Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

Hello, and many thanks for dropping by. The following pages will give you an idea of my books and current projects, my writing life, and the latest news and events. You can also find me on Facebook (the button is on the top right of the page) so feel free to drop me a line. Happy browsing!                                                                                                                 

Claire X

History In The Making: Abbotsbury & St Catherine’s Chapel

Sitting alone on the crest of a hill, St Catherine’s Chapel is one of only a few survivors like it left in the country. Fortress-like and sturdy, it overlooks Chesil Bank – that lethal stretch of shingle stretching fourteen miles from the Isle of Portland to Golden Cap – on which many a ship has founded. The seas are treacherous here. A strip of wild water known as the Portland Race, marks a current – once used by English sailors to defend our shores from Spanish invaders – that still catches sailors unawares. It is no surprise, then, that this late C14th chapel, built by masons employed by the nearby abbey of Abbotsbury and dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria, was probably also used as a lighthouse and a warning beacon.

Built entirely of the same golden limestone used in the abbey and village, the structure was built to withstand the ferocious storms that batter the Dorset coast. The stone roof drains water through gaps in the parapet, and heavy buttresses help support the stone-vaulted single space inside, where monks came to pray, and villagers made pilgrimage to the shrine of St Catherine.

  Now demure and plain, once it would have been highly decorated with richly coloured glass in the windows and painted statues in the niches by the altar.

Off the corner of the chapel, a stair turret rises to the parapet providing an oratory chapel and a space in which to light a brazier for a beacon. A tiny window looks west towards the sea, and two larger windows east to the abbey. Little remains, but even that which does, speaks of the veneration St Catherine earned in late Medieval society.

Like so many others, the abbey fell victim to Henry VIII’s program of dissolution. However, the chapel had played an important part in village life for centuries, and local traditions developed around it. Perhaps the most notable was the trek up the hill to the chapel by women seeking a husband – my mother-in-law included. Balancing on one leg, the girl put a knee in one of the three holes in the south doorway, a hand in each of the others, whereupon she would pray:

St. Catherine, St. Catherine,
O lend me thy aid.
And grant that I never shall die an old maid.A husband, St. Catherine,
A good one, St. Catherine.
But anyone’s better than no one, St. Catherine.

A husband, St. Catherine,
Young, St. Catherine,
Handsome, St. Catherine,
Kind, St. Catherine,
And soon, St. Catherine!

 

The girl would then stand, spin around three times on the spot, and clap her hands. And did the prayer work? It did for my mother-in-law. She met her future husband while on a picnic at the chapel.

Generations have come and gone, but St. Catherine’s Chapel remains an iconic feature of the landscape. Summer or winter, drive along the coast road from Bridport and you will be rewarded by one of the finest views in the South-West.

Photo: English Heritage

Birds of a Feather…

Passing through the Yorkshire Dales and close to the boarder with Lancashire, I spotted a couple of magpies on a stone barn roof having a conversation and a bit of a beak rub. At least I thought they were magpies. I did a double-take: no, no mistake - one of them had...

Moving On

I've been thinking about change a great deal recently, about people, places, the state of things. We've seen so much in the last year with Brexit and Trump, the death of personalities, and in my own life with Child Two leaving home for university, and Child One...

From First to Last: Mulled Wine and Marshmallows

  The weather stayed dry, fairly windless and very cold for the book launch of Fearful Symmetry yesterday. After having four launches in the Old Library of Cobham Hall, I opted for an outdoors version around a bonfire and with a BBQ to celebrate the whole of The...