The Macmillan Cross
The day had turned grey and a damp Scottish mist had descended as we drove down the Knapdale Peninsular in Argyll. The peninsular extends like a finger into the Atlantic point towards Ireland. We knew there was an old Chapel to be found at the point and sure enough there it was Kilmory Knap Chapel…..looking all the world like many other Highland Chapels roofless and partly ruined.
The big surprise was to be found inside. This Christian Chapel dates back to 13c, but as the area has a religious history that pre dates that, in some place going back to neo lithic times, this Chapel was possibly built on an earlier religious site. It stopped becoming a place of worship when it fell into disrepair and lost its roof. After that it became a place of Burial Enclosure….and that is the clue as you step inside the ruin.
Thankfully some forward thinking individuals had the inspiration to install an inverted glass roof to protect the body of the Chapel and an important collection of over 30 carved Burial Stones and standing in place of honour is the carved Celtic Macmillan Cross of the Knapdale Macmillan Clan.
The Stones were found either within the Chapel or the surrounding grounds. The stones are carved in a variety of styles, some obviously carved with Celtic influences others ornate carvings of familiar images whilst others are more symbolic. Historians suggested that these memorial stones were created to represents the individuals wealth within their community with some of the stones having been commissioned on the Island of Iona and transport to Kilmory.
There are helpful notes in the Chapel to help you interpret the history of each stone. This is a large collection of Burial stones, but carved stones like these, whilst not common are not unfamiliar to the Knapdale and Kilmartin region of Argyll. Click the link to read more about Kilmartin and its stones :- https://davidoakesimages.wordpress.com/2016/05/11/wordless-wednesday-another-favourite-place-74/
Not all burials in this graveyard are of the wealthy and some simpler crosses have been recovered…
Kilmory Chapel may well be a bleak and lonely location but it is far from being an empty shell.
(C) David Oakes 2017
Last week I took you on a tour of the old walled Gardens at Calke and did promise a further look at this Old Derbyshire Family Estate that since 1622 belonged to the Harpur Crewe family and their ancestors.
So as it is a Sunday we will start out tour at the family church of St. Giles. Situated on a rise overlooking the house it is reached along a tree lined walk.. a brisk walk on any Sunday the family and Staff.
The Calke Estate passed to the National Trust in 1985 after the sudden death of Charles Harpur Crewe to help cover Death Duties.
But the family left quite a legacy. For several Centuries Calke Estate was a virtual self sufficient estate with many employees. There were several Farms (still working today), Expansive Stables, and all the accompanying workshops of Blacksmith, Harness and Tack rooms, Fire Station Butcher, Baker and of course the Gardening staff, for a garden that had to be very food productive.
Calke Abbey is placed central to an extensive Park Land. Deer once roamed freely they even had their own Deer Shelter, now a ruin….today the Deer are in a fenced enclosure. The whole park land is a wonderful woodland full of ancient Oak Trees plus specimen Beech. A place to explore across all the seasons…
The Old Man of Calke
Just one of the oldest Oak trees still standing over 1000 years…what a story it can tell of the comings and goings at Calke, Derbyshire
(C) David Oakes 2017
Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders
Beside the wide and often wild River Tweed in Roxburghshire, in the heart of Scotland’s Border region, lie the Eildon Hills and in their shadow lies the town of Melrose.
Melrose is not a large town and within its boundary are the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey now know as Melrose Abbey. They are substantial remains of what was one of several important and prosperous Abbey’s within the Borders region.
Founded by the Cistercian Order under the instruction of King David I of Scotland it dates from 1136. I always wonder and admire the skills of the stonemasons and engineers who created these places of worship. From concept to creation the imagination and skills employed must have been enormous.
The Abbey is the resting place of several of Scotland’s Monarchs and a good number of its Noblemen…..most notable I suppose is the Memorial Stone that marks the ‘present’ Burial place of Robert the Bruce’s Heart. The embalmed heart was discovered during excavation works, …his body is interred in Dunfermline Abbey
From around the time of the Reformations the Abbey suffered greatly, with stone being a valuable building material, much of the building was robbed.
Old as Melrose Abbey is it only marks one mile stone in the regions history. The valley and its hills have been populated since 1500bc by the Celts. Later the Romans tried to establish a community here. Going under the Roman name of Trimontium a substantial Camp was built. To mark the spot there is an engraved granite marker pillar.
In more resent times Sir Walter Scott had associations with the town. Today one of its claims to fame are the Melrose Rugby Sevens Championships. Fiercely contested by teams from across Scotland this ‘reduced team’ game of Rugby was invented in 1883 by Ned Haig a local Melrose butcher.
A beautiful Scottish Border Town that demands a visit.
The Commendator’s House, Melrose Abbey
(Now a Museum with much of local interest)
(C) David Oakes 2017
Evening light at Castlerigg Stone Circle, above Keswick, Cumbria
This megalithic Stone Circle is probably Neolithic which dates it to 3000bc. Like many similar stone structures its true purpose may never be know and always subject to challenge. One thing cannot be challenged and that is the Circles importance not just to Neolithic man but to many generations that followed.
It use could be social, religious, ritual, a bringer of a means to measure the passing of the seasons and solstice’s. The main marker stones accurately aliened with the cyclical movements of sun and moon…..it brought order to a world that was establishing itself.
As a ‘time piece’ it was vital, for there was great dependence upon what could be harvested. Knowing when to prepare the land, plant and when to reap was what life very much depended upon…..it was a time piece as vital as todays clocks and calendars….the very symbols of bringers of order in todays life.
via Photo Challenge: Order
Just an suggestion for this weeks Daily Post Photo Challenge – Order. Click this link to view what others have suggested :- https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/order/
(C) David Oakes 2017
Stand in Awe
The Nave, Tewkesbury Abbey
Now lets give this magnificent structure its full ‘Sunday Name’…… it is The Abbey Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Tewkesbury. Founded in the 12th century, but like many of our old religious buildings it is on a site of worship dating back to the 6th century.
Of course it has been repaired and restored regularly since then, after all if you had been standing for nearly 10 centuries, you to would have need of some care and attention!
I have mentioned before that my visits to Church, Abbey or Cathedral is not driven by any religious need or desire. None the less here in Tewkesbury Abbey you can but stand in awe of the Architecture….. its sheer size and drama is stunning but also of the skill, craftsmanship and vision of those who created and toiled to create a structure still to be much admired today.
Indeed it is more noticeable, here than in many of the other major historic religious buildings I have visited, that it has an immediate visual impact as you enter.
Visitors just stand in awe, taking in all that is above, often appearing rooted to the spot. Once totally satisfied they then explore all else that the Abbey has to offer.
(c) David Oakes 2017