Friday, 29 September 2017


I like old churches. I like their architecture, their location, their history and the adjoining graveyard especially. On tombstones is etched history, sociology, tragedy, love, hope, aspirations and a host of other things. Wonderful to ponder awhile around old gravestones and absorb all that's carved upon them. It is a tragedy indeed when graveyards become neglected and woefully overgrown-- and yet these places can be a haven for wildlife and wildflowers so perhaps there is no more fitting tribute to the departed.

St Catherine's Church, Eskdale
I myself am not a 'church goer' as I believe that a church building is not necessary in order to lead a respectful and helpful life and make a contribution to the worldwide community. Perhaps I am wrong there and maybe if we as "Christians" made the effort to appear as practicing our beliefs then the world might just be a better place. I don't know I cannot answer that question.

Yet, upon entering an old church, cathedral or abbey I feel uplifted and in awe of the surroundings I am in. I enter quietly, reverently, respectfully ...often sitting and meditating for a while. It seems like a good place to be.The building contains the essence of past worshippers.  The stones, the pews, the stained glass windows, the font, the aisle - - every part reverberates --hymns and psalms live on. Go quietly and you will hear voices from the past.

My piece today is based on a visit to Durham cathedral in 2014.

                        Durham Cathedral

                  Heavenward reaching columns,
                  Searching for an unseen God.
                  Built on a foundation of faith
                  By men with ardent beliefs.
                  Into perpetuity this edifice reaches,
                  With arches that seem to support
                  Heaven itself.

                 These faithful tradesmen in stone
                 Would never have known the impact
                 Of their labours.
                 Other meeker structures may tumble in time
                 But this glory in stone will withstand
                 Time itself.

                Living on. seeking a higher being-
                A further meaning to it's longevity and strength.
                Admired, awed, by men of all creeds and beliefs.
                For there is no one religion in this building-
                But an admiration by mankind
                Of the labour, the skill, the artistry
                Of men long departed.

   Thanks for reading, Kath


Steve Rowland said...

Kath, what a lovely blog. I endorse your sentiments and I thought the poem was splendid. I know Durham Cathedral reasonably well (my in-laws lived in the city). It's a beautiful building in a stunning setting. I remember being told, the first time I visited the cathedral, that the circumference of its pillars is exactly the same as their height - an optical illusion if ever there was one.

Adele said...

We in live in an enlightened age but I, like you cannot help marvel at the faith that built our mighty cathedrals. I have sung in Carlisle and Blackburn, visited Canterbury, Liverpool, Lincoln, York Minster and Beverley (which is incredible) but despite attending a TU training school in Durham once - have never seen inside the cathedral.

Like you - I also love exploring old churches - they can be so surprising. The parish church in Bakewell has medieval sarcophagi that are just standing in an ante-chamber.

Thanks for this blog Kathleen and for being the caring friend that we all treasure.