Saturday, October 27, 2012

Monnington on Wye, Herefordshire

Hidden England

I left the main road behind and turned down one of those narrow, high-hedged Herefordshire lanes. Behind the hedges were cider apple orchards and somewhere near a motor was quietly humming as an elevator loaded apples into a deep trailer ready to be taken to Hereford to be pressed. With a few more bends the lane petered to a halt by a sign saying "Private" and a drive leading to a big house. There was no sign of the church, and nowhere else to go, apparently, so I pulled up on a verge, got out, and took my bearings. Then I saw another sign, smaller, shaded by trees, pointing up a green lane between two hedges: "To the church". Off I went, past trickling water and buzzing insects, as the path got less green, more muddy, then more tree-enclosed.

And then there was the tiny timber-framed lychgate, with its four gables and the church beyond. The church was almost entirely built in the late-17th century. Inside, sunlight poured through the mullioned, domestic-looking windows, on to white walls, wooden benches, a screen with barley-sugar-twisted uprights, a communion table, and a font, carved with the initials of the couple, Uvedale and Mary Tomkyns, who paid for the building in 1680. Oil-lamps hung from the plastered ceiling and the brightly painted arms of Charles II (the only brightly coloured object in the place) were displayed on the nave wall. Apart from a gaggle of Calor gas heaters, c 1980, it could almost have been 1680. A bit of hidden England that I shared for half an hour.


Peter Ashley said...

Marvellous. And your arriving there so evocative. My Kilvert's Diary is not to hand, but I wonder if he came here- it sounds familiar.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Blimey, Peter, I think you might be right. Must check Kilvert.

Michele Rowan said...

Mr Wilkinson your blog has a wealth of information that is wonderfully inspiring. Thank you, as right now I'm trying to learn about British architectural styles and you have been invaluable.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thank you, Michele. I'm so pleased you've found it both useful and inspiring.