12 April 2015

Onward

Our holiday home in West Mersea - well the bottom right bit
Back home from Essex. I managed to take photographs in every square kilometre of Mersea Island. The northern coastline is a world of birds and saltmarshes, mud banks and silences where channels weave around like the adders that hide by the shore.

We visited East Mersea Church whose vicar was once the Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould who penned "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Now the Day is Over". Easter floral displays remained and on the north side of the church we saw the grave of fifteen year old Sarah Wrench who died in 1848. Her remains are protected by an iron "mortsafe". A local man told us that she had been a witch but the true story of her tragic end  was undoubtedly very different. Pregnancy and/or suicide may have been involved.
Sarah Wrench's grave in East Mersea churchyard
On our way home, after crossing The Strood, we headed westwards into deepest Essex and parked up in the charming village of Stock. As forecasted by the weather people, the drizzly morning rain had passed over on its way across the sea and April sunshine had returned.

We walked to a farm called Ramsey Tyrrells where my Uncle Jack, a radio operator aboard a Blenheim bomber, died in  November 1940. I wanted to find the exact location of the crash but the local farmer, a most pleasant man, was unable to help us. The records state clearly that the plane came down at Ramsey Tyrrells and there was even an archaeological survey of the site in 1975. Buried pieces of the plane were retrieved. But no luck yesterday - a thwarted pilgrimage.

We wandered back into Stock and had a light lunch in "The Baker's Arms". It was filled with affluent Essex people - spending some of their disposable incomes on sea bass and lamb chops. A similar scene could be regarded through the windows of the nearby "Hoop". It's all pretty different in the land of UpNorth. Three hours back along The Great North Road to reality.
Wild greylag geese on Mersea Island
Saltmarsh World at Mersea
Ramsey Tyrrells Farmhouse
Calf  near Fristling Hall Farm,  Stock

14 comments:

  1. I don't recall ever seeing a mortsafe.
    Great shot of the marsh. It's a proper picture.

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    1. Apparently mortsafes are more common in Scotland. Their original purpose was to deter grave robbers - hence the name.

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  2. I learnt a new word here today, mortsafe. Never seen one before, and I am now going to follow the link to find out more about the poor girl who was buried there.
    The marsh picture has an appeal I find hard to describe, and even harder to escape.

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    1. The word "mortsafe" was also new to me until I researched Sarah Wrench's story. Lord knows how old those wooden palings were or what indeed was their original purpose.

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  3. Great photos. You mentioned adders, they might be poisonous. I love historic churches.

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    1. Yes adders are poisonous though it is extremely rare for anybody to die from the bite of an adder. Thanks for calling by Terra!

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    2. Not all adders are poisonous. Many of the species common in Europe and the US are perfectly harmless for humans.

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    3. British Forestry Commission information - "The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain. Adders have the most highly developed venom injecting mechanism of all snakes, but they are not aggressive animals. Adders will only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or trodden on. No one has died from adder bite in Britain for over 20 years. With proper treatment, the worst effects are nausea and drowsiness, followed by severe swelling and bruising in the area of the bite. Most people who are bitten were handling the snake."

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  4. Never heard of a mortsafe before. I'm intrigued by the salt marshes and love the little calf.

    Ms Soup

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    1. Saltmarshes belong both to the sea and to the land. A place of seabirds and secrets and winds rustling the reeds. I shall call the little calf Alphie in your honour.

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  5. Wonder if the 'mortsafe' is actually a complete cage of wire, thereby making it difficult to dig up? How sad to die so young.
    I LOVE Ramsey Tyrrells Farmhouse!!! The number of chimneys is amazing! Was it common to have so many? Maybe a fireplace in each room?
    I'm so sorry you couldn't locate the crash sight. Perhaps a bit more research and then another expedition?

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    1. That is a very old farmhouse Hilly. I would reckon sixteenth century.. Perhaps it was originally two or three cottages. This might explain the chimneys. I think you are right about the structure of the mortsafe.

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  6. And I've enjoyed every square kilometre...and round kilometre, too, if that's possible! :)

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    1. I might post a few more pictures from our trip.

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