Standing tall behind the Quay of this Ancient market town of Wareham is the Parish Church of Lady Saint Mary. Its tower has dominated the surrounding skyline for many centuries acting not just as a marker for the town across the surrounding marshes but for shipping from Pool Harbour approaching the town via the River Frome.
Probably like all churches that we see today its location was probably dictated by the use of the site by early religious groups for worship. Lady St. Mary was built St. Aldhelm in 705ad the then Bishop of Sherborne in what was known as the Kingdom of Wessex. It was an Anglo Saxon construction with the tower being added later in 1500 and occasional increased in height.
The Nave looking East to the Chancel
As you enter Lady St. Mary you are struck by both the height and bright modern style of the interior. Wooden beams, solid supporting pillars and arches and a dominant East Window. It is relatively modern…. the main body of the church and roof were reconstructed in 1840’s. Not really surprising as like most religious buildings it has been involved in turmoil and war over the many centuries since it was founded back in 705. Invading Danes completely destroyed the church in 876 and Civil Wars and other incursions left there marks. (It is a wonder any of our historic churches are still standing) Despite all the rebuilding’s and repairs it is still much the Anglo Saxon Style.
The Chancel is the on its own both colourful and dominant. The East window was constructed in the 1300’s and the Coloured glazing added in 1886. The Organ Pipes add another dimension. Next to the Chancel on the south side you drop down some steps to the small St. Edwards Chapel one of the oldest parts of the Church still much as it was, dating back to 1100’s a dedicated place for quiet reflection and prayer.
The Church also has a proud boast in so much as its Church Bells have been rung to mark just about every major event in the History of the UK.
The history of Wareham matches that of Lady St. Mary’s. Looking at the Quay which is the draw for todays Tourists with its waterside Pub and Tea Rooms, river trips up and down the River Frome it conveys a very different picture than its past importance. The fact that the Quayside Pub was once a Granary is perhaps one clue. In fact the River Frome and its direct link, across the surrounding marshes, to Poole Harbour made this a major Port of Dorset, trading across the maritime world and centre of trading commerce. Wareham was strategically located on some of the only higher dry ground above the marshes and between the two rivers of Frome and Piddle that flow on each side to the town.
Today it is still a busy market town, full of interest for any tourist… and to emphasis the national importance to the country in times past, Wareham has been the home of two Royal Mints.
Next Sunday we will travel to another ancient Dorset Religious location with links to Lady St. Mary.
(C) David Oakes 2018
Wells Cathedral, Somerset
On our current tour we couldn’t leave Somerset without visiting Wells Cathedral. Lets give it its proper name ” The Cathedral Church of Saint Andrews”.
Like most Cathedrals, Wells Cathedral is built on an earlier religious site this one dating back to around 700ad. The Cathedral we see today was built between 1175 and1490.
Whilst the exterior is dramatic, bold and finely detailed it is the interior in a Gothic style equally bold but could well be mistaken for a contemporary design that takes most visitors by surprise…. crisp modern yet full of the usual overpowering sense of being.
Wells is also the seat of the Bishop of Bath and Wells and an equally stylish Bishops Palace hides its charms away behind the Cathedral… and missed by many.
So share with us a brief visit to Wells Cathedral…
Apart from the Cathedral, Wells is a lovely City (on a small scale) to visit. But it is well and truly on the Tourist Trail…Coach Parties are a major feature in visitor numbers. So pop along late afternoon for a more peaceful atmosphere in the Cathedral and if you are there around 6pm you can listen to the music and singing of Evensong echoing round the high ceilings of the nave…enjoy
(C) David Oakes 2018
Hardknott Roman Fort, Cumbria
The top of Hardknott Pass in Cumbria is both a remote and for much of the year a very bleak place. So I guess not much fun for those Roman Soldiers billeted to outpost to maintain the Roman Empires hold over the Brits….. and very different from the Mediterranean climate they were so far from.
Remote as it was the Fort was large by Roman standards, so must have had seriously important security issues for the Regiment to enforce. The Fort stands at some 280feet above sea level and on a mountainous West to East Roman Road.
Monday or not…I guess there were a more than a few moody soldiers around.
(C) David Oakes 2018
Llyn Padarn looking towards Yr Wyddfa
Snowdonia, North Wales
March 1st, a new month and for the Meteorological Office its is the first day of Spring. With snow cover much of the UK, I guess many will share my view that Spring doesn’t start till the Equinox on March 20th.
What isn’t disputed is that March the 1st is Saint David’s Day.
Today marks the death of the Patron Saint of Wales on this day in 589AD.
So to mark this special day for all Welsh people where ever they may live, here is a bouquet of Daffodils…. the National Flower of Wales
A Bowl of Welsh Gold
(C) David Oakes 2018
I treated myself…
Yes, I know its naughty to treat ones self at Christmas….but I just couldn’t resist it.
It is the writings of one of our fellow Bloggers, Jo Woolf… maybe better know to you as
In her latest Blog Jo mentioned that the book she has devoted so much time to was complete and now published (https://the-hazel-tree.com/2017/12/21/christmas-greetings)
So if like me you like a good read about adventure and discovery then it may be just the book for you. The postman has just delivered it so I have only had a quick scan and I guess it is a book for those dark wet afternoons when you can just dive in a read one of the great adventures…. but also a book that you may find you just want to continue reading…..or simply a book to take you far away from the here and now.
More details on this link:- http://sandstonepress.com/books/the-great-horizon
So this afternoon, its a wee dram, feet up and forget the Christmas hurly burly for a short while.
(C) David Oakes 2017