Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Climbing the bell tower at Lydbury North

When I was in Shropshire recently I visited Lydbury North and its church St Michael and All Angels - follow the link for some excellent photographs.

It's a large church for a small village and is particularly interesting as it is cruciform in shape and has two side chapels. One of these is used for Roman Catholic services. You would not guess this from its austere decor, but you might from the lingering scent of incense.

At the west end is the door to the bell tower. I tried this and found it open, so I went in.

Soon I heard someone coming down the ladder to see what was going on. As he appeared, I tried my best Basil Fawlty "just checking the walls" act.

He turned out to be a local clockmaker who was doing some work on the church clock. He asked me up the tower so I climbed to see the clock on the first floor and the bells on the second - trying hard not to think of The Nine Tailors when I got there.

Whenever I see a church tower now I shall think of the great weight of metal it contains and hope they are securely held when I enter it.

There was an odd postscript to this story.

The following day the Shropshire Star placards in Bishop's Castle - the neighbouring settlement to Lydbury North - talked about a man being injured in a "clock tower plunge".

The story did not, as I at first feared, involve my friend from Lydbury North. Instead, it turned out that a Mr Ron Davies had been injured in a fall in the clock tower at Bishop's Castle town hall after finding a body there.

I felt that this comment in the story:
One resident in the town, who did not want to be named, said Mr Davies was a “very nice man”.
captures the innocence of rural Shropshire.

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