Friday, 14 March 2008

Three notable surprises at Hughenden

Hughenden Church is a glorious but quirky place — medieval reworked into a Victorian bijou gem by Benjamin Disraeli when he lived at the manor. It’s an ancient and historic parish, and well flourishing today with Simon Cronk’s able spiritual leadership. I was there yesterday confirming, along with a young adult baptism in the amazing early 13th century font, when, my eye caught a few unusual notable phenomena:
  1. Car park awash with real Sheep. The Churchyard is maintained by Jacob’s Sheep, but these were the regular model, off the Hughenden estate. And where better to park them than the Church Car Park?
  2. A wonderful scheme to clear the West end of the Church and create a zone around the font for baptisms, storage, information and socialising. Former pews have been recycled brilliantly by an excellent local craftsman to provide seating, storage and wall lining.
  3. An unusual 200 year old example, off the vestry wall, of breastfeeding in Church. If you’ve ever got into trouble for breastfeeding in Church, tell ’em about the Countess of Conyngham who, in 1809, certainly does not seem to disapproved — although it probably isn’t her since she was 92 at the time!


RIchard said...

With regards to sheep in the churchyard, it reminds me of when my brothers godfather arrived as incumbent of a small rural parish church near Tring.

On arrival he was told that cutting the grass in the Churchyard was the responsibility of the rector, and was pointed in the direction of the fairly ancient lawnmower provided for the purpose. Bear in mind that the churchyard was several acres in size, and filled with headstones, so keeping the grass cut was a big job. However he then discovered that as rector he was also allowed to graze his sheep in the churchyard, so he paid a visit to a local farmer, and bought a couple of lambs that he set going on the churchyard. Incidentally, so successful were they at keeping the grass down he also used the same sheep to keep the grass in the equally large Rectory grounds under control too!

Bishop Alan Wilson said...

In that bit of Bucks, at Ivinghoe,there are Jacob's sheep. I'm told these came from the flock at Hughenden. When the parish was vacant in 2004 a German lady wrote to me at some length, having read the parish profile on the Internet, inviting me to a Jacob's Sheep society convention... never made it.

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