The thought sometimes crosses my mind; If I still manage to find lost pockets of London, how many more must there be around England? A friend of mine who has regularly contributed to these pages, Jan Briggs, sends me details of Saxon objects that still cling on in the landscape of England. This Saxon baptismal font can be found in the tiny village of Toller Fratrum, Dorset. It’s well over a millennium old.
In medieval times, the manor of Toller Fratrum, or Toller of the Brothers, belonged to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (who founded the St John’s Ambulance in Clerkenwell that we still have today). Here they had their storehouse. It was used by them from the time of their founding in the 11th century. On the farmhouse there are twisted chimneys and a statue of a monkey holding a hammer.
Jan points out that everyone goes on about the Dan Brown churches, forgetting that all Roman Catholic churches had relics and crosses placed beneath their altars. As the churches get deconsecrated and their innards are torn out to make way for apartments, what happens to the relics? I think has come up with the idea for a story here.
I know from just walking around London that things disappear on an almost daily basis. Even the spots which we think have not changed have transformed piece by piece until they are no longer recognisable. It’s why I dislike most period TV series, as they don’t bother to get even the simplest and most obvious things right.