Sunday, 7 June 2009

A step back in time....

On one of the days of our holiday, we decided to take Mum back to the places of her childhood, and the village where she was born. We stopped at North Walsham first, a small market town, made prosperous by flemish weavers who settled in the town in the 13th and 14th century. There is this nice Market cross in the middle of the town, hung with pretty hanging baskets, it was originally used to collect the tolls from the market traders.

Having enjoyed walking round all the little shops, we called in at St. Nicholas church, one of the largest parish churches in the UK. The tower has collapsed, due to a heavy set of bells being rung for a rather long period in the 17th century!

The church was originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and there is a lovely statue in the front porch. Whilst we were admiring this, a blackbird flew up to the figure on right, where she had a little nest tucked away...

The nest was on his left shoulder, and we could see her feeding her babies..

Its a beautiful church inside, there was this magnificent carved font cover

and the stained glass window above the altar was beautiful

there was some lovely carvings around the church, this intricate one on the pulpit

and some rather fetching pew ends.

Beside the altar is a massive tomb worked in coloured marble to Sir William Paston. He was famous for writing the Paston letters, a collection of letters and papers consisting of the correspondence of members of the gentrified Paston family in the 14th and 15th century.

The church was beautifully light and airy, due to all the many windows, I loved the way the reflections of the panes patterned the old stone ledges

and the stained glass ones, spun coloured lights across them.

This little carving of St. Nicholas was really sweet, sailing forever across the wall. We really enjoyed our visit to the church, and when we went outside, saw the little blackbird again, busily searching for food for her little brood.

We drove on, along the little winding Norfolk roads, the sun shining, and the wide sky blue and cloudless, till we reached the village where Mum was born, Knapton tucked away amongst the fields.

The village was quiet in the afternoon sun, not a soul to be seen. We parked beside the church, the banks covered in moon daisies.

I loved the little lantern above the gate. Although the church of St Peter and St Paul seems to dominate the village, being set higher than the houses, from the outside, it doesnt appear to be anything other than the usual parish church....but once inside...

you can see why it is has the most beautiful double-hammer-
beam roof, covered with angels

local tradition claims that the roof was built from a shipwreck at Mundsley, a village nearby, but it is probably more likely, by carpenters in London, who shipped the roof to Mundsley.

The font was rather interesting as the font cover reads `wash my sins not my face only`

The church isnt rich in stain glass windows, although the roof makes up for that, but once again the sunlight through the `watery` glass looked beautiful..

I found this tomb stone, fascinating, with the skull and winged egg timer, I have to confess to a passion for such things, abit ghoulish I

When we came out of the church, we walked round the sleepy village, with its pretty houses.

Sparrows chirped tunelessly, and the gardens were full of pretty flowers.

This was the little house where Mum was born, and lived till she was eleven.

and she used to play `two ball` on this wall, beside the house. The bank used to be covered in celandines...

We followed the little path across the sugar beet field, that she used to run along with her sisters, martins and swallows dipped and dived above us, and the soil was dry and hard beneath our feet

across the fields, in the distance we could just see the dark blue smudge of the sea..

it was lovely and peaceful walking beside the fields of swaying corn, edged with creamy cow parsley, the sun warm on our backs.

Evenually we crossed a railway bridge, which has now been blocked up beneath, and is overgrown with Elderberry and honeysuckle. Mum used to stand on this and watch the steam trains huff and puff into the station, which is now a private residence.

Not far from the station is this lovely little walk, it was called `Green lane` when Mum was a child, and she used to play here with her friends. She remembers that the Gypsies used to camp here in their little painted caravans, they were the real Gypsies, with long swirling skirts, and scarfs in their hair. They would cook over a fire, and sit on the steps of the caravans, making pegs to sell. I would love to have seen them.

We walked for a little while along the path, the sun was dappled on the path, and there were nice glimpses through the trees of the fields..

the Oaks danced quietly as we walked by...

and when we came to a clearing, we could see the soaring steeple of a church in the distance..

Green lane is called Paston way now, and has a new board with all the necessary information, but its nice to know that theres still memories of a different time, when things were slower, and children could play safely anywhere they wanted too. As Mum said, they used to leave the house after breakfast, and not return till tea time, and no one would be worried, because there was no need. We walked back over the fields, till the church came into view..

then we drove away, leaving the ghosts of the past in peace....


Piecefulafternoon said...

Very interesting and lovely tour - how nice that she (and you) got to go back and revisit the memories.

Here we call the flowers Ox-eye Daisies - not nearly as pretty a name as Moon Daisies. I shall henceforth call them Moon Daisies. They grow rampantly along the roadsides and sometimes the hills are white with their pretty blossoms. Last time we went for a drive we dug up some and I now have my own little patch of Moon Daisies - and they will spread and grow.

Ramblings From Spain said...

Quite a beautiful post, and such lovely weather for your trip down memory lane too.. the church windows were gorgeous, and I loved the demonic(?) pew end, and the carved angel wings on the roof. It was, of course, all lovely, and I really felt I was there with you xx

Mary said...

I just know your Mum enjoyed that beautiful visit around her home area - it's lovely.