Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ethelburga of Limninge

The unassuming village of Lyminge holds an impressive amount of history in its churchyard. A large Roman villa was hereabouts, although nothing but reused tiles remain to show it was here.

But in the year 633, after her husband's defeat at the battle of Hatfield Chase, Queen Ethelburga was exiled from Northumbria, and was given land at Lyminge; here she built a church, convent and monastery on the site.
Parts of her church can be seen in the small windows above, and in the herringbone blockwork below. The single flying buttress is a later addition, to stop the building from falling down the hill.
Ethelburga (grand name!) was daughter of Ethelbert, king of Kent, and Bertha, who is credited with bringing St Augustine to England in 597, and for converting the Anglo-Saxon king to Christianity.
After her death, the site became a shrine to St Ethelburga's remains, until they were taken to Canterbury cathedral in the eleventh century. Little is heard, however, about her sister, St Edburga, who joined her at Lyminge.

The source of the Nailbourne stream, which flows north from Lyminge along the Elham valley, is known as St Ethelburga's Well, housed in this bizarre little shelter.

But what, you may ask, is the relevance of all this to Kingsdown and its natural things? Admittedly little, but I've not seen much of natural beauty recently, and at such times I find a comfort in historical buildings which seem to be hewn from the natural world itself.

But here are a few natural things from Kingsdown:


Warren Baker said...

very interesting Steve, not much in the way of historical buildings in pittswood.

DOT said...

Always one interested to learn more of our odd history. Excellent post.

Hope no one from McDonald's reads this or there will be Ethelburgas with french fries before you can say Limminge.

Mary said...

Neat little well structure and interesting history lesson. Beautiful mushrooms and violet...natural beauty is always there somewhere.