"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, 6 May 2021

Back to Herefordshire - Part 3: St Andrew's, Leysters


I'd hoped on Tuesday we could visit one of the local gardens but both B and E were quite happy just to spend the day at the caravan. So I decided to visit two local churches. One St Andrew's, Leysters, I was particularly keen to visit due to a Wordsworth connection.

The church was remote with lovely views and  was located some way down a country lane.  St Andrew's dates from the 12th century with later additions.  The West Tower with its pyramidal roof is probably 13th century as is the chancel with the nave being 14th century.

The peaceful churchyard was full of flowers both planted and wild flowers such as primroses, lesser celandine, wood anemones and violets.

There was an information board in the churchyard that the south gate leads to a field which has a motte and bailey and possibly signs of a deserted village (something to explore in the future). Also on the gate the initials AJW are carved which commemorate local farmer Anthony Wale. I found the initials (I think!) but to me they look like EJW!!!

A 12th century doorway in the south wall now bricked up.

A friend in Herefordshire told me about the church and the Wordsworth stone where William and Dorothy Wordsworth sat to admire the view in 1845.  According to church information it is by the East gate.  I thought at first this stone was it but now I believe it is a coffin stone which marked the place where hundreds of years ago coffins passed into the churchyard before being met by the vicar to accompany the courtege into church.  Apparently you have to walk across the field to a track to find the Poet's stone. Another excuse to visit again and it is only 20 minutes by car from the caravan.

There are two blocked windows in the North wall - the one with the wooden frame is 17th century and the other from the 12th century.

A rare sign these days!!!! Even if churches are open it is usually only for private prayer and not for church crawlers. This time I decided to go in and donned a mask and grabbed my hand sanitiser!!!

Norman south door

The tub font is Norman and came from Pudleston which we visited last Autumn.

Most of the furnishings come from a restoration in 1869/70.

14th century nave roof


East Window by Ward and Hughes 1890.

Somehow and don't ask me how I completely missed the William Morris window!  I can't even blame the family waiting nearby this time!

Modern engravings on a gravestone

View from the car park and "plants in walls"

In the churchyard I found 3 different kinds of cone to add to the "nature finds" box.  The pheasant's feather I found by the caravan.

I will leave the other church for another post but there will be less photos next time as it was locked!

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

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


Bovey Belle said...

Lovely church and churchyard, and great photos. We keep passing signs that say to so-and-so church and I want to explore. There's also a sign on the road towards Brecon that says "Site of soandso Church" so it must be worth going to if they still leave a sign up.

We have lots of pine cones here as pine trees on our paddock edge and we own a little strip of steep woodland with various trees including a Yew tree.

I look forward to your revisit and the William Morris window - meanwhile, glad you decided to venture inside. I take it you had the place to yourself.

CherryPie said...

I love sharing your journey around the churches.

I miss my church visit.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

So pleased you are getting out and about, little steps as we can for it's now more about acclimatising ourselves to the new way of living. I agree, that's an E not an A. Many of those flowers are over here already, and yesterday up at the cemetery I noticed more cowslips than any other flowers. I'm happy you are finding new places to explore too. Stay safe.

Amanda Peters said...

Great post and wonderful photos, lovely to see.
Amanda x

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much. There are so many interesting churches and churchyards in Herefordshire that I could spend months exploring! As you say so many signs to churches which make you want to visit.

Your new property sounds wonderful :)

Yes church and churchyard totally deserted as they usually are there. I saw one woman with dogs at a distance in a field and someone going to a farm opposite that was all. The other church too was deserted.

CherryPie - Thank you and yes I do too. Ijust go when I can.

Rustic Pumpkin - Thank you and yes little steps as we acclimatise ourselves to getting slowly back in the world. Strange about the initials!!! Cowslips seem to be everywhere including my garden at home - must take some pics this weekend. Stay safe too :)

Rosie said...

It looks a lovely church and churchyard. I so glad you were able to go inside as there are some lovely features to see and it looks like you had the place to yourself. I hope you return one day to find and sit on the Wordsworth's seat. Great idea to keep a nature finds box:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks so much. It was indeed very beautiful and so many wild flowers. There are some super churchyards in Herefordshire let alone churches and so good to see wild flowers encouraged to flourish rather than the neat manicured look. Yes it was deserted but it was in middle of nowhere! Once these near constant dr appts have ceased (had a nasty reaction to some new tablets resulting in low sodium levels so have to keep going for blood tests and bp readings) we shall return.

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - thanks so much.

Bovey Belle said...

Have you got a visit to Kilpeck church in your sights yet? Just a thought . . .

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - my son and I went a few years ago to Kilpeck - what a church!!! (my favourite) plus motte and bailey and good pub. BUT I do plan to return!!!

Pam said...

It's nice to have to chance to explore on your own :) The WW memorial is quite interesting, i've not seen one like that in a church yard before.

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks - it is nice to explore especially churches on my own! Narrow Herefordshire lanes take a bit of getting used to though with tractors etc!! I think the memorial may have been from WW1 anniversary a few years ago? Recently got more interested in war memorials after doing a very short course on them which made me think of what had influenced the design and the different types etc.

The Quacks of Life said...

looks a nice church and you went in!!! yay

the war memorial is unusual?

Ragged Robin said...

Quacks of Life - Thanks Pete - yes I went in totally deserted :) Took view if I have to go to GP's for blood tests, vaccines, bp checks, I may as well go in a church which has no people around! You would like it there I am sure.
Not sure if it is meant as a war memorial??? I think it may be left over from commemorations WW1 centenary a few years ago??? When I go back I will look carefully for another memorial.

Caroline Gill said...

How exciting, RR, to discover that there is a stone that was enjoyed by Wordsworth. I love places with literary links!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you. I can't wait to visit the area either where Francis Kilvert was a curate or vicar but it is further away and at the moment toilets seem in short supply when out and about!!