23 March, 2008

Roydon and Stanstead Abbotts

A trip to Roydon to have a look at the church and an accidental look at Stanstead Abbots church too.

Roydon's church is dedicated to St Peter Ad Vincula and dates from the 13th century. From the picture it looks the typical village church with nave and chancel, however it has been reordered so that the former chancel is now a side chapel in the church and the communion table has been relocated to the north aisle. The table is made of wood (natch) and has carving of chi-rhos and other appropriate symbols. Above it is a modern window depicting emmaus, emmaus seems to be a theme in Harlow Deanery, as the mosaic on the East wall of Harlow Town Centre church depicts the same thing. Roydon church has an old screen now used to screen off the chapel and an old font. The picture shows the lytch or corpse gate and the pleasing roof lines of the church. The lytch gate has places to rest coffins, and was erected as a war memorial. The other picture shows the village sign. There are many of these in Essex.

On the way to meet my friend at work I noticed another church, this time in Hertfordshire. St James Stanstead Abbotts was made redundant in 1882 when a new church was built nearer the village. Consequently, it retains its old box pews and three decker pulpit. I was unable to get in but it would be good to visit one day. The old wooden porch is delightful with its red tiles and ancient beams.

10 March, 2008

Birmingham, Brummagem, Brummidge and a brief visit to the Welsh valleys

There are many different ways of spelling Birmingham, all based on local pronunciation. I started out at St Martins Church in the bullring, which is a victorian copy of a 13th century church previously built there. The church contains the tombs of William and John De Berminghame who are the first recorded inhabitants, i.e. the people illustrious enough to matter, but the name Birmingham is pure saxon. The home (ham) of the tribe (ing) of Birm. The church takes its responsibilities to the local community seriously and has a cafe for shoppers as well as a ten minute reflection for shoppers on Saturday. The church is also opened for much of the time and is full of art - of varying quality.

Birmingham contains a departmental store called Selfridges, the first outside London. It is the curvy blue building covered with aluminium discs.

Birmingham is better than Manchester - much better. It is a single city - Britain's second - and not an agglommeration of villages, although it has taken local villages into its kindly care. What was written in the 1890s in Harper's magazine still rings true now - it is the best governed city in the world. It has some good parks, Cannon Hill Park contains a model of the Birmingham Water Works in the Welsh Valleys and this is the top picture. The bottom picture shows the Midlands Arts Centre for Young People. This was inaugaurated in the 1960s and has had some controversial performances, including ten students from Köln who performed nude, simulated sex acts on stage from Sweden and plays containing swear words. The building is good though with a hexagonal studio theatre.

Moor Street station has been painted in the alleged colours of the Great Western Railway, a grim blend of diahorea yellow-brown and pale poo. I'm all for history but I really prefer taste.

As Birmingham is famous for its metalwork, it has distinctive metal street signs as per the picture. The blue brick shurch has now been converted into a night club but was the former Presbyterian church in Broad Street.

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

01 March, 2008

Leyton and Walthamstow

A visit to Leyton to have a look at the 17th Century Church and Walthamstow to look at the Vestry House Museum and the village area.

Leyton Church is dedicated to St Mary and is allegedly haunted. I couldn't find a keyholder to check the facts but the inside looks a bit ordinary when glimpsed through the windows. The outside has a cupola on the tower that was salvaged from a house that was demolished in 1905.

Near the church is a group of old almshouses modernised in 1992.

Walthamstow has a 15th Century hall house in an ordinary suburban street, although near the former workhouse, now converted to a museum, a former school now a spiritualist church and the old church of the village, which looks as though it was 'restorred' in the 19th century.
Posted by Picasa

Trendy Islington

Posted by Picasa