Monday, 14 May 2012

Country Churches Reprise

On a recent trip to Derbyshire Carole Miles and Andrew Rushton had the pleasure of exploring St Oswald Church in Ashbourne and only after their return to Northamptonshire did they realise that it was one of the churches recommended by Simon Jenkins in Country Churches, one of April's book choices. The building is imposing and rather disturbing from the outside, features like the clock are set to one side rather than centrally, life and death press for your attention from the moment you enter the gates. Elegant headstones rest amongst a sea of waving bluebells, buttercups, daffodils and long grasses. Jenkins says that it was a church for "the clergy and the gentry" and George Elliot said it was 'the finest mere parish church in the kingdom'. Jenkins goes on to say that "The interior is as eccentric as the exterior. No corner is without interest" and he is absolutely right, decorated ceramic tiles, tombs, painted ceilings, stained glass and green men jostle for attention and the interior offers a clearer view of the pink limestone. It is easy to loose yourself in the space and the detail and very well worth a visit.

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