Summer House

North Orchard

As I walked round the perimeter of the Gardens I followed a set of footprints - I think these were made by a cat.

Looking along the West Claire-vole towards Castle Bromwich Hall

Lamia (a creature from Roman and Greek mythology, half woman and half serpent, who preyed on human beings, perched atop the North-west Pier)

The Mirror Pond in the Extra Gardens was covered in ice

Lower Wilderness

"The Secret Garden"

The Summer House

Parterres and Upper Wilderness

Trellis surrounding the remains of a Gazebo at the end of the Raised Walk.

Upper Wilderness

Castle Bromwich Hall which is now a Hotel.

Usually there are plenty of Redwings around the Gardens at this time of the year but I didn't see any yesterday.

For more information on the Gardens please visit www.cbhgt.org.uk and to visit their blog please follow the link on the right hand side under "My Blog List".