Friday 9 March 2018


Mike had a meeting by conference call this morning so it was not until after lunch that we were able to go out - by then promised rain had set in.

We aimed to visit Jinny Ring, a craft centre in Hanbury village. However, we first called at Hanbury Church, set on top of a small but prominent hill. Parts of the churchyard were covered in a dense carpet of snowdrops, perhaps at their best for this year. Inside there is a splendid West Gallery.

The main claim to fame of this church is that it is said to be the model for the village church in the long-running Archers radio serial. At times it has been used both for sound and film recording to support the programme.

The local church seems to make quite a bit of this connection - no doubt it increases the number of casual visitors. They have a collection of paper cuttings that refer to the connection. It also is said that Hanbury Hall is the model for the hall in the series.

The diocese makes use of the link - in its 2013 advert for a new vicar, Archers is meant to be eye-catching!

One chapel (a part side aisle) is devoted to Vernon family from Hanbury Hall, although the first generation connection, who came here to be Vicar, is commemorated in the chancel. The chapel has numerous huge carved memorials.

Also, the stained glass windows are in memory of one son who was killed in the First World War.

With rain coming down ever heavier we quickly drove the short distance to the craft centre. There are quite a number of workers with studios and workshops on site, ranging from a glass blower to a violins maker, from a jeweller to a chocolate maker. All seemed to be of a reasonable standard and clearly quite enjoy being able to chat amongst the,selves at quiet times as well as to visitors at busier parts of the year.

We had rather too sumptuous tea in the restaurant overlooking the ponds outside. Alas, they have recently had to put up large notices asking the visitors do not feed any birds as they are concerned about the possibility of avian flu spreading to their grounds. They hope that this will only be a temporary measure.

Oh, and the funny little extra bit of cake? When we were making our choices, Christine was disappointed that the option she most fancied had just sold out. Seeing the look on her face, the lady serving then said that she did have a new cake and would Christine like her to cut a slice? Silly question! However, she first shaved off the outer end so give a 'proper' slice - but neither she nor Mike wanted to waste it . . .

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