Today was a Bank Holliday so the Goblin was off work. It was supposed to rain all day and Goblins hate rain so we weren’t going to go out, but around four the sun came out and he suggested we drive back to Boothby Pagnell to take pictures of the church. On our way there I was disconcerted to realise that the village I was really enchanted by was Bitchfield, the next village on. I somehow blurred them in my brain. Bitchfield is beyond charming, it’s Miss Marple, it’s magical! But we first went to Boothby Pagnell to photograph the church. Of course half way there we drove out of the sunshine and ended up under thick cloud, but at least it didn’t rain.
The rectory Isaac Newton stayed in while working on his Fluxions was next to the church, but from the road it’s screened by a number of trees. I thought I’d avoid being arrested for tresspassing and resisted the impulse to wander up the drive to take a photo. I took one from the back of the church yard. But first I had to take a photo of the church and the old door that has some of the lovliest iron work I’ve ever seen. The church itself was locked and we couldn’t be bothered to hunt down the key.
On the way back to the car I couldn’t resist the oportunity to have my photo taken in the old red phone booth. They’re becoming quite rare. What was really strange was this one still had a working phone in it along with a few hungry spiders.
We tried talking to the shorn sheep in the village green, but they weren’t interested in amusing us so we got back in the car and headed for Bitchfield. I asked the Goblin if he thought they’d have a church and he thought they would…in Lower Bitchfield… He was right of course. Bitchfield itself is very small village. There are a few new ugly houses, but they’re thankfully tucked away mostly out of sight. We couldn’t afford to live in Bitchfield or Boothby Pagnell, but if we could Bitchfield or Lower Bitchfield would suit me. It would be like living in the Twighlight Zone…Lovely! There were several happy cats on the prowl and half a dozen villagers out working in their gardens. The church in Lower Bitchfield was even cuter than Boothby Pagnell. It’s smaller, and like the surrounding village, well taken care of.
I was expecting the usual musty smelling old English church with mouldy walls and dusty ancient pews. Not Lower Bitchfield! The walls were clean…they looked like all the stone work had been repointed in the not too distant past…everything had been lovingly restored, repaired. Instead of dusty pews there was a small congregation of chairs with cushions. This is a church people attend and love.
There were several things inside that made it quite unique. The belltower (with it’s three bells) had been boxed off, but the bell ropes were right there…I was so tempted…that would have been very naughty and all those gardening villagers probably would have come and thrown us out. I resisted, but I took a photo…
I love how next to the ropes is the numbered peal for the bells. What I didn’t notice until after getting home was that someone had carved their initials onto one of the stones underneath the instructions for the change-ringing peal. The next time I go back I’m taking tissue paper and a crayon! It was definately old and the wierd lettering matched one I later found in the porch.
The organ was this lovely old bellows organ that had been converted to electricity. The Goblin loves organs. I think he really enjoyed looking it over.
I loved the font.
It has a series of sheilds (or devices) decorating it’s sides. I assume these were the personal crests of the Normans who built the church. I’ve never seen a font like this. Of course it could be one family represented by different brothers and their individual coats of arms. If you know who they represent I’d love to know!
My favorite part of the church was on the ceiling, though it was too dark to take any decent shots. There were these 15th century wooden angels playing
musical instruments. If you’d stood them upright they would have appeared really squat. I’m assuming they were angels…they didn’t have wings, but they were all dressed in old fashion robes. They were lovely! And then on leaving the church I followed the Goblin out into the porch. He paused to tell me that he’d read inside that there were remains of an Anglo Saxon church nearby. As I stood there behind him as he looked around I realised the walls of the porch were covered in old grafitti. I LOVE old grafitti. There were people’s initials with various dates from the 17th and 18th century, but my favorite grafitti was this really strange one I’ll include. You can make out the first two are probably initials, but there is no date only weird symbols…so now I’m going to be going out of my head wondering what they are. If you have any idea what they are or what they mean do tell me! They might be Masonic. They might be Martian. I’ve no idea!
I find the above inscription utterly fascinating. Can you see the three round indents over the second line in the H? And why three round indents in what must be an I or a J? The third symbol looks like the modern symbold for female. An o with a cross coming out of the top at an angle.The fourth symbol might be an M, but again it’s straight across the top with three round indents. This is going to drive me nuts. Oh well…it’s weird and bizarre…I love it! I had a lovely adventure even if the sun mostly remained behind a solid wall of cloud. I can’t wait to go back! Though I should probably get some work done…never fear…I’ve been working on both Dancing the Maypole and a new short story at least I think it’s a short story. I’m writing…hopefully I’ll have something new to put on line soon! Don’t be surprised if in future one of my characters comes from Bitchfield.