From a warm and wondrous Mothering Sunday at home to a warm, lively Parish Communion at Soulbury. Michelle Morton, Vicar, and Peter Lymbery have obviously been working hard to get people together and build up a vibrant worshipping community. This is the historic heart of the county, as witness the rather bloodthirsty motto of the (former) Royal Bucks Hussars, seen in a memorial to a soldier of the Burma Campaign (1944) — “Yeomen of Bucks, strike home!” “Soulbury” means “Stronghold by a gully”and on top of the stronghold sits All Saints Church. You can see it from miles around. Right on the button, I found there the ultimate “randy for antique” Mothering Sunday object — “a Filial Offering to Maternal Worth” from December 1786, commemorating Eleanor Lovett of Liscomb Park. Two of her three children died in infancy.
In a way, of course, all these grand eighteenth century memorials seem ludicrous, but they capture in stone the quirky, personal side of life which is so central to a parish church, and has been in Soulbury for over 900 years. Each offering tells its own story. On the North side of the Chancel another Filial Offering to Maternal Worth from almost a hundred years before caught my eye — “erected at the sole charges of Lettice Piggott... in memory of her own dear father and mother, 1701.” It’s a superb Grinling Gibbons, complete with putto flappin’ his little wings and brandishin’ his own little hanky. Bless!
It don’t pay to stare at these things for too long. The longer I stared at them, the more these little chaps began to resemble that Crusader for Peace in the Thames Valley, Inspector Mor(o)se.