Saturday, 28 January 2017

A Walk from Bray Shop

A 6.5 mile walk with our U3A Thursday group. Starting and ending in the hamlet of Bray Shop, about 2 miles from home, we ventured into parts of our locality that we'd never previously visited. It was cold, with the temperatures hovering not far above zero, and misty with none of the long range views over Bodmin Moor that would have been possible.
The route. A mixture of quiet lanes, footpaths across fields and some ancient 'green lanes'. And the two ascents shown on the elevation profile were as steep as they look.
An example of the lack of views on this walk. On a clearer day Roughtor and Brown Willy, Cornwall's highest point, on Bodmin Moor would be on the horizon.
One of the two patches of snowdrops I noticed. They are not quite fully open yet but can't be far off. Absolutely no daffodils were to be seen or, for that matter, any other flowers.
I was surprised to come across this graveyard at Lanhargy, just half a mile outside of Bray Shop. It was well kept and, as there were a few relatively recent burials, I assume that that it is still consecrated.
Next door is the original Lanhargy Methodist Chapel, now fully restored and occupied as a dwelling.
Spot the difference. I came across this photograph of the chapel as it was presented in the estate agent's details of its sale in the late 1900s. It had been derelict for many years before it was finally sold. Conversion is a much better option than demolition, a fate that fell to at least four other (Downhouse, Kelly Bray, Luckett and Monks' Cross) chapels.
Lanhargy chapel dates from, guess when, 1802, although the present building is the result of several rebuilds during its lifetime. An adjacent building had been used as a Sunday School.
Just down the lane from Lanhargy is Bray Shop with its own chapel. Another one converted into a dwelling, this conversion has been done since our time down here. Services were being held here until the early part of the new century. It started out as a Bible Christian chapel who were an offshoot of the Methodist Church, the predominant form of Christianity in Cornwall during the 1700s and 1800s. This group were also known as Bryanites after their founder, William Bryan and were strongest in the UK in North East Cornwall and North Devon .  They lasted as a separate denomination until the early 1900s and then were gradually incorporated into mainstream Methodism. There were many variants of Methodism in the early days, each one with its own chapel. Bray Shop is a good example of this: a very small hamlet that managed to support two chapels for a century or so. If people didn't like the brand of Methodism being promoted locally, they went off and built their own chapel. At one time Stoke Climsland parish, which never had a population of more than 1600, boasted seven chapels and one church. Nowadays it has one of each.
Bray Shop chapel has its own burial ground attached. It's quite well maintained and, as for Lanhargy, there is evidence of recent burials, mainly from just one or two local families. I guess they like to maintain the family tradition and be laid to rest with their forebears. I wonder how long graveyards such as these will be maintained? I'm quite familiar with this one as I've spent time here tracking down the headstone of the parents of one William Conibear, who died in WW1 and who is listed on our local war memorial.

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