Tag Archive: Craft


A drive across beautiful countryside and pretty villages bought us to the vibrant and bustling town of Tipperary

Friday 9th June. Day Eleven: St Mary’s Church. Tipperary: Tipperary was very vibrant and colourful; a busy bustling town with lots going on, lots to see and full of people. Before going to the church we had a walk along the high street, found a clasic no frills pub and had a lovely pub lunch. I always find it so refreshing in Ireland to discover and explore all the little independant shops, often full of local produce and craftmanship. I am sure there must be big retail areas somewhere, but the places we went to or drove through had all kept their own indentity and no sign at all, of the big boring retail shops that we have in England which make each town and city centre exactly the same – so bravo Ireland!

<click to view each photo>

Tipperary Town (Irish: Tiobraid Árann, meaning ‘well of the Ara’- a reference to the river Ara that flows through the town) is a town and civil parish in County Tipperary with a population of 4,979 at the 2016 census. The town gave its name to the County Tipperary. The town had a medieval foundation and became a population centre in the early 13th century. It’s ancient fortifications have disappeared, often dismantled to be reused in new buildings. It’s central area is characterized by a wide streets radiating from the principal thoroughfare of Main Street. Two historical monuments are located in the Main Street. One is a bronze statue of Charles Kickham (poet and patriot). The other is the Maid of Erin statue, erected to commemorate the Irish patriots, Allen, Larkin and O’Brien, who are collectively known as the Manchester Martyrs. The Maid of Erin is a freestanding monument; erected in 1907, it was relocated to a corner site on the main street in 2003. It is made of carved limestone. A woman stands on a base depicting the portraits of the three executed men. The portraits carry the names in Irish of each man. She is situated on stone-flagged pavement behind wrought-iron railings, with an information board. The choice of a female figure as the personification of Ireland for such a memorial was common at the time. It is a naturalistic and evocative piece of work, made all the more striking by the lifelike portraits of the executed men. (see photos above)

The town was the site of a large military barracks of the British Army in the 50 years before Irish Independence and served as a military hospital during World War I. During the War of Independence, these barracks were a base for the Black and Tans and on 30 September 2005, the newly refurbished Memorial Arch of the barracks was unveiled in a ceremony in the pressence of dignitaries. However, given the notoriety of the place in the folk memory, few townspeople attended. The Arch is the only remaining porch of what was the officers’ mess and has panels mounted bearing the names of fallen members of the Irish Defence Forces. The Arch was renovated and maintained by the Tipperary Remembrance Trust. We were later given a private tour of this area along with other important sites. (see photos to follow)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipperary_(town)

St Mary’s Church: We did think that yet again, we would be unable to gain access to this church even though the doors were open allowing us to wandered inside, only to be met by the raised tones of the rector informing us that no, were were not allowed in, as he was having some sort of meeting in the church. So thus we had resigned ourselves to a stroll around the graveyard, where i did take some lovely shots of the old iron works depicting fleur-de-lys. It is the oldest graveyard in town with over 1000 recorded burials and the oldest landmark. The grave of Christopher Emmet grandfather of the Irish patriot Robert Emmet is located in the grounds as is the grave of Ellen O’Leary Poet, and sister of the Fenian John O’Leary is also located in the grounds. There has been a military connection with St Mary’s as far back as the 1780’s when it was a garrison church. There are nine Commonwealth war graves and 11 other military related graves dating 1880 – 1920. All very interesting but not really what we were there for, however a chance encounter at the church gates with the new rector, with a different mindset, assured us that yes, we could go in and that he would give us a personal tour of the church and of many interesting areas nearby. Sadly not a lot of info on the internet on the church, so i will let the photos speak for themselves….

http://homepage.eircom.net/~tipperaryfame/stmarys.htm

Although we were lucky and very kindly were shown some of the older and more interesting treasures within the church, they were not actually Craft related, but obvioulsy all well loved <click to view>

As mentioned above, we were very lucky to have been taken on a surprise private tour of relevant and historical sites around Tipperray, ending with a lovely visit to a very old ancient church site, complete with sacred well. But also on this occasion we were visited by one of the ‘watchers’, keeping tracks on us no doubt, for we are never alone, especially as Craft people and obviously our tracks and purpose on this earthly plain is always very closely monitored.

