"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, 29 June 2022

Brief Visit to Herefordshire - Part 2: St Mary's, Burford, Shropshire


On the Wednesday which was dry and sunny and a bit too hot for me! I hatched a cunning plan.  I knew B wanted to get some compost and I wanted to go back to the church of St Mary at Burford. There is a large garden centre right by the church so I suggested we go there and I could look round the church while he looked for compost.

The red sandstone church of St Mary is located 200 yards from the River Teme. The chancel is 12th century and the nave 14th century. A church has existed on the site since before the Domesday Book. It has been designated as a Grade I listed building by Historic England.  The current church was restored in 1889, in memory of Lord Northwick of Burford who had owned the estate, by Sir Aston Webb. It was early in his career when he still believed in a free Arts and Crafts Gothic.

The church is special to me as my paternal grandmother came from Burford and I have memories of visiting this church every Easter time to put flowers on her family's graves.  Sadly, I have looked twice for these graves (there are 3 or 4 of them in the name of Clarke) without success.

As time was limited (as usual!) I planned on getting more photos of the interior as my visit last time was cut short but the outside of the church is fascinating with amazing corbels and grotesques. If you would like to see these here is a link to the blog post St Mary Burford Exterior

B said he would look for my grandmother's family graves and we'd go to the nurseries together later so a quick whizz round the interior! I did remember to put all the lights on in the church but it was still very dark in places so even with iso 3400 and f2.8 some of the photos are still a bit "iffy".

The font is 14th century

The West Window

Looking along the nave towards the chancel.  The wrought iron candelabra are  from the Sir Aston Webb restoration and were designed by him.

List of Rectors of the church

War Memorial Tablets

Monuments to the Rushout family - Elizabeth and Caroline.

I didn't get photos of all the memorial tablets - many were high on the wall.

This window of Lord Fanhope (formerly Sir John Cornewalle) with his wife the Princess Elizabeth is by James Powell of Whitefriars as is the West Window.

The pulpit again dates from the Sir Aston Webb restoration.

Looking down the nave from the chancel.

Mosaic floor again from the Restoration.

There are some fascinating tombs and effigies in the chancel area.

The Cornewalls were Barons of Burford from 1304 to 1727 and lived in Burford Castle which was more or less on the site of the present Burford House.

Life sized painted wooden effigy of Edmund Cornewall died 1508 aged just 20.

Life sized painted stone effigy of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster, and sister to King Henry IV. She was the wife of John Holland, Earl of Huntingdon and Duke of Exeter and then married to Sir John Cornewalle, Knight of the Garter and Lord Fanhope.  She had initially married at the age of 16 John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke who was aged only 8! but the marriage was annulled. She died in 1426.

I really should have taken more photos of this monument but you guessed it I omitted to read the list of features I missed last time!.

People on the approach - maskless and I heard coughing! Hence I only took a few more photos.

This is the "heart tomb" of Edmond Cornewall, son and heir to Richard Cornewall of Burford.  He was a knight who died in Cologne in 1436 and and in his will asked his servant to bury his body there and return his heart to Burford to be buried. It is possible part of this tomb was originally an altar.

Another Cornewall monument high on the wall.

Altar and Reredos

Also in the roped off area of the chancel was this Triptych.  Sadly, I didn't dare get any closer let alone open it! It is 3.45 metres high and 3.05 metres wide But behind the doors are life sized portraits of Richard Cornewall, 9th Baron Burford(died 1568), his wife Jenet (died 1547 and of Edmund Cornewall their eldest son and heir.  Painted and signed by Melchoir Salabuss in 1588.  It was erected by Thomas Cornewalle, brother and heir to Edmund who died without heirs.  Beneath the upper section are more doors behind which is the figure of Edmund 7 foot three inches tall (died 1585).  Leaning against the wall nearby is a replica of his poll axe with his initials. Yes, you guessed correctly I missed it! Although it could be just to the right of the tryptych??

Back in the churchyard.

I met up with B who had failed too to find the Clarke family graves.  I think I will have to email the church to see if they have a record of who is buried there and yes I know I have said this before!

The lychgate is again in memory of Lord Northwick donated by friends and tenants.

A link to another blog post on St Mary's where I visited the exterior again and the interior very briefly St Mary Burford Exterior and Interior briefly

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

Reference : A Short Guide to St Mary's Church compiled by the Rev. C G Challenger MA Rector 1961/67

British Listed Buildings Website

"The Buildings of England Shropshire" by Nikolaus Pevsner Penguin Books 1958

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera (if anyone wishes to use any of my photos I would be grateful please for an email first - thank you).


Bovey Belle said...

What an enjoyable wander I had around the church. Lovely for it to have family connections and yes, do follow up your intention to find out where the Clarke graves are. Many of my Devon ag. lab. ancestors just had a humble wooden cross, which of course, didn't last long.

I am so sorry that you never get long enough to look around the church as you would like. I am somewhat rebellious and would just say I shall be 20 minutes or whatever. Tell your husband to bring the paper to read whilst you're in there!

Bovey Belle said...

P.S. LOVED that face on the pew end. Trying to think where I came across the Cornewells recently - I think it was Moccas.

P.S. 2 - if you get the chance go to Dymock Church (lovely corner about Dymock Poets plus the architecture), nearby St Mary's at Kempley - wonderful wall paintings, and nearby Much Marcle for its tombs.

Ragged Robin said...

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much and I am so glad you enjoyed. Interesting that about your Devon ancestors and wooden crosses I never thought of that!

I think I was in there at least 20 mins but so much to see and photograph and yes OH has been known to do a cross word in the car while waiting for me!

I've heard of Dymock - isn't it in the Dymock wild daffodill triangle? Trouble is with churches further afield I have to think of somewhere close OH can visit. Also heard of St Mary's and Much Marcle. Sadly quite a way from where we stay though but all 3 are on my list to visit.

Reading "Exploring Kilvert" I checked how far Bredwardine, Hay and Clyro were. Bredwardine the closest only about 40 mins. Gardens nearby so I mentioned to OH visiting there and hopefully I can fit in visit to the church on the same day although he doesn't know about that yet. If David starts coming more and OH happy to stay in D is always happy to accompany me and will find villages nearby to wander round and take pics Sadly OH doesn't take photos!!!

Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

I hope someday you will find your families graves. It is a lovely little church and the stain glass windows are fabulous. I love the Lychgate. I have had to come to the I.O.W. again as my daughter needed the risky operation after the bad car crash and went through it on Monday so I am here to help as she can do nothing and is is terrible pain. It will be a long road to recovery so I will try and continue to make daily posts however my time to comment is VERY limited. I thank you for any comments you leave.

Bovey Belle said...

The gardens are just the other side of the river from the church at Bredwardine. At Much Marcle there is Hellens, which is a wonderful old house to visit (you would love it too). A good pub too. Dymock is in a village with some footpaths. Kempley a little way away but if he could spare you 20 mins in there you would be smothered in photos by then! Dymock is btw in the Daffodil triangle. Visit in the spring. Even the churchyard at Kempley is smothered in the wild daffodils then. They are a little bit weather-reliant though - if it's a warm spring they come out early. If a normal cooler spring they are more predictable.

Billy Blue Eyes said...

Now here I was thinking it was Burford in Oxfordshire, I should have know better. What a beautiful church and you covered it well. Th wooden effigies are something else and put the ones I came across at https://thechurchexporer.blogspot.com/2019/03/holy-cross-sparsholt.html in the dark Sparshot

Rosie said...

Lovely that you could get back to the church and spend a bit more time there especially as you have memories and family connections to it. I hope you can find out where the family graves are, there should be a churchyard plan somewhere with the plots numbered. You have taken some lovely photos:)

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Birding for Pleasure - Thanks so much Margaret and I am so sorry to hear of your daughter's operation. I do hope she makes a full recovery even if it takes time. Of course I understand you will find it difficult to comment on blogs at this worrying time for you all. Thinking of you.

Bovey Belle - Thanks so much for all the information which is very useful. The daffodils might be enough to draw him to visit even if I have to wait until next Spring!! I know we pass several churches or signposts to them on the journey which I am itching to explore. There is one at Martley I think it is Worcs - 3 miles off Worcester Road which has a Tom Denny window. I've already mentioned that and said there is a nature trail next to church.

Billy Blue Eyes - Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed. Yes the church is in an idyllic location. Someone on twitter mentioned Pevsner was rude about the effigies but I don't have the book at home to check an don't ahve the latest version anyway.

Rosie - Thanks so much. Thanks for the tip of churchyard plan and plots. I really must email the church. In my mind I am sure graves were at rear of church. I do wonder at times if I have the correct church but I know nana came from Burford and B and I visited when I was in my early 20's when it would it would all have been much fresher in my mind! The only thing that worries me is that I do know we used to visit Cleobury Mortimer a lot but I am sure it is not that church.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I wish you luck finding your family graves. I was told by a groundskeeper that plot records exist, but sadly our Cathedral Librarian only has service records. Unfortunately, as my only Aunt was a baby when she died there is minimal hope as babies were very often interred with an adult and not recorded on any tombstone. It can often take a lot of leg work and careful deciphering too! Maybe, as you suggest, it is another nearby church.

Ragged Robin said...

Rustic Pumpkin - Thanks so much. I am pretty sure it was her parents who died 1930's. OH said a lot of graves carving unreadable but I would expect to be able to read gravestone from the 30's. The only other churches could be Tenbury Wells and Little Hereford both quite close. As I said in reply to another comment from Rosie I do worry why I have Cleobury Mortimer in my head but that church looks totally unfamiliar. The reason I am sure it is Burford was because OH and I visited when I was in my early 20's specifically to look for the graves and that was really only 10/15 years since I visited as a child so surely then I got the church right. Basically a lot of graves but I need to do a systematic search row by row area by area! Plus I may email church if you can in hope that there are plot records. Find my grave not showing up records though is worrying too! Plus of course I am only assuming it was her parents so may be looking for wrong names!!!!!! I seem to remember there were more than two graves too.

CherryPie said...

The church interior looks amazing.

You should be able to find who and where people buried within the churchyard. The records may be held by the church or in the county records office.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thanks so much.