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Well, this was an interesting trip out, memorable in a way that I never expected when I left home that morning! Those of you who know mw will know that I suffered a quite bad knee injury in between Christmas and the New Year in 2009. Came off the cycle in black ice and it was a long recovery period.
I had two 40 mile rides to start off the new year, but this was the first proper ride since that injury. The knee held up fine and I was going really well, so I decided to do a few miles extra and visit two more villages that I hadn't planned to. The first of these was Leighton Bromswold, which I wanted to see due to the fact that the bells there were cast by the Stamford bellfoundry, and the other was Spaldwick.
Barham, which is near to Buckworth, is right on the very edge of the catchment area of this site, and I headed from Spaldwick to Barham to shoot the church of St Giles. There was a lot of vintage cars heading through Spaldwick and on towards Barham. Sadly for them there is a large hill inbwteeen the two villages. To cut a long story short, they were able to get down the hill okay...but getting back up was another matter!
A large traffic jam of vintage cars formed, which were then pulled and pushed up the hill one at a time! Given that this is a main road, there was also a traffic jam forming of the days run of the mill traffic, the drivers of which watched on with good natured amusement at what was going on around them!
Those of us with a camera handy were handed a photo opportunity which would not present itself very often! After half an hour of great enjoyment, watching some amiable English eccentrics at play, I set off the last few hundred yards to Barham. In that time I had the great joy of passing two cars.....not many times over the years that I have overtaken cars, should point out in the interests of fairness though that both of the cars in question were over 100 years old!
Right, where was I...? oh yes, the church of St Giles! When I first had the idea for this site one of the main joys for me was to visit places that I would otherwise never have visited. This is a very attractive village, with the church of St George standing in picturesque settings opposite some delightful 17th century thatched cottages.
The church of St Giles itself is small but beautiful, set behind a hedge in well maintained grounds and surrounded with trees. There was no mention of a church here at the time of the Domesday surver in 1086. It is thought that a church was first built here towards the end of the 12th century.
The chancel and the chancel arch were both rebuilt in or around 1300. The church was restored in 1850, when the porch and the wall of the north aisle were rebuilt. The bell cote, at the western end of the church was built in 1850, and this houses a single bell, which was made by Mears of London in 1841. According to some internet research the inscription on this bell has been wiped out, and I am thinking that this bell was originally cast for another church.
Further restoration work was completed here in Edwardian times, the west wall and the porch being rebuilt in 1903. Further work was undertaken in 1905, when the chancel was restored.
The west end of this church is very heavily butressed. There is obviously a subsidance problem here, with graves leaning over at all angles. The church grounds are kepy very tidy, and there are a few intricately carved headstones, especially in the area close to the south porch, which would have been fabulous pieces of work in their day.
I was joined by a photographer, who was shooting the vintage cars as they "sped", for want of a better word, through the village. Spent a frustrating few minutes trying to get a picture of one of the cars going past the church. Decided to stick to shooting churches and gargoyles! Off the photographer went, following the trail of oil on the road to neighbouring Buckworth!
A super time spent. This church is a little gem and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.