A military arch, old workhouse and barracks, bear tesitiment to different times. The Hills of Tipperary, keep a timeless watch holding onto their secrets and asignations from other times. An imposing modern statue, seems to hold silent court over the etherial essence of the glen. An ancient site and holy well, will keep the secrets of the day…. <click to view>

Grail Bloodline Connectios:

  • John Fordham. 1858 – 1932 Collooney, Sligo. He had a particular interest here. (3 x GGF)

St Mary’s Church. Blessington: So after a little drive, again through pretty towns and villages, past mountains and countryside we arrived at Blessington, which on this occasion would prove to be a very short visit. Sadly the church was shut with all gates locked and chained, so we could not even stroll around the graveyard. So i did the best i could in respect of photos…

Blessington: historically known as Ballycomeen (Irish: Baile Coimín, meaning ‘town of Comyn’, from the Irish surname Ó Coimín), is a town on the River Liffey in County Wicklow, near the border with County Kildare. Evidence of Bronze Age activity in the area is demonstrated by the spectacular Blessington gold lunula now in the British Museum. Blessington was previously called Munfine, and in the Medieval period was part of the lordship of Threecastles. Construction of Blessington House was begun in 1673 and afterwards St Mary’s Church in Blessington, which was completed in 1683. The main road of the town is an example of a planned improvement of towns and villages associated with estates in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Since the turn of the 21st century, Blessington’s population has increased substantially, more than doubling from 2,509 at the 2002 census, to 5,010 by the time of the 2011 census.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blessington

St Mary’s Church: is situated in Market Square, in the middle of the town. It was built around 1683, having been financed by Archbishop Boyle. While most of the church was rebuilt in the 19th Century, the tower of this old church remains at the west end. The original church, from 1683, was later altered to the design by Joseph Welland (transepts, north aisle). The church is well known in the bell-ringing community for housing the oldest complete set of bells in Ireland. The six bells date to 1682, and were cast by James Bartlet, who was the master founder of Whitechapel at that time. The money for these was also given by Archbishop Boyle. They are still rung twice a week, for Sunday morning service and on Saturday nights, for ringing practice. The cemetery is located within the grounds of St. Mary’s Church, Blessington and four of the graves are for the crew of an RAF Hampden bomber, whose plane crashed near Blessington in April 1941.

The church is a detached six-bay single-storey Church of Ireland Church, built c.1680 but extended in later years. The church is constructed in rubble granite. The three-stage bell and clock tower is finished in roughcast render and a has a castellated parapet with tall pinnacles. The sheeted front door has decorative strap hinges and is set within a small gabled porch projection to the north side of the tower. Window openings are generally pointed-arched and are frequently arranged in pairs; glazing is leaded. The pitched roof is finished in natural slate and has cast-iron rainwater goods. The church is slightly set back behind a low rubble wall with wrought-iron railings and matching gates. This well preserved early 19th-century church is set at approximately forty five degrees to the road; this dramatic siting adds much interest to the streetscape – and that is as much as I could garner from the internet for you all, seeings we could not really get near to the church.

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • King Niall, 342 AD. (46 x GGF) The beginning and origin of the Neville Surname.

More to come: A rainy last day awaited us as we left our Irish digs to return home, but on the road to the ferry many more adventures awaited…..

“My truth makes perfect sense to me. It’s been a life time of knowledge, of journeying towards the truth, but what a fabulous journey it has been, and continues to be. The ‘road less travelled’ certainly, but a road that does reward the ‘brave’ of heart. A journey that will continue through other dimensions, with truths deposited forever within….
Nothing lasts forever in this realm and the truth is there for all to ‘see’, but there is always a guiding L.I.G.H.T. awaiting as The Grail gets ever closer…
Energies flow, energies dissapate, energies find their way home, find those whom will take them home. Nothing is too late to embrace, never too late to learn, never too late to find your way; faith & knowledge of the truth will always shine a LIGHT to those whom can ‘see’

“The Keeper of Scrolls” 25th November 2021

<moon.willow@ntlworld.com>

 

 

“It was day nine and we were on the road again. We travel many hundreds of miles on these quests, through many counties (even countries). Through changing scenery and variable weather – yet it all delights the senses and i have perfected the knack of taking photos on the move! So leaving the beauty of County Meath behind us; it was an early start for an epic journey and adventure. We travelled through misty mountains and rugged terrain, a landscape that has inspired inunarable poets and writers over the years. But our part in the annuals of the earthly plain was just begining, in respect of this part of our quest. For we were journying toward the magical and mysterious Achill Island, where time and tide really do keep their own council”

On the road through Ireland to Achill Island. An amazing adventure….

