2 December 2020

Babworth

A lock keeper's house

As the sixteenth century turned into the seventeenth, religious tensions in the heartlands of Britain simmered. Many wanted to cling to Catholic traditions while others yearned for a more stripped down religion devoid of past rituals and the influence of The Pope.

In north Nottinghamshire, word got round that there was a preacher in the village of Babworth whose sermons were  inspirational  to would-be puritans. He was called Richard Clifton. Though he never visited America nor rode upon "The Mayflower" in the autumn of 1620, he inspired two of the principal "Pilgrim Fathers". Both William Bradford and William Brewster came to All Saints Church in Babworth in order to hear "the word of God" as interpreted by Richard Clifton. He was key to the crystallisation of their religious thinking.

Babworth Church

I was at that peaceful half-forgotten woodland church yesterday but could not enter it. I left Clint in its shadow before setting off into the December sunshine on a planned circular walk that would take three and a half hours to complete.

For a third of the walk, I was beside The Chesterfield Canal. Constructed towards the end of the eighteenth century, it linked Chesterfield with The River Trent at West Stockwith. In a time when roads were often rutted and muddy, the canal became a vital artery for the transport of Derbyshire lead, coal, gravel and manufactured metal goods.

Forest Top Lock - Chesterfield Canal

The canal towpath led me into the town of Retford and soon I was tramping through back streets that led me out of the town and beside the main road back to Babworth.

"Oh, you're back then!" said Clint.

"Why? What's the problem?"

"I'm desperate for a drink of petrol," he said.

"Okay.  Fancy unleaded again?"

"Yeah. That'll do."

I glugged water from my flask and devoured a Panamanian banana before heading back west via Worksop and Anston. Of course, I take many photographs when I am out walking but  I was especially pleased with the picture I captured and placed at the top of this blogpost. Yes. That's a good one - though I say so myself.

The Chesterfield Canal at Retford

36 comments:

  1. They are all beautiful, but I like the last one best.
    Blue skies! Today, a solid grey lid covers the area where I live. But even if there was plenty of sun, I would not be able to go out until at least 5:00 pm - and it is pitch black dark by then.

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    1. Thanks Meike. I thought it might be rather slippery walking on the canal path but it was pretty dry and easy walking all the way. Yesterday the weather prophets got it absolutely right.

      Delete
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  2. It IS a good one. That reflection is darn near perfect.

    I think the religious fanaticism of those early Puritans contributed to the evangelical streak that persists in American society even now.

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    1. I am sure there are historians who would agree with you Steve. It might be argued that much of the character of Anglo-America was conceived in that church.

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  3. Smashing photos. You should publish a book of your walks YP.

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    1. I will need sponsors. Send me fifty quid Northsider. Irish euros will do.

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  4. These are all good photos. One day when I have the time I will follow your paths.

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    1. Just visit Ordnance Survey Jean and you can find your own paths.

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  5. You certainly had good weather for those wonderful photos.
    Great Britain has some very beautiful places tucked away, far from the teeming hordes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a treasure house of different scenes - all imbued with history. People should be more grateful for what they have around them.

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  6. Great photos. Any one of them would make a great jigsaw puzzle!

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    1. That is the ultimate compliment Joyce!

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  7. Could water be more mirror-like? Just beautiful.
    Isn't it interesting to think that there are people who decide that they and they alone can interpret the word of God? They know exactly what their god meant and then feel the need to proclaim it? And are able to convince others of these truths. That's got to take some chutzpah. Or something.

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    Replies
    1. Good point...or should I say God point? They could never convince me but I do understand the point you are making.

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  8. And if ever was a case to be made against immigration, the pilgrims would be it. Lovely pictures!

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    1. From the word go the Mayflower people exploited the native Americans they encountered. They were already much weakened by diseases that Europeans introduced.

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  9. I like the first and last photo the best. Looks like a lovely walk.

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    1. Yes it was. I felt "at peace" with myself and the world when I finished the walk. That is often the case.

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  10. A walk along the Chesterfield Canal looks like heaven.

    I had to laugh at Debby's remark. My experience of American puritans who preach in Scotland ran into trouble. The best of these street preachers now regards me with a scowl. He has me marked down as a wishy-washy liberal. He doesn't get nuance.

    The Puritans drank beer and wine. They believed in honesty, responsibility, hard work, self-control: all American virtues. I would have fallen out with them in their banning of Xmas and theatre. In Massachusetts you were fined five shillings for pulling a Xmas cracker or singing Jingle Bells. The Kirk in Scotland made Yuletide illegal in 1640. No wonder we call John Knox *Auld Misery Guts*.

    My sister in London holds Debby's views. She says with a grin, *Oh, you're the Calvinist who likes Christmas trees !*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a Scottish girlfriend. She came down to Yorkshire to celebrate Christmas with me and my family. To her it was all a revelation as her family in Lenzie hardly celebrated Christmas at all.

      I bet you have pulled a few Christmas crackers in your time John!

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    2. Hogmanay and Ne'erday (January 1st) were always more important in Scotland. Black bun, shortbread, whisky. First footers bringing a lump of coal.
      That would explain your girlfriend's surprise at your merry Yorkshire Xmas.

      Up to 1952 my father worked December 25. At Olivetti the Italian managers gave the workforce the Xmas holiday. My father liked Olivetti. He said some guys suggested a holiday for the Orange Walk, if the Papists were going to get Christmas Day! Then everyone got Xmas apart from essential services.

      Every year the Glasgow Film Theatre runs *It's A Wonderful Life* for a week.
      Frank Capra's metaphysical comedy with James Stewart and Donna Reed is evergreen. With Henry Travers as the Angel Clarence, crusty Lionel Barrymore as the town Scrooge, and Thomas Mitchell as Uncle Billy. Mitchell was in a TV series *The O. Henry Playhouse* which I enjoyed in 1957 aged six.

      Dickens and Jimmy Stewart could have persuaded Debby's hated Puritans that they were so wrong about Christmas.
      Every Xmas I watch Jimmy Stewart in The Glenn Miller Story.
      Late at night I like to watch that crazy movie about alien abduction, *Communion*.
      I like the score by Eric Clapton. And the final scene on the rooftop of a Manhattan high rise after midnight. When will the ETs join us at Xmas?


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    3. For goodness' sake Hameldy, don't remind us how the Puritans and John Knox punished Christmas celebrants. You know Boris reads this blog.

      Delete
    4. Boris likes his Mistletoe and Wine, Tasker.
      He's a lot more fond of winching the lassies than Sir Cliff.

      Delete
    5. YouTube: Communion Soundtrack, Eric Clapton.

      The movie is really a ghost story since Aliens are interdimensional entities, spooks like those guys in CIA.

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    6. If you are reading this Johnson then **** off! You are not welcome here.

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  11. Blue skies and calm water - the perfect companions for a walk. I like the last photo best.

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  12. The lockkeepers house photo is good but I think the last is even better.

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    1. Thanks Andrew. I didn't think that one was anything special apart from the beautiful light.

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  13. Good walk with a little religious history thrown in.

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    1. Everything is better with a bit of religion chucked in.

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  14. I love all the pictures but I do agree that first one is especially nice. It looks like you had a wonderful walk!

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    1. Some walks are more enjoyable than others but this was lovely in beautiful winter light.

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  15. Difficult to say which is the best photo YP - they are all excellent, and exceptionally so in the strong winter sunlight. What a lovely walk.

    ReplyDelete
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