For a number of reasons I have not posted anything on my blog for about a year. Problems with the internet last Easter, an old laptop, a camera that needs servicing (or replacing), health issues and hardly any walks and journeys to share with you are the main reasons. The almost complete absence of internet for ten days or so last Easter forced me into the hiatus and when the wi-fi returned I felt strangely unwilling to resume my WordPress and other internet activities. I obviously needed a break from being on-line; not that I am on-line a lot but I was finding I was becoming stressed because I didn’t have the time to read all the posts I wanted to and wasn’t able to comment fully on those posts.
During the last few months I have rediscovered not only the joy of reading all sorts of books but also the satisfaction I get from knitting. Unfortunately, the gardening came to a halt during the hot summer drought and many of my garden plants died. I am having to rethink how I will tend my garden in the future. Richard and I were able to get away for a week’s holiday in early September to the Peak District in Staffordshire; our first break since the summer of 2019. What a pleasure it was to revisit favourite places and to meet up with Alice and Elinor on my birthday. Elinor stayed with Alice in Sheffield while Richard and I had our holiday.
Elinor finished her time at the University of Suffolk and was awarded a First Class Honours degree in Graphic Design (Graphic Illustration). We all attended her graduation in October on a very wet and chilly day; how proud we were!
I now have a new lap-top which has made life much easier but as yet, I haven’t been able to do anything about my camera.
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your kind wishes and thoughtful comments on my posts. I had no idea that I would spend so long away from my blog and I apologise for not explaining my absence earlier.
I have decided to ease my way back in by sharing a visit Elinor and I made to Huntingfield church last November.
This was the first time we had visited this church, which is surprising as it is only just over seven miles from our house. Years and years ago, my father used to attend mid-week mass here helping the priest as a server or acolyte.
The church was begun in the 11th century but most of the building we see now is from the 15th century. It is in good repair and has had a number of works of restoration done over the years.
The church is known locally as the painted church.
I took more photos of the ceiling with my phone but they weren’t a success. As you can see, the decorations are of more recent date than the church. Any painting and decoration the church had had originally would have been destroyed or removed during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century or during the time of the Commonwealth in the 17th century. The ceiling was painted in the mid-19th century by a woman called Mildred Holland who was the Rector’s wife. She worked on the painting of the chancel from September 1859 until April 1860 with no apparent help from anyone other than local tradesmen who put the scaffolding up for her and prepared and primed the surface of the ceiling. She also had advice from a Mr. E.L. Blackburne F.S.A. who was an authority on medieval decoration. Three years later she began painting again, this time in the Nave and the scaffolding eventually came down in 1866. It is said she did most of the painting while lying on her back. She ordered the angels and other figures from a specialist tradesman and had them fitted for her but painted them herself. Her husband had received an inheritance just before they arrived at the parish and this money was spent on repairs, new windows and furnishings as well as all the equipment needed for his wife’s painting work.
William Holland presented the church with this font cover in memory of his wife who died in 1878, twelve years after she had finished her painting.
The church has never been long without patrons who help to find funds for restoration work. I was surprised to see that the guide book to the church is illustrated by the artist David Gentleman.
Here is a link to more information about the church.
You could also read a novel based on the story of Mildred and William’s work in Huntingfield church. It is called “The Huntingfield Paintress” and is by Pamela Holmes. I read it out of interest and found it well written aand well researched. It was too romantic for my taste but other readers have been very pleased with it.