Wednesday 10 April 2013

My birthday outing

Friday saw my husband and I setting off for foreign parts - e.g. England! - for my birthday outing (a few days early).  We were heading for Herefordshire - the Dymock area near Much Marcle, above Ross-on-Wye, to see two churches there, and hopefully a few of the beautiful Dymock daffodils on the way.

We stopped off in Abergavenny on the way, to visit St Mary's church, as a television documentary the previous week had shown the most amazing 15th C carving - done on an entire huge oak tree - of Jesse, the father of King David.  It is a unique piece, and probably one of the few remaining late Medieval wooden carvings remaining not just in Britain, but in Europe/the world.

 Sadly the tree with branches of Jesus' family which was once a tall branch sprouting from Jesse's hands, was sawn off - quite probably after Oliver Cromwell's troops were in the area.  With the window behind it, the light was very bad for taking photographs, but I hope these two show some of Jesse's majesty and the skill of the carver.

Below is a motif carved into the stonework of one of the ?????  This signifies the transition of the spirit from the physical world into the next spiritual realm.  These days we would be more familiar with it as a tattoo or a motif (for good luck!) on the back of a Hell's Angel's jacket. 

Anyway - more to follow - chasing my tail right now!


  1. I enjoyed this post about the magnificent carving; so much of religious art and historic pieces was destroyed during Henry VIIIs reign. I am glad this carving is saved. I am reading The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser so know a bit about the times.

  2. It certainly is magnificent. Look forward to the rest and HAPPY belated BIRTHDAY!

  3. Beautiful !
    Beautiful post and I love the heading photo.
    On the last trip I took to the UK with my X I made sure I visited as many churches as I could.

    Happy Birthday and let there be cake !

    cheers, parsnip

  4. Happy happy (belated) birthday!

    I've always enjoyed church sculptures - so beautiful. Here in the states 'old' isn't very, lol. So the pieces available to view and enjoy in in the UK and Europe in general are all the more remarkable (to me) for their age.

    So glad you had a special get-away for your bday and I look forward to seeing more!


  5. love the skull! Glad you had a good birthday.

  6. Another belated happy birthday, but it looks like a good outing,and it is indeed a magnificient sculpture.

  7. There really are some interesting finds to be had in a lot of these churches aren't there? We tend to stop and look round churches if we are out for a drive, as there is usually something of surprise. I love that figure of Jesse. Happy Birthday too.

  8. Belated Happy Birthday :) Sounds like a wonderful day out. I love visiting old churches and the ones near Much Marcle are on my list to visit (one day ). Found your text and photos really interesting - look forward to the next post :)

  9. The church sounds a fascinating place and the carving is quite something. What a pity about the damage to the original whole carving -Oliver Cromwell's lot have a great deal to answer for!