Quintessential England

This weekend, staying with friends in a tiny village in Swaledale, Yorkshire, we drove to Easby, a hidden corner near Richmond where there is a large ruined abbey ( courtesy of course of Henry VIII) and the little church of St Agnes.

In the best tradition of English culture and concern for those in need, this little church had opened its doors for a day of baroque music (viola da gamba and lute) with refreshments provided by the parish -home made cakes and scones, and tea. This ancient church has frescoes ( though not strictly speaking, as they were painted on dry, not wet, plaster) which amazingly predate Giotto. They are not as colourful as Giotto’s, but certainly portray the stories and emotions of participants in Christ’s life very movingly. The musicians, Pellingman’s Saraband, played beautifully, telling us that the occasion was informal. We could eat and drink, come and go, knit, read the Sunday papers, and enjoy the music.

Nobody instructed us to put money in the buckets by the door in aid of Macmillan’s Cancer Charity, but of course we all did. I imagine the day must have raised hundreds of pounds for a very worthy cause. Well done, everybody.

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