London is such a vibrant and exciting place to live – you never need get bored given the array of attractions on offer. But give me a reason to get out and explore England’s green and pleasant lands and I’ll jump at the opportunity.
Arriving in quaint English villages, where there is sometimes little more than a scattering of houses built around a well-kept green, I often have to remind myself that it’s all for real and not one giant uninhabited museum. Add in a pub, a shop and meeting hall and and you’ve got what many would say to be a realistic snapshot of rural life.
One place of course missing from that list is the parish church. Whether you are religious or not you can’t fail to be captivated by these wonderful stone built constructions dotted around the country.
Bishop Bradstock, which I visited at the weekend for a wedding, has the wonderfully restored St Mary’s Church with a history stretching back one thousand years. Built in a crucifix shape, it has a central tower with blue clock face.
The building you can see today dates in parts to the 14th and 15th centuries. It has lovely stained glass windows and the timber ceiling is immense as the pictures on this page show.
St Mary’s Church has obviously had some serious money spent on it to restore original features, but many parish churches elsewhere are struggling. Crumbling masonry combined with falling congregation sizes make it harder and harder to make the books add up.
It’s important churches like St Mary’s get the grants they need to ensure they can be enjoyed for generations to come. With congregations dwindling we all should do our bit to ensure this link with our past is preserved. So to all those City bankers heading to rural weddings: make sure you throw an extra few pounds in the collecting boxes when you leave.