Friday, March 26, 2010

St Peter & St Paul, Wigtoft

click photo to enlarge
Go into any Lincolnshire churchyard towards the end of March and aspects of the scene above will meet your eyes. There will probably be a medieval church at the end of a path leading from the lych gate, mainly Gothic of the period 1200 to 1500. At Wigtoft, however, significant parts of a Norman building remain. On the west face of the tower is a Norman doorway and an elaborately decorated window, with elsewhere blocked windows and a section of corbel table from the same period.

The gravestones are of the typical mixture to be found in most Lincolnshire churchyards, the oldest dating from the eighteenth century and blending harmoniously with the building, some nineteenth century examples managing this too, but later ones from that century and most from subsequent years sticking out like sore thumbs: note the two snow white ones to the right of the centre of the image. The landscape of the Fens is not known for its woodland, and without the trees of the churchyards the plentiful rooks of this part of the world would have great difficulty finding enough nest sites. As I walked around the church the birds rose from the tops of the trees, and with raucous cries circled around until I was far enough away for them to feel safe to settle down again. When their eggs have hatched they'll sit tight, ignoring anyone walking below.

Then there's the churchyard grass. About now it gets its first cut, and you can see in the foreground that the mower has begun its work. A few yellowish patches reveal the moss that has grown in the grass during the damp of winter. It's a thankless task, steering the grass-cutter around the hundreds of gravestones, keeping "God's acre" tidy, but people continue to volunteer to do it, and it is a job that will be repeated at regular intervals until late October.

The fine skies and photographic withdrawal symptoms took me out to Wigtoft church, and I took a few shots during my visit. This is the best I managed, with the church framed between trees, the graveyard below, the clouds above, and the straight line of the concrete path, as well as the perspective of the lines of gravestones, leading the eye towards the building.

photograph & text (c) T.Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 16mm (32mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On