Back to the Cotswolds again. We drove through the picturesque town of Winchcombe en route to Hailes Abbey and Sudeley Castle. It's a town I wouldn't mind exploring a little more thoroughly. Next time!
Our intended destination on this warm July day was Hailes Abbey (also spelled Hayles). Just across the road from the Abbey ruins stood this charming stone church, with its graveyard enclosed in a low stone wall. It begged to be explored.
The church predates the Abbey by a century, and was built in the Norman style, in the late 12th century. I think it's one of the earliest buildings we visited. The stone floor is uneven, the walls rather rough, and there is an old organ that another elderly visitor attempted to play, with some success.
Medieval paintings are still seen on some of the walls, and in other places, remnants of paint confirm that the people of the time used colour for decoration in elaborate ways.
The leaded windows are not highly decorated and were added much later.
After the dissolution of the monasteries, the above window was removed from Hailes Abbey in 1789, then placed into the church here in 1903. During the time of the monasteries, this chapel was used as a place of worship for the public - for visitors and others who were not permitted to worship in the grand church on the Abbey grounds.
This inscription is part of the floor of the church, underneath which John Peak is buried.
In the graveyard outside, I was intrigued by the inscription on this not-so-very-old gravestone.
"Things are as big as you make them
I can fill a whole body
a whole day of life
about a few words
on one scrap of paper;
yet, the same evening,
can frame my fingers
to fit the sky
in my cupped hands."
What could it mean I wonder? I did a little internet searching after arriving home and discovered a very tragic tale - Lucy Katherine Partington was a murder victim who disappeared when she was 21 and no one knew what had happened to her for 20 years. When her remains were discovered, they were buried in Exeter, Devon.
I think the words on the tombstone were written by a novelist, Martin Amis, apparently a cousin of Lucy's. But why, is it here, in this small, out-of-the-way graveyard? That's the mystery. (see note at the end of the post)
And one more detail from the church interior - remnants of rich red paint. How stunning it must have looked to the worshipers who gathered here.
I've not written a post about Hailes Abbey. There are still so many stories to share from our trip - I hope you're not tiring of reading them. We had so many rich and varied experiences.
I'm off to an educator's conference for a couple of days, then it will be Thanksgiving weekend. I'll catch up with reading blogs later. To my Canadian friends, Happy Thanksgiving!
edited to add: Many thanks to Rosemary, of Where Five Valleys Meet, who lives in the Cotswolds and provided more complete information than I could find on line. The words on the marker are Lucy's own. The marker was placed in this particular graveyard as a memorial stone because it was a place she loved to visit. Lucy's sister wrote a book touching on forgiveness - a most difficult thing after such a horrific tragedy.