Day Nine: 7th July 2021: Achill Island (Co Mayo) (Irish: Acaill, Oileán Acla) is the largest and most magical (for many reasons) of the Irish isles and is situated off the west coast. It has a population of 2,594 covering an area of 57 sq miles). Achill is attached to the mainland by the Michael Davitt Bridge between the villages of Gob an Choire (Achill Sound) and Poll Raithní (Polranny). A bridge was first completed here in 1887. Other centres of population include the villages of Keel, Dooagh, Dumha Éige (Dooega), Dún Ibhir (Dooiver), and Duggort. Early human settlements are believed to have been established on Achill around 3000 BC. The parish of Achill consists of Achill Island, Achillbeg, Inishbiggle and the Corraun Penninsular. Roughly half of the island, including the villages of Achill Sound and Bunacurry are in the Gaeltacht (traditional Irish-speaking region) of Ireland, although the vast majority of the island’s population speaks  English as their daily language. It is believed that at the end of the Neolithic Period (around 4000 BC), Achill had a population of 500-1,000 people. The island would have been mostly forest until the Neolithic people began crop cultivation. Settlements increased during the Iron Age and the dispersal of small promontory around the coast indicate the warlike nature of the times. Megalithic tombs and forts can be seen at Slievemore, along the Atlantic Drive and on Achillbeg. Although the population has increased, Achill Island is still a very wild and rugged island with much of it’s very early history forever lost in time and legend…
St Dympna’s Church and Holy Well: Achill Island. When one enters into this graveyard by the shoreline, one can not help but notice the ‘energies’, for it feels almost ‘otherworldly’, dreamlike, between the worlds and with very good reason too…
The sense of ‘otherwordliness’ is extremely strong here; a feeling of being between the worlds permeates. Could it be the most profound and magical place in the world…?
St Dympna’s 17th century church is built on the south-east coast of Achill Island. An early church was founded here by St Dympna in the 7th century. The placename is derived from ‘Cill Damhnait’ meaning ‘ Church of Davnet (Dympna)’. After crossing the bridge from the Irish mainland onto Achill island, a most magical drive awaits you, as the forgotton history of these lands seeps into one’s veins. The roofless church is situated in Kildownet cemetery, about 250 metres north of Kilavnet Castle. Kildownet old cemetery is located near the southern tip of Achill Island, and about a quarter mile from Grace O’Malley’s 15th century castle. The Old Cemetery extends from the edge of the main road to the shore of the bay and encompasses the partially restored ruins of St Dympna’s Church, originally founded in the 7th century.There is a T-shaped altar at the eastern end of the church and an aumbry can be found in the north-east corner. Scattered around the graveyard are a number of medieval stone crosses, two of which have been cemented into the cemetery gate-posts. St Dympna’s Holy Well sits on the shoreline to the east of the church.In the graveyard are also some of the ‘famine graves’, very poingnant and sad to see, an echo of hard times once lived (and died) through. There is also a memorial to the thirty-two young people who died in the 1894 Clew Bay drowning tragedy, and buried in the cemetery, They had been heading across Clew Bay for the Steamer in Westport that was to take them to Scotland for potato picking, when their boat capsized in a sudden gust of wind. The tragedy is remembered in the song ‘Hills of Mayo’.
There are energies of a different kind here at St Dympna’s <click to enlarge>
Of course this is a Craft site and part of our quest,  so hence why we are here, but the energies here are very special; almost of another dimension, one gets a feeling of being outside of time here, not of the current timeline at all. It felt like looking through a mirror into the outside world, time moved at a slower, different pace in that graveyard. On a personal note, i also had some revelations there; experiences of a very metaphysical nature, peronal to me…
A sense of time and tide and ‘other lands’coming to the surface…. <click to enlarge>
Grail Bloodline Connection:
  • John Fordham 1823-1895 (Collooney, Sligo) Had a particular interest here (4 x GGF)

 

Achill Henge: Keel East: It was with a lot of sadness that i left St Dympna’s behind for i could have stayed and soaked those beautiful energies up all day…. but time and tide wait for no man (or lady), and so it was, into the car again and off on the road to find a modern-day henge. We drove along the shore line, but all the time, going up and up the high cliffs, almost tottering over the edge in some places – but the veiws were magificant! We eventually reached a point where we could drive no further, so walking up the boggy mountainside was the only option. It was hard going and my feet were saturated, frequently dissapearing into the boggy ground. Goodness only knows how the sculptor managed to get his henge up there!

What beautiful views over ancient lands that time and history have somehow lost sight of, maybe some of our ancient legends can provide answers…? <click to enlarge>

 

Achill-henge is a concrete modern structure on Achill Island off the northwest coast of Co Mayo. Achill-henge is over 4 metres (13 ft) high and 100 metres (330 ft) in circumference. It consists of a circle of 30 concrete columns topped by a ring of stone. It’s not a replica of any ancient structure and does not pretend to be. It does not pretend to be anything other than what it is and love it or hate it, it is certainly impresive and is a scuptoral huge feat. Achill-henge was constructed over a weekend in November 2011 by Joe McNamara, a property developer and convicted criminal. A team of workers hauled the large concrete slabs up the hill and sank them in the bog. Mayo County Council requested a court order to force McNamara to remove the edifice as it had been built without planning permission. McNamara claimed that the structure was exempt from planning rules as an “ornamental garden”. Theresa McDonald, Director of the Achill Archaeological Field School, also raised objections on the grounds that the structure may be less than 500 m (1,600 ft) from a Bronze-Age archaeological site. The High Court required McNamara to cease further work on the site, and, as he was found to be in breach of this, he was jailed for three days for contemp of court. The Court referred the planning decision toAn Bord Pleanala, which in July 2012 upheld the Council’s decision. Some local people have expressed admiration for the work as a feat of engineering, and a newspaper poll found a majority of locals in support of keeping the structure. On 8 January 2012, it was featured as part of the Prime Time programme on RTE 1 in Ireland.

