This route started from the The Cock at Henham. It was rather a relaxed start with coffee quietly enjoyed, meals chosen and photos taken of members with new and exceedingly bright kit.
Exactly which route you took depended on the group that you were in it seems. Andrew introduced a change to the route prescribed by Maurice, but each turned out to be around the 30 mile mark.
Group 1; Simon, Graham, Rod, Geoff, Deborah, Andrew, Charles and later Suzann made their first stop in Thaxted. This is a place famous for the music of Morris Men and the English composer Gustaf Holst (1874-1934) who is renown for The Planets, which he wrote while living in Thaxted. He is also famous for the hymn tune “I Vow to Thee, My Country”. First performed in 1921, it is now associated with Remembrance Day services. It was used at the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965, Diana’s funeral in 1997, Thatcher’s in 2013 and most recently at that of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s in February 2021. Still half the country is uncomfortable with the very existence of nationalism, let alone its musical expression, so we quickly rode on.
Group 2 (Brian, Hazel, Roger, Maurice, Howard, Rick, Ken, Alan) and Group 1 met up at Tilty Abby. Little remains of the Abby, but the parish church erected on its perimeter is still there. Here people might pray without disturbing the monks or indeed without seeing the extent of church property and lands.
The Abby was destroyed in 1539. The ‘Act of Supremacy’ declaring ‘England is an independent country in every respect’ had been passed in 1534, so I guess the writing was on the wall. The final jurisdiction for Law had been in Rome. Church taxes were paid straight there. Any comparisons with the ECJ and EU bodies of today is purely coincidental.
Resentment at the wealth of the Catholic Church and it’s practices (purchase of indulgencies, idolatry, veneration of relics etc) had started on the continent, particularly in northern Germany, then spread to England. The result was an outburst of religious ferocity like that we now associate with the Middle East. It is estimated that 95% of all the art in England was lost during this period, mostly burned. Abby’s were torn apart and their stone reused, the land was seized. The sanitized version, concerning a King and his choice of wives is now taught in school. The reality and politics involved must have been a lot more frightening at the time.
The remaining church is very beautiful with roof timbers from the 1200’s gravestones from the 1300’s, ancient font, brass and woodwork. This is a nice writeup of the details of the church fabric https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/essex/churches/tilty.htm
We thank Deborah for buying the beer on her birthday, Andrew for organizing and leading a group. Also to Maurice for route planning. This was a glorious morning cycle in a period when the weather has been a bit changeable to say the least. A great day out for all the club.