Sunday, 18 August 2013

Warmed up Leftovers

Ah!The open road, the sunshine, the fields, the people left at the bus stops because the driver was talking on her mobile to her friends!  How lovely to travel, on an empty bus!  How lovely to have a bus pass also! 

The clock has adorned the tower of St Peter's since 1866 and if you look closely you will see the words 'Redeem the time.' Also above these are the two keys, usually associated with Peter as he was given the keys of Heaven and Hell.  The Roman Catholic Pope of course has usurped this and claimed descent from Peter, no matter that Peter was never Pope!  This of course is an Anglo Catholic church so it is no surprise to see this thereon.  In 1692, long before you were born, this area suffered an earthquake. This upset the steeplejacks who were working on the tower when this event occurred.  Their first reaction was not recorded but they did inform the world that an opening large enough to put your hand in appeared in the tower.  Little real damage was done, although a chimney pot was lost in one house, and no doubt a more willing attendance at church on the following Sunday!  Such events do occur occasionally in the UK, usually most people sleep through them as these are minor events, but on occasion people notice.  

Can you read it now?

Essex churches are a good way to reflect history.  The buildings themselves are amended during different periods, sometimes on government authority, the memorials reflect those who attended and often considered themselves important in the Parish, and the cemetery itself reveals much about the locals of times past.  In prominent place here at St Leonard's in Lexden stands an impressive Great War memorial.  Today we find the phrase used on these memorials, 'Our Glorious Dead,' somewhat embarrassing, however for those who lost relatives, and middle class areas such as this would lose many officers during the war, a great desire to see their loss as worthy appeared.  With the vast numbers who died it was imperative to see their deaths as required and not wasted, people argue about that still.  There are 38 Great War names on the memorial and somewhat surprisingly 32 from the Second World War. Usually the Great War numbers far outweigh the second.  What does that tell us I wonder?
The church began here in the 12th century when, and I kid you not, 'Eudes the sewer,' promised to two thirds of the tithes to St John's Abbey in Colchester.  In those days the church was keen on those who offered cash!  By the 1400's when they were offering the Gospel the church authorities were less keen however.  The Lexden church was one of the richest 'livings,' for many years. This reflects just how wealthy the land around this area could be.  Crops and cattle predominated in early days but sheep appeared around the 16th century. A surprise this as Suffolk, just up the road, became rich on the wool trade in the early medieval days.  During the days of Reformation the usual infighting occurred between various sides of the debate and by the time all this has settled down the building itself was becoming somewhat careworn.  In 1822 a new building was erected and a new chancel added in 1892.  The buildings around this are comprise not just many from medieval days but a large number indicating the wealthy Victorians found this town to their liking.  The road from here into Colchester proper is lined with what can only be called mansions and these were added to in the early years of the 20th century.  A great deal of money was around this town!   Some of these can be glimpsed on Google Maps.

Glimpsed as the bus crawled home behind a queue of traffic, probably that tractor from yesterday still heading for his field, we see the harvest gathered, the hay bales rolled out, and all this from one machine completed in one day. Thomas Hardy would not understand farms today just as I never understood nor read much of his boring books. From the Open University days I recall his story concerning a threshing machine, based on a report of the time regarding a threshing machine.  The engineer who came with this machine came from the north, probably Yorkshire, and sounded a rough, sour bloke.  Going from farm to farm he aided their work and made few friends.  There were umpteen hands to deal with the threshing then, one combine today!

A place I must take my wee camera to lies five miles down the road, depending on which road sign you read.  This large village has many medieval and on houses, a great deal of money also as antique shops used to dominate here. The TV series about a flash antique dealer in the 1990's was filmed around these parts, what was that single word name?  I admit I never watch that sort of thing but would look just to recognise the background.  Maybe if the sun shines this week I will get the bus pass out again.  The clock tower?  No, I don't know either!

OK, class dismiss.


Lee said...

I do enjoy your history lessons, Adullamite. You do them well. And each time I read these interesting pieces I'm reminded just how young Australia is as a country. We're still a teenager in the whole scheme of things...if that even!

I've never been to the UK...but I imagine I'd be wide-eyed at the farmlands as I was when I went to the south island of NZ a number of years ago. The NZ farms are so compact, neat and tidy compared to ours. Ours seem to go on forever and a day..they are sprawling, some with no apparent boundaries.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Methinks area history teachers would do well to incorporate your presentations here into their lesson plans. For they really are most impressive, and I really am being serious. (So, don't ruin the moment!)

Adullamite said...

Lee, Aussieland is as young as the USA but further away therefore less developed for years. The land shown is typical of UK farming today.

Jerry, Who am I to disagree.....?

Mike Smith said...

Adullamite's history pieces really are excellent. Mind you, he was around at most of them...

Adullamite said...

Mike, Who me? I'm 25.......