After leaving Tenbury Wells I persuaded B to drive a further few miles into Shropshire to have a quick look at St Mary's, Burford.
When I was little we used to visit this church every Easter as my paternal grandmother had been born in Burford and she used to leave flowers on family graves in the churchyard. I have been once before to look for the graves many years ago but without success. I didn't find any this time either partly because many of the older gravestones are weathered and you can't read the inscriptions, time was limited as B was sitting in the car! and also I got totally distracted by some rather wonderful grotesques/corbels round the church.
On the short journey we managed to miss the turn but did spot the Tenbury Wells Millennium Orchard which I believe you can walk round so that is something to do in the future. Near the church are Burford House Gardens and Garden Centre - something else that will be worth visiting when life hopefully at some stage becomes "normal".
St Mary's is a large church which is Grade 1 Listed. The chancel is Norman in origin and the church was extended in the 14th century. The church was restored 1889/90 by Sir Aston Webb and the work was paid for by the Hon. Georgina Rushout of Burford House. Webb's contributions, according to Pevsner, are Decorated and Perpendicular in a free Arts and Craft style using red Bromsgrove Sandstone.
The West Tower is 15th century but I think it was partly rebuilt by Webb.
This is the part of the churchyard to the rear of the church that I remember visiting.
At this stage I spotted the line of corbels, grotesques and gargoyles - such a wonderful selection. I haven't been able to date them for certain but I think they may only date back to the Webb restoration?
I am not sure if the above photo shows a Green Man but I certainly found four other examples which made my day if not my month!
There was also a wonderful array of medieval beasts and mythical creatures - sorry for all the photos but I just adore these carvings. 😁
There were many more including some with letters of the alphabet and heraldry devices but at that stage I decided I had left B bored in the car for too long so I gave up taking photos.
Elaborate rainwater heads
The interesting churchyard cross has four late medieval octagonal steps with a restored shaft and head presumably by Webb. Sorry photos not brilliant as the sun was in the wrong place!
Late 12th century door (Priest's door?) on the south side of the church.
The door to the church was propped open (there was a lady cleaning in the chancel) so I popped in briefly to see if I could find a more recent guidebook than my 35 year old one! but I couldn't see any. I did buy some cooking apples and jars of marmalade and chutney. The area for prayer was confined to the area round the font (no picture as it was surrounded by tables selling produce!) and there was a barrier stopping any further exploration of the church which was a shame as there are some interesting monuments in the church.
I will return though probably next year either on my own or if B comes he could visit the garden centre if this pandemic ever disappears. Like me, he is not keen on going inside shops etc.
I did check a website called FindMyGrave but couldn't find any records with my grandmother's family on the site although I am not sure if they list all graves and as mentioned you couldn't read many of the older gravestones. I may contact the church in the hope they have a list of burials.
We came home the next day as it was yet again pouring with rain!
All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera