Sunday, 2 March 2008

St Giles, Stoke Poges

Today I have cycled to two more of the churches that Simon Jenkins rates as the thousand best chuches in England.

To recap, I have measured the distance from home, as the crow flies, to the neighbouring churches in the list that Simon Jenkins picked. I am aiming to cycle to the twelve nearest this year.

St Giles, at Stoke Poges ranks as the fifth most distant of the twelve, but in chronological sequence, it is the eigth that I have visited.

All that might be important to me, but in the grand scheme of things St Giles at Stoke Poges is more famous as the church where Thoms Gray wrote "Elegy written in a country churchyard". The poem goes on a bit, but it begins with the famous words....

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me

The other church that I visited today is St Mary's at Harefield, which ranks as the twelfth most distant of the Jenkins churches, and the ninth I have reached.

There was a service in progress at St Giles when I was there, and St Mary's was locked - so I didn't see inside either of them. From the outside, St Giles is the prettier, so it gets the picture.

I have now reached nine of the twelve, and covered around 60% of the distance, and 50% of the climbing, and it is still only March. It is beginning to look as though I may have set my sights a little too low.

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