|The view from the road.|
So what did I do to make myself so shattered today?
Well I went to visit Old St. Mary's Church, or St. Mary the Virgin to give it it's proper title, at Clophill. Built in the 1350's it fell out of use in the early 1900's and was converted to a mortuary chapel until it was finally abandoned altogether in the 1950's. In the 1960's there were rumours it was being used for satanic ceremonies and that bodies were being dug up out of the surrounding churchyard for use in these ceremonies. All that remains of the much bigger church is the nave and the tower. The galleries and the chancel are long gone, removed during it's conversion to a chapel.
I have been there only once before and that was in passing on a very gloomy wet day. The remains looked eerie and the location was bleak and isolated, indeed a perfect setting for any horror story. Yesterday however, it was beautiful and peaceful and nothing as I remembered it.
I must admit a certain anticipation and nervousness about going there. On my first brief stop I was not fully aware of it's reputation. However my first view from the road was majestic. Yes it is very lonely and yes from some angles it can look very sinister but I felt quite comfortable wandering around. In fact the only danger I faced were the numerous rabbit holes and fallen branches that had me slipping, sliding and tripping all over the place. No I'm not blind, the grass was almost waist height in places so you couldn't see what was at ground level.
|The tower from the inside|
The graveyard was a bit of a disappointment. Most of the gravestones had obviously been moved from their original places and used to circle the church acting as a second wall. I was very surprised to see another churchyard right next door that was obviously still in use. A later visit to the new St. Mary's solved that mystery, it has no room for a graveyard being squashed in to a gap in the high street.
What the new St. Mary's did have however was a wasp or bee's nest which I inadvertently disturbed, I did not stay to check which insect it was, and beat a hasty retreat.
|A carving from the new church|
During my visit my mobile went off and I was shocked to see that it was a withheld number. I answered and the woman on the other end asked me to confirm who I was and then asked how I was feeling. My heart was racing fit to bust until she introduced herself as someone trying to arrange my next oxygen delivery. It was only when she rang off that I realised I was gripping my camera so tight it was hurting. I wish people would just get to the point when they ring, it would save an awful lot of stress.
After a couple of hours we got back in the car and headed home. Once again I was elated having throughly enjoyed scrabbling over the lumps and bumps but also extremely tired. I went to bed early and slept right through till eight. I wish I had more energy but sadly for that I'm going to have to wait.
I've included a few photos and will post more tomorrow. Right now I've got a date with a couple of black sacks and a suitcase.