Friday 30 June 2023

Churches (186) : St Mary Magdalene, Newark-on-Trent

The parish church of St Mary Magdalene in Newark in Nottinghamshire has 12th century origins though is the third church on the site. Parts of the current church including the crypt date from about 1180. The west tower dates from 1220 though the spire was added in the following century. Most of the current church including the nave, aisles and chancel date from a rebuilding in the 15th century.

The church, which is in the Gothic style, was restored in the 19th and 20th centuries. The church is largely built from ashlar masonry.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

North west London rails

I visited London on Saturday, only my second trip of the year and the first for some months. I concentrated in north west London around Harrow and Stanmore, ticking off five more London Underground stations and also visiting a rather splendid church in Stanmore. You can see my railway photos here.

Monday 26 June 2023

Surrey Places (6) : Godalming

The market town of Godalming is in the South West of Surrey near to Guildford.

The town has Saxon origins, the first mention as Godelmingum dates from about 900CE. By the time of the Domesday Book it was known as Godelminge. The name probably refers to the Godheim family in Old English.

The town gained a market charter in 1300 and also gained the right to hold a yearly fair. The production of woollen cloth was the major industry in the town until the 17th century. Other fabric production and leatherwork also became important to the town as did the production of paper.

On the route between London and Portsmouth, Godalming was also a popular stop off for travellers. The town was affluent enough by the 19th century for it to be larger than Guildford. In 1881 Godalming became the first town in the world to have a public electricity supply though the town had to revert back to gas lighting in 1884 until electricity returned in 1903.

The town is now an affluent commuter town, located on the London to Portsmouth railway line, the railway station opened in 1859. The parish church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul dates from the 12th century, and was built on the site of an earlier Saxon church.

Friday 23 June 2023

British Saints (5) : Saint Botolph

Little is known about Botolph of Thorney's life. He was born in the early 600s to Saxon noble parents. He and his brother Adulph were educated at Cnobheresberg monastery by Saint Fursey. Both went onto become Benedictines abroad. Botolph returned to England and was granted land to build a monastery, most likely at Iken in Norfolk.

Botolph died in 680 and his remains were transferred to Burgh to protect them from invading Danes. They were later transferred to a tomb at Bury St Edmunds on the orders of King Cnut. Botolph became the patron saint of travellers. Four churches in London were dedicated to him all by the city's walls, three of which still exist. Over sixty churches in all are dedicated to him. Botolph also gave his name to the market town of Boston (and later the US city). His feast day is June 17th.

St Botolph's church in Apsley Guise

Another view of the church

Thursday 22 June 2023

Leaving Stafford light

Light engine operations are always fun, a Class 90 departs Stafford on it's own.

Tuesday 20 June 2023

South Wigston

Due to having something else to do on Saturday, my rail adventure this week was on a Sunday. I went to South Wigston on the edge of Leicester. I didn't spend that long there but will return one day, especially as there is a stretch of canal nearby i need to tick off! You can see my photos here.

Monday 19 June 2023

Modern Collins (5) : The Godwin Sideboard

As we have noted earlier in this series of reviews, in more modern days Collins Crime Club novels covered a lot of different cross-genres. This novel by John Malcolm mixes crime and the antiques business! 

Tim Simpson is an antique expert who also becomes a reluctant amateur detective in trying to discover why his friend was killed while trying to locate an Edward Godwin sideboard.

Tim gets involved in the murky antiques trade which, as we know from the days of Lovejoy, is full of rogues. A young American woman becomes involves with Tim but how exactly is she involved with the crimes? A highly enjoyable read.

Friday 16 June 2023

British Saints (4) : Saint Edburgha

Edburgha (also written as Eadburh or Edburga) was born in in the mid 920s, the daughter of King Edward the Elder, a son of Alfred the Great. Edburgha grew up at St Mary's Abbey in Winchester and remained a nun until her death in the early 950s. Edburgha had a love for sung prayer and may have become a precentrix, a person who facilitated worship. She is said to have been so pious she sang and prayed long after her official duties were over. 

She died at Winchester around the age of 30. A cult developed around her in the late 900s after her canonisation in 972, some of her remains being transferred to Pershore Abbey. Her shrines were visited by pilgrims as late as the 14th century. 

Although Pershore Abbey only exists in a partial form now, a number of churches in the Midlands are dedicated to St Edburgha.

Pershore Abbey
St Edburgha, Yardley
St Edburgha, Yardley

Thursday 15 June 2023

Model week : Return of the Boomerang

Project #105, a Commonwealth Boomerang, is now nearing completion. Its been a nice simple kit and a reasonably good job. In other model news planning for the new N gauge layout is progressing and timber may be procured soon to build the board.

