Monday, 25 February 2008

Lower Peover

Whilst staying with my parents recently, they took me for a walk in the Cheshire countryside which brought us to the tiny, almost hidden village of Lower Peover (no giggling in the back row there: it's pronounced Peever, not Pee-Over).

Here's the unusual parish church of St Oswald in Lower Peover:

It was originally built in about 1269, possibly, according to the church guidebook written by Rev Canon Sladden, who was its vicar from 1959-1986, in thanksgiving for peace after the rebellion of Simon de Montfort and to commemorate the release of men who had sided with him. St Oswald was the evangelising king of Northumbria who died at the hands of the heathen king Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Maserfield (probably Oswestry in Shropshire) in 642. His remains, the Canon tells us, were recovered later by his brother Oswy, who took them to be enshrined at Lindisfarne and Bamburgh, possibly passing through Peover on the way. The body of the church is one of the oldest timber-framed buildings of its type in Europe, whilst the tower is of red Cheshire sandstone. Here are some photos of its interior from the inestimable Cheshire Antiquities website.

There are other Peovers hereabouts: Peover Superior (or Over Peover), Nether Peover and Peover Heath. Near Over Peover is Peover Hall, an Elizabethan mansion with an Arts and Crafts garden. It was for a time during the Second World War the HQ of the American Third Army under General Patton.

According to the knowledgeable Canon Sladden, the name Peover comes from early British pevr meaning 'darting', 'sparkling' or 'bright', an apt description of the stream known as the Peover Eye which runs through the area. The Anglo-Saxons took over the name and added their own word for stream: thus it became 'Pevr Ee'.

Before we leave charming Lower Peover, here are some more photos:

The village street

The old school house

The village pump

Here are Mother and Dad outside St Oswald's

And here they are with my Auntie Kath at the birthday lunch we had on 2 February

I don't think they would mind me saying that they are in their eighties, lively, active and interested in everything - an inspiration to us all.


Gabriele C. said...

That's a fascinating piece of architecture. Usually you have cross grain vaults or wooden cassette ceilings, not gables. I wonder, is the church built in basilica style or hall style? It's impossible to tell from the picture though my guess is basilica style.

Sarah Cuthbertson said...

Gosh, I don't know, Gabriele! I'll have to brush up on my architecture. I'll see if I can find any more photos to post that would enable you to tell. Does basilica mean it has a semicircular apse at one end?

Gabriele C. said...

Most basilicas have an apse, but more telling is that the aisles are lower than the main nave.