19th century, acanthus, altar, bedstraw, church architecture, common knapweed, corn dolly cross, cypress, Easter Sepulchre, Father's Day, font, greater knapweed, hardheads, hedge bindweed, hedge mustard, hogweed, Hoverfly, jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, kneelers, meadow vetchling, medieval, mosquito, needlework, Norman, parvise, pyramidal orchid, Rood loft stairs, rood screen, St Margaret South Elmham, Trinity Sunday, tutsan, village sign, village stocks, yarrow
This is R’s Father’s Day present from E. This is the third year she has got him the Tour de France premium pack and I am sure he is really happy with it. He cycles whenever he can and has enjoyed watching the Tour for many years.
It was also Trinity Sunday on Sunday, the day on which we have to consider God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many people have difficulty with this concept but I have never found it difficult to understand that God is one god but has three parts or roles; though of course my ability to express this is woefully inadequate. I can accept this without having to question it. I can accept that God is Father (the Creator) and that God is Son (Jesus, who lived on earth experiencing everything that a human could ever experience and who died for us) and that God is Holy Spirit (the Comforter, our strength when we are in need). I think we are all different things to different people and have to behave differently depending on what is needed of us but at the same time we are still the same person, so we have an idea of where to start from when considering the Trinity of God. A human father has many other roles as well as being a father – son, husband, wage-earner, jack-of-all-trades. I hope all fathers were made to feel appreciated on Sunday.
The Trinity Sunday service was at St Margaret South Elmham church which is close enough for us to walk to which R and I really enjoy. The weather was cloudy and cool again but we were fortunate in that it didn’t rain while we were going to and coming from church. I saw a number of interesting plants on our walk and took a couple of photos on the way home. After doing a few chores after lunch I decided to walk back to St Margaret’s and take some more pictures and include some of the pretty church too. The light was bad and it rained a little while I was out so some of the photos didn’t come out at all well. The interior of the church was too dark for some of my shots and even with the flash most didn’t come out. I did have enough fairly good pictures though, to give you an idea of what I saw. I am indebted to the history of the church leaflet I bought at the church for some of the information below.
The porch has a room above it, a parvise or priest’s room but it is not normally open to the public. Parvise means ‘paradise’ but I doubt whether it is like paradise up there! The books and documents belonging to the church used to be kept in a parvise and sometimes the priest used to live there. Some of these rooms in other churches are made into little chapels for private prayer.
The font is of a design which is common in East Anglia. It is octagonal and the symbols of the four Evangelists alternating with angels bearing shields are round the bowl. There are lions round the stem of the font, too.
I was unable to get all of the medieval sepulchre in; there are a couple of pinnacles and a finial above it. This is where some of the consecrated bread from the Mass was placed on Good Friday and then brought back to the altar on Easter Day which symbolised Jesus’ burial in the tomb and then resurrection.
These old medieval panels are not in a good condition but you can just see remnants of the paintings that once covered them. In my photograph you can’t see the one on the left, thought to be St Hubert but you can see the ones on the right who are probably bishops.
These are just a few examples of the many lovely kneelers in this church. The photos are worth zooming in on!
The stairs enabled the priest to get to the top of the Rood Screen where lots of candles were lit.
I saw many pretty flowers on my walk to St Margarets and some less pretty but equally noteworthy.
This plant is recognised by its branches which protrude almost at right-angles to the stem. The French used to use an infusion of this plant as a gargle and to improve their vocal performance. The pungent taste of the concoction was improved by adding liquorice or scented honey. The British were not so keen and used the plant to make a sauce to be served with salt fish. The sap was mixed into a syrup with honey or treacle as a cure for asthma.
Another plant with antiseptic properties, the leaves of tutsan were laid across flesh wounds to help heal them. Tutsan derives its name from the Anglo-Norman word ‘tutsaine’ (toute-saine in French) meaning ‘all-wholesome’ or ‘all-healthy’. When fresh, the leaves have no particular smell, but a day or so after drying and for four years or so afterwards they emit a subtle, pleasant odour. This is likened by some to that of ambergris so tutsan is known by some people as sweet amber. Richard Mabey in ‘Flora Britannica’ says the leaves have ‘an evocative, fugitive scent, reminiscent of cigar boxes and candied fruit’. I wonder if this helps anyone imagine what it smells like? Its dried leaves have been used as scented book-marks, particularly in prayer books and Bibles.
According to folklore this flower can be used to foretell a girl’s future. She must pick the expanded florets off the flower-head and then put the remainder of the flower in her blouse. After an hour she must take it out and examine it; if the previously unexpanded florets have now blossomed it means that the man she will marry is shortly coming her way.
Achilles was said to have cured wounds made by iron weapons by using yarrow. The Anglo-Saxons believed yarrow could purge and heal such wounds when pounded with grease. It was used to drive away evil and sickness, to increase physical attractiveness and to protect people from being hurt by the opposite sex. In a Gaelic chant a woman says: ‘I will pick the green yarrow that my figure may be fuller….. that my voice will be sweeter….. that my lips will be like the juice of the strawberry…. I shall wound every man, but no man shall harm me.’ Scary!!
I cannot decide whether this is Common Marsh Bedstraw or Hedge Bedstraw. It is probably Common Marsh Bedstraw and was used to stuff mattresses with.
This plant and common Knapweed are very similar but this is the larger plant and has more thistle-like leaves. Also the outer row of florets are larger than the rest and more spreading. The bracts under the flower-head are slightly different too. For many years this plant was used to treat wounds, ruptures, bruises, sores, scabs and sore throats.
These beautiful white flowers glow in the dusk and the flowers stay open into the night, sometimes all night if there is a moon. They attract the convolvulus hawk moth which has a long enough tongue to extract the nectar at the base of the flower and the moth pollinates the flower at the same time.
This is on the village green. The old building behind looks as though it used to be the forge.
And it had already gone before I found it! I will see if I can take a photo of its large dandelion-like flowers one morning. It also has enormous ‘clocks’ of downy seeds. The long tap-roots are sweet-tasting like parsnips when cooked.
An acanthus plant by someone’s garden fence.
Not a very clear photo I’m afraid.
Lastly, a few photos of some Pyramidal Orchids.