Friday, August 20, 2010

A Soldiers Grave

While being at St. Kenelm and right after the walk and discovery of the legend of Kenelm, our walk continued in the cemetery itself.  I was busy snapping a few shots at some horses in a pasture across the barb wire fence where it ran beside the church grounds...... Andy strolled silently through the grave markers reading stones which fascinates him..... and he mindfully calculates dates and he even figures age ratio's for whatever century.  Math bores me so I don't pay much attention to such things.
 Unfortunately he found a new grave which always brings you home from looking at historical place marks and into the 'now' of things.  He spent a good amount of time on the rise of the hill that held the mound of fresh flowers and I eventually made my way towards it and when I got in hearing range,   ''This is a soldier'' he said.  Too new to have a headstone placed and so he was reading the temporary paper placard.  
I'm usually the one that fires up the computer first thing in the door from an outing.... finding out the history while it's fresh in my mind of any particular place.  But he was interested in the soldier's story and found his name in the news.  This has really stayed with him as he said yesterday that he couldn't get it out of his mind, maybe because of being at the grave site itself......seeing this persons finality and following it up with his story... Kind of brings the matter closer to you. 

Is it morbid to be walking in cemetery's?  We probably need to expand our hobby away from the solemnity a little.

*A link to the news story*

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

St. Kenelm

I seem to be a habitual church/cemetary goer......... and not as in, sitting in a pew for the Sunday service kind.  We are strapped for money and if my fascination wasn't enough before, it seems one can go for a nice outing to these places..... have a peaceful walk without much disturbance from others and do it for nothing.  Most often I end up learning something along the way of some of England's oldest and well preserved landmarks of time.

We stumbled upon the church of St. Kenelm one night with our windows rolled down in the car and heard the call of something bird like probably..... I'm not sure if it was an owl but could have been.  We stopped and listened and adjusting my eyes to the dark trying to see anything making the strange call while having no idea what was on the other side other than an awesome night sky with the top of the church forefront of view and of the city lights below the Clent hills behind....... we decided that it was a must to come back in daylight and so the other day, we did.

Walking around this church and grounds gave off feelings....the ones I get when around such history and/or activity.......not sure which or if both but it's a vibe of sorts.  Having no idea of St. Kenelms history, I thought it was just going to be a 'walk around' with a few shots of an old church but after starting the walk down a path adjacent to the church it felt like something more.  Could have been these strange markers or the air itself, I don't know.

The path started down a slight hill and then a set of land timbered steps down further and I realized there was water running..... but the steps came after finding this plaque that gave a hint of what this was about...
After getting to the bottom of the hill and steps this tree full of offerings and incense that usually come from a paganistic ritual explains a lot of why I was feeling as I was......  usually the energy of the activity itself leaves an essence and a vibe and I possibly was tuning into that.

It doesn't have to be pagan of course that someone would want to  leave a marker as in the ribbons above, it's just that it is usually best represented as pagan people tend to celebrate or honor in just these ways.  The wooden carved markers, I have no idea and can't find how they came to be rather the church, the Trust or a group.
I still however was unsure the significance of this and the plaque other than he was a Saint and he died probably near the spring.  Until I came upon a second marker.
 Okay, so this told me, not just died but murdered.  ''Wow'', is what I believe I said.  Wasn't until I got home where I was able to look up this history and this saint to find he was just a boy, or so legend has it and that he was a prince heir to be king.

Now, take St Kenelm's life which I've been reading;
He was Kenulph's son, the nobel king
Of Mercia. Now St Kenelm dreamt a thing
Shortly before they murdered him one day.
He saw his murder in a dream, I say . . .
                                                       Chaucer The Nun's Priest's Tale

The Legend

The small church of St Kenelm stands with a handful of houses in the village of Romsley, nestling in the Clent Hills in Worcestershire. The church was built in the 1400s on the site of an earlier religious settlement.
According to legend, following the death of the Mercian king Kenulph in c.819, his young son Kenelm became king at the age of seven. He was put under the watchful eye of his sister Quendryh and foster-father Askebert. But they were both plotting to kill the boy king. One attempt at poisoning him had failed, so it was agreed to take him hunting in the Clent Hills where he would meet some 'accident'.
The night before they left on their hunting trip Kenelm had a dream in which he climbed a large tree decorated with flowers and lanterns. From this high vantage point he could see the four quaters of his kingdom. Three bowed down before him but the fourth began to chop away at the tree until it fell. Kenelm transformed into a white bird and flew away to saftey. On waking the young king related his dream to his nanny, a wise old woman called Wlwen from Winchcombe, gifted in interpreting dreams. She wept, for she knew that the boy was destined to die.
Kenelm resigns himself to his fate and follows Askbert to the Clent Hills. It is here, while kneeling in prayer one evening, that the boy king is beheaded by Askbert and his body hidden under a thorn tree. Kenelm's spirit rises in the form of a dove carrying a scroll and flies away to Rome where it drops the scroll at the feet of the Pope. The message on the scroll reads: 'Low in a mead of kine under a thorn, of head bereaft, lieth poor Kenelm king-born'.
Missionaries are dispatched to England where they miraculously discover the body of Kenelm. On the slopes of the Clent Hills they encounter an old woman who tends a herd of cattle. One of her herd strays from the rest and stands guard by a thorn bush. Even though it does not eat or drink it never goes hungry. Taking this as a sign, the missionaries begin to dig and discover the boy's body. From this site a spring begins to flow. This is the legend of St Kenelm.  

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I'm pretty dried up when it comes to creating a post or writing of any kind..... Seems I don't have any thoughts other than the upcoming MRI for my neck and then hopefully a ticket home.  I'm ready to go but just not ready to face the heat once I get there.  It has been a record breaking summer for extreme temps.  Coming from a summer spent just wishing for sunlight and running the heater...... I think I would just drop over like a dead fly once I hit the humidity that Georgia has to offer.  

It also seems that everyone has either forgot their blogger page or like me, has nothing to really post about.  Hopefully we'll all continue to write something and have one another to give feedback occasionally.   I think I'm going to selectively recruit some other people and maybe give it a push start into a little more interaction.    Maybe I'll have something more to say to help keep this thing alive...... I don't know.