During my online research into the features at Brown Edge near Ringinglow, I swished the 1888 online map over to East Yorkshire and the village where I was born and raised.
There's another mystery over there - one that I have contemplated since I was a child
Many hundreds of English villages with long histories cluster around the village church. Many of these churches are on ancient sites and the Norman or medieval churches we may see today are frequently built on grounds where wooden Saxon churches once existed.
Going even further back in time we can often work out that these Christian places of worship were preceded by sites of pre-Christian significance such as burial mounds, standing stones or holy wells from which life-giving waters rose up .
Now where I grew up, the imposing village church - Holy Trinity - was constructed as recently as 1845. It is bang in the centre of the village and definitely not on an ancient site. No - that is because the village's original parish church was a mile west of the modern village. It was dedicated to St Faith and was built next to the site of a holy well - St Faith's Well. Until yesterday I did not know its exact location in relation to the church site.
There's nothing to be seen of the well-spring any more. At some time in the past it was filled in and in the mid nineteenth century St Faith's Church itself was demolished. A few stone artefacts - including the old font were transferred to the new church. St Faith's graveyard remains in splendid isolation and rarely visited. To me it is a very special place. So peaceful. A place where long forgotten stories swirl. It was part of my childhood.
I close my eyes and imagine people of long ago visiting the holy well. The land would have been wooded then apart from low-lying carr land. The people would have paid homage to elemental forces, to pre-Christian gods and to water springing magically from the earth. And they would have gone home to their hovels feeling rejuvenated - happy to have given thanks, possessing little knowledge of the world beyond their horizons.
|St Faith's graveyard|
This has happened in many places.ReplyDelete
Thanks for that interesting link MM. How crass of the Spanish invaders to seek to obliterate all that rich history. Juego de Pelota (“Ball Game”) sounds like fun.Delete
St Faith's graveyard does look peaceful, the green space that is associated with (some) graveyards is always conducive to peace and reflection, I think.ReplyDelete
There are no significant roads or railway tracks in the vicinity - just the wind blowing over the carr land.Delete
There may be some answers to you Ringinglow research at Sheffield Museum. (My late husband, Allen Butterworth, was Deputy Director for a few years).ReplyDelete
Sheffield also has an archives department but it has been closed during the lockdown. Was Allen based at Weston Park?Delete
Yes he was. I've just discovered there is a small wikipedia article about him. I don't know who wrote it.Delete
I just read it. Allen was so young. How sad for you to lose him so suddenly.Delete
Old buildings an sites make us think of who came before us and what they were like. They have many stories. We are mostly at the wooden church state. I don't think we'll see much more unless there's a massive switch back to Christianity or some other faith.ReplyDelete
You might get a few mosques rising up in Red Deer. Have you considered converting to Islam Red?Delete
I love how ancient maps can lead you to the past and then back to your present. That graveyard would be fun to study. I've always loved graveyards and the older the better.ReplyDelete
Yes indeed. Ancient maps can reveal secrets as this one did for me.Delete
I, too, have a thing for graveyards. My after-work walks in the weeks since mid-March have often taken me to Ludwigsburg's old and new cemeteries.ReplyDelete
Do you know why the current village church was moved from the former site?
That is part of the mystery. My guess is that by the 19th century the habit of venerating holy wells had faded into memory. Also the old church was not well-built. There are no stone quarries in the area.Delete
Someone is still maintaining it, though. In some places those leaning headstones would have been laid flat by the council because of concerns about them falling on children playing and on glue sniffers.ReplyDelete
I believe the parish council pay for its maintenance. There was an archaeological dig there in 2013 - a couple of years after I took that photo - but the diggers were looking solely at the church's foundations and not at the holy well.Delete
I always like to wander around old graveyards to read the headstones, if they are still legible. I try to imagine how they would have lived and what life was life back then.ReplyDelete
So many stories and each life different from the next.Delete
I see you are falling under the spell of lost history, once it grabs you by the throat it won't let go. Layers upon layers of history blend upon the land, the magic of wells and their saints take a lot of beating ;)ReplyDelete
The pull of holy wells was very powerful. Everybody felt it. Sadly, most of our fellow citizens have lost that connection. Why was St Faith's Well filled in and erased from history and memory? Perhaps it was the established church - eradicating that pre-Christian connection.Delete
When I visited Kent last August we visited last year we looked round several churches and church yards including Joseph Conrad's grave in Canterbury. I also saw a gravestone epitaph: Goodnight. See you in the morning.ReplyDelete
At university I very much enjoyed reading Conrad's work. I never realised he was buried in Canterbury. Of course the inscription on Spike Milligan's grave is the best one...at Winchelsea in East Sussex... "Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite".Delete
Translation, YP? Thanks!Delete
It is Irish Gaelic Marcia. It means - "I told you I was ill". Spikw Milligan was a cult Anglo-Irish comedian.Delete
Thank you! It was all Greek to me ... LOLDelete
Yes he's in the city cemetery in Canterbury,its on my blogReplyDelete
" I told you I was ill".
You are probably ill because of spending too much time in Portugal.Delete
"And they would have gone home to their hovels feeling rejuvenated - happy to have given thanks, possessing little knowledge of the world beyond their horizons."ReplyDelete
Or, possibly, they trudged to the well and back wishing they had indoor plumbing, especially the women, who were generally the water-fetchers :)
They would not have got their general use water from the holy well Jenny.Delete
Ah, I see now.Delete
It's a shame that the original church was demolished and the spring filled in. I wonder if that spring could be excavated and made to flow again? Probably not worth the trouble, really, especially for whoever now owns the land! At least the font and some other artifacts were preserved.ReplyDelete
Yes it is a shame and part of the tantalising mystery.Delete
I've pored over that post whilst drinking my third coffee of the morning. (It's a foul morning and the garden is definitely not on the agenda today). It made me think of 'modern' churches - 1845 being relatively modern in England - and their locations. As for holy wells I am cynical enough to believe that if there is no longer money to be made from them then they have outlived their usefulness. There are still plenty about and drawing the crowds. It also made me think about the church I was brought up in. It was one of the few churches built during WW2. It was consecrated in 1940 and I was baptised and confirmed there. Ah well. Reminiscences and coffee finished. Back to atheistic realism.ReplyDelete
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