Thursday, August 7, 2008

More pictures from Skenfrith! St Bridget's Church

This is a better picture of the fabulous wooden carved lectern showing a Carving of St Bridget reading the Bible or a Book of Hours. Underneath are three panels. The two outside panels show oak leaves and acorns, with which she is associated as she built her first monastery under the oak tree-actually a Druid symbol of strength and growth. In the centre is the sacred flame of St Bridget. As she was on fire for God, the nuns lit a flame in her memory, not extinguished until a later Norman lord decided to have it put out in the thirteenth century.St Bridget is still revered in several European countries today, and a video in the other post about St Bridget's tells you about one of her relics taken from Britain, which is revered in Lisbon, Portugal.

I went over to Skenfrith yesterday and had a look around. We arrived there very quickly from the A40 which runs from the Coldra up to the Midlands, from a turn off near Ross on Wye. From South Mon it is better to drive to Abergavenny, take the main road to Hereford and take the right turning to Skenfrith ,and see Grosmont and White Castle at the same time.Quite a lot of White Castle is left.

Following on from looking at the castle we walked to the nearby St Bridget's Church again and I improved on the pictures I took the last time-see the history for this church and its association with St Bridget's Llan and with the Castle and the de Burgh Family. Will deal with the castle at a later date. This churh being the lord of the Manor (de Burgh)'s chapel is larger than most and probably , early on until the castle was dismantled was a small priory with a resident monastic priest. The vicars list shows the names of the early Catholic priests of the time.

A roofer was mending the roof of the church as I came and the church and castle was a hive of activity with all the tourists, many young mothers bringing children in the holidays.The castle is free to explore, although under parental control as there are dangers.

We returned to the car and set out to find the well. St Ffraed's well turned out to be near the river, which was a curiosity, and unfortunately we had to take a photo from the top of a nearby farm as we had no idea how to get down there. We also did not know the character of the farmer, whether kindly or fierce, so contented ourselves by taking a picture from the distance.

We had to drive to the top of the hill to turn and saw the entrance to the path up to the Coed Angred Tower, which I guess is perhaps where the Catholic burial place is from penal times, and the tower the former Catholic Chapel, but I am not sure about this and needed a guide really.

We returned to Skenfrith and Abergavenny and took the fast road to Cwmbran. This was a fabulous drive, the satnav taking us through breathtaking countryside and the little Church of Llanvetherine, the burial place of the British King Vortimer, now a tiny village. Lovely summer trip.

Curiously-and I missed it before, I saw what looked like the standard of the Second Augustan Legion in the Church. This MAY have been a reproduction I had no information about it, but if you live in Skenfrith perhaps you can email me ?

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