Saturday, January 2, 2010

St Mary's and the sea

We've just gone round the back of the church to get the view over the harbour and sea. That's the North Sea,  and had you gone down to the beach a few days ago you would have been able to see people bathing! The annual charity dip on Boxing Day (26th December) always attracts some photographers, but not this one! Hardy folk in fancy dress sponsored by friends and family, brave the icy waters to raise money for charity. They don't usually stay in the water very long, and I would be surprised if the event has not come under the scrutiny of the much-maligned Health and Safety Executive.

There are people who take the plunge along this coast every day of the year, even if only for a few minutes in winter, and surfers are a common sight. Tough, these northerners, but back to the church. The white-painted railing leads up to another gallery, now out of use.

The large Georgian window is evidence of the controversial alterations which destroyed the cruciform shape of the church in favour of a spacious rectangular area which was then filled with square box-pews. The older single bench pews go back to at least the 17th century, and in some of them you can find Civil War  (1642-1649) graffiti carved into the woodwork.

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