Saturday, 22 March 2008

A visit to Coldred

One of the facts most apparent to anyone birdwatching in the countryside is the decline in numbers of many species in the last 25 years. Yellowhammers, Corn buntings and Tree Sparrows come immediately to mind. One species that seems to have done extremely well during this time is the Wood Pigeon and in the last week or so round here the flocks have seemed vast. It seems that the intensive cultivation of oil-seed rape has benefited this species while others have declined. It may be that now the numbers of Wood Pigeons are so high they out compete many of the other species for available food.

While I was wandering through the farm fields watching the vast clouds, and there really were huge numbers, of Wood Pigeons, I stopped briefly to look at St Pancras Church, Coldred. When I worked in Euston Road, London my office over looked the new St Pancras Church, but this is on a much less grand scale.
This small church is outside the village and is situated within an ancient fortification, supposed to date back to the Romans, who had burial grounds near it. The fortifications were repaired by Coeldred (who gave his name to the village), the King of Mercia, who came to help the men of Kent in 715 in their fight against Ina King of the West Saxons.
The church dates back to Norman times although the porch was probably added by the Victorians. The bellcote is designed to hold two bells, but there is only one in it.

I must admit that the Church seems strangely isolated from most of the village and this may have something to do with James Syms finding it "somewhat depressing".

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