A Relic From Another Era


First of all I hope you like the new theme which I need to customise a bit more. Why did I go for this one. Simple really, it allows me to show my photographs at 1200 pixels wide if viewed in a browser on a PC. But it’s also tablet and mobile compatible as well. All I need to do now is save my photographs at 1200 pixels wide to take advantage of the new theme. And so to this weeks challenge which is Relic. Suits me as I’ve been photographing almost nothing else in the last 6 months, so here are some from the parish church in the village of Tremerchion.

This beautiful church is the only medieval one in Britain which is dedicated to Corpus Christi. Its oldest parts probably date from the late 12th century, including the south wall and part of the north wall – both shaped to resemble a ship’s sides.

Corpus Christi

Before we go inside the church I’d like to show you the Tremeirchion Cross which stands in the in the churchyard  and dates from around the 14th century. It was known as a ‘Miracle Cross’, and pilgrims would pray at its foot.

Tremeirchion Cross 1232

In the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell and his followers regarded such monuments as symbols of superstition and many were damaged or destroyed during the Civil War. It’s thought that the head of the Tremeirchion Cross was knocked from its shaft at that time. In 1862 an archaeologist called Youde Hinde found the cross-head in the churchyard and, disappointed by its neglect, bought it for five sovereigns. He offered it to the nearby St Beuno’s College, where it stood until returned to the churchyard in 2004. Today, it is one of the focal points for visitors and walkers following the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way.

Inside the church the floor slopes down towards the altar for good visibility, another hallmark of early churches. There are two stone effigies dating from the medieval period.

The Altar

In a side wing of the church underneath a beautiful stained glass window lies this carved depiction of a knight in armour, thought to date from around 1300. There are no inscriptions but his clothing provides strong clues to the date.

The head and chest appear to be covered by chain mail, but other parts of his torso are protected by a quilted jacket or ‘gambeson’ of leather stuffed with wool or cloth. Over the jacket is a long surcoat. Leather gauntlets cover the hands. A lion is depicted on the shield, and the knight grasps his sword with both hands. Originally the effigy would have been brightly painted. Although there is no name associated with the effigy it is thought the knight may be Sir Roger Pounderling, Constable of Dyserth Castle during King Edward II’s reign.

Corpus Christi-Stained Glass(7tcs)

When I was asked to photograph the “Vinegar Bible” my first thought was they were playing a joke. But there actually is a bible, first published, Oxford 1717, where the word “vinegar” appears instead of “vineyard” in the title of one of the parables. Throughout this edition there were many other mistakes and it was christened a “Basketful of Printers Errors” If you look to the top left of the bible you can see where I have highlighted the mistake using Photoshop.

The Bible 1232

For centuries, antiquarians have speculated about the subject of a well-preserved stone effigy, which rests on a richly ornamented altar tomb. The inscription clearly records the name Dafydd ap Hywel ap Madog, and we can see from his clerical clothing and the effigy’s position within the church that he was a holy man .

A legend has grown around the identity of the effigy, suggesting that it depicts Dafydd Ddu Hiraddug who was known as a poet, grammarian, scientist and philosopher, and even as a practitioner of the Black Arts. Unfortunately there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the effigy is Dafydd.

Stone Effigy 1232

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed some of the relics which I’ve spent the last 6 months photographing in churches throughout North Wales. As usual feel free to leave a comment and if you want to use any of the photographs, which are Creative Commons, just follow the license procedures which are really simple. If you use one mention me with a link back.

15 thoughts on “A Relic From Another Era

    • Mike Hardisty July 15, 2014 / 19:58

      Hello Connie, I have always tried to give some useful information to accompany my photographs. We have a rich history here in North Wales, so why not use it?

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  1. gwalion2014 July 15, 2014 / 22:22

    Great blog Mike. Super pics and a very interesting narrative.

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  2. goandslo July 16, 2014 / 00:14

    Great blog Mike, love the stained glass windows, unfortunately when I was over there & visiting your lovely churches I had not yet learnt how to photograph them properly so ended up with a lot of very over exposed windows or under exposed interiors. Oh well there is always next visit.

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    • Mike Hardisty July 17, 2014 / 09:13

      I use spot metering when I’m photographing stained glass windows, if that helps

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  3. Andrew July 16, 2014 / 02:18

    Excellent post Mike. The photographs are very fine. You must do a huge amount of research. I like the vinegar bible. A Grauniad publication maybe.

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    • Mike Hardisty July 17, 2014 / 09:17

      Luckily enough Andrew, I’ve had a fair amount of the research done for me. These photographs were taken as part of the Sacred Doorways project and I have been given the texts that will accompany the photographs on the information boards and leaflets, so it makes my job a little easier

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  4. vastlycurious.com July 16, 2014 / 18:17

    Yes I like the format quite a bit for the quality of your work! The stained glass looks like you can touch it!

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    • Mike Hardisty July 17, 2014 / 09:18

      Practice makes perfect as they say…I’ve photographed so much stained glass recently

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  5. seeker July 18, 2014 / 05:59

    Love that old Bible.

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  6. petspeopleandlife July 21, 2014 / 16:46

    Mike, somehow I totally lost you. I was not getting notices and then I thought that you had shut down your blog. I’m not sure why I thought that. I’m nuts I know but maybe nuttier than I realize. Today I happened to look at stats and saw your name and then clicked on your photo. So here I am again. I’ll have lots of catching up. I like the large format photos. The photos are superb and I really do enjoy viewing your blog.
    ~yvonne

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    • Mike Hardisty July 22, 2014 / 14:17

      Hello Yvonne. Nice to hear from you. I did take a break from blogging. The project to photograph the artifacts, interiors and exteriors of the historic churches for the County Council was taking up so much of my time that I wasn’t devoting anything to my blog. That project has finished now, but even still I decided I needed some time off. But I’m back now, new theme to try and show the photographs at their best. At the moment I’m only writing for the weekly challenges but eventually I hope to ramp that up and cover two posts a week.

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      • petspeopleandlife July 22, 2014 / 16:51

        Great that you are back and I’ll look forward to seeing your wonderful pic.

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