31 August 2017

Broxted

"The Prince of Wales" in Broxted
Before the flight to Carcassonne, Shirley and I stayed overnight in a rustic B&B in the Essex village of Broxted. It is just three miles from Stansted Airport and directly beneath the flight path for incoming aeroplanes. The noise of their engines interrupts conversation if you are talking outside.

We donned our walking boots and enjoyed a long, circular ramble that took in two ancient churches - Broxted's parish church - The Church of St Mary and the disused Church of St Mary in the tiny hamlet of Chickney.   Confusingly, they both have the same name. It was late afternoon, melding into the early evening and the end of a proper English summer's day.

There were brambles in the hedgerows and in the distance a combine harvester worked its way through a field of ripened wheat. We discovered that Broxted church has a special significance for our nation's three most famous former hostages - Terry Waite, Brian Keenan and John McCarthy. They were present to witness the unveiling of two modern stained glass windows which are known as The Hostage Windows. For a long time McCarthy lived next to the church.

It was nice to find the other church - the Chickney church open to visitors. Services haven't happened there for many years and the wooden pews were coated with a film of dust. I observed two Saxon windows that proved the main part of the building dates back over one thousand years - to distant times before the Norman Conquest. It was very atmospheric.

After our ramble, we went for dinner in the nearby "Prince of Wales" pub. Homemade steak and mushroom pie with fresh vegetables, mashed potato and gravy - all washed down with Black Sheep bitter.
Our B&B room in Broxted
On Saturday morning we had breakfast round the kitchen table in Church Hall Farm. It was a very quirky room with oak beams and a character that had evolved through the years. We were joined by a young couple from Luxembourg who were over in England to watch a motorcycle grand prix at Silverstone.

After breakfast, we packed up ready for our short drive to Stansted and the flight to France but perhaps more of that tomorrow... 
Two fingered gesture from a passing car.
One of The Hostage Windows in Broxted's parish church
St Mary's, Chicney. Now disused.
You can see a plane descending upon Stansted Airport.

16 comments:

  1. Nice to think of all the remnant aerofuel that has dropped onto those beautiful brambles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps that is why they were so deliciously sweet!

      Delete
  2. That stained glass window is beautiful. I like the photo of St Mary's church too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That window shows the light of freedom. The other window - which I didn't snap - showed the darkness of imprisonment.

      Delete
  3. I am not familiar with the names of the hostages or their story, but it must be pretty important if they have a church window dedicated to them.
    The B&B room looks nice, and your meal sounds good. Best of all is the walk and the church that is more than 1000 years old. Good to know it is open to visitors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Take John McCarthy for example - imprisoned in Lebanon for five years by Islamic terrorists - from 1986 to 1981. It was always in the British news at that time. A fellow hostage, Brian Keenan, wrote a brilliant book about his experience - "An Evil Cradling".

      Delete
  4. Beautiful window. And I always learn new things from your trips, near or far, and I like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a pleasure to share stuff with you Jenny.

      Delete
  5. The traces left in our history, both contemporary and ancient, are interesting in many ways. As long as we can remember and tell the story, some people and some events will never fade. I hope you will have a real nice and pleasant trip, you and Shirley. I haven't checked in on you for ages, life has been a mess. I loved the pictures, the stained glass window and I really really would like to have a peek inside that deserted and lovely church. In Sweden people move in to unused churches, but it's still very rare...Thank you YP, keep sharing, I have never been to France.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my previous post Solveig - a summary of our trip to France. Sorry to hear that "life has been a mess" recently. Have no fear - Fred Fox is watching over you!

      Delete
    2. I'll be doing that, check on your previous post and you can check mine and learn about the mess!! Fred is doing his job well, don't you worry!!!

      Delete
  6. Good use of your time to walk in the area. It would be odd for us to walk to the next village. many of the villages here have disappeared so it's further than ever to walk to another village.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess that everything is much more spread out in Alberta.

      Delete
  7. There's nothing quite like a delicious home-made meat pie...other than delicious home-made (or bought) battered fish and chips with a splash or two of vinegar!

    It appears to have been a very pleasant interlude prior to your trip to visit with family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was nice and no rushing down from Yorkshire on Saturday morning. We were already very close to London Stansted Airport.

      Delete
  8. Interesting! I've never heard of these places, but that Chickney church in particular sounds intriguing...maybe I'll make my way out there one of these days!

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.