Faded Beauty

A while ago we were at a fair in the midlands and took advice from a friend to take a diversion on the way home to go to see the church of St Leodegarius and that we would find it well worthwhile.

Now, being a storyteller, I know that you should always follow advice like this.  And it was worth it.  Ashby St Ledgers takes its name from the saint to which the church is dedicated.  The whole village was deserted, and the church open. 

It was late on an autumn afternoon and the windows spared us just enough light to see the magnificent remains of the wall paintings.

As you entered there was a magnificent St Christopher.
Here was the Passion from around 1500.

And even earlier, St Margaret from around 1325. 

There were brasses,

A beautiful painted rood screen,

A skeleton reminding us of our mortality,

And a harpy atop this later memorial.

The church must have dazzled once, but even this faded glory left us speechless.


This coming Saturday (9th March 2013) will be International Bagpipe Day.  As English bagpipes make a regular appearance in our work we'll be celebrating the day with fellow pipers in Chester.

It should be an exciting mix of happenings and we're looking forward to playing in some atmospheric places. 

From 10.30-11.45am, we'll be running a workshop 'Introducing the Bagpipes' at St Peter's Church, by the Cross, in the centre of Chester.  We'll be playing tunes, revealing the history of the instrument and letting people have a try for themselves.

At 12.15pm we'll be setting off from the Cross for a 'Pipers Perambulation' through the city and along the walls. It should catch people's attention and hopefully raise the profile of the instrument.  Here's some of the pipers and other musicians enjoying a similar procession last summer as part of the Minstrels' Court event. 

We'll be stopping in some of the medieval towers on the walls to enjoy their acoustics, paying a visit to bagpiper carvings in the cathedral and giving a brief performance in the Roman amphitheatre before arriving at St John's Church at 2pm to play more tunes there in the glory of the romanesque nave of the city's oldest church.

At 3pm there will be piping in the pub at the Cross Keys on the corner of Lower Bridge Street and Duke Street.  Other instruments are welcome too, we should have a friendly session there.

Then at 7.30, the main event will be a special concert at the Grosvenor Museum, entitled Bagpipolorum!, featuring bagpipes from across Europe and tunes from medieval to modern.  We're very excited to be joined by the wonderful Blast from the Past, with their lively, upbeat versions of traditional tunes.  Chester's own Time Bandits will present Renaissance dance tunes and Anglo-European Folk.  Mike Billington of Corvus, will be showcasing the Spanish gaita, Hungarian duda and Bulgarian gaida, and there will be performance from the Chester Dudey Quartet on their sweet sounding Renaissance smallpipes made by Sean Jones.  There will also be folk tales of pipers.

If you'd like to join us for the concert, then do come along, doors open 7pm and piping starts at 7.30pm.  Tickets are £5.  Take your chance on the door, or email pilgrimandposies@aol.com to reserve a ticket.

If you can't get to Chester then there are also exciting happenings at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and across the world too.  Happy bagpiping!