Sunday, 9 April 2017

By Offa's Dyke

Youngest son and family invited us to join them for the day at their rented holiday cottage sitting on the English side of Offa's Dyke in Herefordshire. Offa's Dyke forms a linear border between England and Wales and is a large frontier earthworks built by Offa, King of Mercia during 757 to 796 AD. It is possible to follow a trail along this national monument for 177 miles from the Wye Valley in Monmouthshire all the way to Prestatyn on the Welsh coast overlooking the Irish Sea.

Driving through the narrow country roads of Herefordshire a sat nav was a necessity. In the Golden Valley we came upon the pretty little church of St. Bartholomew, Vowchurch, sitting alongside the river Dore.




















Although the church is not mentioned in the Doomesday Book for the area it does have some very old roundheaded slit windows dating back to the c13th seen above. The timber structure around the bell turret is late tudor, and although unusual, is not uncommon for churches in this area

 There was a tray of interesting preserves in the church porch with an 'honesty box' situated at the entrance gate


The font is c12th Norman standing on a later c19th plinth
The church 'kneelers' showing the local breed of Herefordshire cattle 
The nine timber roof trusses form ten bays, two of which have been dated back to the 14th century. 
Both sides of the early c17th screen shows the shields belonging to local families of note

The entrance side of the screen states
"Heare below ly the body of Thomas Hill ande Marget his wife whose children made this skryne
There is a carving of Marget to the left and Thomas to the right, centred by a pair of mythical beasts. 

The beasts have been fashioned in a similar manner to the Norman stone carvings seen at Kilpeck church, which as the crow flies, is just a few miles away.  

48 comments:

  1. A wonderful area to explore, a joy to watch your photos.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing them - thank you

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  2. Lovely shots. I like all those historic churches and the beautiful use of wood and stone.

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    1. Often I am amazed at our ancestors handiwork

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  3. Hello Rosemary, I definitely have to move to England, at least for a period of years! There is a quality to the ancient stone and greenery that is not seen even in the other ancient sites you have shown us in your photographs.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - if ever you do, then do keep me posted.

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  4. I like the cattle on the kneelers -- a touch of whimsy perhaps or an homage to the countryside's source of wealth?

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    1. As the area is very much within a farming community, I would think that your last suggestion is most like correct.

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  5. We've stayed in this area but don't recognize the church, what a little treasure.

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    1. It was off the beaten track down narrow lanes - It would probably be difficult for me to find again!!

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  6. How absolutely beautiful Rosemay - and you certainly chose perfect weather for your visit. Font is interesting, and the fun 'moo cow' kneelers are adorable. Imagine walking that trail to Wales and seeing the Irish Sea - I have friends in Prestatyn too!
    As always, stunning photos and they stir such fond memories of the English countryside. . . . . . . and I'm homesick again!
    Hope your visit was wonderful.
    Hugs - Mary

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    1. Dear Mary - we have been enjoying absolutely beautiful weather for the last couple of weeks, and long may it continue.
      My brother, living in Canada, always becomes nostaligic when he see the English countryside too.
      Very happy visit - take care Mary

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  7. Dear Rosemary, I always think that you are living in the prettiest country in the world. You are so lucky! I enjoyed your photos in today's post very much. The old church is so lovely in its simplicity. I was really touched by the jam and the honesty box. I wonder if something like this would work in San Diego. I actually doubt it, sadly.
    Hope you have/had a wonderful time with your son and family in Herefordshire!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. It is quite common for people living in the countryside to leave fresh eggs by their gate, fruit, or other goodies, and I like to believe that most people would not abuse their trust.
      Glad that you enjoyed seeing the photos - thank you

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  8. I didn't realise how much I miss visiting en route churches until I read you post.

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    1. Perhaps it is one of the many historical things that we tend to take for granted, but for me, I cannot resist a pretty church seen on a journey.

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  9. I love hearing about these historic places in the UK. The photos are gorgeous! I would LOVE to walk down the road in the first picture. I have never seen trees growing banked up like that. It looks like there is some kind of moss blooming on those banks. I am just guessing about that but it's beautiful.

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    1. Hello Catherine - the banks do look rather mossy but they are in fact covered with spring grass and the small wild white wood anemones - I am pleased that you liked seeing the road as I was taken with it too.

