Questers’ Visit to Dorset

The Group

There were 14 in the group including our trusty driver, Robert Kemp. The weather looked set for the day at a pleasant temperature. We arrived at the church in the village of Moreton just before 11:00 giving us time for a comfort break prior to the church visit. A quick group photograph was organised with the church in the background prior to meeting our host and guide Carol Gibbens.

St Nicholas Church
The church is set in the Moreton Estate which has been in the Frampton family since the 14th Century and even today apart from six of the residences all the houses are still owned by the estate.
The person responsible for the current church was William Charles Frampton who rebuilt the church in 1776 and was Rector for 57 years. It is a good example of early Gothic revival and was built on the earlier mediaeval foundations.
The church has 2 claims to fame as the burial place of Lawrence of Arabia and is almost certainly the only church in the world where all of its thirteen (13) windows are clear engraved and etched glass.
On 21st May 1935 T.E. Lawrence’s (“Lawrence of Arabia”) funeral service was conducted there and he was buried in the nearby churchyard. He was a cousin to the Frampton family and a frequent visitor to their home. He lived for several years nearby in a small property once owned by the family called Clouds Hill. It is now owned by the National Trust and can be visited. The funeral was attended by many elder statesmen and politicians.
On the 8th October 1940 a German bomb damaged a significant part of the church. For the next 10 years the church services were held at Moreton House or in the Estate Hall until the church was rebuilt. The church was rededicated in 1950 after restoration and the replacement new windows were of semi- opaque green glass which many of the parishioners did not like. With a War Damage Grant, suggested by a visitor, Laurence Whistler, a talented glass engraver, was commissioned to provide five (5) Apse windows with a striking design that included biblical symbols, Christmas lanterns, vines, medallions, candles, landscapes, stars, lightning, local scenes and much more. The windows were installed in 1955 and etched by Whistler. Later, in 1974 and 1975, two more windows were commissioned privately. Further additions were the Trinity Chapel Window in 1982, the Galaxy Window 1984 and the Lightning Window in the Vestry.

Autumn window detail

Forgiveness Window from the outside

Morteon Walled garden pond

Morteon Walled garden flowers

In the 1980’s after he had completed twelve (12) windows, Whistler offered to create and donate one last panel of Judas the 13th Apostle. The window depicted Judas hanging himself with the 30 pieces of silver falling from his hands and turning into flowers where they hit the ground. The parishioners were so appalled by the subject matter that they rejected the window which then was loaned to Dorset County Museum in Dorchester on the understanding that if ever the parish of Moreton changed their mind it should be returned. Whistler named it the “Forgiveness Window”. In 2014, after a campaign by Jacqueline Birdseye, the then rector and 20 years after Whistler’s death the panel was installed and the space was blocked on the inside by a wall monument, so the window is only visible from outside the church.
Further highlights in the church are its Font and wonderful Victorian Pugin designed floor tiles from the Minton factory. There is also a memorial tablet from 1762 to Mary Frampton, wife of James Frampton in the Trinity Chapel that is somewhat exaggerated in its description of her merits.
After a very interesting hour in the church, we all said our thanks to Carol, our guide and carrying our souvenir Christmas cards and histories of the church we proceeded a few hundred yards to the Walled Garden and the Dovecote Restaurant for lunch.
The Walled Garden is a five (5) acre landscaped formal garden with an onsite café and garden shop, and a children’s play park with a range of small animals. The garden is leased from the Moreton Estate by Employ My Ability (Ltd) which is an organisation that helps students with learning disabilities and Special Educational Needs & Disabilities (SEND) to develop skills, expertise and confidence across hospitality, horticultural and retail facilities.

After our lunches the party split into two with a number staying at the gardens to enjoy them and further explore the village whilst the rest of our group proceeded to visit nearby Dorchester to either visit one of its many museums or have a general look around the town. After returning to Moreton to pick up the members who had stayed, we returned to Andover in good time after a very pleasant day in Dorset.

Kevin Barter

Photography Group’s August Meeting

Best Picture, ‘Puffin Close-up’ by John Hawke Click on image to enlarge it

The Group met at 10:15 on 8th August with the theme ‘Eye-catching Photographs’. Of the five portfolios submitted, John Hawke’s close up photograph of a Puffin was voted Best Picture. The Best Folio candidates all received one vote – John Hawke’s suggestion to add all individual best photographs from the other four folios to tha Group’s web site was unanimously agreed upon. Members talked about why they had chosen their photographs and it became clear that all photos evoked memories of past holidays and special events – there was certainly a very wide range of subjects.

Subsequent discussion centred on ways of storing photographs ranging from CDs to the Cloud. Also the current changes from camera producers in the near future with the disappearance of some SLRs in preference to mirror-less cameras as well as some manufacturers (Panasonic and Canon) abandoning the pocket camera in the wake of increased sales of Smart Phones with improved camera capabilities.

It was suggested that another field trip be organised in September – the consensus being a trip to Winchester – date to be confirmed.

Pam and Mike Liberson were ‘volunteered’ to give a short presentation at the next indoor meeting of their (2) holidays in Egypt