Pete and I spent an enjoyable couple of hours this afternoon in the village of Glinton. The main aim of our visit was to look at an area of road verge where the Parish Council are hoping to improve biodiversity. Although much of the grassland is currently rather species poor, it was good to find over twenty Bee Orchid rosettes.
The rest of our time was spent recording plants in the village - we added a number of new species to the list for the kilometre square, including the gorgeous tree in the photograph, German Whitebeam whose foliage is like burnished copper at this time of year. We also re-found many species that haven't been seen since the 1970's such as Ox-eye Daisy, Lady's Bedstraw and Biting Stonecrop - mostly because nobody's looked at the right time of year!
The church of St Benedict at Glinton is a beautiful, striking, structure with its 140 foot needle spire dominating the flat landscape for miles around. The "Peasant Poet" John Clare lived in the village, in a charming white thatched cottage and immortalised the church in his poem "Glinton Spire". There was a church here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086. The early Saxon church here would have been a basic wooden building, nothing of which remains today. In the 12th century, a church was constructed out of Barnack stone. This consisted of a nave and chancel, with possibly a north aisle. Much rebuilding was done here in the 13th century, and more still in the 15th century, at which point in time the tower and spire were added. The latter is a magnificent and is considered one of the finest in the country.
GLINTON! thy taper spire predominates
Over the level landscape; and the mind,
Musing the pleasing picture, contemplates
What elegance of beauty, much refined
By taste, effects. It almost elevates
One’s admiration; making common things
Around it glow with beauties not their own.
Thus in this landscape, earth superior springs;
Those straggling trees, though lonely, seem not lone,
But in thy presence wear a conscious power;
Even these tombs of melancholy stone,
Gleaning cold memories round Oblivion’s bower,
Types of eternity appear, and hire
A lease from Fame by thy enchanting spire.
John Clare, Glinton Spire