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  10. Dearest Olympia,
    What a wonderful medieval Church this is!
    Also your previous post with the carved Hound and Hare is very special.
    One wonders with all those cultural Nordic finds, they probably crossed by boat and continued in their own tradition...
    But precious to hold on to. That lane with age old trees is fascinating too.
    One wonders why the trees are up high...? Also the meadows appear at a higher level, compared to the low road.
    Any info on that?
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - sunken lanes and high banks with hedges and trees growing on top are not an uncommon feature, especially here in the west and also down in Devon and Cornwall too. Many of them have particularly ancient origins dating back to the neolithic period.
      The stonework is that of the Norman who were of course originally descended from Norsemen, but came to our country from France. Once here they settled and integrated, and many of us now have Norman blood running through our veins.

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  11. Gorgeous photos as always, Rosemary!
    Margaret P

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  12. The church surrounded by blooming trees looks lovely. The interior is very interesting, and the croissant with the cow surprised me. Regards.

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    1. The cow is a local breed so very important to the country folk

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  13. I've read about Offa's Dyke and it's great to see a photo of it and the surrounding area. What an immense effort it would have taken to construct in those early medieval times. The church is a gem. I particularly admire those wooden beams. The froth of pink in the trees outside the church completes a perfect English country scene for me.

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    1. Sorry Lorrie, I did not mean to confuse but that is not Offa's Dyke - it is very similar though being a high ridge of earth.
      We couldn't resist the little church as we drove by.

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  14. Dear Rosemary, a very nice post about a very nice part of the world. I'm bcd after a long time away and feel like Rip van Winkel - so much has happened in my absence but it is good to see that your lovely photographs and blog remain. Did you buy any of that rosemary jelly? I wonder if that would go well with roast lamb. Bye for now, Kirk

    PS
    I did try to post a comment already but was having a lot of trouble with the new blogger format and it is possible I commented anonymously . . who knows.

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    1. It is wonderful to see you back again Kirk - welcome. Many of our shared old blog friends now no longer blog, it has gone out of fashion.
      We didn't buy any preserves as we have just made a load of lemon marmalade ourselves, but I know that the Rosemary jelly is to go with lamb.

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  15. What a beautiful and interesting church!

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  16. What a wonderful scenes. Love the forest-path and the church is rally beautiful.

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    1. Pleased that you enjoyed seeing them orvokki

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  17. Beautiful country side plus the church, don't often see a church like that down here..

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    1. Yes, you are right Margaret, a church like this would be unusual for Tasmania

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  18. A cracking part of the UK. Incidentally, Arthur's Dyke, (a comedy film about walking Offa's Dyke) is one of the best 'Long Distance path' films, which seem to be currently back in vogue at the moment but most fall down scenery and script wise. This didn't and I really enjoyed it despite it being slightly un- PC in these enlightened times. Great photos in your blog of the type of lush, colour filled, scenery and history I love exploring.

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    1. I must watch out for that film - thanks. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  19. What a glorious Spring day. The English countryside at its best.

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    1. Loving the blue skies, warmth and sunshine at the moment Jessica - just what body and soul needs.

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  20. What a gorgeous and interesting old church, festooned in Spring blossom. The kneelers are so sweet, and I really like the old Norman font too. I'd definitely be tempted by the preserves - orange and date chutney sounds delightful. Thank you for sharing it all, Rosemary.

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    1. I must admit that orange and date chutney does sound rather delicious

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  21. What a beautiful church, it looks similar in design to one at Callow where my niece had her wedding. Sarah x

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    1. I recall that you went to a wedding in Herefordshire - many of the churches in the area have a particularly unique 'Herefordshire style' - I like them.

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  22. Lovely photos of the English countryside, the best !

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    1. It is such a wonderful time of year, isnt?

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  23. Lovely scenes and such delicate colours of an English Spring. The church is beautiful both inside and outside. I love the close-up of the door with it's beautiful iron work and texture.
    Happy Easter to you and your family Rosemary!

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    1. Thank you Betty - sending happy Easter greetings to you and yours too♡

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  24. Your photos reminded me of what a lovely little church Vowchurch is. And actually how wonderful Herefordshire is. Since I am interested in Lewis Carroll, I can tell you that one of his younger brothers was the vicar of Vowchurch. When I went there was a little display about him. He sounds rather a quaint character, a very kindly man but very literal minded, tending to be the butt of jokes from his parishioners. They used to do things like put erasers on the coal stove that heated the church in winter, and he would become agitated wondering where the smell was coming from. Ah, rustic humour!!

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    1. Dear Jenny you will be pleased to know that the display is still there in the church. How lovely to know that you have visited Vowchurch too - I agree that Herefordshire is a lovely county, and if it wasn't quite so remote I think that I could happily live there myself.

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