Sunday, 24 May 2009

Visiting giants

The "giants" at Aldworth are nine 14th century stone effigies in St Mary's church. They represent members of local aristocracy. The De La Beche family were knights, retainers to the king, and Sheriffs of Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The carvings were bashed about a bit in Cromwell's time, but are impressive nonetheless. Not least because they are supposed to be life sized. Some of the knights are represented as being over seven feet tall, and one is shown with a dwarf who apparently he took around with him to emphasise his own height.

I had been through Aldworth once before, when I got lost mapping the Round Berkshire Cycle Route, which runs nearby. I hadn't see the church before though, because it lies to the edge of the village. From outside it is nice enough, but not particularly impressive. It is inside that is remarkable - mainly because of the giants.

It's been a good day for a ride. The weather was sunny and still - but not too hot. The bike was riding well, and I covered 57 miles in total. I followed the Round Berkshire Route for most of the way out, through Reading. My return journey was more-or-less in a straight line across country through Goring & Streetley, then Henley to home. That's a straight line on the X and Y axes by the way. Vertically it went up and down quite a bit, with some rapid descents and slow climbs. It seems that a week of pulling two heavy panniers around Northumberland and the borders has left me a bit less daunted by hills than I used to be.

Apart from a few stretches on main routes, and through Reading, the roads were fairly quiet, and there were not many other cyclists around. I saw a few, but I was obviously away from the main family and club routes. I traced the whole route on the GPS, but I think most of it is already on Open Street Map. There will be more time to upload the trace tomorrow, and check for anything that needs fixing.

St Mary's was the next church in my Jenkins quest, leaving four more to visit this year. I would definitely include it among the highlights.

1 comment:

gom1 said...

I was able to add one small footpath, and the name of Aldworth church to OSM, after 57 miles of riding. There are just too many roads already covered!