Time for another random picking from the hedgerows of curiosity. As I travel around I find lots of little items that don't really fit into any particular post, so from time to time I gather them all together for your entertainment and education. We'll start off in a car park....
In a car park in Hunstanton you'll come across this unlikely interloper - a railway signal, and behind it an old railway building. They are all that remains of Hunstanton Railway Station which was closed down in the 1960s. And if such items should be preserved it's surely in this little seaside town. You see, Hunstanton owes its existence to the railways. In the nineteenth century it suddenly became fashionable to visit the coast. The landowner here, the magnificently named Henry L'Estrange Styleman Le Strange, foresaw that if he were to build a new town on his land and connect it with a railway to the centres of population, then he might bring prosperity to the area. All this came to pass, though unfortunately for Le Strange he died of a heart attack in the very week that the railway was opened.
At first glance, as you approach along the footpath, this looks like a very old church. The tower has that squat gnarled look of something that may date from Saxon or Norman times. Closer acquaintance however reveals that the body of Shepreth church is solidly Victorian and the tower includes many modern concrete blocks, especially in its buttresses. My theory is that the building was almost ruinous in the nineteenth century and most of it was rebuilt, but enough remained of the tower that it was patched up using some of the old stone and in its original style.
It even includes this fragment of an early gravestone. All we can read today is "Here lyeth ye Body of Elizabeth ye Da-----r of Fr-----???" The skulls are a common feature of old memorials - they didn't mess about in those days with any fancy words or symbols but told it like it is.
Just down the road
…..is this showy display of potted plants in front of an otherwise unremarkable house.
This crudely carved stone is on display inside Moulton church is thought to date from the eleventh century. It's probably some sort of Sheela-Na-Gig, a phenomenon which has been defined thus: a carving of a woman with exposed and/or exaggerated genitalia, usually found on religious buildings. The female figure is the one on the left and, as you can see, is not very clear. The other figure is a man, though again much damaged. These images usually just consist of the female figure and are found on churches throughout Britain and Ireland and indeed elsewhere in western Europe. They are not common around here though there is one particularly shocking one at Whittlesford. But what are such things doing in church? There are many theories - a Celtic pagan survival, a Goddess, a fertility figure, a warning against lust, a protection against evil - none of which is at all conclusive.
A Dog's Life
Two little signs for our canine friends:
I'm not sure what I can say about either.
And finally a nice sunset taken from just outside my front door a few evenings ago.