Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Visiting Ancient Ancestors

Andy has been researching his family tree.  His father's family seems to have been located in a local village for more than 400 years!  Andy's mother's family have ties to Shepton Beauchamp in Somerset.


We visited the local church, St. Michael's, to see if we could find some information on the old tombstones.  


Parts of this beautiful church date back to the 13th century but the village, which was originally a manor, was well established before the Norman Conquest. 


At one time, the manor was owned by the Seymour family.  You will remember Jane Seymour was the wife the Henry VIII and mother of Edward VI.  


The church's patron saint is St. Michael.  At first we thought this was St. George.  There seems to be several dragon slaying saints. 


While Andy and Maggie, his mum, looked for family tombstones I took some photos of a few of the fascinating memorial sculptures on the grave stones. This guardian angel was particularly beautiful and even more touching because her wing has been broken.


Each sculpture is filled with symbolism.  I think this must represent the Hand of God reaching out to Susan.  


This cross carved with Madonna Lilies is a more familiar motif.  


Perhaps the most striking memorial was this one with the crucified Christ.  


The largest sculpture features the Good Shepard carrying a lamb across his shoulders.  But the stones I found most fascinating were not the most ornate.


They weren't even legible, the engraving was totally obscured by moss.


Nature is slowly, gently reclaiming her stone.   

6 comments:

  1. Joli toutes ces vieilles pierres…ça manque ici.

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    Replies
    1. Each stone contains a story, even if we can't read them properly.

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  2. What a beautiful old church - you seem to have had lovely weather for the visit. Those mossy old gravestones are beautiful. Did Andy discover much about his ancestors there?

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    1. Andy didn't get a lot of new information but verified some dates which is always good. It's a lovely old village and always a pleasure to visit.

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  3. Replies
    1. Thank you. It is a beautiful and peaceful church, especially on a sunny spring day.

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