I've always loved early architecture; Churches and Cathedrals in particular.
This is the church at the bottom of our road (complete with Seagull). The Church of St Nicholas of Myra was mentioned in The Doomsday Book, but the building's current form is mid 14th Century. The tower on the left contains a wonderful peal of ten bells that entertains us on most Sunday mornings.
The church is built of flint, with carved stone openings. It's an attractive building, and was the original Parish Church of old Brighton.
On the left of the photo you will see a 'column'. During the big storm of October 1987, many of the churchyard's big trees came down. One branch fell on the top of the column, and broke off bits of pinnacles, it's a miracle that it's still standing. I'm not sure what the column commemorates; it doesn't say.
On the right, the gravestone surrounded by railings is that of Phoebe Hessel. She was a remarkable woman who disguised herself as a man to follow the man she loved into the army. She managed to serve 17 years, and her gender was only discovered after having been wounded. She's worth looking-up on Google if you have a minute.
On the inside of the church there's a Norman font (above). It is reputed to date from around 1170, and is carved from a single block of French stone. Its origin is something of a mystery.
I'm not a religious person, but I do like having the church on my doorstep. Billy enjoys the use of the churchyard too!
I'm hoping to go to a midnight Carol Service there this year; if I can stay awake.
I'm currently watching a TV series called Vikings about the times they invaded other countries. They came to England and in the show were granted land for farming at "Wessex" in West Anglia. Neither is in either of my atlases, not even the fifty years old one which has many small places not shown now as names have been changed, so could you perhaps tell me which parts of England this would have been? they also invaded some place called "York" which is on a river in the TV series.ReplyDelete
Wessex is an undelimitated area of Southern England; much used in novels by Thomas Hardy. York still has wonderful archaeology from Viking times; it is the County Town of Yorkshire, the biggest county in England.Delete
What a wonderful history. That's a splendid old church. It was St Nick's day on the 6th. I hope the bells rang out in celebrationReplyDelete
I didn't notice any special bell-ringing. Perhaps they weren't aware that it was St Nick's Day.Delete
After all my Suffolk church visits for the blog I've become interested in all things "old Church". That font is amazing - very special and 10 bells is also special too - shows a rich parish!ReplyDelete
The Font is amazing, and so lost in time that its origins have been forgotten. Maybe that's a good thing; I expect it was stolen from the French.Delete
I hope you've trained Billy not to lift his leg on a gravestone.ReplyDelete
I don't think Protestant churches here have midnight Christmas Eve services but Catholic churches do. I often thought of attending a service but I never did. An achievement for me nowadays is staying awake until midnight on NYE.
Do the ten bells ring at 10 on Sunday morning?
I'm not at all a night-owl, so staying awake is difficult. I think it has something to do with my getting up at 4 am every morning.Delete
I see that Midnight Mass is at 10.30 pm on the 24th or a carol service on the 19th at 6pm so you have a choice and you won't have to stay awake too late.ReplyDelete
The 6 pm service sounds more like my cup of tea. It'll be dark, so the church will be all lit up inside, and with any luck I'll still be awake.Delete
Lovely to have the church on your doorstep …… we have St Marys behind our house …… it’s lovely to hear the bells on a Sunday morning or when there’s a wedding. We always say we are going to go to the midnight Carol service but are usually prepping Christmas dinner or doing last minute wrapping !!! XXXXReplyDelete
I'm afraid with me it's my bed that calls rather than the kitchen. However, it sounds as if there's an early carol service on the 19th, so I think we'll go to that.Delete
There are many Norman fonts in churches all over the land. Even when significant remodelling has happened, the old font frequently remained. I imagine the carving and the transportation of that single block font. Really quite amazing.ReplyDelete
It must weigh over a Ton. It's a whopper.Delete
Lovely old church Cro. I have read about that remarkable lady somewhere.ReplyDelete
She was quite something for her day; a plucky woman.Delete
Thanks Cro, Phoebe Hessel, what an amazing life story. Jan.ReplyDelete
What a fascinating life she must have led. And she got away with it for a staggering 17 years.Delete
You are fortunate to have a lovely church nearby. I love Midnight Mass and imagine it would be magical in this church. The carol service should be very nice too. PH lived life her way; truly legendary.ReplyDelete
When my daughter was at school she wrote an article for her school magazine about Hessel. She's been a hero for some while.Delete
Hi, I really enjoyed reading your post, and hope to read more. thank you so much for sharing this informative blog.ReplyDelete
Fishing by the River
I immediately Googled Phoebe Hessel. What a fascinating life story. I wish I could sit across from her in a pub and enjoy a few beer.ReplyDelete
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