Hail Cricket! Glorious, manly, British game!
First of all sports! Be first alike fame!
From Cricket: An Heroic Poem: Kent Vs England June 18th, 1744 James Love : James Dance a British poet, playwright and actor. He wrote under pseudonym of James Love
Cressing Church, Essex, England

This morning’s walk took us via Cressing Church. The church was built, between the 12th and 15th centuries, mainly of coursed flint rubble which contains some brick and tile. The south wall of the Chancel is partly of red brick, with dressings of limestone and clunch (a traditional building material of chalky limestone rock used in eastern England and Normandy), roofed with handmade red plain tiles. The north vestry is of gault brick (a thick, heavy clay, the first recorded use was in 1575) in Flemish bond. The Nave is thought to be 12th century, on a Saxo-Norman foundation. The Chancel is early 13th century, with its south wall being rebuilt in the early 16th century. The construction of bell-turret 14th/15th century.

The Church Spire in detail.

In the graveyard, I noticed an interesting stone for a Sir Matthew Wood 4th Baronet. A couple of the others stone next to this one was also for Wood or Page Wood. What intrigue me most was the title baronet. What is a baronet?

Well it is one step up from being a commoner. A baronet is the lower a member of the lowest hereditary titled British order and basically you can call yourself, “Sir.” It’s a British hereditary dignity first created by King James I of England in May 1611. The baronetage is not part of the peerage, nor is it an order of knighthood.

So who was Sir Matthew Wood and why was he buried here?

Matthew’s father was Sir Francis Wood, and his grandfather Sir John Page Wood (1796–1866), who became a Church of England vicar, Cressing, Essex. Matthew’s aunt, Katharine Wood (1846–1921) was better known by her married name of Katharine O’Shea. Popularly known as Kitty O’Shea, her relationship with the Irish leader Charles Stewart Parnell led to a political scandal which caused the downfall of Parnell who died not long after they married. Matthew’s uncle was Sir Evelyn Wood (1838–1919) was a Field Marshal and a recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Sir Matthew Wood (I better use his full title😀) was an English first-class cricketer who played for Hampshire. He was a right-handed batsman but also was an underarm slow bowler. He died on 13th July 1908 Kensington, London.

Why was he buried here, and why a Celtic cross over his grave?

This could be because there was a big revival in the 1850s for Celtic crosses being used extensively as grave markers and monuments, and maybe as Cressing is a quiet out of the way place after such a full-on life for all members of the Wood/Page family so the churchyard was seen as an ideal place to be laid to rest, after all Reverend Sir John Page Wood had once ministered to the flock here.

Sir John Page Wood, 5th Baronet was Matthew’s brother.

And what is meant by It’s just not cricket? It’s an Australian slang for something that’s unjust, or doesn’t reach certain expected standard. This come from the fact a game of cricket is regarded as a gentleman’s game were everyone plays by the rules.

Towards Egypt Farm

We followed the path down the side of the church and walked through Egypt Farm onto the main road. The traffic races along here and as there is no pavement walkers have to be very careful. Ana and I had to stand well back, almost in to a ditch as the traffic came within a hair’s breadth of us. A tree growing close to the road stopped the on-come traffic from seeing us. It was quite scary for a moment.

Once we were able to cross the road, we followed the footpath known as Essex Way towards Bradwell, before heading back to Silver End. The heat was starting to rise even though it was still overcast with low cloud. The footpath opened up onto a grass edge field of rapeseed. Earlier in Spring this would have been a sea of yellow. Rapeseed is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae, and is cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed, which naturally contains appreciable amounts of erucic acid.  While the rapeseed heads were ripening growing among them was the scarlet red of the poppy .

Poppies among the rape seed heads.

The field poppy sheds its petals after a day, but a vigorous plant may produce more than 400 hundred flowers in succession during a summer. Once a familiar sight modern farming use weed killers has made it less common.

Common broomrape

Common broomrape to me is quite an amazing plant. There’s a dark beauty about it as its colours stand out among the greens. The plant is a parasitic Orobanche minor. Its other names are Lesser broomrape, Hellroot, Devil’s root, Hellweed, Herb bane The common broomrape is a variable, parasitic, non-photosynthetic, short-lived perennial with erect, leafless, reddish-brown, yellow-brown, pale yellow, or purple stems bearing terminal clusters of tubular, usually purple-flushed, cream flowers in winter and spring. The plant is toxic to grazing mammals. May cause severe discomfort if ingested by humans. The generic name Orobanche translated into English as vetch-strangler. The plant attaches itself to the host plant root system and feeds. the relationship between the two are finely balanced. if it removes too much nutrients its host will die, too little and it won’t be able to reproduce.

Our walk took 127 minutes and we covered 5 miles once I arrived home. Have a wonderful weekend. I shall be back soon to chat again.

6 Comments

  1. A lovely walk! The poppies are beautiful, and I didn’t know that the blooms only lasted one day. I am off now for my morning exercise.:-) Later today I will be searching for another publisher to send my most recent novella (a dystopian piece); the first publisher I sent it to rejected it.

    Like

    1. To get to the church isn’t that far, but we do a circular walk to get our exercise. If you came to Silver End via the railway crossing at Black Notley the Church is just down from the old Three Ashes pub. It’s a beautiful hidden away church

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s