900 Years Of History


Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.

59 responses to “900 Years Of History”

  1. Derrick your adventures in the hospital remind me of mine at the Veterans Hosital. I do the same thing. Take a ticket at one place and then quickly go to the next station and then return to the first with hopes that my number will be called just as i return. Makes things more efficient that way. As far as your knees, i had a total replacement on my left one in my late 40’s due to psoriac athritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia. Two years later they had to do a complete redo as the components on the 1st one loosened. The 2nd one seems to be holding up thus far.

  2. When you think of all the work that has gone into some of these old churches—not to mention all the significant events that have taken place in them–they’re almost like living things. Your photos capture the personality beautifully.

  3. I liked Oglach’s comment about the old churches almost being living things, and I agree you captured it perfectly. Those stained glass windows are beautiful–somehow more so to me along with those old gravestones paving the floor. I look forward to seeing more, Derrick.
    The daffodils sing of spring.

  4. I do love to visit the old churches – the sense of time and tides above all else does it for me. It was lovely to come across the flash of colour provided by the daffodils after the water logged pictures – it’s wonderful how they change a landscape! I actually like the modern stained window in the church too – which is unusual for me. I like the ghostly trees – perhaps a memorial of what the surrounding country once looked like?

  5. I found your photo of “the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952”, to be fascinating and a great piece of wood carving.

  6. You and Jackie were busy bees today. You should sleep well tonight. I hope your blood work tests in your favor to give you some relief, Derrick. Beautiful photos! The stained glass is incredible. Cheers!

  7. I found out Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ on YouTube so that I could have an idea of what it was like what was played out for you. Well, interesting things happen behind those gabionaged walls, which present a pretty picture by the way. Sparrow’s nesting is always an auspicious sign. The framing and exposure of your forest shots are excellent. The exposures of St John the Baptist at Boldre are timeless.

  8. House Sparrows have rare bird status here. I’ve seen a single female once during a whole winter of feeding the birds. That’s a lovely church, especially the roof bosses.

  9. I do love stained glass windows. The colours with the light shining through! But my eye was caught in this collection by the millenium window. It feels very peaceful.

  10. I hope you get the response to want re your knees.

    As for the stained windows, I love them all but am particularly taken with the one to mark the millennium.

    • Thanks a lot, Helen. That is a good window because it is so different from the others, yet works. I’m not one for medication, so will be looking towards surgery if advised

  11. There is really something special to like about stained glass windows.
    Also, gabions are becoming quite popular in Australia. I might have to do a series on them as a building form.

  12. Bit late commenting on this. A couple of those craftspeople mentioned have local connections. Tracey Sheppard lives in Winchester, and has plenty of work around here. Richard Bent used to live in Romsey (had moved to Cornwall last we heard) and exhibited with us several times in the 90s/early millennium. A man of grand visions. We still have a small-scale iron oaktree by him in our cupboard.

  13. Thank you for the post. I loved the pictures of the inside of the church. The pews look well-worn from centuries of use. What stories they could tell if they could talk!

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