Sunday, March 27, 2011

St Bridget of Skenfrith, Wales

St. Bridget's Church in the village of Skenfrith in the Welsh Marches turned 800 years old in 2007.

According to Filbee, whose Flickr photos of this church are worth a look, St. Bridget's is a "13th century church with squat tower and huge buttress. The interior has a Jacobean pew, 15th century embroidery, and the tomb of the last governor of the Three Castles (Grosmont, Skenfrith, and White).

"St Bridget’s Church was founded in 1207 by Hugh de Burgh who was also responsible for building Skenfrith castle. The tower is unusual. It belongs to the period when the Welsh border was subject to sudden raids and the villagers might need to seek refuge at any time. The tower has five feet thick walls and is capped with a 'Dovecote' which in times of scarcity or danger could have housed pigeons as well as bells. The clock was installed in 1926."

He provides a link to Mark Collins' Roughwood site, with its page on St Bridget's. There are some excellent pictures here. The interior shot above comes from his page.

The UKAttraction site has this to add:

"The church, dedicated to the Irish Abbess Bridget, was built in the 13th Century in Early English and Perpendicular styles. It has a wooden dovecote-topped tower with an open wood lantern containing 6 bells. There is medieval glass in the East window, fragments of wall paintings and an ancient tomb chest with Elizabethan figures depicting the wife and eight children of John Morgan dated 1557. A rare pre-Reformation cope (a cape-like garment worn by Bishops) is preserved in a glass-fronted case."

This handy page provides links to attractions in the area of the church, places to stay, and so on.

Monday, March 21, 2011

"The Giveaway" (from The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley)

"The Giveaway"

Saint Bridget was

A problem child.

Although a lass

Demure and mild,

And one who strove

To please her dad,

Saint Bridget drove

The family mad.

For here's the fault in Bridget lay:

She would give everything away.

To any soul

Whose luck was out

She'd give her bowl

Of stirabout;

She'd give her shawl,

Divide her purse

With one or all.

And what was worse,

When she ran out of things to give

She'd borrow from a relative.

Her father's gold,

Her grandsire's dinner,

She'd hand to cold

and hungry sinner;

Give wine, give meat,

No matter whose;

Take from her feet

The very shoes,

And when her shoes had gone to others,

Fetch forth her sister's and her mother's.

She could not quit.

She had to share;

Gave bit by bit

The silverware,

The barnyard geese,

The parlor rug,

Her little

niece's christening mug,

Even her bed to those in want,

And then the mattress of her aunt.

An easy touch

For poor and lowly,

She gave so much

And grew so holy

That when she died

Of years and fame,

The countryside

Put on her name,

And still the Isles of Erin fidget

With generous girls named Bride or Bridget.

Well, one must love her.


In thinking of her


There's no denial

She must have been

A sort of trial

Unto her kin.

The moral, too, seems rather quaint.

Who had the patience of a saint,

From evidence presented here?

Saint Bridget? Or her near and dear?

(from The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, New York, Viking Press, 1957) Thank you to Oremus.