Blacktoft, Yorkshire – St Clement

DSC06653In Howden minster we had picked up a leaflet “Historic Churches of Howdenshire”, produced by East Yorkshire Historic Churches which says the Minster is only open on a Thursday (today is Monday) – and decided we’d go and find Blacktoft Church down by the Humber (partly because it said there was a loo in the Old School Hall). We took the B road, the old road, to Gilberdyke, then turned south. The roads got narrower until we reached the river. You can’t actually see the river – we could easily be back in Cambridgeshire, north of Ely somewhere. The church is at SE841243, and there is a welcome notice at the Old School Hall – no one around, but second hand books for sale, a kitchen (“help yourself”) and loos – how lovely. Julie was a happy bunny.

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St Clements is an early Victorian church. There has been a church on this site since the C12, but the tower crashed into the nave in the Great Wind of 1839. The architect was John Harper of York, and there are two nice C20 windows – the Sower, and the Crucifixion, by Harry W. Harvey. An interesting Holy Family, and a list of WW1 soldiers – alive and dead.

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DSC06663DSC06665I picked up a copy of their magazine – quite a few churches and chapels put something in. One of the Methodist chapels has reprinted an obituary from the “Methodist Recorder”, making the comment that they didn’t know the lady who had died, but she sounded quite amazing. The lady was Jean Pearson, who was in the Martin’s Nursing Home in Bury St Edmunds – I have given her communion on several occasions. She worked with her husband Andrew at Hankow Union Hospital in China, then (1952-74) at the Wesley Guild Hospital at Ilesa in Nigeria, then in the Nigerian University and Medical School until 1985. You can read Andrew’s obituary in the Independent. It’s a small world.

We continued to the next village, Laxton, where the leaflet assures us that “for church access see noticeboard”. The church is locked, and the noticeboard says nothing. Why is it that one parish can have an open church, hall, loo, kitchen … and less than two miles away everything is locked and bolted? Instead I photoed the signal box at Saltmarshe and the Goole swing bridge – a substantial bridge across the Ouse. It has its own letterbox!

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