Eassie Old Church: Gravestones

Whilst looking at the Pictish Stone in this churchyard I had to take a look at the unusual headstones, including a series of tablestones.

I am always curious to see what symbols have been used on the headstones. Here the hourglass is used which symbolises a short life or swiftness of time. The cross and skulls as well as angel wings are common. But my favourite was the pressing iron and shears that indicate the grave was that of a tailor.

Sometimes the dates indicate some illness struck a family; above the two children died within a month of each other. The son only 4 days short of his 7th birthday and his sister not even 5½ years old. What illness struck them down? Measles? Smallpox? Influenza?

The grounds of this cemetery appear to be well looked after, the grass is short and the area around the stones is cleared, but it is sad to see some of the old headstones broken and discarded, some in piles, others propped up against the walls of the ruined church. Lichens and moss make some of them illegible.

A war grave stands proud in the cemetery. Though it too raises questions. How did the young soldier die? And what is 3/5th Black Watch? ¹

When we take such great care to protect one ancient stone (the Pictish Stone) we also need to protect stones that in the future would also relate our history.

Thursday’s Special | Traces of the Past

¹ 3/4th, 3/5th, 3/6th and 3/7th Battalions
Formed at home bases in March and April 1915. All moved to Bridge of Earn and later in 1915 to Ripon.
8 April 1916 : renamed 4th to 7th Reserve Bns; on 1 September 1916 4th absorbed all others.
Moved to Edinburgh in May 1918.

Eassie Old Church: Pictish Stone

Whilst on the way to visit Glamis Castle in Scotland last year, we took the chance to stop off at Eassie Old Church which is about 2 miles away. There was a specific reason for doing so as it is the site of a Pictish Stone

The Eassie Cross Slab stands 2.02m high by 1.01m wide. It was found in the burn that flows past the churchyard in about 1850. Today it stands within the east end of the shell of the Old Parish Church, displayed within a transparent shelter which protects the stone from the weather. The front of the cross slab is largely covered by a very finely carved and detailed cross.

It is thought to have been carved in 700s or 800s.

The interior of the cross is filled with intricate interlaced patterns. In the four corners are a four-winged angel, mirrored in the opposite corner though this one is extensively damaged. At the bottom left is a hunter wearing a cloak and carrying a shield and a spear and opposite are a series of animals including a stag and a hound.

The rear side is more eroded and damaged, but several carvings can still be identified.

At the top left is a mythical beast ‘elephant’ and two disks along with a Z-rod. Both of these are Pictish symbols. Below this are three men in cloaks, knee-length tunics and carrying staffs. And below the men are three cows, one of which appears to be wearing a cow bell. Top right is another Pict wearing a tunic and carrying a staff or spear next to a potted tree. The bottom right is badly damaged but could contain a horseshoe in the centre.

Thursday’s Special | Traces of the Past

St Chad’s – Shrewsbury

St Chad’s is an unusual church in that it has a circular design. The actual design was due to a misunderstanding as this plan was originally rejected in favour of a more normal rectangular one.

St Chad’s from the Quarry Park by the River Severn

I was very excited on my visit to Shrewsbury last September to be able to go into the church and also be allowed access onto the upper gallery. Oddly enough, even though I lived in the town for two years I never managed to get inside this church.

The circular nave is unique, with pews arranged like a maze. The original ‘three-decker’ pulpit has been replaced by one in Arts and Crafts style in copper and brass, placed under the rim of the gallery. This opens a clearer view of the Sanctuary, which, bordered by Corinthian pilasters and columns, contains a fine reredos and a colourful window, made by the renowned Shrewsbury firm of Betton and Evans.

source: History of St Chad’s with St Mary’s

In the vestibule two arms of a fine staircase sweep up to the gallery. The rail is of elegant Shropshire ironwork.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Rounded

Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past

The only remains of St Andrew’s Old Kirk in North Berwick is a small white-harled stone building which stands just inland from the path to the Scottish Seabird Centre.

The first church was probably made of wood and was probably constructed by monks from the Abbey at Lindisfarne some time in the 600s. A later building was erected some time in the 1100s, but little of this is left other than low stone walls on the grass to the north of the only part remaining. Continue reading Black and White Sunday: Traces of the Past

Inside the unfinished temple

On 11 July 2010, the Sagrada Familia was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI and elevated to the status of a basilica. It is not, as some assume, a cathedral as it is without a bishop’s headquarters. But the huge dimensions of the interior is worthy of that status.

Stepping inside the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is like stepping into an enchanted forest. Tall trees towering above us; their branches creating a canopy. The streams of coloured light; the verticality and the enormous, seemingly empty space takes your breath away. At first I didn’t know what to look at, where to begin the tour, what to focus my camera on. Double-storey height windows flood the space with a light never before seen within a church.

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The nave is a sight to behold. A work of mathematical genius with natural light flooding in through clear glass leaded panels to allow as much light in as possible.

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The columns are modelled after a forest and form a light canopy of palm leaves.

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I’m not going to go into all the symbolism of the basilica, you can find that out for yourself, instead I shall just let you have a look at some of the bits that caught my eye and where I could actually get a shot without dozens of people in the way.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe apse contains the altar, but this section was being worked on so we couldn’t get too close. Your eyes are drawn to the dramatic suspended crucifixion with a large ‘parachute’ dome from which artificial grape bunches and wheat stalks hang as symbols of the Eucharist, in which wine and bread are consecrated as religious symbols.

altar

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The main access bronze door that Josep M. Subirachs created for the Glory façade is a masterpiece of using typography as art.

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The centre of the Prayer Door is inscribed with the Lord’s Prayer in Catalan with relief letters, and highlights the fragment ‘Give us, o Lord, our daily bread‘  (Translation from original Catalan: ‘el nostre pa de cada dia doneu-nos-el avui‘) and 49 other languages

The greens, blues, yellows and reds of the light coming through Joan Vila Grau’s stained-glass windows form shifting patterns of light and colour across the stone.  Gaudí left several documents explaining how the stained glass windows should be arranged in order to achieve a symphony of evocative light and colour.

Gaudí said that colour was the expression of life.

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The stained-glass features modern geometric shapes are sometimes overlaid with the names of saints. The windows on the lower part of the side aisles are brightly coloured, whereas those on the upper half are in lighter, almost translucent colours.

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The windows on the Facade of the Passion, which are dedicated to water, light and the Resurrection are mostly blues, yellows and greens.

The windows on the Nativity facade allude to the birth of Christ, poverty and life and are mostly reds and yellow.

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A pretty clam-shell font containing holy water rests on curved wrought-iron supports. Everything here is considered,

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even the curve of a spiral staircase leading to the upper floors.

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The basilica is a continuing work of art; the culmination of many years by many talented architects, sculptors and master craftsmen following Gaudí’s instructions. You could spend countless hours, days, even years studying the details of the Familia Sagrada and still not discover everything about it.

One has to wonder what Gaudí himself would think about it today? And what does it now represent?