Saturday, 2 February 2013

An Arts and Crafts church

The February sunshine danced through our windows enticing us out to play. Where shall we go? why not one of our favourite little churches?
Not an ancient building but one completed in 1902 - a perfect Arts and Crafts church sitting quietly at the top of a beautiful valley in rural Herefordshire.
All Saints, Brockhampton
The church was designed W.R. Letharby, principal of the Central School of Arts and Crafts and then Professor of Design at the Royal College of art, London. He was a medievalist steeped in the writings of Ruskin and Morris. To him a place of worship had to be a work of art. Pevsner described the church as perhaps the most thrilling church in any country of the years between historicism and the Modern Movement. The church was commissioned by Alice Foster in memory of her parents.
It is a joy to behold, part medieval manor, part tithe barn, part Norman church with its central crossing tower, topped with a traditional thatched roof, but the inside too holds some special treasurers. 
The wooden benches are covered in embroidered slips showing local wildflowers as are the hymn books.
Font designed by Lethaby
Altar front
All of the embroidery is said to have been donated anonymously. Someone walked in on a warm summer day in 1960 and left it all on the altar, as a tribute to the wild flowers carved on the choir stalls and in thanks for the church being kept open for visitors.
All saints in 1902
Flanking the rear of the altar stand two genuine Morris & Company tapestries designed by Burne-Jones. Very badly photographed as they are understandably behind protective glass.
Tea and cake in Ledbury on the way home - a town noted for its many fine 17th century timber framed buildings

72 comments:

  1. So glad to have discovered you...what a feast for the eyes... Thank you for your beautiful pictures!
    Val in Kansas USA

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    1. Dear Val - thank you very much for your very generous and lovely comment. I am so happy that you enjoyed seeing the photographs.

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  2. Oh my, that church is such a gem, Rosemary. Arts and Craft is a very appealing movement, and I see it there in spades; I have been over the photos about five times and enjoy them very much. What a lovely place to visit, as is the town for tea, Ledbury. gorgeous. Thank you for showing us.

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    1. Dear Patricia - so pleased that you enjoyed seeing this gorgeous little church. Not only is the church such a feast for the eye but it sits in such an idyllic quiet little spot.

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  3. Hello Rosemary

    This is a spectacular church by W.R. Letharby. "To him a place of worship had to be a work of art". This is sadly lacking in many of the newer and new churches being constucted here. How generous of the anonymous patron who made this precious donation of embroidery. A delightful post and then tea and cakes.

    Helen xx

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    1. We had intended to treat ourselves to some rather delicious damson ice-cream in Ledbury, but decided that February perhaps was too early in the year, next time........
      Glad you enjoyed this rather special church.

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  4. Hello Rosemary, All Saints' is a true storybook building. It really shows up the relationship between Arts and Crafts and the Art Nouveau movements. Its high quality and slightly strange appearance are delightful, and I especially like that ironwork.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - the ironwork is lovely, all handcrafted like everything else. It is a building that the more you look, the more you see but it works. It is not on the beaten track, but down winding country lanes, you have to know about it to find it.

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  5. What a treat that little tour was. The embroideries are wonderful - and what a gift to the church! I know that worship is supposed to be possible anywhere, but I imagine that a feeling of peace and tranquility might be easier to find in such a church than in an auditorium/worship space such as is the thing to build these days.

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    1. Although I have visited the church a few times, the thrill of seeing it again never leaves, and yesterday was the perfect day to explore it again. I love all of the details in the windows, which are all different and yet harmonise with one another. I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing it too.

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  6. What a wonderful church - have been to Ledbury but not Brockhampton - must put it on my bucket list.

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    1. Dear Susan - if you are in the area, then it is well worth seeking the church out. Pick a lovely day and the picture is complete. Once you have your eye on Ledbury, Brockhampton is not too difficult to locate on a map - it is about 12 miles away.

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  7. First of all, did you really have such a beautiful sunshiny day today? Wonderful! We had rain and hail and snow, all in one day, and more of the same is predicted for next week. Don't think I'll leave the house any time soon just yet.

