Saturday, August 25, 2007

Relics and savages

This matters to no-one else but me. I'm only putting it down here because I can.

One of the best features of this town I live in is parkland known as "The Carrs". It flanks the Bollin River as it wends its way north towards the Mersey with woods on both sides for the most part. Those on the western side cover a steep slope up to the houses of Wilmslow, which they hide. And hidden in one part of these woods is a ruined chapel. The sort of place that Sir Gawain or Sir Galahad would have come across between one damsel and another.

Except that it wasn't built until the 1890s. The man who commissioned it was Sir Henry Boddington of the brewing family and it must have been a casket of delights when it was finished. It was built with elaborately carved local stone, had a chancel and a tower that overlooked the valley.

The chapel was dedicated to St Olaf, who was actually King Olaf I of Norway, seen as an ideal of martial Christianity. (In other words, they didn't apologise.) More info about the chapel here.

St Olaf's Chapel is much reduced now, as you can see from the photograph below. Time, vandals, or, the time when vandals didn't have anything better to do, have brought it low.

This, I can accept. Well, I don't have much choice, do I? What I find more difficult to accept is this.

In case you can't make it out, that is the chapel heaped up with the lopped branches of one very large, or several smaller, rhododendron. Some householder, for want of a better word, has gone to the trouble to drag them to this rather inaccessible place and then attempted to burn them. In which attempt the idiot failed, and so has just left it like that. My feelings towards this householder are such to make me glad that I'll probably never know who he is.

But I wish him a visit from the pre-Christian Olaf.


Mark Barratt said...

Hi Noolah,
Re: Relics and savages
I grew up in Wilmslow & visit St Olaf's Chapel regularly. I'm pretty certain those branches are covering an archaeological excavation, something I'm trying to find more about at present.

NoolaBeulah said...

Hello, Mark. Anything you find out, please let me know. If you have any more info about the chapel historical or otherwise, t would be very gratefully received.