Monday, 24 October 2011

Our World Tuesday - A Step Back in Time - Pickering's War Weekend

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Pickering’s War Weekend took place from Friday 14th through Sunday 16th October this year.  In the 20+ years I have lived in this area, this year was the first time I was able to visit for this special weekend, over the Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday.  The town was heaving, hundreds of people, from the local area and from far afield dressing up in 1940’s fashions or uniforms and taking part or attending as spectators.  The atmosphere was charged with jollity, bonhomie, and felt much as I would imagine it might have been on VE Day.  I was told by one visiting re-enactor that at least one pub ran out of Bitter by Saturday night.  

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There were uniforms from all branches of the military, British, American and Anzac as well as others.  Nurses, Waitresses and ladies and gents wearing 1940’s civilian clothing, and I must say that compared with some of today’s sloppy fashions, they looked very smart indeed, coupons and make-do and mend notwithstanding.  One gentleman I approached was dressed as a Spiv, dark suit, white tie etc., very flashy, and he flashed the black market goods lining his jacket at me!  Unfortunately I cannot show his photo as he is contracted to a theatrical agency.  Other individuals pictured here gave their permission for their photo’s to be shown on my blog. 
                                  Click on photo's to enlarge.
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I noticed quite a large number of the military personnel had been 'decorated' by the local ladies, with red kisses on their cheeks.
It's the uniform that does it every time.
All the photo's shown here were all taken on Saturday afternoon.  If you spot yourself here, and would like a copy of the photo, take a note of the code number beneath it and email me.  I will send you a .jpg copy via email.

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There were a large number of wonderful vintage cars on show along the main streets,
along with military vehicles of all types, jeeps, tanks, trucks, military motorcycles, and a beautiful old traction engine.
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 The next photo is of a beautiful cream coloured Bentley, occupied by two lovely, and well dressed ladies.  What a wonderful way to travel.  There seemed to be some doubt about whether the lady in the driving seat had legs, though she kept assuring teasing friends that she had actually left the car for a few minutes! 

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Now how about these two
impressive moustaches!  I couldn't resist them, I happen to like beards and moustaches, my husband has both, I threatened to divorce him if he ever tried to shave them off!  

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                                                                        Yup.... they're over here .. but I can't say too much
                                                                 cos I am married to one..!

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I loved the little produce van that was parked near the station, that's a friend standing in front of it.

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As I was about to take a photo of this US Army vehicle, this handsome young soldier strolled over, I gather it is his so he is in the picture too.  

The soldier on the right is on sentry duty I think.         
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     As the air raid siren sounded, the crowd on platform 2 at Pickering Railway Station calmly made their way to the air raid shelter, chivvied by the ARP's, whilst the Home Guard (lovingly known as 'Dad's Army') get ready to fire on any dive-bombing enemy aircraft.
                                                                              Members of our Senior Service
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This young man from Sidney, Australia is representing the ANZACS, where would we have been without all our brave allies.  He seemed to have an inkling of the future, knew all about computers...!

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Unfortunately, due to camera shake, the photo of this young boy soldier is blurred, but I got a better one next day.  He wasn't playing his ukelele though.  Here he was collecting for Platoon funds.

More photo's next week, from Sunday the 16th. including 'capture' of four SS Panzer Tank personnel, and if I can figure out how to do it, possibly a slide film of other pics I took on both days, featuring vintage cars, trains and other scenes.

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                   Our World Tuesday

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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Pickering's Medieval Church - Part Two - Our World Tuesday

On the wall of the South Aisle, opposite St. Edmund and Thomas Becket, the first painting depicts the legend of St. Catherine of Alexandria.  Catherine lived during the reign of the Emperor Maxentius (300 – 312) and she was a Christian convert, a daughter of a high ranking family.  When Catherine protested to Maxentius about idol worship she was imprisoned.  She then proceeded to debate with the emperor’s philosophers and converts them to Christianity.  Maxentius was so angry he has the philosophers executed.  Catherine is stripped to the waist and flogged in public but she went back to prison defiant.  The Empress Faustina visited Catherine, and also became a convert, she is killed and Catherine is tortured on a spiked wheel which breaks apart.  (This apparently is where the firework ‘The Catherine Wheel’ got its name.)  Catherine remains unrepentant and is executed.  Note the start of  a banner strip on the right, the majority of it is on the second photo here, plus above the band  paintings between the windows, are three murals that deal with the Virgin Mary.  The first is of her death and she is surrounded by six of the apostles.

