Sunday, 6 January 2013

THE CATHEDRAL IN THE FIELDS



Cathedral in the fields 
Written in the Autumn and just found languished in the drafts folder!

The first Saturday of September is a great time to go cycling in any county in England for whether sponsored or no you participate in the Historic Churches Ride and fund-raiser for the fabric of our wonderful churches.

Cycling chum Judge Richard and I often unwittingly get caught up these velo-festivals having been cycling in Norfolk one year and Suffolk the next. Most churches are open for investigation and delight. The big bonus is that a good number of churches have people stationed in the doorway or porch dispensing all sorts of cordials, sometimes cups of teas and always biscuits.

Where there is no one on duty the food and drink is place just inside in on a small table as one enters the church.

Such it was at Hillesden Church one of those north Buckinghamshire village churches situated on the broad plain between Buckingham and Aylesbury.
This year our participation was premeditated and we had visited several churches and enjoyed flapjacks and lemonade in several of the Lord’s Houses before here.

Hillingdon. Nothing quite prepares you for the grace and lightness of this church. An early signal is that the village is situated at the end of a long road the only ways in and out of the village. Cut off and quite perfect. The church is located on a shallow rise with fields immediately beyond.  It reaches up to the sky and is a testament to the gothic craftsman of the 14th and 15th century.  The windows and tracery let in so much light that the place does appear to float. This wonder was, four hundred years later to inspire George Gilbert Scott who lived only two parishes away.

Richard took many pictures and I made a drawing, determined to return one day to do more. We had a drink of lemon squash on the way out and examined the north door to see the shot marks still there from Cromwell’s army who besieged the church, a Royalist stronghold.

We peddled out along a small track agreeing that we have seen something really special.