BOOKS, History, Lady, poetry, TRAVEL, writing

Oh, to be in England!


This title is the first Chapter of “The Way to St. Werburgh’s”, and oh! Is it just the perfect title.

“It was 1819, perhaps a year of destiny. George III’s long reign was drawing to a close; his granddaughter Victoria was born, later to be one of the greatest rulers of the British empire; and soon the self-indulgent, sentimental reign of his son George IV would lower the past prestige of the royal family, despite the fact that he had served as Regent for some years.”

“The Northern spring was fast approaching, to gladden the hearts of all Englishmen Grand old oaks and spreading yew trees, majestic chestnuts and elegant birches vied with shy wood violets and bursting daffodils to greet the new season.

Blackbirds and sky larks, sparrows and finches, swallows and thrush, wrens and nightingales plied the air with ceaseless song, and the whole English landscape breathed new life with the melting snow”

England countryside

“The colourful country of Cheshire was no exception. Here in the neatly hedgerowed fields of Norley stood a spacious old house with cradles and nurtured a big happy family. It was the dearly loved home of Rowland and Emma Egerton-Warburton”

Arley Hall Cheshire england

Rowland Egerton Warbuton

“On the northern boundary of the rich rolling pasturelands of Cheshire, by the banks of the busy Mersey river, lies the little village of Warburton, where the family bearing that name can be traced back to the thirteenth century, and even today ruins remain of one of their former homes. Here the modern church lacks the atmosphere of the interesting old Warburton church of earlier times. It still stands in all its quaintness of stone, timber and brick, surrounded by a variety of gravestones and including a curious coffin of stone, unoccupied, with the lid lying beside it. the heavy timbered frame-work of the steep slate-covered roof is believed to be solidly fastened by deer horns.”

On the splendid park-like estates of Arley (Northwich), situated not far from Great Budworth, with a secluded stately stone hall surrounded by charming gardens and massive yew trees; it was enhanced by a lovely lake, a collection of cottages, a moss-mellowed school, memorable stables and magnificent old trees.”

 

cheshire budworth

cheshire great budworth

Cheshire Life

The Chapels of St. Werburgh

 

Chester City, in ancient setting.

Built upon the sands of Dee

Her curving wall is gently fretting

With restoration there to see

 

The Cathedral stands against the skies

Oblivious to her struggling past

Within her walls St. Werburgh lies

Where faith and fervour still hold fast

 

Yet in the quiet Australian outback

Stands another English church

Above a tree-lined winding track

Far from willow, fir and birch

 

Here craftsmanship and hand-wrought charm

Built St. Werburgh’s with Gods will

When Georges chapel, on his farm

Was fashioned with unfailing skill

 

Where high in holy rafters dwell

Memories of the passing years

The tinkling sound of cattle bell

Joins the praise of pioneers

 

It nestles on a gentle knoll

Beyond the banks of River Hay

Where we hear the church bell toll

A hundred years from yesterday

 

©DawnCrabb First published 1974

 

And I HAVE to put the popular poem in to marry it up with the rest of the theme.

 

Oh, to be in England

Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!

And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent
spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song
twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

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