Toads in Church

Very interesting.


I have long had a sense that the ordinary folk of England have not taken Christianity too seriously since Henry made such a mess of it, and this applies especially to far flung villages. This is a real gem from W.H Hudson’s wonderful book ‘Afoot in England’. I think this is somewhere in Devon – Hudson can be infuriatingly vague at times. He writes of arriving in the loveliest village he had ever seen, which was utterly silent.

“I was wishing that I had come a little earlier on the scene to have had time to borrow the key of the church and get a sight of the interior, when all at once I heard a shrill voice and a boy appeared running across the wide green space of the churchyard. A second boy followed, then another, then still others, and I saw they were going into the church by…

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Ophelia of the West Country

Interesting story.


Here’s a story from one of my favourite local history books, ‘Rural Rides of the Bristol Churchgoer’ by local newspaper editor Joseph Leech. In 1843 & 4 Leech visited churches in the Bristol region anonymously, and published his  reviews, much to the terror of local vicars. the results are a wonderful insight into the art and architecture of the region, but also brilliantly observed social histories. This is one of the saddest stories I have ever come across, his visit to Stapleton, then on the bleak outskirts of the city where a Poor House had been built, to replace a prison for French prisoner of war.

“The churchyard seems to be almost wholly used as a Golgotha for the neighbouring poorhouse, as the long ranks of little red clay-mounds, with a small inscribed footstone to each, indicated. I seldom saw a more desolate and cheerless-looking resting-place for the dead in…

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