    What a pretty church, inside as well as outside, so worth a visit, thanks for sharing Rosemary.
    I just love timber framed houses, we once saw many of those when we were in Brittany long ago, and I immediately fell in love, just as I adore thatched roofs, something rarely seen around here.

    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - I was sorry to learn that you have been feeling so ill with that wretched flu and hope that you are gradually improving. Yes, the 2nd February was the most perfect of days, the skies could not have been any more blue, and we are glad we packed ourselves a picnic and spent the day out in it.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing the church and Ledbury. Ledbury is one of those lovely old towns that has lots of very unique shops where you could spend a small fortune!!!

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  8. Fascinating little church and what a beautiful day for an outing. Must have been extra special with all the blue skies above. Ledbury looks like a charming town to visit too.

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    1. Dear Debi - perhaps you might get a chance to visit before you finally return to the States, there are lots of interesting little towns and places to visit in the area which you might enjoy.

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  9. Such beautiful and peaceful photos. That is an amazing story about the embroidery.

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    1. Thank you for your visit, and so pleased that you enjoyed the photos - it is a nice story behind the embroidery.

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  10. Dear Rosemary ,
    A lovely walk around your area and the historical churches . I think that the people find ways to thank God! Wonderful photos !Have a nice Sunday !
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia - glad that you enjoyed the photos - this church is particularly interesting because it was commission by a daughter to honour her parents - it is a lasting tribute to them.

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  11. Dear Rosemary,
    This is such a lovely church. I love the compact look of it; the beautiful honey-coloured stone, the superb embroidery, the light filled interior: a truly lovely place of worship. Thank you for sharing this.
    I know Ledbury well: a charming place indeed.
    A happy Sunday to you and H.
    Kirk

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    1. Dear Kirk - yesterday was the perfect day for a picnic and a day out in the sunshine with wonderful blue skies - what better place to go than this peaceful little church.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing it, there is so much to look at, although the church is small, it is a feast for the eye.

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  12. It looks like you had a beautiful day for your outing. The church is beautiful x

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    1. Perfect day with beautiful weather, and H packed a lovely picnic - it was a lovely day out.

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  13. Hello dear Rosemary,

    All Saints' , except from a place with so many details to look at and admire, gave me that welcoming feeling I used to get with old greek orthodox churches. I like it when they are open for visitors all day.

    Enjoy a lovely Sunday :)

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    1. Hello Demie - I think that it is lovely that this little church, although remotely situated, and full of so many special treasures, is open for all to visit every day. The William Morris tapestries alone are worth a great deal of money. However, visitors to the church treat it with respect, reverence, and care. Sending special wishes to you Demie.

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  14. Hello Rosemary:
    Joy of joys. What can we possibly say? For, like you, the church at Brockhampton is one of our all time favourites and one which we have visited over the years more times than we care to remember. It was always a 'must see' destination for our visitors when we lived in Herefordshire. In contrast, Brockhampton Court, then a home for old people, was a rather solid, dull house - but that is, of course, in our opinion.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance - it is a little church that you can revisit many times. Surprisingly there are so many little details easily missed on just one visit. The different tracery in the windows, the extra little corner towers, as you say it is a joy of joy.
      I am not familiar with Brockhampton Court. In the 19th century it was purchased by Ebenenzer D Jordan of Boston, Massachusetts. He had it completely rebuilt and presented it to his daughter Madeline, as a wedding present on her marriage to Colonel Foster. It was, of course, their daughter, Alice, who commissioned the church.

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    2. Next time you are in Brockhampton, travel up the drive opposite the church to the Court. We doubt that you will be disturbed and you will certainly get to see the exterior.

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    3. Thanks for that Jane & Lance - will do. I like the little lodge at the end of the drive, but it obviously bears no resemblance to the house.

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  15. What a delightful elegant church..
    Indeed a great gesture for someone to leave hand made tapestries and linen ,to adorn the church together will all the lovely Morris tapestries.. You took fantastic photos Rosemary.
    The church is steeped in history, its preservation is fantastic..it still looks the same from the old photo of 1902..
    The town of Ledbury looks so so interesting. With the wooden tudor! homes some on stilts.. how I would love to visit this lovely place, and delight in some scones and tea.. and visit all the cute little shops.
    A very interesting post Rosemary.. I enjoyed all your photos.
    Wishing you and Mr. H a very happy Sunday.

