I arrived at the church just as the warden was leaving she told me that she had just opened up the church and showed me the key, it was about a foot long with a shaft as thick as my thumb.
I’m going to have a little rant now.
The churches I have visited over the past few days have all been open and welcoming but many that I visit are not, they are locked and covered in signs warning thieves to beware. I am aware that theft from churches is a real problem in some areas, I am also aware that church attendance is dwindling rapidly.
Churches are primarily places of worship, I do not subscribe to any religion but I do get a sense of tranquil otherworldliness when I visit a beautiful old church. These institutions are also custodians of our history and culture. Their walls reflect the history of our islands and our communities, to deny people access to these spaces can only perpetuate the decline of these institutions. I’m not sure what the solution to this problem is but I know that locking a church up for six days a week does not help anyone and can only foster a feeling of exclusion in the wider population.
The church and the village pub are both in decline in many areas, William Blake offered a solution in his poem The Little Vagabond.
Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;Besides I can tell where I am use’d well,Such usage in heaven will never do well.*But if at the Church they would give us some Ale.And a pleasant fire, our souls to regale;We’d sing and we’d pray, all the live-long day;Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray,*Then the Parson might preach & drink & sing.And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring:And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,Would not have bandy children nor fasting nor birch.*And God like a father rejoicing to see,His children as pleasant and happy as he:Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the BarrelBut kiss him & give him both drink and apparel.*
This carving has been interpreted as a Jelling bound dragon.
This small inconsequential stone, carved with a crude cross, measures about 10cm square. It is known as a consecration cross and indicates a place where the wall of the church was touched with holy oil during the consecration of the church. There are a number of other small crude crosses carved on the external walls particularly around the original entrance, which is now blocked and filled with a number of carved stones.
A lovely pair cross heads built into the exterior walls