The next photo is the wall painting that runs as a banner strip beneath the clerestory windows, the first half is named The Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy, based on Jesus’ words in Matthew Chapter 25, verses 35-37.  as follows:
To feed the hungry.
To give drink to the thirsty.
To give shelter to strangers.
To clothe the naked.
To visit those in prison.
To tend the sick.
To bury the dead. In verse 40 he says “Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  The second painting between the windows is the burial of Mary and of the legend of Belzeray, the Jewish prince who supposedly jumped astride the coffin and became fixed there.  Only when he repented was he freed by the apostles.  A legend I had never heard of before.
The second half of the banner strip painting represents the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ as follows:
Jesus heals the ear of Malchus, which Peter struck off with his sword when the soldiers came to take Jesus away.
Jesus stands before Pilate, the Roman Governor.
The flogging of Jesus.
Jesus carrying his cross.
The crucifixion, with the Virgin Mary and the disciple John standing beneath the cross.
Jesus’ descent from the cross, lastly the burial of Jesus by his followers.
The last painting between the windows is damaged and its meaning is a bit of a mystery, but it is believed to show Mary’s assumption to heaven.  The possible conclusion to the series is on the north wall, The Coronation of Mary. (Last weeks second wall picture.)
Between the arch spandrels in this last photo is the depiction of the Jaws of Hell, or death, the dragons open mouth.  Before his resurrection Christ visited Hell to minister to lost souls who died without knowing him, Adam is shown holding an apple, the second figure is Eve, and there are two demons in the background. The rays of sunshine at Jesus’ back represent that even in the darkness of Hell, He is The Light of the World.  In the next arch spandrel is the resurrection of Jesus and a soldier looking on falls backwards in amazement and angels look on at Jesus Christ rising in triumph.

Hepplewhite Pulpit

The Roucliffe Effigies

The effigies of Sir David and Dame Margery Roucliffe are located in the chantry chapel built in 1407 in their memory, it is kept apart for private prayer, and is where the clergy say their daily morning and evening prayers.  It is sometimes referred to as the Bruce Chapel, due to the effigies having once been incorrectly identified as those of the Bruces.  The intricately carved door and screen of this chapel are by Alfred Wilson of Pickering (1923).

Chantry Chapel

American Connection
The American Connection: 
On the north wall of the sanctuary there is a memorial to the King family of Pickering, Mary, Robert and Nicholas.  Robert and Nicholas helped and succeeded L’Enfant in surveying Washington D.C.  Brass plaques beneath the tablet are to commemorate the Brotherhood in Arms of 1917, and the alliance during the Great War of England and America in the Red Cross.  These memorials place St. Peter & St. Paul Parish Church very firmly on the American Trail. 

Campanologists planning on visiting this area may be interested to know that St. Peter & St. Paul has a fine peal of eight bells, they were renovated and re-hung in 1986.

Next week:  A Step Back in Time - Pickering's War Weekend - Part one

Find more photo's from around Our World Here

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Our World Tuesday - Pickerings Medieval Church

St. Peter & St. Paul is the oldest church in Pickering, 900 years ago a Saxon church was built on this site, the only remains of that church is a carved cross shaft and the stone font now residing in the present Norman church which was built around 1140.  Around 1200 the tower collapsed destroying part of the church, rebuilding took place and a massive tower was erected, it was completed in three stages over a period of 300 years.  The church contains one of the most complete sets of medieval wall paintings in Britain, thought to have been commissioned in 1450 and painted over a period of ten years.  100 years later they were covered over with a thick coat of plaster during the Protestant Reformation, but were eventually rediscovered when the plaster was removed.  Unfortunately one of the incumbent vicars decided they were a distraction from his sermons and full of "Popish superstitions" so he had them covered again with a thick coat of whitewash.  The main reason for the paintings in Medieval times was as an aid to worship as the congregations were largely illiterate, the pictures helped them to understand the Bible stories.  In 1876 the then vicar, Rev. G.H. Lightfoot, had the whitewash removed and the paintings were restored to their former splendour.
 The first set of pictures are in the North Aisle, opposite the entrance, and the first photo represents St. George and the Dragon and St. Christopher.  St. George was born in the place now known as Palestine in 280AD, he served as a Roman soldier, became a Christian and was persecuted eventually suffering matyrdom in 303AD,  He is Englands Patron Saint, the symbol of the struggle between good and evil.
St. Christopher is the Patron Saint of Travellers, originally named Offero, he set off on a quest to serve the greatest king, he travelled the world, finally reaching a monastery where he wished to serve King Jesus but as he knew nothing of prayer he was given the job of carrying people across the river to the monastery.  According to legend, one day he heard a child on the opposite bank crying, he took the child on his shoulder and carried him across, but was amazed to find the child heavier than anyone else he had ever carried.  The child said "Your load is heavy because you are carrying someone who carries the sins of all the world."  So thereafter Offero was known as Christopher - The Christ-bearer.  On the right hand side of the second photo is the story of the beheading of St. John the Baptist and shows Salome dancing and Herod presenting her with John the Baptists head on a plate.           
                                                                  The right hand side of the third photo shows scenes from two martydoms. the first one on the bottom is of St. Edmund born in 840 who at age 14 became the Christian King of East Anglia.  The Vikings invaded in 869, marching through Mercia and into East Anglia, destroying the abbeys of Peterborough and Ely on their way.  Edmund fought them at Hoxne on the Waveney and the Danish leader offered to set Edmund up as a 'puppet king' if he would renounce Christianity.  Edmund refused.  On November 20th 870, they stripped him naked, tied him to a tree and shot him with arrows.  The scene above that is of the murder of St. Thomas Becket, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 by his friend King Henry II.  Henry wanted to bring the church under state control but Thomas refused to co-operate.  Henry was furious and in a burst of temper was heard to say "Will no-one rid me of this turbulent priest."  Four knights who overheard took him at his word and murdered Thomas in the cathedral of Canterbury.  Pope Alexander III declared Becket a saint, and his shrine in Canterbury became a most hallowed place in England.