Achill Henge is still standing as of August 2021.

A shame the henge wasn’t being very well looked after and is now covered in graffitti, a sad sign of our times. Of course it had been a place of power, of immense energy (pyramid energy) and even had a connection to the metaphysical realms; hence why we were there…

As always on these quests, it is what lies beneath that is important

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achill-henge

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • John Fordham (1823 – 1895) (Collooney. Sligo) Had a particular interest (4 x GGF)

 

Dooega: Dumha Éige (anglicised Dooega) is an old fishing village in the south west of Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland in County Mayo. It is in the Gaeltacht and is the home of  Colaiste Acla. The scenic area is part of the Achill Atlantic Drive. Dumha Éige/Dooega has a Blue Flag beach, a church, a pub and a guest house. We were there to round off the day and to relax before our long drive to our next digs. Dooega Beach is a small and sheltered beach set in a small coastal inlet at the south west tip of the Minnaun cliffs, located on the south side of Achill Island and is perfect for summer sunbathing due to its south facing location. It is within the Keel Machair/Minaun cliffs Special Area of Conservation. The beach and surrounding area is habitat rich in birds, plants and insects and is a special area for protection and conservation. The beach backs onto low grasslands and the old fishing village of Dooega, one of the last native language speaking villages on Achill; its a lovely bay with a very ‘old fashioned’ feel to it. Going way back in time it was home to one of the very first settlements of mankind on this planet.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dooega

Chilling out before our big drive to our next digs, but sad to leave this special island, forever wondering as to what could be under those waves…

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • John Fordham (1823 – 1895) (Collooney. Sligo) He had a particular interest (4 x GGF)

 

Day Ten: 8th July: Galway Cathedral. Galway: (or it’s rather lovely full name of Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, Galway). (Irish language: Ard-Eaglais Mhaighdean na Deastógála agus Naomh Nioclás), commonly known as Galway Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral and one of the largest and most impressive buildings in the city of Galway, although in the past not always liked by everyone.

Galway is a very vibrant lively city, full of street art, resturants, pubs and lots of old interesting streets – and of course the magificant cathedral. It is in the West of Ireland in the province of Connacht. It lies on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway bay, with a population at the 2016 Census of 79,934. Located near an earlier settlement, Galway grew around a fortification built by the King of Connacht in 1124. A municipal charter, received in 1484, allowed for the citizens of the then walled city to form a council and mayoralty. Controlled largely by a group of merchant families, the Tribes of Galway, the city grew into a trading port. Following a period of decline, as of the 21st century, the city is a tourist destination and is known for hosting numerous festivals, celebrations and events.

The city’s name comes from the Irish name Gaillimh, which formed the western boundary of the earliest settlement, Dún Gaillimhe “Fort Gaillimh”. (Mythical and alternative derivations of the name are given in History of Galway. Historically, the name was Anglicised as Galliv or Gallive, closer to the Irish pronunciation. The city’s name in Latin is Galvia. Residents of the city are referred to as Galwegians. The city also bears the nickname “City of the Tribes” (Irish: Cathair na dTreabh) because of the fourteen merchant families called the “tribes of Galway”who led the city in its Hiberno-Norman period.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galway

Construction of the cathedral began in 1958 on the site of the old city prison. It was completed in 1965, making it the last great stone cathedral to be built in Europe. It was dedicated, jointly, to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and to St Nicholas. A very modern cathedral then, it was opened on 15 August 1965. The architect of the cathedral was John J. Robinson who had previously designed many churches in Dublin and around the country. The architecture of the cathedral draws on many influences. The dome and pillars reflect a Renaissance style. Other features, including the rose windows and mosiacs, echo the broad tradition of Christian art, yet not only christain art, the cathedral is full of deeply symbolic art, that not everyone would know the meanings too and one often has to look twice for hidden in the art are many significant meanings to true history on earth. The cathedral dome, at a height of 44.2 metres (145 ft), is a prominent landmark on the city skyline. The beautiful connemara marble was used in the construction of the cathedral, on the floors.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Our_Lady_Assumed_into_Heaven_and_St_Nicholas,_Galway

“After about 18 months of trying to get to Ireland on this mighty long awaited quest because of covid, we were full of happiness and anticipation to have finally made it. The journey to the Liverpool ferry was of course part of the quest itself, visiting two beautiful churches along the way and for those who have been following our quests you will have picked up maybe, the reason why we visit the sites we do. Altogether it turned out to be at least a 2000 mile round trip where we travelled from coast to caost of both the north an south of Ireland; a truly amazing adventure!”

Day One: Tuesday 29th July 2021: Saint Savours Church: Aston-by-Stone, Stone. Set in a gorgeous part of the English countryside, in a ‘middle of nowhere’ peaceful setting, this church really did look a picture postcard, with beautifully maintained gardens and flowers everywhere. An interesting little church but sadly closed. Yet when one looked closely a few surprises with a little ‘secret’ around the back….

