Silent Sunday….. So Off to Church

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Saint Melangell’s Church, Pennant Melangell, North Wales

This is a church you really have to search for.  It is hidden at the end of very narrow road in Cwm Pennant in the shadow of the Berwyn Hills. There at the very end of the road, hidden away behind high Yew Hedges and through a Stone Lych Gate, you will find the Church dedicated to Saint Melangell.  Built in the 7th century it has a story as old as the church itself * .  If you read the story below you will soon see that this rather small but important church is very much a place of Pilgrimage and also explains the reason for its immaculate upkeep.

So step inside admire the wooden beams and Rood Screen, move closer and you will find the Shrine to Saint Melangell.

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*  Now read the story of Saint Melangell

There once was a Prince by the name of Brochwel hunting in the valley of Pennant. His hounds put up a Hare that after a chase went to cover in a thicket. When the Prince investigated he found a young virgin by the name of Melangell at prayer and the Hare hiding beneath her long robes. The hounds would not approach her and in fact took off despite the huntsman’s best efforts to seek out the Hare. Prince Brochwel ask the young girl her name and her intentions. She told the Prince that she had come to this tranquil and serene valley to seek refuge and peaceful sanctuary. The Prince was so impressed with her godliness that he granted the valley to her…..so it is here that Melangell founded her religious community.

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17th February

(C) David Oakes 2019

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Saint Valentines Day….. Remembered

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A simple verse for Saint Valentines Day on this Victorian Valentines Card.

More often than not they featured a demur looking young Lady…

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But occasionally the male was depicted….

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The card above had the caption on the reverse of.. “The Gay Hussar”. 

I guess today that would be considered a very Un-PC comment.  Times do change.

All three Valentines Cards are Victorian, Published by Raphael Tuck & Sons of London and are from my Card Collection.  They were published between 1880 to 1899.  As was the popular style of the time they are all simple flat cards.

 

14th February

Cards from the David Oakes Card Collection.

(C) David Oakes 2019

 

Silent Sunday…… So Off to Church

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Lindisfarne Priory, Holy Island, Northumberland

 

It is on a tiny Island, to become known as Holy Island, that King Oswald of Northumberland directed that a Monastery be built. He had already summoned Saint Aidan to travel from Iona to found a Celtic Christian community…this was in 635ad.

Lindisfarne as it was called became a powerful and influential Religious Centre.  It was Saint Aidan who took the challenge forward but there after he was followed by Cuthbert,  Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and then Eadberht of Lindisfarne.

The history is quite involved, so if you are really keen I suggest you read further, maybe the English Heritage site. Here is a very brief overview. It was 670 that Cuthbert joined the Monastic community.  He soon became both influential and also divisive. Perhaps it was after his death in 687 that his spiritual powers started to become part of the legend that is Lindisfarne. He was buried in a stone tomb within the Priory.  Then some 11 years later, in 689, he was exhumed…. his body had not decade and a ‘miracle’ of Saintly proportions was declared.  Instead of a reburial a Shrine was erected in the Priory which soon became a place of Pilgrimage  and Religious Fame.

From 710 to 725, Lindisfarne continue to grow in Monastic importance, a place of religious education and study…. most notably the publication of the Lindisfarne Gospels, still considered one of the most important Religious Writings.

Soon all fell apart when the first major Viking Invasion on mainland Britain occurred. Destruction and plunder followed. The Monks had foresight and removed Cuthbert’s remains to safety,  travelling across the north of England to keep one step ahead of any pursuit.

Peace of sorts returned shortly after 1069 and Cuthbert’s remains  were returned and by 1122 a Monastery under the guidance of Durham Cathedral was re-established.

Of course Religious buildings were never totally secure.  Lindisfarne suffered in the ‘Border Wars’ and of course in the Abolition Orders.

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I should add as a footnote that Holy Island is a rather enchanting place.  Assessable only at low tide via a causeway, surrounded by the North Sea.  There is a Castle of much more modern date than the Priory and a small community that gets engulfed by hundreds of visitors every low tide.

But for me I have always founded it to have both a special feel, peace and having very special light.

10th February

(C) David Oakes 2019