Ashby St. Mary – St. Mary’s Church

We visited this church in Ashby St. Mary towards the end of an eighteen mile walk, just as the sun was starting to set. This was a primarily agricultural area in the past and not much has changed, it still feels quite remote and the nearest town is Loddon, a few miles away.

The churchyard feels neat and tidy and that paved area leads not just to the porch, but also to a Portaloo type arrangement around the back. It’s hard not to note though that the church itself feels a little out of proportion given the height of that tower compared to the nave.

There’s a single structure nave and chancel, dating to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The church tower is later, from the fifteenth century and perhaps there were plans to increase the size of the church as well.

At the east end, it’s possible to see that the window arrangement has changed, there was once a wider window which was located a little higher up. Judging from that buttress on the side of the church, perhaps the larger window was causing some structural problems.

It wasn’t possible to get inside the church, although I will hopefully return in due course when the building has re-opened. Not least because there’s a rather impressive twelfth century Norman door inside that porchway.

Dating from 1697, this memorial commemorates the life of Thomas Badley who died at the age of just 40.

There is a list of burials on the church’s web-site, but it doesn’t unfortunately seem to include this grave. I try and take photos of late eighteenth century graves and this looked like one to me, although it has at some stage been placed back into the ground at a different height as perhaps it broke. Anyway, looking through the burial lists of the late eighteenth century, this is I think the burial of John Pratt from 1778.

These are rather eye catching, the graves of George Basey and his wife Ann Basey, with George and his turkey rearing and Ann with her geese rearing. These are two of the most ornate graves that I’ve seen and they’ve lasted well since they were placed here in 1868 (Ann) and 1876 (George). With some sadness, it’s hard not to note that three children who died in infancy are buried here, all named Joseph Basey Fisher and these were the children of George Basey Fisher and his wife Jane. The headstones were designed by William Stanley who was a stone and marble mason who worked in Norwich.