After lunch at Leintwardine yesterday, we found ourselves a few miles down the road at St Mary’s Church in the small village of Bedstone, Shropshire. I love the architecture and history of churches, plus you never know what you might find while you’re there.
The church didn’t seem to be signposted, but we followed the signs for the village hall and we found the church just below it. With the gates to the village hall car park shut and Bedstone built around narrow lanes, I opted to park in the gateway to the car park.
As we got out of the car and wrapped up warm, zipping up coats and putting on hats to guard against the wind, a group of ramblers came out of the churchyard and up the lane. I thought maybe they’d been sheltering from the rough weather in the church.
The church, dating back to Norman times, is nestled among beautiful cottages and you might think you’d gone back in time were it not for the 21st-century cars squeezed onto the side of the narrow road and the tractor parked in the entrance to the bridleway. Save for us and the ramblers, we’d not seen anyone.
We opened the gate (not that it seemed to want to open, it needed a little persuasion) and entered the churchyard. A sunken path leads to the church door, but before we could get there I noticed the snowdrops waving about in the wind on the bank to my left. The beginnings of Storm Ciara making its presence felt.
Snowdrops are a common sight in churchyards. Some, such as Stanton Lacey, are carpeted with them. Bedstone has a few crocuses dotted about too.
Unfortunately, when we tried the church door it seemed to be locked and no amount of persuasion would open it. So we were unable to venture inside for some respite from the wind. It’s a shame because I love to see the architecture of churches as each one is unique in one way or another.
We wandered around the churchyard, taking photos and looking at the gravestones – some of the older ones were weathered and illegible.
When visiting churches or cathedrals, you should always look up as well as down at your feet. Atop of the church tower is a weather vane, not unusual in itself, but this one is a beautiful golden cockerel glistening in the afternoon sun and being spun back and forth by the strengthening wind.
Walking back up the lane to the car, we got that unwelcome feeling. We encountered a villager returning home. I smiled, as I usually do, and was greeted with a stony face. I got out of his way and carried on up to the car. Not that we could leave in a rush, hoards of schoolboys from Bedstone College were walking up the lane on their way to play football.
We left just in time. No sooner had we made it back down to the main road, the heavens opened. Storm Ciara sending a warning to get home.