alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘Medieval’

Churches Project No.23 – Inglesham, an ancient wonder

As I entered through the south door of this 13th Century church I felt as if I had been transported back in time. Ancient, peaceful, unspoilt and lacking any discernible recent restoration, the church of St John the Baptist at Inglesham in Wiltshire is an exquisite wonder.

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In the south wall the carving is thought to date back to Saxon times. It depicts Madonna with the hand of God pointing down to her child.

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To the right of the main door and lining the south and north aisles are carved timber screens dating from the 15th or early 16th century.

To the left of the entrance is the 15th century font which was originally painted. Between 1589 and 1840 the parish registry records over 500 baptisms.

The box pews are from the 17th and 18th century. It was traditional for farming families to occupy their own box pew for services.

The nave appears to date from the early 13th century. The floor is formed of uneven slabs. At the end of the nave where it joins the chancel there is a huge stone with the indentation of an unknown knight.

Turn round, face East and you are greeted with the splendid sacristy, arguably the finest feature of the church. The painted walls and inscription which are 7 layers thick in places are an absolute delight.

For a colour version of the above photograph please click here and read my previous post.

As you walk around this medieval building, historic details reveal themselves. For example this round metal holder which after the reformation would have held an hour glass to regulate the length of a sermon. Sermons often lasted 2 or 3 hours in the late 16th and 17th century, so the preacher would ask for ‘one more turn’ of the glass! If the sermon went on for 3 or even 4 hours then it entailed ‘turn after turn’ which may be based on the principle that ‘one good turn deserves another’.

When making images my aim is always to capture the true essence and special atmosphere of the place. I rejoice in the fact that it remains open daily to the public and has been maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust since 1979. In fact we have to thank William Morris, the designer, novelist and conservation campaigner who in 1887 recognised the importance of this church. He successfully raised sufficient funds so that works could be undertaken ensuring that the building did not fall into ruin. This very act secured its survival to the present day.

Although it’s the interior that holds the greatest appeal the exterior of the church is well worth photographing too.

With the exception of a few notices and leaflets about the Churches Conservation Trust, St John the Baptist Church is a timeless joy and long may it stay that way. I spent about 4 hours looking around and taking photographs. During my visit 3 small groups of other people came through the door, but they didn’t spend more than 15 minutes inside. A pity, as I doubt they could have truly absorbed and fully appreciated the special atmosphere in such a short period of time. I considered myself fortunate as I virtually had the place to myself. Tranquility, sanctuary and ancient history all rolled together into a delightful experience and most rewarding afternoon.

Churches Project No.22 – The Sacristry at St John The Baptist, Inglesham.

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Regular visitors to this site will know that one of my passions are medieval churches. The older the better and preferably with little or no restoration; preserving original features and in so doing retaining a true sense of history. I like to enter a church and be transported back time. To feel part of its story and to enjoy the peace and solitude these places bring to a busy and chaotic world.

For some considerable time I have wanted to visit the 13th century church of St John the Baptist in Inglesham, which lies to the north of Swindon in Wiltshire. Earlier this week I spent the best part of 4 hours exploring the church, finding compositions and releasing the shutter. This one photograph of the sacristy fully justfies the 200 mile round trip.  This is the only image I have made so far. In time I will process others and write a more in depth post.

My Instagram (alan_frost_photography) profile states – ‘An eclectic mono photographer with occasional colour lapses.’ This is one such occasion. The wall paintings date from the 14th century and in some places are seven layers deep. Just glorious.

Do click on the image to enjoy and appreciate a larger version which will open in a new window.

 

 

Truly inspiring – The Art of Seeing – a short video by Ken Keen FRPS

 

As photographers we can learn so much from each other. We can be inspired by the work and dedication of those who take pleasure in making photographs of subjects which personally we particularly enjoy. We can also admire anyone who is able to produce the finest images in the face of adversity.

I was therefore delighted to discover the work of Ken Keen a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. Born in 1934 he specialises in making images of medieval churches and cathedrals with a large format camera and printed in historical (or alternative) process: cyanotype-Rex and salt print. A passionate photographer for many decades, what is truly remarkable is that in the year 2000 he lost most of his sight and is registered blind. He is now a member of the Disabled Photographers Society.

For the last 15 years or so, with the help of close friends and fellow photographers, he visits and makes photographs of religious buildings across the UK, some of which I have been to myself for my own Churches Project. In my humble opinion his images are outstanding and I took a great deal of pleasure looking at his website – www.kenkeenandlight fromthedarkeness.com. You can read his Biography here.

The short video, entitled ‘The Art of Seeing’ is just 20 minutes long, and is well worth viewing.

He has published a Blurb Book ‘Light from the Darkness’. I have only looked at the preview pages, but judging by the images on his website I may well be ordering my copy very soon.

 

Light from the Darkness by Ken Keen FRPS

Light from the Darkness by Ken Keen FRPS

 

 

Churches Project no. 3 – St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke, West Sussex

There are some occasions when from the moment I walk through the door, I just know that the interior of a church has something special to offer and will provide me with plenty of photographic opportunities. When I visited the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the tiny remote hamlet of North Stoke, this proved to be one of those occasions.

 

 

I have to say I do like simple churches; ones that are timeless and barring a few recent additions are largely unrestored. This particular church nestles in the South Downs about 2 miles to the north of Arundel. Apart from the adjacent farmhouse, together with various farm buildings, the church is isolated and surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Arun Valley.

 

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The Church dates back to Medieval times; the nave being 12th Century in origin. It is no longer in regular use but maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. Its quiet, calm and peaceful atmosphere evokes centuries of prayer.

 

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A Bible lies open on a plain white cloth, covering an old table. Simple but evocative.

 

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Though not large, its simplicity and elegant proportions give the impression of height and space. Light floods in through the clear glass of the beautiful Medieval windows to illuminate the interior.

 

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The church is largely hidden by trees so taking a photograph of the exterior is not that easy, but the view below does emphasise the simplicity of the church. There is no tower, just a dormer belfry which cannot be seen.

 

 

Do click on any image to see a larger version which will open in a new window. Or click on the thumbnail below to view a larger version of the featured image.