Aston-by-Stone: Staffordshire: The pretty silhouette of the spire of St Saviour’s Church is what folks see at first, yet there is also the Catholic Church of St Michael in the grounds of Aston Hall, now run by a small group of nuns who care for sick and aging clergy. The relics of St Chad were rediscovered in the chapel at Aston Hall in 1838, where they had been hidden during the Reformation. Legend has it that a cross on the Hall’s boundary wall marks the spot where a monk was killed by lightning. There is a large pond and old osier bed, reflecting the connection to the potteries, that require baskets for transporting their products. A stream runs down to the pool at Aston Farm, which at one time provided the power for a waterwheel. This wheel still exists and was used to grind corn, and earlier this century to power a milking machine.

The name Aston is probably derived from the Anglo-Saxon for ‘Ashtown’ and was recorded in the Domesday book as Estone. It is an ancient crossing point, and a ford or bridge has existed there since the 15th century, and pre-dates the bridge in Stone. The main road from Stafford to Stone crossed the Trent in Aston until the Stafford-Stone turnpike was opened in 1761. The former is now a quiet lane, with a narrow humped-backed canal bridge on a bend and the banks are rich in wildflowers. There is an old wharf at Mill Farm, the site of a water-powered flint mill. Ground flints were also required by the Potteries.

St Savours Church: Situated in Church Lane, Aston, the church serves the area of Aston, and Little Stoke. 1846, the architect was James Trubsham, the steeple was added in 1870 by J R Botham. It is Gothic style and an A grade 2 listed building, with a stone with slate roof, nave, chancel, and north-west tower with broach steeple. It has a good east window by C A Gibbs and a WW2 memorial plaque. The parish church was built in the Early English style during the 1840s by local landowners, the Parker-Jervis family. As it was closed due to covid (i guess) there was no chance of getting inside to take any photos. It is recorded that the church has records from about 1870 circa, however there are older records going back to 625 AD, from the very foundation of the church, which clearly there had to be, as Karl’s 49 x Great Grandfather was there in his own time up until 494 AD.

Upon the church building are carvings of geometric pyramid shapes (meaningful in Craft) and a Lord and Lady take guard over the entrance, while round the back of the church a secret path leads to a treasured building with an angel keeping a silent watch… <click to enlarge>

Symbols in stone, an angel guards a secret path to a building unspoken of, and the Lord and Lady stay silent…..

After doing some research on the internet it seems that the mysterious building is the Parker Jervis Mausoleum, which sadly gives the appearance of being very unattended, but maybe it is meant to look that way? It is a Grade 2 listed building built in 1864 by John Wood for the Parker Jervis family of Aston Hall, made from Hollington sandstone ashlar. It is rectangular on the plan with walls having a pronounced batter with roll moulded cornice in the Doric style. <interestingly a few masonic references here> A blocking course conceals a flat roof of stone,with a straight head doorway on the short side, with plain lintel and a plank door with wrought-iron hinges. The mausoleum is sunk into the ground of the churchyard with roughly hewn sandstone retaining walls. It was erected at the expense of the Honourable Edward Swinfen Parker Jervis of Little Aston Hall and his son Edward John Parker Jervis of Aston House, Aston by Stone, and consecrated on 9th April 1864. I do not know whom Parker Jervis was, apart from being a prominent person in his day, or if anyone (or anything for that matter) is still lain inside the mausoleum, but it is a fascinating and secretive building hidden away as it is, and one cannot but wonder why? Maybe more rresearch for another day…..

http://www.mmtrust.org.uk/mausolea/view/491/Parker_Jervis_Mausoleum

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Nascien Desposyni, the name of which later became the Fordham line/surname. He visited the area in 466AD (lived 450-494 Sommant, France) and is Karl’s 49 x GGF.

Day One: Tuesday 29th July 2021: Our Lady & Saint Nicholas Church: Liverpool. The Anglican Parish Church of Liverpool is on a site said to have been a place of worship since at least the 1250s. The church is situated close to the River Mersey near the Pier Head and controls a prominent view. One would have thought it to be easy to locate, right on the river front as such, but what with all the road-works in the area and placement of the windows and other things within the car, we ended up driving around for a bit before finally seeing it! Of course Liverpool is a very vibrant and busy city with lots of regeneration going on, especially in the waterfront area where we were.

A sailors church overlooks the quayside, the old resides amongst the new, symbols set in stone and wood, past memories cherished in time….

The Chapel of St Nicholas (Patron Saint of Sailors) was built on the site of St May del Quay, which in 1355 was determined to be too small for the growing borough of Liverpool. It is recorded as a designated Grade II listed building and was constructed between 1811 – 1852 from designs by architect’s Edward C Butler and Thomas Harrison. It is an active parish church in the diocese of Liverpool, ye sadly although folks were around there, we were still not allowed in to do our research – so maybe not that active then in respect of visitors traveling from afar?

