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Monday, 4 February 2013

Another sketch today, and a bit of history.

Quatford: The Church of St Mary Magdalene in Shropshire.


Travelling north a few years back we had to break our journey and stayed overnight just west of Wolverhampton. The countryside that morning when we had eaten breakfast beckoned my camera to be rescued from the suitcase, it was a beautiful day, and as some of you would know the structure of a church and its surroundings I find is compelling to me to reach for my sketch pad. All these months later I found the pictures I took that day, and the above sketch is the result.
Legend has it that Adeliza, the wife of Roger de Montgomery, founded this church.
Montgomery had come to England with William the Conqueror and been given control of Shropshire.
When his wife travelled across the channel to join him there was a terrible storm. Terrified and soaked to the skin on deck of the vessel she was travelling on, Adeliza prayed on her knees to God, and that, should she safely complete her journey, she would build a church at the place where she first caught sight of her husband. This took place under a nearby oak tree (which still survives to this day! but I have left it out of the sketch I have made) Montgomery then built the first church on this site.
The church dates then from the Norman period (1066-1154) I think I have got that right.
The church’s nave and tower I was told at the time by the curate that showed us around was later rebuilt in 1714. But much of the interior remains from the original construction all those years ago, although off the beaten track, much of our heritage is hidden away like this church, in the small villages and countryside, very little is mentioned in our history books, but the stories are sometimes told by enthusiastic locals creating for me a fascination to the past that I can’t get enough of.
Knowing the squalls the channel can produce, a young woman on her own in an open boat, just the crew for company in a vessel that would not be allowed out of the harbour these days; can you just imagine the terror she must have felt, only her trust in her faith to keep her going. Such courage is incomprehensible to us in this day and age; I think I too would have fallen to my knees.
Thanks for stopping by.






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