Monday, January 20, 2014

Stoke Dry, Rutland


On looking the other way, or, Odd things in churches (1)

When Mr A and I push open the church door, we're immediately aware of a man with a large tripod, taking pictures near the chancel arch. We exchange 'Good afternoon's. 'You know what you should be looking at?' says the man. Mr A (we're near his home patch) nods, and gestures towards the Romanesque carvings that the man is photographing. And then I tiptoe away.

Typical, you will say. When I should be looking at Romanesque carvings and an extraordinary wall painting of the martyrdom of St Edmund, what do I find? An old trunk. Some remains of a flower arrangement in an earthenware jug. And Milner's Patent Fire-resistant Safe. Rather the worse for wear but complete with Gothic moulding on the door (to show that it's at home in a church) and sunlight from a nearby window catching the gold roundel. There really is no end to the odd things you see in churches, especially when, for a moment or two, you turn your back on the obvious.

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Mr A's own blog contains a similar post about a church on my patch that I took him to some years ago. For connoisseurs of the quotidian, it's here.

9 comments:

Peter Ashley said...

Ah yes. Somewhere in the mists of time I went to look at some exquisite carvings or medieval wall paintings in a church, but ended up photographing a superbly conical Miramax fire extinguisher instead.

Philip Wilkinson said...

[Adopts Robert Robinson voice:] Ah, indeed, Mr Ashley, indeed. It is likely, nay, inevitable, that you will find some impressive old ironmongery behind a curtain in a church. Give yourself an extra point, and a round of applause...

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

Ah, holy neglect! Because so much church maintenance, etc. is voluntary, where better to find the things that nobody's got round to getting rid of? I myself can easily be distracted by Heraldry, and find out when I get home and look at the guidebook that the most interesting things I simply didn't notice.

Rick Watson said...

I agree Mike. I love what I see when I'm not looking.

Jenny Woolf said...

I might have said this before, but I often think that churches are the only public buildings left that give us an impression of age and the fact that centuries really do pass. I feel the SPAB etc. ought to be worrying a bit more about historic interiors which are so often ripped out.
The safe is magnificent!

Philip Wilkinson said...

Jenny: Yes, church interiors are a constant source of fascination in the way they reflect passing ages. I plan to do more 'odd things in churches' posts that will pick up this theme.

bettyl-NZ said...

There is always something interesting if you look in the right places! Love this shot and your description of finding it.

Eileen Wright said...

Finding oddities and missing out on the obvious seems to be the story of my life! If I'm able to make return visits I'm always finding things that I missed the first time around. There's so much to see, even in the tiniest and plainest of churches I reckon.
I love that photo, Philip. Such a lovely collection of interesting things.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thanks for your comments Bettyl and Eileen: more posts on unusual things soon, I hope.