Although the main focus of my photography is the natural world of birds, butterflies etc. I do enjoy trying to record the buildings and man-made environment around us. Until today the shortest lens I've been using on my Canon 40D is a 35-80 zoom, leading to a great deal of frustration when trying to photograph buildings in confined spaces. I'm always having to climb over walls to get the whole thing it.Today I bought a 18-50mm short zoom lens and despite the awful weather, and because of the awfulness of the rugby I decided to go out and try out the lens.
I'd passed Ripple church a couple of times and though that I go and have a look at it. I appeared interesting and an ideal subject for a few pictures. There is a foot path that runs through the churchyard and to get in there you go through a lytch gate, originally designed to protect the coffin and its pallbearers from the weather while they waited for a priest to attend them. Nowadays it often serves a far more picturesque purpose acting as an attractive and historic backdrop for wedding photographs.
The actual church is really one big surprise, looking like a Norman Church with this fantastic door.
The new lens meant that getting the "whole thing" in was no trouble. Does that spire look slightly out of place?
Again the wider angled lens meant that the back view was quite easily obtained. It was from this angle that James Antony Syms sketched the church for its entry in the last of his three books on Kent Country Churches.
These three books, published between 1986 and 1989 have sketches of about three hundred and forty Kent Country Churches, and a page of somewhat idiosyncratic information about each one. The last two are easy to get hold of, but I was extremely lucky to find the first one on e-bay. It is interesting to read that this massive piece of work, done as a hobby after retirement, owed nothing to religious conviction but all to the aesthetic appreciation of the buildings and the history they tell. Much the same reason I enjoy photographing them. Back to Ripple, I learnt from the concluding volume that the Norman church was demolished in 1861 and replaced on the original footings by a neo-Norman version. He says that the previous church had a "handsome spire" but that the present one has a zinc clad broach. There's not much on the internet about St Mary the Virgin church at Ripple, so I'll have to assume that these facts are right.
Mothng again was disappointing with just two Common Quakers.