In the UK we have a series known as Church Micro’s which was started by Sadexploration in 2007 and now boasts around 3000 cache listings, not all owned by Sadexploration but by many others around the country. The series also boasts a league table, challenges and awards and the lists are maintained by Andy33, BaSHful and Sadexploration.
I hadn’t been too interested in whether I was on the league tables or even what award I had achieved, I was just grabbing Church Micro’s wherever and whenever. Until recently!
I work in secondary education and often assist in History lessons, one of the subjects I love most. Last term we were teaching Year 7’s about Medieval English History, which included Churches and the progression of religion through that time. In particular, Doom Paintings, a style of art work used by Monks in early British Churches to enable the Peasants to understand the teachings of the Bible.
During the 1100’s Priests would give sermons in Latin (and the Bible was also written in Latin), therefore the British population, despite having had the Romans here several centuries before didn’t know what was being said, let alone being able to read! So travelling Monks would go from Church to Church painting Murals that explained the difference between Heaven and Hell.
As a result of this particular lesson I was having a discussion with friends on Google+ about that style of art, when I was told by one of them that they knew of a Church near them that had “a freaky looking mural on one of the walls”. I needed to know more so he told me of a Church in Chaldon, Surrey that he used to muck about in when he was a youngster, he went on to say that he was so freaked by it, he would never go there at night. By this stage my interest was already piqued and the first search I did was on Geocaching.com to see if this Church was in the Micro series.
Sure enough, it was there and was one that was placed by Sadexploration him/herself. The Church of St Peter & St Paul, Chaldon. A date was set during the Easter break with my family to take a trip out to Surrey, just so I could see the Church and the painting.
The Church dates as early 727AD and is of Saxon foundation. It came under the overlordship of the King of Mercia who founded Chertsey Abbey in 666AD which was the first religious settlement in Surrey, run by Benedictine Monks.
The Normans set up the manorial system in England and in 1085 made the Great Survey which resulted in the Doomsday book. Chaldon was recorded as “Chalvedune, being of two hides (200 acres) and a church”
It remained part of the Charter of Chertsey until the Dissolution of the Monastries by King Henry VIII.
We were not disappointed either. After having got the co-ords needed to find the final cache hiding place we checked the front door and were pleased it was open.
From the minute we entered we could “feel” the age, it is beyond my ability to describe this place to its full potential and I would urge anyone who is interested in buildings or history to go there and look for themselves. Instead I will just provide a selection of photo’s and links for further reading.
“At the lower left hand edge of the wall painting on the west wall is a well defined cross from the original consecration of the church.”
“The picture depicts the ‘Ladder of Salvation of the Human Soul’ together with ‘Purgatory and Hell’. Wall paintings of this kind were intended as a visual aid to religious teaching.”
” Wall painting: west wall c.1200 one of the most important English wall paintings of that date. A type of purgatorial ladder in yellow ochre, red and white. 17ft x 11ft. Divided in two by cloudy band with the lower half decorated with torments and punishments of the wicked, the upper half devoted to the judgement and salvation of souls. In the centre is a ladder with Christ above. The main figures include the tree of knowledge, with the serpent (bottom right), the seven deadly sins and a cauldron for boiling murderers. Across the top are depicted the 3 Marys and Elijah and Enoch ascending to heaven, Christ defeating the devil and Christ preaching to the spirits in prison.”
Further Reading & quotes from: