Monday, 31 December 2012

Christchurch Priory

To get away from her indoors for a few hours out of the house he and I drove around the edge of town looking at the horrendous flooding that has occurred in this region.  Huge acres were covered in water, much more than in previous years.  The fields were covered in numbers of swans rather than horses.  Interesting to look at from the safety of the car, although not when the stuff swamped the roads, but not what I would wish outside my door.  Driving through some small interesting red bricked villages, never designed for vehicle traffic, we arrived eventually at Christchurch where we sauntered among the Boxing Day walkers braving the howling wind.  The swans eagerly gathered around those foolish enough to wear themselves out and sit on the sheltered benches for a sandwich.  The tide here was so high at one point it had actually reached as high as the benches, these were covered with the detritus left behind by the water.

Much wealth found around this area.  Even in the days of long ago this area was inhabited, it was well developed by the time the Romans arrived and later saw the Saxons move in.  It is thought a chap named Birnius erected a minster here around the late 600's.  This was demolished by the Norman chaps once they took over and in their humble manner they rebuilt the place in solid stone.  The church was part of the Augustinian Monastery which began in 1094 and lasted as such until Henry 8 dissolved the monasteries in1539 to find himself an heir. It Typical Norman stone arches stand proud and are always worth a look in my (very) humble opinion.

The 'quire' stalls are decorated with intricate carvings.  It was here the monks would worship during compline or matins.  Whether the constant construction and reconstruction bothered them I know not.  Today I notice the stalls have red cushions on them, I wonder if this was always the case?  

Christchurch took this name in the 12th century when the story of the 'miraculous beam' began.  Since the dissolution the church has served as a parish church for the area.  Just as well this is a wealthy area, the upkeep must be enormous.  It must always have cost a fortune to keep the fabric of the building in shape.  The number of masons and such like who have worked here must be enormous also.  The carvings found here are worth a look.  When in such places I cannot help but think of the thousands who have passed through for whatever reason in the past, some leaving their graffiti as they did so, others their memory is found on a tablet folks rich enough have placed on the walls.     

Today the vicar is a man who actually knows his God, something unusual amongst Anglicans I can tell you, however he is far from perfect, he is an American!  Imagine!   The Victorians naturally decided the vicar required a home equated with his status and a red brick house stands at the edge of the grounds.  As always I cannot ignore the lovely door, note the beginning of the yellow lines at the bottom of the steps.

What a way to spend Boxing Day, while stayed where she ought to, cooking lunch for our return.  What a great woman!  The one thing that keeps her inside at such times is the idea of passing by the waterside, especially in a cold wind.  She hates that.  Such trips ensure a constant supply of fabulous dinners.   

2012 ends soon and I will be glad to see the back of the year.  Hogmany will hopefully bring a better year tomorrow.  I hope so for all our sakes.   


the fly in the web said...

Cushions! What luxury! I imagine the monks perched their backsides on the misericordes.

I hadn't been to Christchurch for years...perhaps if mother is feeling up to the trip in the summer we will go then, as your photographs brought it back to me very well.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Despite knowing that churches like that were constructed for all of the wrong reasons, I am still in awe of their aesthetic grandeur.

A. said...

Some friends in Dorset invited me to stay. Now that I've seen these pictures I think I'll take them up on the offer.

The vicar is very lucky to still be living in such a vicarage in spite of the so close yellow lines. So many beautiful vicarages have been sold off and replaced with modern boxes.

I wish you all the best for the coming year. I too will be glad to see the back of 2012.

Kay G. said...

You must know that I love this post!
I would like to visit all the monasteries in the world, much like a baseball fan would like to visit all the baseball stadiums.
(Okay, I admit it, I would like to do that too!)
I would say the red cushions are a fairly recent addition. Monks sit on bare wood, most of the time from my years of observing monks. And they don't sit very often, Pray and work...that is what our monks in Conyers do!
Happy new year to you! Hogmanay, I had to ask Richard what it was, is that how you spell it?

Lee said...

Great post, Adullamite...and I'm so glad you had a lovely Christmas.

And I have to agree with you...wholeheartedly...I do so hope that for all of our sakes, 2013 brings the whole world positivity, peace, happiness and goodwill. One can only hope.

We're already almost half way through the 1st January down this way...I hope you have a wonderful Hogmany. :)

Adullamite said...

Fly, Indeed I doubt anything 'cushy' was around in the past. Christchurch is small, wealthy and worth a visit, in the Spring!

Jerry, The Normans made a point of creating large stone castles and churches to impose their power throughout the land. Some churches are healthy as well as grand buildings like this.

A, Indeed large rectory's are available for a price everywhere. Only the rich can heat them I suppose. I would like to see more of Dorset, both country and sea on offer, villages and small towns, oh and traffic!

Kay, I am sure Richard would be very well acquainted with Hogmany!!!!

Lee, Your first day will now be over, and I hope the next 364 will be good ones for you.