BY COBBIES69 Re posted from Legends Undying.
Friday 19th April 2013
Let me take you back 236 years where stands the very pretty lonely little village of Boldre, in the New Forest. With a few small settlements near by. The church of St John is on top of a small hill amongst trees, in a picturesque position. In 1777 the Reverend William Gilpin took over this parish. Apart from being a vicar he was also a writer of traveling books and one of his most memorable was titled ‘Remarks on a Forest Scenery’.
After working as curate, Gilpin became master, and from 1755 headmaster, at Cheam School. He was an enlightened educationist, instituting a system of fines rather than corporal punishment and encouraging the boys to keep gardens. Gilpin stayed at Cheam until 1777 when he moved, with his wife Margaret, to become Vicar of Boldre in the New Forest in Hampshire. While there he took as a child pupil the future poet Caroline Anne Bowles. He was succeeded at Cheam by his son, another William Gilpin. (via Wiki)
When he settled in Boldre he describe his parishioners a ‘little better than a set of bandits’ he applied his earnings from his books and the sale of his paintings to try and improve their lives by building a school and a poorhouse.
His grave, a simple alter tomb, about 30 feet away from the middle of the north wall, and is inscribed with the words. ‘IN A QUIET MANSION BENEATH THIS STONE SECURED FROM THE AFFLICTION AND THE STILL MORE DANGEROUS ENJOYMENTS OF LIFE, LIE THE REMAINS OF WILLIAM GILPIN, SOMETIME VICAR OF THE PARISH, TOGETHER WITH THE REMAINS OF HIS WIFE MARGARET. AFTER LIVING ABOVE FIFTY YEARS IN HAPPY UNION, THEY HOPE TO BE RAISED IN GOD’S GOOD TIME….TO A STATE OF JOYFUL IMMORTALITY . HERE IT WILL BE A NEW JOY TO MEET SEVERAL OF THEIR GOOD NEIGHBOURS WHO NOW LIE SCATTERED IN THESE SACRED PRECINCTS AROUND THEM’
Ever since, the word several, has led to speculation; were there some, Gilpin would have preferred not to see in his after life?. or did he assume some were beyond redemption, and so would not be there.
ST JOHN’s CHURCH, BOLDRE..New Forest.
190 years later,, Gerald and Dennis crossed swords with this beautiful church one March Sunday..We were both out enjoying cycle ride, peddling the small lanes of the forest near by to our homes. Setting out this Sunday morning, sun is shining brightly and was fairly warm. Riding through the village high street and out through the watersplash, passing our lovely village bridge. Turning left and then a hundred yards further we turned left again, up a small hill road called ‘The Rise’ he was a large hotel called the Watersplash Hotel and in the company of other large houses, and coming down the other side on your right was a lodging house for the students of the Grammar school.
We turned right onto Sway road and passed my old primary school.
A beautiful 19th century old building, I spent 6 really happy years and memory of Mrs Spracklin and head teacher Mr Williams, in the winter all class pupils gathered around the large coal furnace fires in the class rooms and enjoying our little 1/3 pint bottles of milk..no longer done.
A couple of miles along we turned left again onto road known as Lymington road, and this took across the Setley plain area, mostly gorse covered heath these, but during the 2nd world there used to a low level prisoner of war camp. So my neighbour at the time told me he used to be one, Mr Mueller, the local butcher, he was a traitor to his country and finished his living days in Brockenhurst as a respected business man. We reach Setley House and turn left left into the road leading past it .
This was Church Lane and about four miles along this picturesque lane we will find this beautiful church.. The one that our friend Reverend Gilpin was vicar.
Another view of this lovely church.
We pedalled slowly, passing hedgerows and fields, small thatched cottages set back from the road. Over a small bridge that spanned a small stream. Turning a slight bend and now the road was rising and at the top on our left here stands this church. The road continues right, but we stopped by the gates, and just rested and took in the picture of the church and the grounds.
We walked around the small gravel path leading left and around the back of the church. The grass in the picture was covered in daffodils, a sea of yellow. We settled leaning against the fence north wall, we noticed this alter tomb but never really took much notice of who the people actually were, the names were just names to us. Then the church bell started to ring, the main heavy fronts doors opened and people filtered out… We both hopped over the fence into the grounds and proceeded to pick a large handful of daffodils. We did not hang about too long when some shouted at us, do not what they shouted but it sounded unfriendly. Quickly mounting our bikes and pedalled fast and hard and we were gone, out along the gravel track and about 2 miles along this we came to the main road home. We now were just enjoying a casual ride home and happy with our ill gotten gains. When I got home I passed them onto my mother with the words. ‘Happy Mothers Day mum’ she did not ask where I got them, just gave me that mother’s smile of I know… Thank you Reverend Gilpin.