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    1. Dear Val - our favourite thing to have in Ledbury is delicious ice cream - Rachel's damson and sloe gin ice cream - two big dollops in a cone is sublime. However, February did not feel quite right for that. Ledbury is a great little place, full of really nice individual shops. The building on wood pillars is the Market House built in 1617. It is raised on 16 pillars and today the open area under the building usually has market traders selling flowers, fruit and vegetables.
      So pleased that you enjoyed seeing one of our favourite little churches.

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  16. Dear Rosemary, This beautiful little church looks so much older than its 100 years. Living in the "New World" makes us appreciate even more the wealth of history and legends you live with every single day.

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    1. Dear Gina - as one gets older I find that the history, not only of our country, but others too, becomes so much more important. When I am visiting other countries the art and architecture are two of the things that really hold my fascination and attention.

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  17. I too love this church Rosemary. Your post has made me determined to take my husband there. It is a real gem. Jx

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    1. So pleased that you know this little church too Janice - hope all is going well with you and that you are coping with the treatment.
      Do you also know the other Arts and Crafts church that I love - St. Andrews, Roker in Sunderland. I do not think it would be too far for you to visit sometime if you do not know it.

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  18. fascinating facts and fabulous photos!!

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    1. Thank you for your visit and so pleased that you enjoyed the post.

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  19. Dear Rosemary,the church is so beautiful!And your photos are exellent as always!Fantastic views and amazing sceans!The Ledbury town looks grate!Nice place to visit!Thank you again for sharing!Wishing you a lovely evening!
    Dimi..

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    1. Dear Dimi - Ledbury is a lovely little town with lots of interesting one off shops selling rather nice things. Glad you enjoyed seeing the Arts and Craft church and the landscape too.

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  20. Your photographs look beautiful Rosemary. I wish we had your weather. We had rain, more rain and hail. Such a very pretty church. The tea in Ledbury sounds good too!

    Happy new week,

    Madelief x

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    1. Yesterday was one of those days that seem to appear from nowhere and luckily we grabbed the day by the horns and off we went. Today is rather more dull.
      Glad you enjoyed the church - Ledbury is a lovely little town, in the summer we enjoy a delicious locally made ice cream flavoured with damsons and sloe gin - it is wonderful.

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  21. Such a beautiful church. Just the right size for weddings. The person who donated the Embroidery was so generous. Amazing photos Rosemary.

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    1. Although the church is quite small it is amazing how many times you can visit and keep seeing something that you missed on a previous visit. Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos.

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  22. You have taken beautiful photos of a beautiful place, Rosemary, and the story of the embroideries is lovely.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing the photos Rosemary. Yesterday was such a beautiful day that I couldn't go wrong with the photos. Being in the west I am sure the day was the same for you too.

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  23. Thank you for your tour! You are an excellent guide to gems around in England!

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    1. Dear Lise - thank you that is very kind of you to say so. Not too many words I think perhaps is best.

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  24. I love the historic old churches. My daughter just got married in one. Whenever she travels, she always tries to attend mass at the old churches in the places she is visiting. These pictures are lovely, and what a nice gift the embroidery was. I was born in 1960, so it made the story even more special for me. The All Saints picture is beautiful. Have a nice week coming up.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

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    1. Dear Sheri - thank you for your visit and I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing All Saints, a very special little church I think.

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  25. My goodness, Rosemary, you have several postings in one! The church is charming, and I who has always been intrigued by thatched rooves, have never seen one with such an intricate design — so within that rare artistry, there must be master thatchers. I also note the wooden tower, which seems to have a Scandinavian influence.

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    1. Dear Mark - You are correct, the wooden tower does give the appearance of a Scandinavian influence to it. However, wooden towers in England, although not common, are part of a church building tradition all across the country, particularly in Herefordshire and Surrey. In fact the church where H's ancestors come from in Newdigate, Surrey has a wooden tower dating back to 1525.

