Brompton village’s historic connections celebrated in its Grade I listed magnificent church
It is impossible to talk about Brompton by Sawdon without mentioning – in the same breath – its most famous connections: George Cayley and William Wordsworth.
Sir George is considered the inventor and pioneer of, among other things, flight, and the poet married his childhood friend Mary Hutchinson at All Saints’ Church in the village.
Evidence of their lives and achievements are celebrated and recorded in the church and its environs. The variety of daffodils – Lobularis – which inspired Wordsworth’s poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud have been planted in the churchyard.
The poem runs: I wandered lonely as a cloudThat floats on high o’er vales and hills,When all at once I saw a crowd,A host, of golden daffodils;Beside the lake, beneath the trees,Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
IN PICTURES: All Saints' Church here
Inside there is a quilt celebrating the 200th anniversary of Mary and William’s wedding on October 4, 1802. Along the left-hand side is the Brompton connection including a silhouette of Mary, the couple surrounded by golden daffodils and Gallow Hill Farm where Mary lived.
Across the top are the Brompton swans and a rainbow in honour of another Wordsworth poem The Rainbow.My heart leaps up when I beholdA rainbow in the sky ...
The right hand side of the tapestry has been stitched with Wordsworth connections to the Lake District including his home Dove Cottage. Along the bottom is the love poetry to his wife – dispelling the myth that the only woman Wordsworth truly loved was his sister Dorothy (though she did not attend his wedding).
On a small desk outside the vestry is a framed copy of the marriage certificate and a framed copy of I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud can also be found in the church.
Evidence of the Cayley family, generations of whom have made Brompton their home, can be found in every part of the church. One of the main pieces is a stained glass window. Dr Mary Jones, a member of Brompton by Sawdon Parochial Parish Council, said: “It is known as the village window. There are swifts, swallows and mallards, which are plentiful in the village, Low Hall, Brompton Hall, where Sir George lived, and the cricket field which is just the same today.”
Also incorporated is the sight of Cayley’s experiments with flight, the Cayley Coat of Arms – and pigs. Lady Cayley liked the farm animals, the village used to hold a pig fair and was once known as Swinebrompton.
All Saints’ Church is of national importance and is Grade I listed. It was mentioned in Domesday in 1086 and the site was probably used for religious purposes for several centuries before.
Other items of interest include the furniture-maker Mouseman mark, which you have to get down on hands and knees to see, and another carver’s mark, a spider.
Another stained glass window is a copy of one in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome, a 48-candle chandelier (now electrified) and what might have been a minstrels’ gallery.
Brompton Bells – an illustrated poem by Marjorie Watson – was written at the time of a bell appeal in 1991. It was in danger of being destroyed until Dr Jones rescued it from the damp bell-tower and had its calligraphy restored by villager Jill Clegg.
“The church is open every day,” said Dr Jones. “It is important that people are able to come into it and just sit.
“It is used by the whole community for all kinds of things including the making of a music video,” she said. Dr Jones and her husband Don, who is a church warden, have lived in the village for 35 years.
Dr Jones, who worked in community child health before she retired, spending the last seven years of her career as a consultant community paediatrician, is involved with various groups in the village organising events.
There is a fundraising campaign for toilets and a kitchen in the church and a project to celebrate Wordsworth’s 250th birthday next year. Every child in the village will be given a daffodil bulb to plant in readiness for a Daffodil Festival. There is egg rolling and an egg hunt planned for Easter, an open gardens event on Sunday June 16 and the annual Christmas Tree Festival in the church.