Words evoke magic and happy times and memories of places you may never visit again but lie like protected jewels in the heart.
"The 51 timber planks you see here today date from about 1060, although excavations undertaken in the chancel in 1960 revealed the existence of two earlier timber structures dating from the 6th, and 7 centuries, around the time that St. Cedd began his work of converting the Saxons to Christianity. The church bears witness to the work of Saxon, Norman, Tudor and Victorian builders who variously extended, repaired and restored the building over the ages. In 1848/9 the church underwent severe restoration works, and in 1990 works were undertaken to stabilise the church as it stands today, whilst in 2005 the spire was completely re-shingled in Oak."
I thought of the title and the inspiration came, Sue of Suffolk and her churches, why don't I go over some of the happiest times in my life and potter around the churches Paul and I would visit. By the time we got to Yorkshire Paul had got tired of church visiting, but in those first few years he happily drove me for these explorations into the countryside.
So the church that I have copied the words from above is from the wooden Anglo-Saxon Essex church at Greensted, beautifully preserved in Victorian times, a gem that sits in the countryside amongst green fields.
History has so many jewels to pick from but I chose the Anglo-Saxon period. The Prittlewell Saxon burial where the first glimmerings of Paganism was being overtaken by Christianity in the burial of a king. I loved the way religions clashed in the minds of the sons as they buried their father, pagan tributes but also two gold crosses.
Greensted Church is a peaceful place to visit on a sunny afternoon, the table of jams and chutneys greet you when you open the door, the wooden interior slightly unusual in our Norman stone churches are decorated with favourite topics of old England, the sheaves, the crown, etc.