Sunday, March 30, 2008

To the ends of the earth

click photo to enlarge
Lincolnshire is the second largest English county (by area), encompassing that swathe of Eastern England between the Humber estuary and The Wash. The county has relatively little industry, no large cities, and only a short section of motorway. For many it is England's sparsely populated, sleepy backwater, and those who give it any thought at all think of it as flat and fecund. Both of these words have elements of truth: the Fens and the coastal areas are flat, but the Wolds and the hills of the Stone Belt are certainly not. And, whilst some of the most productive arable land in the country is to be found here, so too are marshes and pastures.

Consequently many are surprised to find that Lincolnshire produced more than its fair share of explorers who left the green fields and ancient churches of their home county to travel to the ends of the earth. Sir John Franklin (1786-1847), a Spilsby man, explored the Arctic and mapped two thirds of the northern coastline of North America. Matthew Flinders (1774-1814), who discovered and mapped much of Australia's coast was born in Donington. George Bass (1771-1803), who sailed with Flinders, mapped some of south Australia, and predicted the strait that separates that continent from Tasmania. Flinders named it the Bass Strait after his friend and companion who was christened in the church shown above.

This building of twelfth century foundation, is dedicated to St Denis, and is in the small, picturesque, "estate village" of Aswarby. George Bass was born on a nearby farm, and became a naval surgeon before undertaking his explorations. The church has a memorial and information about Bass, and an Australian flag hangs near the west end of the nave in memory of the village's famous son. I took this shot, one of several I have of this particularly lovely church and setting, on a late March morning when the light said spring, but the wind said winter's not quite gone!

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm (34mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1000
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off