Visiting St Margaret of Antioch for her Feast (in Wellington, Herefordshire)

We were a day or two late for Margaret’s feast, but were delighted to find her place open at Wellington, off the Hereford-Leominster road, all the same. Congratulations to the local team who have done a sparkling job at making it all so shiny and clean for visitors, despite the ever-present bats.

It’s a large building, especially the massively-sized Norman multi-storey tower. (Why was it built so large?) The inside space is plain for all its generous proportions, but nobly so, and under fine roofs (the bosses are very fine but take a torch…). I wonder who the haloed bishop or abbot is hiding in a 15th century fragment of window by the altar? (He is tonsured but at that time that might just have implied being in orders, not necessarily a religious.) An inscription fragment possibly reads “[ec]clesie qū . . . propi[etur].”

Perhaps the church’s most striking interior feature is its collection of memorial plaques. Many are the work of local craftsmen and have a rustic feel; and the most moving are in memory of women who died in young adulthood, most likely in childbirth. They are complement by a more finely-worked memorial by the pulpit to Benjamin Tomkins who developed the Herefordshire breed of cattle. We enjoyed some of their descendants’ self-offerings that evening.