Monday, 27 October 2014

Never stop searching for Wonderland

Never stop searching for wonderland
 "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice

We found this brilliant tree on one of our Justbod field trips on the Wolds near Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

Always on the hunt for the entrance to Wonderland....we had to investigate further.....

Wonderland Tree
View from inside up the hollow trunk - sorry for blurring!

Inside the wonderland tree
From the inside looking out

The inside was huge, with an almost 'tardis' effect. It was actually possible to sit several people inside the hollowed out base of this tree, and I am sure it could make a great shelter. We took lots of pictures, but, unfortunately, the best ones of the interior of the tree contain people, and we're all the shy, retiring types! So, until we return, these will have to do!

Inside the wonderland tree
Another of the inside

Although the inside was amazing, and a Wonderland in itself, we searched and searched for a tunnel, or hole to take us further.....but, sadly, it wasn't that fabled time.....

"Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
A: I don't much care where.
CC: Then it dosen't matter which way you go.
A: As long as I get somewhere.
CC: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland.   

For any interested in finding it, it's just next to the Wolds way between Market Weighton and Londesborough next to (or in, not quite sure) the deserted medieval village of Towthorpe.

Wonderland Tree

A beautiful and awe-inspiring was the whole walk. 
We didn't quite find Wonderland.....but we'll never stop looking.......

"Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality"
 - Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland

Wonderland Tree

This was one of the best trips we've ever had for finding interesting things, both from a historical and natural point of view. Britain's Tallest Man at Market Weighton, the site of a formerly very important Pagan Temple (also the site of pivotal conversion to Christianity,)a Holy Well and a beautiful sculpted bench were among the unexpected highlights, but, most unexpected and delightful of all, was this amazing tree.

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

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Celtic Lovers Wall Plaque in Bronze and Oak from Justbod
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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Beautiful Yorkshire - Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey

Dramatically sited near steep cliffs on the headland overlooking the beautiful historic harbour town of Whitby, stand the gaunt and atmospheric ruins of Whitby Abbey.
The Anglo-Saxon monastery was founded in about AD 657 by the Northumbrian King Oswy, and dedicated to St Peter. At this time Whitby was named Streonshalh (Streanaeshalch) possibly meaning Fort Bay or Tower Bay, thought to indicate a previous Roman settlement, although this is disputed.

Whitby Abbey

King Oswy appointed Lady Hild as founding Abbess of the new double monastery of Benedictine Monks and Nuns run in the Celtic or Ionan tradition.

Under the Abbess, the monastery became one of the most important and influential religious centres in the Anglo-Saxon world, hosting the Synod of Whitby in 664 when a vote was held to determine whether to adopt the Roman or Celtic date for Easter. As the vote went the way of Rome, this heralded the decline of the Celtic Church, and its influence.

The monastery was abandoned in the 9th century, probably as a result of incessant Danish raids, and remained desolate for over 200 years.    

Whitby Abbey

In 1078 the Benedictine monastery was re-founded under the Normans, and the building whose ruins you now see, was begun in about 1220.
Whitby Abbey

The site was attacked again in 1914 when the west front was hit by shells from a German warship.
The Abbey is just one of the many interesting historical remains in and around Whitby.

Worth visiting, even in the rain and wind! 

Whitby Abbey

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Justbod Team

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Coriel - a change of style

Hand burnt celtic wallplaque

Coriel - back in stock, and a bit different....

Our (fairly) new range of six hand-burnt plaques have proved to be really popular, and bod has struggled, at times, to keep up.

Hand burnt Celtic Tree of Life wall plaque
bod's nearly caught up (!) and in doing more of the Coriel plaque, he's made a few you can see above, if you remember the old plaque.

It's a hand burnt plaque based on an ancient British coin struck by the Corieltauvi tribe c.55-45 BC.

One of six plaques in our 'Dark and Light' Collection, each 16 cm square.

Unless we've sold out again, they should all be available from clicking on the above link. 