The Chancel & Sanctuary

Stone Saxon Font

Close-up of Effigy of Sir William Bruce

Effigy of Sir William Bruce
To the right of the Chancel the late 18th century Hepplewhite pulpit can be seen. To the left is the alabaster effigy of Sir William Bruce, a Knight, depicted wearing mail and plate armour of the 1340-50 period.  He established a chantry in the church in 1337.

Next week I will show photo's of the paintings on the South Aisle wall along with other items of interest in this beautiful and well used Parish church.

Also the reason why an American flag is on display in the Sanctuary. 

For more photo's from around Our World


Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Our World Tuesday - Pickering, North Yorkshire - Part 3

Both Pickering town and the railway station are getting ready for several upcoming events, one is the forthcoming 'War Weekend' in which a lot of people descend upon the town, most of them wearing WWII clothes or Service uniforms.  There will be all sorts of things going on, plus a Military Parade, a local man takes the part of Monty, General Montgomery every year, and there are visitors from several countries including the USA, Germany and Italy, some of whom were actually P.O.W's here, they will probably visit Eden Camp in Malton too, the old P.O.W. camp that is now a War Museum.  

One other very special event which takes place in December is the running of the Santa Special trains by NYMR, when Santa and I, (Mistress Holly Claus, Santa's wife) will travel on the trains from Pickering to Levisham, and back again, talking to the children (of all ages) and giving out presents.  You can see our poster in the top left hand corner of the Notice Board.  
A few more photo's from Pickering Castle now, with a little information.  Last week I posted photo's of Mill Tower, it is not certain whether it was a horse mill, where a horse-powered crushing wheel would have been used for grinding coarse flour, but by 1537 the tower was in a state of disrepair so there was no longer a horse mill at the castle. By 1621 it was put back into good order and the ground floor was probably used as a prison, the upper chamber with its fireplace and latrine could have housed the gaoler.   

The well is located in the ditch at the foot of the Kings Tower Keep, and is 75 ft or 23m deep, in medieval measurements that is 20 ells.  It was dug through the limestone very early in the castle's history.  The depth is known because there is a record of a cord having been purchased for the well bucket during King Edward II's time.
The Chapel is the only building that still has a roof.  It is believed the chapel was built around 1226-27 as there is a record of a chaplain being appointed in 1238 and he was supported by royal income.  The chaplain's income came from two sources, the revenue from the Hospital of St. Nicholas, granted by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, on condition that the chaplain maintained its fabric.  Then Edward IV established a chantry of Our Lady within the castle in 1460, giving the chaplain additional income.  The castle had a resident chaplain up until 1547 when Henry VIII closed all chantry chapels and confiscated their income.  Bad old King Hal.

Rosamunds Tower is the northernmost tower and stands astride the inner ditch, this allowed a small gate to be placed in the ditch bottom, (a postern).  The postern had a small drawbridge and was built on the instruction of Edward II, but it is not known when or why the name Rosamund was given to the tower.  'Fair Rosamund' was the mistress of Henry II, but she had died more than a century earlier.   The gate is also referred to as a Sallyport.
Lastly, the main entrance in the outer ward of the castle is the Gatehouse, it was a two-storey tower with entrance passage below, a drawbridge and portcullis which was operated by a mechanism in a well defended room above.  The portcullis is no longer to be seen and the tall gateway has been filled in with stone, leaving just a small entrance now but the outline of the original gate can still be seen.  Click on any photo to enlarge.
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