Wednesday, 23 July 2014

War memorial over the door

Saint Michael figure at Marchington Church

World War One is the theme of much media interest at the moment, as its 100th anniversary comes up soon.  A lot of history groups are researching their own war-memorials; and I was surprised to learn from one of them that this installation over the main doorway at Marchington Church is in fact the village's war memorial.  It features Saint Michael.

This cleared up a matter which had puzzled me for a while. Why was Saint Michael figured so prominently on the front of a church dedicated to Saint Peter?    Now I know.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Dead pine gulch

Dead pines at Chartley Moss

Chartley Moss is not often visited.  It is a floating bog - and in the wrong weather walkers could quickly find themselves in danger of suddenly sinking.  It’s all private land anyway.

It’s a shock when you do get there.  The pines that were planted there a hundred years ago sank under their own weight down through the nine-foot thick peat bed and into the lake below – and then their roots simply drowned. Curiously, as the pines die they get lighter and ‘re-ascend’ – creating this spooky landscape of spiky dead trees.

Natural England do occasional tours of the site; and you have to sign up for them in advance.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Two and a half millennia of Artemis

Artemis of Versailles statue

Artemis The Hunter is surely everybody’s favourite ancient goddess.  Strong, wonderful ... and, without being headstrong, refusing to let any of the other gods interfere with what she wanted to do. Free as a bird. (Also known as Diana by the Romans).

This sculpture at Sandon Hall has a strange story.  It is a 1999 re-creation of a piece destroyed in a storm at Sandon.  The destroyed piece was a copy of a Roman statue ('Artemis of Versailles') from the second century – which itself was a copy of a Greek statue of around 300BC.
You can’t keep Artemis down.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Round and round the village tree

Caverswall centre

If you want a quiet, remote, pretty little English village, try Caverswall.  Its centre conists of this large tree, which acts (in fact) as the middle of a de-facto roundabout for vehicles.

You can do nothing in Caverswall for hours, which is very pleasant.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Mystery saint

Stained-glass portrait of Saint Editha in Amington Church

Saint Editha is a real Staffordshire saint, in that she existed (she lived in the early part of the tenth century) somewhere in or around Tamworth.

After that little fact (ie she definitely existed), almost none of the sources can agree about the details of her life story.  In Amington Church, which is dedicated to her, there is this lovely little stained-glass portrait of her wearing a crown (she may have been a princess) - but that's as fanciful a idea of her as everything else.
A long, lovely article by Christine Smith attempts to sort it all out.  (Well done for trying, Christine!)

Anyway... one source claims that today is her feast-day. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Time stops on the lake

View of Rudyard Lake

These long summer days can lead to still & strangely nebulous evenings, especially if there are a few clouds left.  Time stops still a little.
This is Rudyard Lake.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Unique hedgehog

Hedgehog Pub sign

There is only one 'Hedgehog Pub' in the UK (maybe the world?) - at least that's what an internet search seems to suggest.
I don't know why this fact interests me, but it does.

The Hedgehog is on the outskirts of Lichfield.  It dates back to the eighteenth century.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Honouring the woman

Emma Darwin Hall

Emma Darwin was the wife of Charles Darwin, not to mention his cousin (that sort of stuff was okay in the nineteenth century...).   Emma was a Staffordshire girl, and lived at Maer Hall in west Staffordshire, where Charles was a frequent visitor. The pair married in Maer Church.

Emma is fascinating for lots of reasons.  She brought to the marriage all the intelligence and creativity of the Wedgwood family (she was the grand-daughter of Josiah I), so she was no slouch in understanding and commenting on Charles' work.

So I think it's terrific that Shrewsbury School has named one of their halls after her, despite her not being known for her own work. 
(Why Shrewsbury?  Because Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, she is honoured in Shrewsbury by association, so to speak).

Monday, 7 July 2014

Exclusive view

View from Kinver Churchyard

This must surely be one of the best views in Staffordshire; and you have a very peaceful and secluded spot from which to see it. Barely anyone comes here, despite the fact that a bench or two is waiting for them.

This bench is actually sited at the far end of the large churchyard of St Peter's in Kinver.  The church stands on a hill, high above the actual town of Kinver.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Memorial to a selfless pilot

Memorial to Captain John Perrin of the US Air Force.

It's no wonder that the people of Creswell and nearby Stafford put up a memorial to Captain John Perrin of the US Air Force.
It goes back to the last days of the Second World War:  by managing to pilot his out-of-control aircraft away from habitation and crashing it into empty fields, the captain must have saved the lives of a good number of families. It probably cost him his life to do it though.

Each year, the local folk gather to remember him on July 4th, the date of the crash.  This year was the 70th anniversary.