The church was once the tallest building in Liverpool at 53 metres from 1813–1868 when surpassed by the Welsh Presbyterian Church in Toxteth. The church stands in the heart of Liverpool Business District and is one the city’s oldest and most historic churches. There was a nice peaceful energy there and some very symbolic pieces in the gardens and upon the church exterior walls.

Many fascinating symbols of a Craft nature are to found all over the church here & who knows what was waiting to be found inside… <click to enlarge>

There has been a place of worship on this spot since at least 1257 with St Mary Del Quay mentioned in records from around this time, a larger chapel was constructed in 1362 and dedicated to St Nicholas patron saint of mariners, as Liverpool grew as a city the church grew in size doubling itself by the 15th century. During the Civil Wars the defeated and captured Parliamentarians were imprisoned in the church. The continued growth of the city saw a spire added in 1747 and the Churchyard extended two years later, around 1775 the church underwent extensive rebuilding due to its state of disrepair but by 1810 the church was once again in a state of neglect to such an extent that the spire collapsed with tragic consequences, the tower was rebuilt in 1815 and till 1927 the church changed very little but on the 21st of December 1840 the church suffered wartime bomb damage, the tower and administration section of the church survived but what we see today was rebuilt post war.

Lord Edward Neville had a particular interest in this church, around about 1471 AD, although he was based in Abergavenny, he was very interested in what was going on in Liverpool at that particular time and of the deep-rooted connection to religion and of how people lived their lives on a daily basis revolving around religion, at that time.

The garden area is fabulous and very well kept – a little oasis of tranquillity in fact and there are so many statues and memorials there which are a delight to see and the views of the three graces are stunning from the church grounds, which one can read more about from the last link below.

The gardens here are full of meaningful memorials <click to view>

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Lord Edward Neville 1471AD Abergavenny Karl’s 13 x Great Grandfather

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Our_Lady_and_Saint_Nicholas,_Liverpool

https://www.lan-opc.org.uk/Liverpool/Liverpool-Central/stnicholas/index.html

https://www.thetrailblazer.co.uk/blog/liverpools-3-graces-a-brief-history-1

 

Liverpool skyline at dusk showing the Three Graces

 

From Cambridge to Liverpool, and now it was time to catch the night ferry and in the morning we will be in Ireland; we were both so excited and full of anticiapation, hardly believing we were actually on our way after all this time – so dreams do come true and all one needs is patience and an understanding of time… The night ferry crossing from Liverpool turned out to be very smooth and comfortable, in our lovely new cabins, and despite hardly any sleep for a couple of nights, i felt rested and excited. A new day and a new adventure was waiting – touring the Mourne Mountains and coastal areas of Newcastle; it’s all so stunningly beautiful and will all be below… I was feeling very blessed.

 

Leaving Liverpool with a magical looking quayside….<click to expand>

Day Two: Wednesday 30th July 2021: After a cosy and comfortable night on the ferry, we disembarked at Belfast at 6am; a time of day that this writer rarely ever sees! But the excitement of being in Ireland and finally starting this major important quest quickly overcame any thoughts of tiredness. Driving through Belfast it was sunny and quiet, but of course it was very early! The suburbs of Belfast looked very attractive in the early morning light, which just served to motivate us on our way even more.

A suuny early morning drive through Belfast <click to enlarge>

St John’s Church. Hilltown. County Down: After a short drive, admiring the scenery along the way, we arrived at St John’s Church, Hilltown, a small village within the townland of Carcullion (Irish: Carr Cuilinn) in County Down, the main village of the parish of Clonduff, with a population of 899 people in the 2001 census. Hilltown has eight public houses in the high street, a legacy from 18th century smugglers who shared out their contraband here. The village has a livestock market on alternate Saturdays and a Georgian market house opposite St John’s parish church (1766) which adjoins the old inn, the Downshire Arms. Hilltown did not get its name from the two hills that it spreads over, but was named after the Hill family and Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire; the family were English politicians who also gave their name to nearby Hillhall and Hillsborough.The Hills founded the village in 1766 so people living in the area could find employment in the linen industry, and also built the church in the eighteenth century. Despite its early history, Hilltown has a very strong connection to Irish culture. It is a strongly nationalist/republican village, as is Cabra and the surrounding rural areas that comprises the parish of Clonduff. Throughout the troubles, both had a small contingent of paramilitaries, mainly the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilltown,_County_Down

As we probably suspected St John’s Church was closed, maybe due to covid but also it was still fairly early in the day! The original building on the site was built 9th August 1771, and the current building was built near the site of the ancient pre-penal times catholic parish church. The gable of the ancient church still remains with an old graveyard surrounding it, the ruins forming part of the district crest. Nearby is the largest fairy thorn bush in Ulster and according to local legend called ‘Old Bull and Bush’, which grew, it is said, from a stick planted by a priest who had used it to drive off a bull which had knocked over the church wall several times during construction. The church was designed by Thomas Duff in 1842, but the building was suspended during the famine years, then completed in 1850. From a Craft/Quest perspective John Fordham paid a vist here in 1883 for a meeting, but also something interesting may have occured in that area in the same year, so is there as connection there?. An interesting church with lots of connections to the past and like all the churches we visit on our quests, it not the buildings we visit but the connection to why the church was built there originally. A reason then, that over time the churches have been built upon over and over again until the true reason has become well and truly hidden in time. One has to look deep to discover just why these churches are built in these specific places, and in these current times often in isolated places but usually in an elevated position – so lots to think about folks! Some lovely views, but as we could not get in we simply had a stroll around.

