Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

The Snow Bunting remains in residence along Pond Lane and today I put some seed in the area where it's been feeding.

While I was there first one and then two Pied Wagtails dropped in for a drink and a wash in a puddle by the side of the road.

I'm hoping that other birds may come in to feed on the seeds that I've put down. Today there were Skylarks and Grey Partridges in the field and as I drove back this afternoon two Carrion Crows were keeping company with the Bunting.
From up the top of the hill you can look down to St Peter's Church at Westcliffe.

The Church stands opposite Wallet's Court and it is linked the it historically through Eleanor of Castile, the first queen of Edward I. Eleanor once owned the house and she and her household would have viewed the church as their personal chapel when they were in residence. One feature of the church is the boxed pews that will have come much late than Eleanor.

One one wall is a Royal Coat of Arms with the words "Honi soit qui mal y pense". This is the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter. Its literal translation from Old French is "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it" although it is sometimes re-interpreted as "Evil be to him who evil thinks"

This statement supposedly originated when King Edward III was dancing with the Countess of Salisbury. Her garter slipped down to her ankle, causing those around her to respond with sniggers at her humiliation. In an act of chivalry Edward placed the garter around his own leg, saying "Honi soit qui mal y pense", and the phrase later became the motto of the Order.
The Other motto on the arms "Dieu et mon droit" has generally been used as the motto of English, and later British, monarchs since being adopted by Henry V. The motto appears in French and translates into English as "God and my right". I guess this says all you need to know about royalty.

I was lucky to get into the church today. When I got to the bottom of the hill I noticed a car parked out side, so I went to investigate. Because St Margaret's Church is being decorated St Peters is being used more often and three charming ladies were seeing to the flowers and generally getting the church ready.

I liked this relief of the last supper on one wall, it is a replica of the Leonardo da Vinci painting, although that was about 15ft by 29 ft.

I know nothing about roofs, but the two sets of beams in the church make fantastic patterns.
I assume that these are in the style of the original Norman beams. The Church nearly suffered a direct hit from a shell fired from France, in 1941, but Wallets Court was less fortunate.

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