Monday 3 March 2008

Maternal Worth in Soulbury

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!
Random Thought:
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.


Anonymous said...

I was only going to lurk on your blog today but seeing such lovely pictures of Soulbury's church made me want to say hello.

Do post more next time you visit an old church. :-)

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

Soulbury was fun. I don't drive past it as often as I did before the Linsldade bypass was built, but I've always been blown away by how gloriously light it feels inside, for a 13th century Church... Presumably the Puritans got it in the 17th century, but the effect of all that light today is rather wonderful!


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