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It’s a fête worse than…oh, whatever

Hooray — the fête season is upon us! Uncle B and I are utter fête hags; we scour the local paper for them all Summer long (though some of the most memorable are those we ran across by accident driving down country lanes).

You might think the appeal of drifting around dark churches drinking weak tea and eating digestive biscuits looking at bad oil paintings flogged by rich old ladies might wear off after a while. You’d be wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It’s the churches. Beautiful, tiny jewels of ancient architecture, lovingly tended by generation after generation of old ladies flogging bad oil paintings and weak tea. Every little village has its church, and they present a real strain on their communities, keeping the buidings clean and tended, whole and sound, and open to passers-by.

The thing in the picture? Can you make it out? This was behind the church, and it gave me a chill.

It’s a yew tree (on the right) and an oak (on the left) so ancient their trunks are entertwined and the two have completely permeated each other, a confusing jumble of oak leaves and yew branches sticking out in all directions.

Both the yew and the oak were hallowed here long before the coming of Christianity. The early church embraced local beliefs, choosing to co-opt instead of conflict (with an occasionally strange result). Many old churches have an elderly yew growing in the grounds. All the sources I’ve read agree that the yew was there before the church, the church was deliberately built on sacred ground.

This church is almost a thousand years old.

sock it to me

May 16, 2011 — 11:24 pm
Comments: 27