13 May 2013

Weekly Photograph

Actually this week we're actually going to have more than one photo. One morning last week we went for a little tour round some of our local old churches, mainly because I had promised to take a few record shots of them for the local family history society. It was a blustery, intermittently sunny, morning which kept threatening rain — and I think we all felt more like a duvet day than going out taking photographs. But we gritted out teeth and carried on.

One of the churches on the list was St Mary the Virgin, Perivale. I quite see why it was championed by Sir John Betjeman. It is a tiny gem, right on my doorstep, and I've never been to it before.

The church itself has long been decommissioned, although I think not de-consecrated. It is now leased and tended by its Friends organisation and used for small concerts etc.

Most of this I knew, so we didn't really expect to get access beyond being able to walk down the cycleway that runs alongside.

St Mary's, Perivale from South

As we arrived, the sun came out; there were several people tending the churchyard and the church itself was open. Not wishing to impose too much on everyone's good will we had only a brief look inside and a longer stroll round the graveyard.

St Mary's, Perivale Interior

Except for those horrible red chairs the church interior reminded me very much of the small churches of the Romney Marsh, especially Fairfield; and also of Greenstead-juxta-Ongar in Essex. Although not really that similar to either architecturally it was the intimacy which was the key. Apart from the tiny chancel the inside is not especially ornate; it would be too much if it were.

St Mary's, Perivale Churchyard

But as you see from the photos the setting is a delight. It is surrounded by trees and Ealing Golf Course. And again, although small, the churchyard is a lovely peaceful oasis, just a couple of hundred yards off the busy A40.

Everything was fresh and green, the sun was shining and the birds were singing. You could easily have been in the middle of nowhere. What more could one ask?!

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