Enigmatic Graveyard

by cobbies69

Sunday 24th March 2013

Let me take you back 236 years where stands the very pretty  lonely little village of Boldre, in the New Forest.  With a few small settlements near by. The church of St John is on top of a small hill amongst trees, in a picturesque position. In 1777  the Reverend William Gilpin took over this parish. Apart from being a vicar he was also a writer of traveling books and one of his most memorable was titled ‘Remarks on a Forest Scenery’.

File:William Gilpin by Henry Walton.jpg

William Gilpin (4 June 1724 – 1804) was an English artist, Anglican cleric, schoolmaster, and author, best known as one of the originators of the idea of the picturesque.

After working as curate, Gilpin became master, and from 1755 headmaster, at Cheam School. He was an enlightened educationist, instituting a system of fines rather than corporal punishment and encouraging the boys to keep gardens. Gilpin stayed at Cheam until 1777 when he moved, with his wife Margaret, to become Vicar of Boldre in the New Forest in Hampshire. While there he took as a child pupil the future poet Caroline Anne Bowles. He was succeeded at Cheam by his son, another William Gilpin.  (via Wiki)

When he settled in Boldre he describe his parishioners a ‘little better than a set of bandits’ he applied his earnings from his books and the sale of his paintings to try and improve their lives by building a school and a poorhouse.

His grave, a simple alter tomb, about 30 feet away from the middle of the north wall, and is inscribed with the words                ‘IN A QUIET MANSION BENEATH THIS STONE SECURED FROM THE AFFLICTION AND THE STILL MORE DANGEROUS ENJOYMENTS OF LIFE, LIE THE REMAINS OF WILLIAM GILPIN, SOMETIME VICAR OF THE PARISH, TOGETHER WITH THE REMAINS OF HIS WIFE MARGARET. AFTER LIVING ABOVE FIFTY YEARS IN HAPPY UNION, THEY HOPE TO BE RAISED IN GOD’S GOOD TIME….TO A STATE OF JOYFUL IMMORTALITY . HERE IT WILL BE A NEW JOY TO MEET SEVERAL  OF  THEIR GOOD NEIGHBOURS  WHO NOW LIE SCATTERED IN THESE SACRED PRECINCTS AROUND THEM’

Ever since, the word several, has led to speculation; were there some, Gilpin would have preferred not to see in his after life?. or did he assume some were beyond redemption, and so would not be there.

ST JOHN’s CHURCH, BOLDRE..New Forest.

190 years later,, Gerald and Dennis crossed swords with this beautiful church one March Sunday..We were both out enjoying cycle ride, peddling the small lanes of the forest near by to our homes. Setting out this Sunday morning, sun is shining brightly and was fairly warm. Riding through the village high street and out through the watersplash, passing our lovely village bridge. Turning left and then a hundred yards further we turned left again, up a small hill road called ‘The Rise’ he was a large hotel called the Watersplash Hotel and in the company of other large houses, and coming down the other side on your right was a lodging house for the students of the Grammar school.

We turned right onto Sway road and passed my old primary school. Primary Sch

A beautiful 19th century old building, I spent 6 really happy years and memory of Mrs Spracklin and head teacher Mr Williams, in the winter all class pupils gathered around the large coal furnace fires in the class rooms and enjoying our little 1/3 pint bottles of milk..no longer done.

A couple of miles along we turned left again onto road known as Lymington road, and this took across the Setley plain area, mostly gorse covered heath these, but during the 2nd world there used to a low level prisoner of war camp. So my neighbour at the time told me he used to be one, Mr Mueller, the local butcher, he was a traitor to his country and finished his living days in Brockenhurst as a respected business man. We reach Setley House and turn left left into the road leading past it .

This was Church Lane and about four miles along this picturesque lane we will find this beautiful church.. The one that our friend Reverend Gilpin was vicar.

St John the Baptist, Boldre

Another view of this lovely church.

We pedalled slowly, passing hedgerows and fields, small thatched cottages set back from the road. Over a small bridge that spanned a small stream. Turning a slight bend and now the road was rising and at the top on our left here stands this church. The road continues right, but we stopped by the gates, and just rested and took in the picture of the church and the grounds.

We walked around the small gravel path leading left and around the back of the church. The grass in the picture was covered in daffodils, a sea of yellow. We settled leaning against the fence north wall, we noticed this alter tomb but never really took much notice of who the people actually were, the names were just names to us. Then the church bell started to ring, the main heavy fronts doors opened and people filtered out… We both hopped over the fence into the grounds and proceeded to pick a large handful of daffodils. We did not hang about too long when some shouted at us, do not what they shouted but it sounded unfriendly. Quickly mounting our bikes and pedalled fast and hard and we were gone, out along the gravel track and about 2 miles along this we came to the main road home. We now were just enjoying a casual ride home and happy with our ill gotten gains. When I got home I passed them onto my mother with the words. ‘Happy Mothers Day mum’ she did not ask where I got them, just gave me that mother’s smile of I know… Thank you Reverend Gilpin.

CyKlopps28 http://geetoni.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/now-taking-your-requests-2/

thank you09

thank you87

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5 Responses to “Enigmatic Graveyard”

  1. My Kind Sir, I just had a thought. I know I know.. Seriously though I would adore a small map with your posts showing where the village of your post is. Only a suggested request from a task driver. Now with that out of the way…. 😉

    How fascinating that Gilpin is the father of the art theory picturesque. I had no clue. No clue it was someone from great Brittan. I love the eulogy on his marker. so poetic and almost romantic in its style.

    This is such a beautiful story with its finale of a gift of spring-blooming daffodils for your beloved Mum’s Day to be Queen. How wonderfully appropriate that she knowingly just smiled…. it is those eyes that can see anywhere that mothers have.

    I am so enamored with the poetic beauty in how you continually describe your New Forest & its tiny villages.
    These are the visions of the small English country villages I have long desired to visit. Thank you Gerry, I love taht you take me there with each post.

    • On my initial research my lady I could have gone off on tangents from my story,, but had to stay fast.. and funny you mentioned maps, because I did have one but decided to leave it out..thank you as always my lady and welcome thank you..:)

  2. Came across this enjoyable post just after chatting to daughter living not too far away from there. I love wandering on a bicycle in the New Forest area.

    • I used to do cycling a lot in those days of paper rounds,, but I did do a fair bit after school age until I got a motorbike and car.. but still toured the area.,, thank you welcome 😉

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