Saturday September 11th 2010
Round the Churches Ride and Stride
The Ragstones were definitely riding. We had a good turn out, Peter, Rosemary, Judith and John from Bedrock were joined by neighbours Mick and Jo who wanted to know what all this cycling nonsense was about, especially as Mick has finally found a bike big enough to accommodate his 6ft 8 frame.
We were also joined by Ruth, Robert, Jane and a friend Tony so a good group of friends, and of course we met lots of other keen cyclists along the way. Lots of cheery waves and have you done this Church yet, the cakes are great!!
We started from Ruckinge (the cakes are really great!!) but some of the hardier cyclists did Aldington and Bilsington after leaving Lympne. Whereas some of the less hardy cyclists, did Aldington and Bilsington by car, on the way to Ruckinge.
Eventually we all met up and after admiring the refreshments at Ruckinge, departed for Warehorne calling in on Hamstreet Church on the way. Warehorne is a vast Church once no doubt the centre of a prosperous, populous parish but now much diminished, as are many of the Marsh parishes. In the thirteenth and fourteenth century these villages were dynamic with populations of a thousand or more souls but the BlackDeath and the change from arable to sheep pasture meant that the population declined, and most now boasts 100 or so inhabitants.
Leaving Warehorne we cycled across to Snargate Church down narrow Marsh lanes.
No traffic, just high hedges full of blackberries, hawthorn berries and sloes, Snargate was busy with Jill and David Body minding the Church. As usual Jill had some delicious goodies on offer lemon drizzle cake or bread pudding anyone? The tower was open. Some members of the party managed to eat the cake and fit up the narrow staircase to the top. Then we rode a few years to the Red Lion for drinks, and an opportunity to eat a packed lunch.
Then which church to tackle next? By this time Mick had heard about Brookland Church and its detached bell tower. It was open today and we all decided that we should include it in our tour. Having heard the rather dubious legend about its provenance from a Snargate inhabitant we sallied forth. It is a great Church- amazing porch (Peter) amazing bell tower (Mick) amazing bells (John) amazing pub next door (Rosemary).
Then the return home via Old Romney and Ivychurch,where the less fit were collected by Land Rover from the pub and a final Church at St Rumwolds,Bonnington. Here another Ragstone, Norman, was waiting to greet us and introduce us to his especial Church. He is a church warden.
Most of us managed 13 Churches and some of us a few more, both for Ragstone members and the Friends of Kent Churches it was a successful day