Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Good morning.  After a lovely sunny day yesterday, today is dull, cool and breezy - quite a change!  BBC weather predicts rain later on which is a pain because we were going to visit Coggeshall Grange Barn which is a 13th century monastic barn, one of Europe's timber framed buildings with a cathedral like interior, displays and exhibitions.
But not if it is raining!

Yesterday we took a 20 minute drive down to Chipping Ongar to Greensted Church, the world's oldest surviving wooden church, parts of which go back to Saxon times.
Here's some more information.
It's totally unspoilt, a bit out in the sticks but with enough parking for the number of visitors it attracts but, sadly, not completely wheelchair accessible.
I took some photos.  The ones I took inside haven't come out well as it's very gloomy, but I will work on them!  These are all outside views.

It is a very gentle, quiet, peaceful place, well worth a visit (if you like old buildings) and, unusually, the little guide book (with photos, price £1.50 which you pop in a safe with a slit in the top, it's all very trusting) is packed with interesting information and sends you round the church looking for things.  There's also a child's 'hunt' sheet to complete to keep younger visitors happy and busy.

Around the church there are old gravestones (it's not used as a burial ground any more), some larger ones, some just a stone laid in the ground and the uneven surface indicates where long gone bodies were buried.  Just by the church is a railed grave stone in the shape of a shield where a crusader is buried (probably!).  It was a bit weedy but I gather that a local couple work very faithfully to keep the place in good nick (and you can tell) and parts of the grounds did, indeed, show their care.  You can't do it all at once, can you?

We nearly missed one fascinating thing.  If Al hadn't spotted one just around the corner on the side, we'd never have seen it.  In the brick wall at the end, where the bricks are more modern, people have, over the decades, scratched their name and the date into the bricks.  My first reaction was 'vandals' but, on closer inspection, they are fascinating in their own way.  No messages, but a lovely thing, all the same.  They range from bang up to date to well over a century ago and, possibly, older than that - some were too worn to tell.

I wonder who started that particular tradition and what the reaction was at that time.  It's not in the guide book.

And no, we didn't!

After we'd finished there, we came back to Chelmsford and  stopped off at the Hare for a late lunch.  It was not very busy so service was quick and it was a pleasant time.  Thanks, Al.

It was a super day!


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