Friday, 11 November 2011

A quiet corner

The Mortuary Chapel, Tidworth
I've been meaning to go and look at this little corner for some time and then the other day ended up on a footpath that went right by it as I climbed Furze Hill.  The chapel was built in the late 18th century using materials from the demolished medieval church of South Tidworth.  A place of worship is recorded there in the Domesday Book, but the grandees living in Tedworth House at the time considered that it spoilt their view and got permission from the Bishop of Winchester to demolish it.  The little mortuary chapel built from its rubble was then the only place of worship in South Tidworth.

I wonder what impact this would have had on the villagers.    I wonder if they were at all devout, attached to the old building and conscious that their families had worshipped there for generations.  Did this demolition strike at the heart of their community?  Or maybe, it was just another damp and leaky old building got out of the way and replaced by a much drier one on higher ground.  That was certainly the argument made by those who wanted it pulled down.

View showing the belfry

Some quite grand people - the estate owners - were buried beside this little chapel in the 19th century without much fuss.  And then there is a sad little corner for the children where the graves date between 1915 and 1918, two of them for children from the same family, aged 9 and 16 months.  Hard to think that with all the great suffering of  those years, small tragedies were still being played out far from the trenches.

Children's graves from the years of the First World War