Dockray–St Johns in the Vale YHA

 ‘A’ David Palmer ‘B’ Margaret Palmer



On a very hot day 33 members travelled to the Lake District stopping at Houghton Hall Garden Centre for coffee. At Dockray 17 members set out on the ‘A’ walk. The coach continued on to Grasmere, where after lunch 6 members set off to climb up to Easedale Tarn. As both walks didn’t offer much shade, others opted for a shorter walk around Lake Grasmere. The annual rushbearing ceremony took place in the village this afternoon. Originally the floors of churches were simply of earth, covered in rushes, and it was commonplace to bury bodies of parishioners within the church as well as in the churchyard. In ancient times parishioners brought sweet smelling rushes at the feasts of dedication to strew within the church to purify the air and help insulate the worshippers from the cold. The festivity gained the name Rushbearing. This practice stopped in the 1800’s, when the floors were flagged, but the ancient custom still continues in 5 Cumbrian churches, where wild rushes and flowers are paraded round the village in procession and ending in a rush strewn church. Today, the ‘rushbearing’ is a cross made of rushes or flowers and carried by the children of the parish. A procession is led by a band, followed by the clergy and then the children of the village and ends at the church with hymns and prayers.

Flowers: betony, bog asphodel, chickweed, elderflower, enchanters nightshade, eyebright, forget-me-not, foxglove, greater knapweed, herb bennet, herb robert, ivy leaved toadflax, meadowsweet, nipplewort, pignut, purple loosestrife, ragged robin, silverweed, st John’s wort, tormentil, welsh poppy, woundwort, yellow flag and yellow vetchling.

Other: buzzard, dragonflies and mallard with ducklings.

Photo c. K>Nevin

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