Saturday, 3 April 2010

The founder of Democracy

The church at Northborne has a long history and there has probably been a church on this site since the seventh century. In AD 618 the newly crowned King Edbald of Kent, gave land at Northbourne St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury.

An Anglo-Saxon church was built on the site and in about 1120 this was modernised in the late Norman style, although fragments of the the original church have been identified in the walls of the present church.

The porch conceals a fine Norman door and the tower was built as a village refuge, a tradition that started in the reign of Alfred the Great, when the towers were built as village fortresses against the attacks of the Danes.

The Lady Chapel contains the Sandy. Memorial and family vault. The memorial was built in the lifetime of Sir Edwin Sandys and his wife and was sculpted from life. The couple are shown lying in their four' poster' bed.

Sir Edwin was MP for Sandwich during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I and lived at Northbourne Court. He believed in free Parliament elected by universal suffrage, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for his views,. He became treasurer of the Virginia Company and obtained the Royal Assent from James I for a Constitution for the Company that be drew up. This resulted in the first freely elected government in the world, in Virginia. Sir Edwin's constitution later became the pattern for the Constitution of the United States of America, when the Thirteen Colonies obtained their independence.

A tablet on the west wall of the chapel was set there by the American and British Commonwealth Association

The large organ, just over 100 years old, is now in front of the two most attractive windows in the Church. I was fortunate enough to me the church warden who showed me the windows from the back of the organ, where a spiral staircase has been built to access the belfry.

More facts and history of the Church can be found at a site based on the work 0f Arthur Peel.

I haven't yet found any thing about the origin of these two windows. Unfortunately the pamphlet that they sell about the church had been sold out and is currently waiting for a new edition to be written. As I Left the church I was greeted by a very tuneful Blackcap singing just out side.

It was good to see several bumble bees in the garden. As usual I find it difficult to be certain of the species, either White-tailed, lucorum, or Buff-tailed, terresris.

A couple of new birds for the year in the garden in the last couple of days. Yesterday I was surprised to see a pair of Yellowhammers by the pond, and today a Chiffchaff came down to drink in the same place.

A cautionary tale for birders, take care when you carry telescopes and binoculars!

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