Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Beaches...But No Seaside

Cambridgeshire is a land-locked county which can boast two beaches - the twin villages of Waterbeach and Landbeach. Before the drainage of the Fens these two settlements were at the water's edge. Now they are far inland. But they do have a kindergarten school called "Beach Babies" which always makes me smile.


While pedalling towards Denny Abbey I couldn't resist peeping into the churches of the two villages. Waterbeach has a tower while Landbeach favours a spire but both are fairly typical village churches. My grandmother spent the last few years of her long life in a care home in Waterbeach and the last time I went into the church must have been with her. I remember that she was very taken with it.

Although the building is much older, it underwent a major facelift in the late Victorian age. So most of what you see dates from the same sort of time as my dear Granny, who was born in 1894. 

Usually Victorian restorations resulted in the quaint and crumbling being ripped out and replaced with the huge and horrible, but here the additions are rather attractive if perhaps a bit over-elaborate for modern taste.

I find myself siding with Granny's enthusiasm for the place. And the ladies of the village can certainly do a mean floral decoration....


A perfect little church nestling in its churchyard. Inside it's seen no major renovation, just the usual patching-up-enough-to-make-it-serviceable. But it does have this remarkable lectern...

    I've never seen anything like it and it's certainly not the kind of thing you'd expect to find in a little parish church. Apparently it's thought to be Dutch and to have arrived here via an antique dealer in York.

There's also a tantalising glimpse of medieval wallpainting and, looking upwards, some rustic- looking angels....

There are eight in total - here are the others...

The shields, which might have been painted later, are, left to right - the arms of the Bishops of Ely, the arms of Corpus Christi College, the arms of Cambridge University....but then I'm struggling!

Outside I was aware of someone else looking down at me. Could it be W C Fields? Winston Churchill? Or perhaps Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker?

Take care.


  1. Lovely images John.
    Come the 'Global Warming. Peterborough will be a seaside city.{:))

  2. What a great lecturn, I have never seen one like this. Love the poor, unfortunate gargoyle!

  3. Those shields are exquisite John. Oh, and don't stand under that last photo - I suspect that water flows out of that pipe.

  4. That is a great lectern. Two lovely and interesting churches, thanks for the tour!

  5. What a stunning lectern, never seen one anything like that before. They are usually eagles, though I don't know why.

  6. The inside of old churches are often very interesting.

  7. I think it's Winston, and best to heed Weaver's warning - I do envy your visits to these beautiful old church and am grateful for the wonderful pictures you post, John, - together with all the tid-bits of information.

  8. Two lovely churches. Love the angels in the second one. I always wondered about Waterbeach - I often heard it announced on Peterborough station as one of the stations where trains would call on their way to Cambridge:)

  9. I prefer simple village churches to majestic cathedrals. The church of your memory with your grandmother is so charming. I like the wooden door with stained glasses decorated by the nice flower arrangement. Though figures are different, the eight angels remind me of the Eight Guardians of Buddhism which represent the eight classes of supernatural beings mentioned in the Lotus Sutra. I often find similar components in Christian churches and Buddhist temples despite their apparent differences. Thanks for sharing.


  10. Interesting that the two towns were beaches when they got their names, and high and dry now. The churches are lovely and nice that you have memories of being there with your granny.

  11. What an amazing lectern! It's quite surreal and reminds me of the wood carvings at the church at Wreay in Cumbria.
    Worth a visit if you are ever up that way.

    1. Thanks for that link. If I'm ever up that way.....

  12. Ah, I love the rustic angles, they're lovely! These are really nice shots and thank you for your comment. St Bees is one of my favourite places in the whole of the UK. - Tasha xxx

  13. What a wealth of information and opinion my readers provide. Thank you all. The UK and its people don't realise how fortunate they are to have such a rich heritage.

  14. 1) Wow! 2) Amazing! And you're right - it's almost embarrassing how lucky we are.

  15. These are such different places to worship. Both have their own beauty.


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