Thursday, 12 July 2018

Church visiting - Ellerker to Howden

As I write it still has not rained and the garden is very dry. We have been watering our baskets and the vegetables but the potatoes are very small and  so are the rasps. At least, as the grass has stopped growing, there is no need to cut it.

A couple of weeks ago we visited three local churches designed by architect John Loughborough Pearson.  This was in conjunction with  York and District Organists association who had come up with the interesting idea of visiting the churches and playing their organs.

We began at Ellerker where our friend Diana Bushby is both organist and churchwarden. This was Pearson's first church, built in 1844 and it was lovely to hear the visiting organists coaxing different sounds from the organ. We then, after lunch, visited Scorborough and South Dalton, both churches with magnificent spires.

Then last week with my WEA Howden and Goole local history groups [classes re- start in September] we visited twelfth century Hemingbrough church. One intelligent student compared the spire there with that at South Dalton.  Could there be a connection we wondered? And yes - Loughborough Pearson carried out restoration work in the 1850s at Hemingbrough before designing the Wolds churches- is that where he got his inspiration?

And finally on this  church odyssey we come to Howden. I had a busy day last Friday showing groups around our own wonderful church. In the afternoon - a very hot and humid one - I was with two parties from the Addingham Civic Society  who wondered why a small market town has such a magnificent church.

But I enjoyed most the morning visit where I talked to year 5 from Howden Junior school. They are finding out the answer to this very question - what is the connection between Howden and Durham and why kings of England and Scotland visited  to stay with the Prince Bishops at their palace in Howden.

I was very impressed by their behaviour and interest in their local church. And they found 22 of the supposed 30 wooden mice carved around the church by Robert Thompson of Kilburn - more than most visitors.

Quite a few years ago now I too sat in the church when my daughter, Amy, then a pupil at the Junior School was  involved in school events.

Time moves on and I shall be there again on  Saturday August 4th at 7.30 when, with Peter Sproston, she performs a duet concert as part of the Minster Concert Series. The grand piano on which they will perform will be on loan from Steven Goulden and I am looking forward to hearing it in the lovely acoustic of the Minster.

I shall not be counting mice that night - and neither will she!

Amy Butler, professional pianist and teacher will be performing duets with celebrated pianist Peter Sproston in Howden Minster on 4th August.