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Photo Essay: Pinner Parish Church

April 14, 2008
Dr Bhaskar Dasgupta
 
It was the day my little munchkin dressed up like a princess to go to her boyfriend's birthday party. It was at Pinner Parish Church. I have passed this Church many times. It lies at the end of a winding narrow road which has beautiful period homes on both sides. But given the fact that it is on a corner, I could never stop and properly admire this lovely little church, but now that I had an hour and half to kill, I dug out my little Sony Ericsson camera and off I went. I couldnt go inside but stayed outside. See here for a bit of a background of the outside from the official site.
 
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The building on the far side is the Church Hall which is used for school purposes and other community reasons, such as birthday parties. A lovely little path, very quiet and peaceful leads up to it. Even though it has been recently constructed, it blends well into this 12th century church.
 
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This is the view of the churchyard on the north side.

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This is a Calvary garden. The memorial plate on the wall gives some more details about the person who funded this garden. This word, Calvary, threw me a bit. Never heard of it before and after researching it, am still not very clear that I understood why this is called as a Calvary garden. It is because of the memorial plaque? Or because it was built by devotees? or what? Not sure.
 
On the left hand side, you can see a long narrow sign, just underneath the tree. It is a memorial to somebody who died 2 centuries ago and the reason why it is interesting is that Wm Skenelsb, the person whose name is on the memorial plaque, was more than 100 years old when he died.
 
But this is also quite interesting, most of the gravestones in the churchyard are for people who have lived on for amazingly long periods of time, 60, 70 years of age. And considering the time period involved where the life expectancy was hardly 25-30 years, this is amazing. Something in the water perhaps?

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The north side of the bell tower, the tops are lost in a misty low cloud, it was quite snowy that day. But you can see where the repairs and restoration have taken place. See here for details of the construction.

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This grave was interesting. There was no legible inscription left, but the base was all jutting out of the ground and it is obviously extremely old. The earth has settled down around the grave and bits are exposed. And to top it all, somebody has stuck a sign, Please Keep off the Grass. A bit late to say that to the old chap now, no? And that white bits on the bottom of the sign is snow. It was a very cold and crisp afternoon.
 
See the building in the background, this is the kind of architecture you would find around the village, just shows that the history of this village goes back to 900AD and beyond.

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The west tower. The large window was beautiful, even from outside and so were the top smaller window but the clock was a disappointment. For such a lovely church tower and church yard, that manky looking clock with that faded blue paint does not fit at all. And then to put it in that frame was criminal. The only way they could have ruined it more would have been if they had put in a flashing neon digital clock.

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Then you keep on walking around to the south side, lots of very old graves line the path. The foremost grave had an interesting shape, a tapered cone shaped grave. But if you walk down that list of gravestones, you find some very graves and of people who lived on for a long period of time.

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This is a grave of a gentleman (and some more people) who lived on till he was 72 years of age! it was encased in a spiky iron cage which looked like it was put up some time after the grave was up up. Curiously, many graves showed signs of multiple occupancy. So if you had a wife buried there, you will also have the husband who would be buried there afterwards. I suppose it is because of saving costs and land.
 
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This was a very curious monument. Read the background here. And yes, that is indeed a coffin in the middle of that A shaped monument which contains two bodies.

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The main entrance. The statue in the alcove just above the main doors is of St. John the Baptist. But look on the roof, the windows are beautiful. I would never have expected to see windows like that on a church, house yes, church no. I wondered what purpose they would serve? And then looking at a picture here, it became clear. Usually churches are dim and dingy because of the long narrow windows. But this church is light, airy, bright, wonderful, really can get close to God in this place. The door was also very intricately carved.

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The next two photographs are of the lych gate. Very curious structure, only found in Britain. This is the gate where the corpse is first rested and the burial starts from this point onwards. In this particular case, it is a very well constructed gate. Inside, there are two notice boards with various church and community notices stuck up on it.

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A close up of the arch, which states, "1914 - In the honour of those who served in the Great War - 1918"  notice the intricate carving.

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A centenarian, quiet if dignified gravestone tucked away in the corner.
 
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The garden was very well maintained, if a bit cold and snowy.

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As before, here is the full slideshow link with some more photographs of this lovely little parish church. Perhaps one day, I will be able to go inside and take some more photographs.
 
Dr. Bhaskar Dasgupta works in the city of London in various capacities in the financial sector. He has worked and travelled widely around the world. The articles in here relate to his current studies and are strictly his opinion and do not reflect the position of his past or current employer(s). If you do want to blame somebody, then blame my sister and editor, she is responsible for everything, the ideas, the writing, the quotes, the drive, the israeli-palestinian crisis, global warming, the ozone layer depletion and the argentinian debt crisis.
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#1
annamma
April 15, 2008
01:12 AM

BD,
Calvary possibly because there is a cross put up, and it is meant to be a quiet place for prayer? Calvary was where Jesus was crucified.
Graveyards always interest me, and your photos were good. And your little one looks quite like a princess, too!

#2
bd
URL
April 15, 2008
01:31 AM

Annamma, yes, could well be, but then, the reason I am bewildered is that this garden isnt where this chappie was crucified, lol. So its just a memorial garden!

and thank you for your comment about my little girl :)

#3
bd
URL
April 15, 2008
01:10 PM

and yes, Annamma, I love poking around in graveyards as well, they are so poignant and still talk to us down the ages. My first experience where graves talked to me was in Panchmarhi where there were old colonial era graves. Very touching....

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