We do have a new system in place now, however. If an item is showing 'Sold Out - Available' to order, it is still possible to order it from the website. We will email you within 24 hours to advise how long it will be before despatch. Currently bod is normally able to make any item within ten days. (This will probably change a wee bit in the run-up to Christmas!)

Coriel is also available as a sculpted metal plaque in our Creatures Collection, and you can read more about the design on this previous blog post.

Pyrography Celtic wall plaque

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

Our main website is Justbod - featuring work for sale by bod:

See the Justbod website for Celtic, Viking and Mythical Sculptures, carvings inspired by history and nature and artwork by Yorkshire artist bod.

See Collections for all currently available work.

Original article on bod's blog.

St Mary's Church, Whitby

St Mary's Church Whitby
St Mary's Church Whitby
St Mary's Church in Whitby is one of my favourite churches of all time.

Standing stoically on a jutting headland above Whitby, like a little fortress against the elements, it is a beautiful and charismatic hodge-podge of styles and add-ons that have been shoehorned in over the ages, oozing a palpable sense of history and witness to the various characters and events that it must have hosted over the years.

St Mary's Church Whitby
St Mary's Church Whitby
It was founded in 1110, although the interior mostly dates from the late 1700s.

It is, I think, one of the most unusual Churches in Britain. Add to this its striking setting, its location overlooking such a beautiful and historic town, its approach from the town up the famous 199 steps, its dramatic graveyard full of atmospheric and weathered tombstones, tributes to workmen and denizens of the sea, and, of course, its connection to Bram Stoker, who incorporated the graveyard into his Dracula novel; and it also has to rank highly as one of the most interesting to visit.

©St Mary's Church
As if all of the above were not enough, the inside of St Mary's also holds much of interest, and is fascinating to explore.

Three-decker Pulpit St Mary's Church Whitby
Three-decker Pulpit ©St Mary's Church

A maze of boxed pews, a three decker pulpit, multiple galleries, ear trumpets for a deaf rector's wife, and a delightful charcoal stove, which is still in use, are just some of its many interesting features. There is no artificial lighting, instead candles are used for services, including a beautiful candle chandelier.

©St Mary's Church

©St Mary's Church

Much of the 'architectural dog's dinner,' as the Rough Guide to England describes it, is attributable to attempts over the years to increase the capacity. The Church now has provision to seat over two thousand people, the extra space being created by external staircases to some of the galleries. One memorial service is recorded as being attended by over three thousand people.

External staircase St Mary's Church

It was described by Simon Jenkins in 'England's Thousand Best Churches' as "part folly, part museum, part large parlour." The museum part is apt as there are also other items to intrigue and fascinate, within the church, such as an old stone head with a story and a Saxon baby's stone coffin.

©St Mary's Church

Echoes of the sea are everywhere, and much of the Church interior feels like similar woodwork to that used on a ship, it also contains one of the most complete sets of pre-Victorian furnishings in England.

©St Mary's Church
The Church also has within its grounds Caedmon's Cross, and one of the approaches is via the famous (and strenuous!) 199 steps, which we hope to write about in other posts, as well as a post on Whitby Abbey.

Well worth a visit, as is the whole of Whitby. Please consider making a donation to help with the upkeep of the Church, or buy one of the many gifts for sale in the entrance way. 

We visited on one of our Justbod field trips on a day that was howling a gale, with heavy, lashing rain. The Church felt like a sanctuary, as it must have to many people over its long history.
View from the 199 steps, Whitby

Sanctuary it may have been for many, but it is also a potent symbol of gothic horror. I leave you with a quote from Bram Stoker's Dracula, from the scene set in St Mary's graveyard:

"For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured St Mary's Church. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the Abbey coming into view; and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible....It seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell."

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

(Please note that we were given permission for the interior photography by the Rector: Reverend Canon David William Smith, and these interior images are copyrighted to St Mary's Church Whitby. )

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Sources and further information:

St Mary's Parish Church booklet