In February we looked at how Go West volunteers use timelines to organise and store information. They use this information to create stories to share with young heritage detectives. The Drakes Broughton timeline presented us with several opportunuties for developing story and it alerted us to some rather interesting mysteries like the mystery of the Chapel of St Giles, Allesborough, we wondered what had happened to it - can you help?
Our March mystery took us away from Drakes Broughton to the other side of Pershore to the hamlet of Netherton and its ruined chapel. What has happened here?
We made the chapel a 'Wonder Point. We wanted to hear the stories in the stones so we looked very carefully at the ruined old building and at its location.
First we looked at the shape of the doorways and the window openings, the rounded arches seemed to be telling us that they had been constructed in Norman times. Furthermore the stones of the arches were plain, telling us that they had been erected before the Norman craftsmen had started to decorate their stoneware!
We looked inside the buildings, if this was once a church it was very strange - the building looked as though it had once been lived in. It looked as though there had once been an upstairs and the colour of the stonework seemed to be telling us that there had been a fire!
This is Chapel Farm the ruined chapel can just be seen to the right of the farmhouse and looks as though the farm and the chapel are 'of a piece'. Maybe back in Norman times this farm and this chapel had been part of a complex of manorial buildings, perhaps the Lord of the Manor had lived in a manor house on the site of this farm house. The Wychavon Way runs close to this farm and on the pathway there is an information board with a reconstruction drawing showing what Netherton may once have looked like.
This illustration by Steve Rigby is featured on the Information Board, it shows a small farming community, not so very different to the community today eight to nine hundred years later, but what has happened here and what is the story of this church building?
We gathered together all the information we could find about Netherton and its church. British History contains information about all the parishes in Worcestershire. We searched for Netherton and found it under Cropthorne parish, this was strange - today it is part of the parish of Elmley Castle, something else to understand. There wasn't much information but enough to start to compile a timeline.
Kevin Crossley-Holland calls crossing places 'places that are not quite sure of themselves'. Arthur identifies bridges as 'crossing places', 'in between places'. However you think of them we all experience crossing places.
Allesborough once had a chapel, it was dedicated to St. Giles, the patron saint of lepers, whether Allesborough was ever a leper's chapel, we may never know. Similarly we may never know the the dedication of Netherton Chapel but perhaps we can discover the crossing places that will help us to understand what happened there.