Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Country Wedding

On Saturday we went to the wedding of my god-daughter at the pretty church of St Bertoline in Cheshire, which dates back to the 1100s and is built on the site of an Anglo-Saxon burial ground. It looks so quiet and peaceful doesn't it? And yet in 1643, during the English Civil War, on Christmas Eve, when a group of Royalists commanded by Major Connought plundered the village of Barthomley, twenty Parliamentarians took refuge in the tower of St Bertoline's Church. The Royalists made a fire at the base of the tower to smoke them out, which forced the Parliamentarians to surrender. Connought's men then stripped and killed twelve of them in cold blood and wounded most of the others. There are supposedly still hoof marks on the stone stairs where the Royalists tried to ride their horses up to the top of the tower.

This is the White Lion where L & I had lunch before the wedding. It is about as close to the church as it could be and is very old. They have served ale here since at least 1614. Inside there is a big open fire, wooden tables and benches,one of which had the pub cat curled up on it. Nearly every table appeared to have a dog under it - there was a greyhound, a beagle, a border terrier, a rather out of place looking poodle and various others - all accompanying their owners who were having lunch there.

These are the bridesmaids, the middle one is my god-daughter's elder sister.

This is the best I can manage in the way of a photo of the bride and groom, because there are narrow, steep steps fom the church to the lower level, only the official photographer was getting a decent view. L just managed this one quick snap fom the side, mostly they were hidden by crowds of guests.

The bride's mother and I - we have been friends for nearly 40 years and were bridesmaids to each other many moons ago.

The last photo has a sad story attached to it, this little girl is the daughter of people Jenny, (the bride), knows through the theatre group she is involved with. She wanted desperately to be a bridesmaid so Jenny granted her wish. It may be the only chance she ever has as she is dying of cancer. She looks so lovely in her little white fur cloak and muff - it's hard to believe that she has so much suffering behind and ahead of her. She's a very brave little girl and a great example to all of us.


Anonymous said...

it amazing how old England history is compare to the United States. My dad family came on the second ship "Hercules" after the Mayflower in 1620.
I couldn't tell you the oldest church here that still in uses.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely church and I enjoyed hearing the history attached to it.
The little bridesmaid is so sweet, I'm glad her wish was granted.

Anonymous said...

I love how you have so much history everywhere you go. I don't think we have nearly as much here in the States....sadly, I might add. The pub sounded wonderful with all the dogs sleeping about.

The little girl looks so healthy and beautiful it's hard to think she is dying of cancer. It was nice that she got her wish.

Remiman said...

This is a bittersweet tale for certain.
A beautiful wedding, a wish granted, and a seemingly short future for a young one. This was an occasion for a cacaphony of emotions.

Your pics were terrific as usual. When we travel, D. says I can sniff out every church in the area. I do like to photograph old churches.

Anonymous said...

Interesting story Rowan! Lovely wedding pics too. That poor dear little`s just so unfair.


Anonymous said...

I love places where it is a normal thing to take your dog with you. A more rural way of life.
And the littlest bridesmaid looks so very pretty.

Becca said...

A beautiful post of a lovely wedding ... such a sad story at the end. What a blessing that the bride offered her a dream. Merry Christmas, Rowan!

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant history behind that church, and the pub. Here in Canada, we are such a young country that nothing is that old here...nothing! I love the rich history of Europe, and hope to get over there and see it one day.
The little girl is beautiful, and it is lovely that the bride granted her bridesmaid wish. She is here to teach us all a lesson!

VintagePretty said...

Love the church - I remember fondly little village churches that I investigated as a child, and although not being a christian myself, they have always interested me immensely.

The wedding looked lovely, and how lovely to have a winter wedding too! :)

I'm glad that little girl got her wish - she looked lovely on the day.