Friday, August 29, 2008
More of the church
I mingled with the early glut of market traders this morning as they were setting up stalls and appropriated a bacon cob from the Butty Van. I downed that with a cup of tea I’d brought with me (instantaneous travel has its benefits – one of which is being able to walk five miles in a three steps and still be holding a hot cup of tea) and hopped ocer the fence of St. Marples’ again, this time in daylight.
As an aside, It’s called St Marples’ for a reason – in 1954 is was the venue for the first – and last – Laverstone Crime Festival. The guest of honour was Agatha Christie and, having just published “A Pocketful of Rye,” a Miss Marple story, the council renamed the building from Caulder’s Deal to St. Marples’ in her honour.
The building was as derelict inside as it was out – someone had been using it as a shelter and what remained of the magnificent set of pews was now charred slivers of wood in a fire built in the font. The stained glass – three panels depicting The Resurrection by Sir Stanley Spenser – was blackened and pitted by stones in several places. It was still worth a goodly sum, however. The nave and was covered in graffiti and the sacristy had been used (recently) as a toilet. Not just for urine, either.
I hesitated to climb up the tower but reasoned that my wings would probably save me should it collapse. It probably deterred most, to be honest. How surprising then, to find a penny at the top.
A penny dated 1901, with Queen Victoria’s head on it, weighing down an envelope addressed to Harold.