Ancient Crosses and Religious Shrines nestle near the foothills of the magificant Mourne Mountains.

Churches built upon over and over again in time: why? <click to enlarge>

Read more below:

History

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • John Fordham 1883. Collooney, Sligo (1858-1832) Karl’s 3 x GGF

St Malachy’s Church. Main St. Castlewellan:  So a further short drive to reach St Malachy’s Church in Castlewellan; a bustling, vibrant little town. Sadly although the church was open, a funeral service was taking place and so out of respect for the mourners we did not venture inside and sadly we could not stroll around the grounds either, out of respect  for all those whom were there… However we stayed awhile as we found a nice littel cafe almost opposite the church, in which to have a tasty breakfast and wonderful coffee! Castlewellan (Irish Caisleán Uidhilín ‘Hugelin’s Castle’) is as said, a small town in County Down in the south-east of Northern Ireland close to the Irish Sea, beside Castlewellan Lake and Slievenaslat mountain. It is  not far from the Mourne Mountains, with a population of 2,782 people in the 2011 census. It has a wide main street which runs through two main squares lined with chestnut trees, designed by a French architect for the Annesley Family. The town is unique within Ireland due to its tree-lined squares both in the old town (upper square) and new town (lower square) as well as its very wide main street. The old market house in the upper square was built in 1764 and now houses the public library. 12 July 1849 saw the Dolly’s Brae conflict when up to 1400 armed Orangemen marched from Rathfriland to Tollymore Park near Castlewellan. On their homeward journey, shots were fired and police were unable to control the situation. None of the Orangemen were harmed, but it was estimated that about 80 Catholics were killed and homes burnt. Castlewellan throughout the course of ‘the troubles’, had a significant paramilitary presence in the village, mostly through the presence of the Provisional Irish Republican Army

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlewellan

The church is a Catholic church and is in the centre of the town and was built in the 1880’s on the site of an older church, by father James McWilliams, from designs by Mortimer H. Thomas. From photos on the internet, there looks to be some interesting pieces inside; many of the adornments and beautiful pieces were provided by donations and bequests of Messrs. Mooney Brothers, merchants of Castlewellan. The church was constructed from Magheramayo granite and it is certainly magnificant to look at with a very Italian feel to it. It’s name, from Saint Malachy, bears more than a passing connection to Malak, meaning ‘messenger’ from the Sumerian times, so there could be a connection to the church, but as we could not go inside maybe the clues and answers are yet to be discovered, and of course a connection again to John Fordham.

A fine, Italian-style building, so sad we did not get inside…. <click to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • John Fordham 1883. Collooney, Sligo (1858-1832) Karl’s 3 x GGF

The drive to the next church took us towards the lovely town of Newcastle and the Mourne Mountains, where we stopped for a short while along the coastal path, near the Bloody Bridge to admire the view and take some photos. The scenery in this area is beyond beautiful, and is almost divine i might add! It was such a glorias day and we were certianly feeling blessed to be here.

Wild flowers upon the sea wall. Without the splendour and wildness of nature what would we be? Enjoying the scenery around Newcastle and The Bloody Bridge footpath before being on the road again towards our next destination! There are always interesting things to see along the roads in Ireland, many that relate to Ireland’s history. <click on image to enlarge>

Kilhorne Parish Church. Annalong, Newry: Situated near the Mournes and the sea, Annalong is a picturesque fishing village in the heart of the ‘Kingdom of Mourne’. Annalong (Irish: Áth na Long, meaning ‘ford of the ships’) is a seaside village in County Down, Northern Ireland at the foot of the  Mourne Mountains. It is situated in the civil parish of Kilkeel and the historic baronry of Mourne. It had a population of 1,805 people at the 2001 census. The village was once engaged in exporting dressed granite and is now a fishing and holiday resort.

Kilhorne means ‘church of the river’. This church is on the site of an old Pre-Reformation Catholic church with traces still of the old cemetery. It was built in 1840 with the chancel added 1883. Rev. George M. Black was appointed perpetual curate 17 Oct 1846, under the patronage of Rev. Close of Kilkeel. This magnificent church is located directly on the north-east coast of Ireland facing the Irish Sea and North Channel. It is a small Gothic church, consisting of nave, projecting chancel and side-corner modern vestry. Fronted by a square 3 stage tower with crenellation, and corner pinnacles. It has a front pointed arched recessed door with moulding and clock face. It has tall lancet windows along the nave. with ashlar quoins, and a modern Chinese granite disability ramp and a pitched slate roof with strap pointing. But sadly we could not get inside so who knows what treasures and clues it could have provided us on our quest.

