Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bell ringing outing

Yesterday (Monday) was a Bank holiday!!!!
I remember when I first came to England. I could not work out this Bank holiday thing. In Australia holidays have a name and a purpose (albeit sometimes strange as in Melbourne cup day where the state stops completely for a horse race).
Here it seems that if a Bank considers it's time for a day off then we all comply. Who am I to disagree. Yesterday was a rare one as the sun shone and the birds sang their little hearts out. Blossom was everywhere along with new lambs.
It was the annual bellringing outing!!!! An amazingly English phenomon where we hopped on a bus & visited 5 different and remarkable Church towers to ring bells.
Here are some photos from the day.
This was the tomb in the Church at Isleham of one Robert Peynton 1590 in a fabulous suit of armour and his wifes petticoats carved in great detail under her dress.

A golden griffin at his feet.
This is the roof at that same Church. Incredibly old wooden angels that you can just see if you click on the photo to enlarge it.
An old knight, Sir Godfrey Bernard (ob c. 1275) in this recess under the arch in the north wall.
We had lunch in Ely. Here's the Cathedral looking through a vista of almost-out-wisteria and forget-me-nots

What would an English outing be without the obligatory icecream with flake. Here's our little buddy Grace who we are trying to encourage to take up the extreme sport of bellringing.
This was the painted Victorian wall at the first Church we rang at...Fordham.
and the cross at the same Church
Here are our little bellringing buddies, with me in the sun on the grass. Hannah & Grace.
Next there was the amazing and spooky Church at Stow Bardolph where a very creepy sight meets you in a mahogany cupboard in the Hare mausoleum off to one side of the Church. I'll let the Norfolk Churches website pick up the story as it tells it so well.

"It is with something approaching excitement that I stepped through the north chancel doorway into the Hare mausoleum. Here was what I had come so far to see.
The doorway is 19th century - before, you had to enter from the outside. The family pew set into it was originally within the chancel. The mausoleum has undergone a more recent restoration, and is now neat, clean and well-lit. It is obviously used for much of the daily business of the church. All around are Hare memorials, dating from the early 17th century up into the late 20th century. There are about twenty of them all told, some more prominent than others, but the one I most wanted to see was the plain mahogany cabinet that sits in the north-west corner.
A bronze plate tells us that it contains Sarah Hare, who died in 1744. Open it up, and there she is. A wax effigy, dressed in her own clothes. She was about fifty when she died, and it was apparently her own wish to be immortalised in this way. The door to the cabinet is not without reason - she is terrifying, her face dumpy, warted, defiant. I had obviously seen photographs of her in the years since I first read about her, but nothing can really prepare you for the frisson as the cabinet door swings open. It made me think of fairground peepshows that I can just remember, and I realised that I would have paid for this, too."
Here she is in all her triumph, one of the only wax effigies left from this time that isn't in Westminster Cathedral.


kelly said...

yay for a bellringing outing! Sounds like great fun, and ice cream to boot!

xxxxxxxx kellyd

JoeyJoJo said...

Yes indeedy Kellski. You would have loved it too. A Very English day out. xxxx