Hamlet through a pinhole….. but the church doors are closed.

The Dorset hamlet of Affpuddle lies to the east of Tolpuddle, its better known neighbour famous for The Tolpuddle Martyrs, and a mile or so down the road there is another village called Briantspuddle. All three communities form part of the lower reaches of the Piddle valley.

Affpuddle is by far the smallest, warranting in my opinion the title of hamlet, whereas the other two are most certainly villages. Unusually for a hamlet, Affpuddle boasts its own church, St Laurence, which is bounded by the River Piddle on the northern side of the graveyard. A lovely setting.

This week I took the opportunity to wander around Affpuddle with my latest acquistion, the Skink pinhole pancake adapter, a camera and tripod and take a few shots. These were mainly of the church but also a street scene and a small barn and yard. Unfortunately the chickens were hiding in their hen houses.

In the grounds of the church there is a Grade II Listed shelter with a shrine, built as a war memorial to those who lost their lives in the Second World War. A small seat allows passers by an opportunity to sit and be quiet, alone but in the presence of God.

The church was first built in the 13th Century including the south door pictured above. It was enlarged during the 15th Century and restored in the 19th Century.

There is an evocative, timeless look to these pinhole images. Nothing is sharp. This appeals to me when what is expected these days are critically sharp lenses. I own a few myself but I am enjoying a change from the norm.

Sadly many churches at this time offer no welcome, the doors are for the most part firmly closed. They only open for occasional private prayer although in some cases limited church services are starting again. Numbers of masked worshipers are limited to maintain social distancing.

Owing to the pandemic I miss the times when I could just enter through the doors of a country church. It revealed not only the architecture of its interior but was a place of peace, solitude and sanctuary. My ARPS panel was all about the feelings evoked in these places of worship. For now I am restricted and the photographs in this panel and many others taken in recent years could not easily be replicated.

I do though live in hope the day will soon return when a visit to a rural church will mean that I can turn the handle, release the latch and hear the creaking sound of ancient hinges as the centuries old door slowly swings open and I am free to enter once again .

6 Responses to “Hamlet through a pinhole….. but the church doors are closed.”

  1. Adrian Lewis

    Can’t say that churches are my thing at all, Alan, but these are a lovely set of images from a wonderful part of the world – I particularly like the last picture. Adrian 🙂


  2. David A Lockwood

    I really like these Alan, the pinhole image give a feeling of peering through the mists of time and history.
    Locking out parishioners and others during this time of uncertainty, has been a sad reflection on church leadership.


  3. Jane Tearle

    Exploring?! A delightful set of photos and observant commentary. Love it. Those villages/ hamlet are so evocative of earlier times. Thoroughly enjoy my occasional visits in that direction. .. but then I am a Dorset person and love it all!!



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