Monday 12 June 2023

Modern Collins (4) : Death warmed up

One of the joys of "modern" Collins Crime Club volumes was the sheer variety of story ideas and genres, in the case of Death warmed up by Marian Babson it is as much an examination of British corporate dinner food preparation than crime.

We follow the adventures of a small catering company which serves food to company board members after their meetings. The catering company gets mixed up in a mysterious death at one of their main clients and nefarious plots. 

At once cosy and somewhat old fashioned but the story is also cutting edge with - for the time - brand new technology (in this case a microwave oven) being used as a potential murder weapon. Great characters complete what is a superb story.

Sunday 11 June 2023


Yesterday i did another train-bus trip to cross off another village in the shires. This time it was to Upton which is a village between Leamington Spa and Southam. Ufton is a bit odd, it has the usual pretty church and country pub but also has a car dealsership which is a bit unusual for a place this size! You can see my photos here.

Friday 9 June 2023

British Saints (3) : Saint Wystan

St Wystan (Wigstan is another spelling) was the son of Wigmund, the son of King Wiglaf of Mercia. After the death of his father, Wystan became the heir to the throne but declined to become the king and preferred to devote himself to monastic life. 

Beorhtwulf, a relative of Wystan, became king of Mercia instead. Beorhtwulf's son Beorhtfrith is said to have wanted to marry Wystan's mother, the widowed Ælfflæd, but Wystan refused the union. In revenge Beorhtfrith murdered Wystan in 839CE. The town nearest to where Wystan was thought to have been killed is Wigston, which is named after Wystan.

Wystan's body was buried at Repton, in the crypt of the church later dedicated to him. After he became a saint as a martyr, pilgrimages to his remains became popular. King Cnut had the remains moved to Evesham Abbey. Unfortunately the abbey, including the tombs of Wystan and three other saints, was destroyed during the Dissolution. Saint Wystan's feast day is June 1st.

Remains of Evesham Abbey

St Wystan, Repton

St Wystan, Repton

Wednesday 7 June 2023

Model week : Boomerang painted

Project #105, a Commonwealth Boomerang is now at the painting stage. It has been a very straight forward, if dated, kit. As with the last couple of kits all the paint used is now acrylic not enamel. It really does seem to work a lot better, i wonder why it took me such a long time to work this out.

Monday 5 June 2023

Modern Collins (3) : Thus was Adonis Murdered

This story by Sarah Caudwell was, to be honest, a bit tough to get going with the early narrative driven by letters, characters it is difficult (though not impossible eventually) to warm to and a good deal of whimsy. 

However, once we get to the actual crime and the amateur investigation is begun by Professor Tamar and a collection of young barristers in tow it starts to pick up. It is certainly interestingly different for a crime novel which mixes art history and a travelogue to Venice with an actual detective novel. It is certainly well written. 

The first in a series of Tamar novels.

Sunday 4 June 2023


Another train strike Saturday so that meant a bus adventure instead. I went to Elmdon which is the opposite side of the airport from Marston Green (where i was born and these days work!) I was able to walk the rather nice park and see the church and old manor ruins now tucked away in this area between the airport and the Jaguar factory. You can see my photos here.

Saturday 3 June 2023

Model week : Boco

The decision to built a new N gauge layout to replace Birches Green has been made, the question is when this will take place of course. This week we purchased a locomotive for the new layout anyway, a Class 28 which has been called Boco. A lovely little loco too, for now it is running tests on the current HOe layout.

Friday 2 June 2023

British Saints (2) : St Chad

St Chad of Mercia was born in about 634CE in Northumbria. Chad was one of four brothers who became active in the church, his brother Cedd also becoming a saint. Chad travelled to Ireland as a monk, it is here he joined the priesthood. He returned to England to help Cedd establish a monastery in Yorkshire. He later succeeded Cedd as Abbot of Lastingham monastery.

Chad was chosen to become the Bishop of Northumbria however he was deposed in 669 but later returned to favour as Bishop of the Mercians. King Wulfhere of Mercia provided Chad with land for monasteries in Barow and Lichfield close to the location of the cathedral. Chad died in 672, he was venerated as a saint almost immediately and his remains were moved to Lichfield cathedral. These relics remained at the cathedral until the reign of King Henry VIII. 

However, unlike many relics the remains of St Chad are not thought to have been lost. The relics were retained by families in Staffordshire. After a time at a seminary in France, the relics (which have been carbon dated to the 7th century) were returned to England and are now stored at the Catholic Cathedral of St Chad in Birmingham above the altar. St Chad's feast day is March 2nd. Many churches, especially in the Midlands, are dedicated to St Chad of Mercia.

St Chad, Wishaw

Inside St Chad, Shrewsbury

St Chad, Sutton Coldfield