"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, 14 August 2019

The Churchyard of St John the Baptist, Lea Marston

One afternoon last week I visited the churchyard of St John the Baptist, Lea Marston, to do a Big Butterfly Count. In the past when I have visited there has been a large wild flower area at the rear of the churchyard full of Betony.

The restored nave of the church dates to ~1300 and the porch is 15th century. The chancel and tower date to the 1870's. I've never actually been inside the church as it is always locked with lots of posters warning thieves to stay away - a sad indictment of our times. On one visit there were a few ladies cleaning the church and arranging flowers for a wedding the next day - I regret at times not being pushy and asking if I could have a quick look round.

Sadly the wild flower area seems to have shrunk somewhat in size although there are still areas of grass left uncut and some flowers.

A cranesbill geranium?



And even a few harebells.

There are still a few patches of Betony.

As with previous summer visits Ragwort was covered in Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars

Gatekeeper on Ragwort

During the 15 minute count I saw

Gatekeeper x 6
Meadow Brown x 2
Ringlet x 1
Large White x 1
Speckled Wood x 1

I spotted a few Mint Moths and a dragon and damselfly were whizzing around but far too fast for me to identify.

On my last summer visit there I saw many Skippers but couldn't find one this time.

There are lot of old tombstones in the churchyard

This gravestone was particularly poignant as it is for Sarah Caroline, daughter of John Hewens and Susan Middleton who died in January 1872 aged just four months.

I have been going through some Parish Registers for Broseley online recently (all free and posted by the Broseley History Society) looking for family records and it is so sad to see records of children baptised and then buried a few days, months or years after. Occasionally too a mother is buried around the time her child was baptised which seems possibly to mean a death from childbirth - all so sad.


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Aha, so it is mallow that is growing in the workplace meadow!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Glad it helped Simon. There are quite a few species of Mallow - I think the one in the photo is Musk Mallow but I am nowhere near an expert!!

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Another great visit. You must live in some kind of hot spot for churches with wildlife friendly areas. Great place to be, and good butterfly count!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

I think that was not too bad a figure of butterflies to have seen in 15 mintues.

Ragged Robin said...

Rustic Pumpkin - Thank you. I am not sure if it is a hot spot or there again perhaps I only visit those that are wildlife friendly :) A few years ago though Warks Wildlife Trust ran a project encouraging wildlife God's Acre :)

Margaret Birding for Pleasure - Thanks :)

Rosie said...

You saw a good selection of butterflies during your count and it looks like an interesting place to for both wildlife and wildflowers, I know what you mean about finding sad entries when searching parish records, I get distracted sometimes by little stories that can be woven around the records:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thank you. I am lucky that the parish registers for one of the areas I need to research have been put on line by the local history society. Just making notes at the moment of all with the surname and then will try and tie it in with the family tree I already have. It is all very fascinating :)

Pam said...

Good numbers of the Cinnabar caterpillars! I haven't seen many Skippers this year, we usually get a few in the garden but i've just seen one.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thank you. I haven't seen that many Skippers either and none in the garden here this year :(

CherryPie said...

Lovely glimpses of the caterpillars and butterflys.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you :)