Yesterday we spent most of the day in and around Castleton, Derbyshire which is an area that we often go to as it's a fairly short distance from where we live. It was a cold, bright day when we started out, but we took it slowly as we knew that we would find ice and some snow as we drove towards Castleton.
This weekend was the last opportunity to visit St. Edmund's Church
for the Festival of Christmas Trees organised by the Friends of St. Edmund's,
a group dedicated to preserving this old church.
There were 50 trees, many of them real and these had been given by the National Trust.
Each tree had been decorated by a local organisation and it was obvious from
those that were represented that each one enriches the life of the village
and surrounding area.
St Boniface, an English monk who was sent to Germany as a missionary in the 7th century chose a fir tree to explain the everlasting love of God. Speaking to the people he indicated a small fir tree and said,
"This little tree, a 'young child' of the forest, shall be your holy tree tonight. It is the wood of peace, for your houses are built of the fir. It is a sign of an endless life, for its leaves are ever green. See how it points upward to heaven. Let this be called the tree of the Christ-child; gather about it, not in the wild wood, but in your own homes; there it will shelter no deeds of blood, but loving gifts and rites of kindness."
In medieval times in Germany the tree was decorated with apples and referred to as 'The Christmas Tree'. The tradition spread and when Prince Albert came to be married to Queen Victoria he introduced the Christmas Tree and it has become a popular feature of Christmas ever since.
Here are some of the trees on display that caught my eye.
The Girl Guiding Movement
The local primary school
The Mothers' Union
The Women's Institute
Hope Valley Medical Aid Fund
The Blue John Mines and artisan workshop
Treak Cliff Cavern
The local geological society
Local choir groups
The Castleton Historical Society
The theme for this year
'Christmas Cards of WW1'
Box pews with date 1676
stained glass window dedicated to Dorcas and St. Edmund
When we came out of the church the weather had changed to sleety rain so we went into the visitors' centre and museum, a gift shop and then it was time for a welcome hot drink and a teacake in one of family-run restaurants in the village.
Roast chestnuts and a hot drink anyone?