22 Sep 2013

Babworth Church, Nottinghamshire

On Saturday (yesterday) we drove to Babworth Church in Nottinghamshire in connection with my family research project.  My maternal grandmother's family came from a village in Essex, but some of them moved and settled in Northumberland. My great grandfather, Charles, then married a Cornish girl whose father had gone to Northumberland to seek work in the mines. However, in the last year or two of my great grandfather's life when he was a widower - my great grandmother had died when she was quite young and I remember my grandmother saying she had to look after her younger siblings - he went to Nottinghamshire.  The rest of the family, including my grandmother, were still in Northumberland so it's likely my great grandfather went to find work in rural Nottinghamshire, not in the mines, but on a farm which had been the family's original means of livelihood.  Unfortunately, at the age of 52 years he died from influenza during the epidemic in 1919.  A family memorial card records that he was interred in Babworth.
The church is open for visitors on a Saturday afternoon from May to September and I thought that even if I didn't find any records it would be an interesting place to visit because of its connection with the Pilgrim Fathers.  The Pilgrim Movement originated there during the time of one of the rectors, Richard Clyfton, (Rector from 1555-1605) and some of the founding families who sailed on the Mayflower lived in the area.

It's situated in an isolated spot in the middle of woods and farmland with the old rectory opposite and a few houses and cottages down the long lane.

                                     Haygarth House (old rectory) and Pilgrim Way


There was to be a harvest festival service
this Sunday (today).

Above the font is the ringing chamber and the window
is by Charles Kempe known for his beautiful
designs in stained glass.

There are eight examples of the carved mouse trademark
of Robert 'Mousey' Thompson, the well known
19th century church furniture maker, in the church.

A model of the Mayflower

Unfortunately, the church warden looked in the records, but the ones kept there are from 1925 and the earlier ones will be in the Nottingham Registry Office archives.  We couldn't find any memorial stone for great grandfather in the woodland burial ground which is quite spread out into various sections.  There might not have been one or any evidence of a grave is covered up by the leaves and vegetation. Nevertheless, it was good to be shown around by the church warden and we sat and listened to him as he played hymns on the church organ before we went on our way.

However, we found what is likely to be the row of cottages where my great grandfather lived from the address I had in my documents and I will be continuing with my research by phoning the Nottingham Registry Office to see if they have some more information on great grandfather Charles.

20 Sep 2013

A busy week

Now that it's September some of my interest groups have begun again and my diary is filling up. I've also been busy in the house where I've been doing a bit of a makeover in the second bedroom with a change in the soft furnishings and bed linen.  I'm not a sewer so I've bought bedding, curtains, blinds for this bedroom and also a landing window in neutral creams and white. I'm also hoping to do some decluttering.  I think it must be that time of the year when we're indoors more and I've noticed that there's a need to have a clear out!

Meanwhile, my husband has been slowly lifting potatoes and other root vegetables ready to store them.  This is a slow process because of the changeable weather and a back and hip problem which has recently got worse.  So far he's been digging up the potatoes a row or two at a time.  We've got lots of chilis, F1 Cheyenne and De Cayenne this year which I'm going to freeze.

These white onions, Globo, grown from seed, have been spread out to dry before they're stored in hanging bunches.


Our three-year old pear tree has produced about twenty pears.  We have had strong winds and the heavy pears are in danger of falling before they ripen. We've had more wet and windy days than sunny ones so the ripening process is slow going. I've bottled some plum tomatoes San Marzano  and I'm observing these Tigerella (Mr. Stripey) with interest as I thought it would be a different variety to try this year. My husband tends to grow the same tried and tested varieties of vegetables every year and, of course, is always planning ahead and collecting or buying seeds.

When we were down in Berkshire we went to a big Italian Continental store and bought a few more packets of seeds.  This old, established family-owned specialist store is one of the biggest in the area and is also a wholesale market for the local shops and restaurants.  We've been going to it ever since we were married when Italian products were not so easily obtained in regular stores and my husband used to get his boxes of grapes there to make his wine.  

Since we were there last the store has expanded.  There's a new fresco painting on the ceiling of the entrance and my recent banners have shown details of it.

It now seems like a while ago since we were eating al fresco on a sunny day in our daughter's garden with a lunch of olive bread, black olives, salami and prosciutto, and mozzarella from the Italian store and sipping my husband's home made rose wine.  We also had a selection of Derbyshire cheeses from our day out in Bakewell when our daughter came to stay and we all bought some cheese from the Monday Market. There was Sage Derby and others with basil pesto or chili peppers.
On the other hand the season has moved on and we can start harvesting more of our produce and use in one pot meals in these chillier days.

17 Sep 2013

The Walled Garden: early Autumn

The walled garden in the park.

Photos taken on different days and weather conditions during the last month.

15 Sep 2013

Heritage Open Days

'Heritage Open Days' is an annual celebration of England's architecture and culture that takes place in September. Organised by volunteers and co-ordinated by English Heritage, buildings of every kind and other historical landmarks are open to the public with guided tours and other activities that bring history to life. On Saturday Sheffield Anglican Cathedral organised such an event and there was an opportunity to go up into the bell tower, hear about the relationship between the church and the city through the stained glass windows in the Chapter House, tour the main interior which is now a building site because of a major re-ordering project and listen to period music.  I helped out for a while and also spent some time on the tours. There were several 'visitors from the past' who had played an important role in Sheffield's history! It was a full and enjoyable day.

For the children there were period costumes to try on, objects to talk about and, for everyone, music to listen to from different choirs and groups.

                                                A stained glass window in the Chapter House
  shows the Norman Lord of Hallamshire
making plans to build a church on the site
of an earlier Saxon church in the 1100s

A few of the Norman stones (the zig-zag patterned ones)
remain within the walls.

Queen Mary Tudor granted a Charter
to the Burgesses of Sheffield.
Since that time this corporate body
has served the Cathedral, formerly
a parish church and other parish
churches in the city. 

Some of the stained glass windows depict people of faith
down the ages.