As probably expected, some lovely anchor symbols in the graveyard and beautiful words upon a gravestone… <click to enlarge>

This historic church had stood in its original condition until the early 1980’s after which it was painstakingly restored to its present state. The restoration work was carried out by Mourne Granite Quarries, using Mourne granite. Part of the restoration work included removing the original aging render on the exterior of the building and exposing the beautiful coarse cut granite we see today. The newly exposed granite was then sand-blasted and re-pointed. The deterioration is ongoing though so work too has to be ongoing. I guess the wonderful site of this church, right overlooking the sea makes up for all the restoration work. In the graveyard there are graves to those killed in action…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annalong

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • John Fordham 1883. Collooney, Sligo (1858-1832) Karl’s 3 x GGF

And so after a very busy day, we finally made it to our cosy and welcoming cottage near Newry, our home for the next two nights….

A last look at the marvelous Mournes for the night; always there to take our breath away…. <click to enlarge>

Some last words from Karl (Neville): “What a #Quest32 we had guys. There was no stone left unturned on this returning visit to the Emerald Isle. Some may even mark an area of County Mayo as the remains of Atlantis? Who can say? What is good to know about both Northern Ireland and Eire, is that the people are awesome, the views are divine, and the food is second to none. Bring it on Ireland ! We toured many churches and places of interest that Janis will be lisiting on her social media feeds and webpages, (she is!) so be sure to check these out. What a ride, what an adventure – Pieces of the jigsaw are certainly coming together…”

 

‘The Keeper of Scrolls’ aka moon.willow@ntlworld.com
July 2021

 

 

 

 

 

What a fantastic day to finally escape into the countyside on Quest 31a, squeezed in unexpectedly as we carefully move out of lockdown. We last quested a whole year ago and due to covid restrictions all the quests have been put on hold, so it was wonderful to finally be out and about in Norfolk on the 31st March 2021!

The main subject of todays quest is the Batram Bloodline: ‘the Brandenburg Batrams’, a line and a name with many mysterious meanings, which will take us back into Europe, to Italy and Gemany in particular, on our Quest for the Grail and it’s meaning upon this earthly plane.

Bartram, Battram, Barthram, are the main surnames associated with the German origin of ‘Bertram’, which means ‘Famous Raven’. The Famous Raven is often referred to as the ‘Phoenix’. Very interesting topics of discusion and research are beginning to reveal themselves here. Brandenburg is just West of Berlin and the origins of this Bartram line.

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QUEST 31a: All Saints Church, Dickleburgh, Diss: It was a gorgeous and sunny spring day and the drive out to Norfolk could not have been better, with green shoots and leaves spurting forth with new growth, and the sound of birdsong all around these quiet country lanes. The Parish of Dickleburgh is found about 6 miles north-east from Diss, close to the Norfolk/Suffolk border. It lies on the old Roman road to Caistor St Edmunds. Dickleburgh is well serviced, with All Saints Church, a busy little village store, a pub, a large playing field and other village type amenities.

The village’s name either means ‘Dicel’s or Dicla’s fortification’, or more specifically could also mean a place-name; Dic-leah, ‘wood/clearing of Diss’ or ‘ditch wood/clearing’. The name is also said to derive from an Irish monk by the name of Dicul who had a brief settlement (burgh) in the area in the late 6th century, nothing of which survives today. Although unconfirmed, this may be the same Dicul monk quoted by the Venerable Bede (673-735) in his “Ecclesiastical History of the Anglian Nation”. He tells the story of the conversion of the South Saxons and mentions the Irish monk, Dicul, who had a small monastery in ‘Boshanhamm’, which today is Bosham in Chichester, West Sussex. Dickleburgh is part of the parish of Dickleburgh and Rushall in the county of Norfolk and District of South Norfolk.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickleburgh

The church is 500 years old and has interestingly been in the patronage of Trinity College, Cambridge since the seventeenth century. It is a grade one listed building, built around 1503 and of course a sacred site was there long before the actual building. It seemed to a very lively church, important to the community, and the folks tending the church and graveyard could not have been more helpful and freindly.

It was the Bartram line we were researching on this day, and straight away the family tombstones revealed themselves to us! <click to enlarge>

The church consists of a chancel, nave, vestry, west tower and south porch. The walls are made of flint and freestone quoins and execpt for the tower, are strengthened with buttresses.

There is a new and impressive looking organ inside and a stunningly beautiful east window containing many musical-intrument playing angels, and a transfiguration of the ascension scene plus other figures from the bible. The octagonal font is of particualar interest, especially to us, for Grail clues are hidden there…. Although what the genreal public sees are the shields of the Holy Trinty, Bury Abbey (with three crowns), the Passion, (with cross, spear, reed with sponge, nails and whip) and the blessed sacrement (with three chalices). Around the base are alternating lions and ‘wildmen’ with clubs.