"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

Saturday, 15 February 2020

A Wander Around Temple Balsall

Family chauffeuring one afternoon last week meant I had an hour to spare so I drove the few miles to Temple Balsall. I do love this area of Warwickshire - it has a real sense of history and tranquility.

I won't go into the history of the area too much this time as I have written about it so many times in the past but it was once the preceptory or headquarters of the Knights Templar in Warwickshire. When the order was suppressed the lands were transferred to the Knights of St John (the hospitallers).

Unfortunately for me it was school run time (there is a primary school on the site) so rather than visiting the church first I parked some distance away to look for snowdrops in the cemetery.

Snowdrops on the lane grass verge.

The Natural Burial Ground - some of you may recall me visiting the wonderful wild flower meadow here last summer - with the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve of Temple Balsall in the background.

Minature Worlds

Snowdrops and crocuses

There is a peaceful area to sit at the far end of the cemetery. From here I could have walked down to the Bread Walk and then up to the church.

But for some reason I decided to move the car to the car park by the primary school. The car park I usually use now has a barrier at the entrance which didn't seem to want to open! So I decided to park in a bigger car park a bit further up the lane which I have never used before.

The walk to the church passed this rather lovely pool.

The Bread Walk with almshouses founded by Lady Katherine Leveson.

The church of St Mary. According to the church guidebook the church was built by the Knights Hospitallers but interestingly the latest Pevsner Warwickshire book suggests that "on historical evidence it has been argued it was built for the Hospitallers around 1320 or later. Stylistically, though, it seems much more likely to belong to the late 13th century and the Templars". Fascinating!

The Templar or Old Hall formed the Preceptory of the Knights Templars. The original timber framed building was built in the 13th century but was restored (like the church) by Sir Gilbert Scott in the 19th century.

I am always fascinated by gargoyles, grotesques and corbel tables as I always wonder how many of the faces were based on real people. Here is a selection.

The churchyard was covered with snowdrops and

a few primroses, aconites and a daffodil in flower.

Another view of the pool as I walked back to the car.

It would have been nice to go this weekend as I understand (unless it has been cancelled!) that Sunday is Snowdrop Sunday but to be honest the weather forecast is not looking good!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera


Rosie said...

I always enjoy your wanderings around Temple Balsam, there is so much of interest there to see and it looks as if you are discovering new areas on each visit. The snowdrops look wonderful in the churchyard and the carved faces and animals on the church are fascinating. Hope the storm hasn't been too bad your way:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thank you so much. Yes, the pool was new. It is one of those localities that always gives you a sense of peace so always happy to spend an hour there :) Thank you - just windy and wet storm wise but it looks sadly as though there has been yet again much flooding in other parts of the country :( Do hope you are ok storm wise.

Midmarsh John said...

Lots of interesting carvings on the buildings and in the graveyard.

Ragged Robin said...

Midmarsh John - Thank you - yes there are some super carvings :)

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely wander - plenty to enjoy both nature and the buildings and history. I especially enjoyed the corbels and gargoyles. I think you chose the right day to go, it's probably all under water there now!

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thank you so much. Since having the bridge camera and being able to zoom in I have become "hooked" on corbels, gargoyles etc.!! It may well be! I certainly couldn't have taken the same route today as I am sure one road will be flooded and closed! Hope you are safe in Wales and not too badly affected.

Pam said...

Lovely photos, I especially like the minature worlds one :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thank you. You could spend hours studying mossses, liverworts and lichens there. Wish my id skills were better in those fields!

CherryPie said...

This looks like an interesting place to visit. I loved seeing the photo journal of your visit :-)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you for your kind comment. I love visiting it :)