Tuesday, 26 June 2012

ancient corner of a marsh

We stayed at a pub after the gig, in a small 17th century place on Romney Marsh. Next door was a churchyard and we had a proper look at the church the next morning.

I initially wondered about the large construction next to the main church, which looked something like an Oast house used for storing hops.

Then I wondered if it was the remnants of an earlier church, maybe in a Nordic style?

It turned out to be something rather improbable. It was the belltower, typically something you put on top of the church. Apparently there's a legend that when two very unlikely people got married, the steeple jumped off the roof of the church.

The practical version is that the original construction was built in the 11th Century as an open structure with a single bell to warn of impending floods. Then it was modernised in the 15th Century by the addition of the external cladding and a full complement of church bells.

For such a small church the main building was well stocked with unusual artefacts too. There was a 13th Century wall fragment showing St Thomas of (nearby) Canterbury and a leaden font from the 12th Century (probably nicked from France), inscribed with the signs of the Zodiac.

And tipping its hat to modernity was a set of precision weights and measures which included the differentiations of a Winchester pint and a separate Wine pint.

They were from as recent times as 1799.

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