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  26. What gorgeous photos!! I have really enjoyed reading through your blog history over the past few days! I think I could get used to this blogging world :)

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    1. Dear Annabel - glad you enjoyed the posts - I am sure that you are hooked already, it doesn't take long.

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  27. very pretty pics..
    follow me back, if you like my blog :)

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    1. Thanks Andy - I will pop over to see you. Glad you liked the photos.

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  28. Hello Rosemary, I have tryed to visit your blog during months but It was imposible to get it, today through the blog of Kirk Dale I have got it and I am happy, your blog is beautiful, and I am following it.

    Hugs from Spain

    Marina

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    1. Hello Marina and welcome. Delighted to have you as a follower, I wonder why you had difficulty getting through before? I look forward to connecting with you.

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  29. Dear Rosemary,
    What a delightful post. I feel like I was there too. You take such wonderful pictures. The only thing that could have made it better was to hear a choir singing. What a pretty church and can you believe someone donated those magnificent hand-worked cloths?
    We are hoping to return to England this spring or next-to travel around the countryside. Your lovely pictures always inspire and cause me to get even more excited than I am.
    Any pictures to share of your tea? I will have to look up Ledbury. Thank you!
    Greetings from Florida~Ruthie from: http://www.ladybstimefortea.blogspot.com

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    1. Dear Ruthie - sorry no pictures of the tea, but Ledbury is a town well worth a visit. They have some wonderful individual shops selling very unique things - a big fat purse is required.
      Glad that you enjoyed the photos, that is particularly kind of you to say. I only have a little point and shoot camera so very gratifying that you should think that they are good - thank you.

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  30. What a beautiful little place ... somewhere else to add to my list of 'places to visit!
    Can you let me have your email address as I cannot reply to your comments on my blog as you appear as a 'no-reply' blogger.

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    1. Dear Marina - it is a place that you must visit if you have the chance - pick a day like we had last Saturday, and it couldn't be bettered.
      I cannot understand why I appear as a no reply on your posts, it must be a glitch as others do not have a problem. I will check out my following avatar and see if I did something wrong. If I did I will correct it, and if I can see no reason for it then I will send you my email.

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  31. I'm jealous, you'd never know it was February from your first photo! The church you are presenting is gorgeous, I love the photo from 1902, shows how impressive the architecture was and still is today.

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    1. Dear Rosemary - last Saturday was just a perfect day that seemed to come from now where. The sky was very bright blue for the entire day so we were glad that we made a picnic lunch and spent the whole day out. The little church is one that we have visited a couple of times before. I took my brother and sister-in-law there a few years ago. They were over from Toronto, and they loved it.

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  32. Rosemary, this is one of the most lovely churches that I have ever seen! How touching that some donated all the beautiful embroidery anonymously. Ledbury looks like a wonderful town. I so hope that we can spend our vacation this year in England, again. When I see your lovely photos I want to return to your beautiful country even more badly.
    Christina

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    1. Dear Christina - I do not have any hesitation in saying that I am sure that you would love it, particularly if you are interested, as I am, in the Arts and Craft Movement. I do hope that you return for a visit again, and discover some of the delights we have here in the west of the country.

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  33. Hi Rosemary,
    What a beautiful day you had out with the sunshine, pretty church and tea and cake in Ledbury! The church has such beautiful features of the art and craft movement. I have always admired the work of William Morris. Thank you for sharing this joy.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hello Sarah - if ever you are in that area do go and visit the church, I am sure that you would find it well worth it.
      Last saturday was a perfect day for having an outing, we went out on the spur of the moment, and were glad that we did.

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  34. At first glance one would not imagine there to be such huge layers of detail in this building but its quite extraordinary my magpies eye went into overdrive. The embroidery is particularly impressive. Thank you for sharing such a gorgeous and sunny February outing.

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    1. You are right Paul, the more you look the more you see. The wild flower theme in the embroidery and the woodwork is rather lovely.

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  35. Thank you for this beautiful trip down memory lane, Rosemary. I visited this lovely church many years ago and thought it beautiful, so it was great to be reminded why I had liked it so much.

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    1. I am so pleased that you enjoyed being reminded of this wonderful little church - it really is a gem.

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