Since I decided to write a blog every day, I've found myself more open to new discoveries in the Dales, and I've started to notice more details.
Sometimes something pops into my mind as the topic for a blog, and I start to double check a detail in my library of old Dales books or online, and hey presto, I've found out all sorts of interesting things but not what I originally intended to write about.
Today I've either drawn a blank or jumped to a wrong conclusion. Perhaps you can help. It concerns the timing and story behind a photo I spotted about a year ago. It's stayed in my mind but I've not yet found out more.
Many years ago I remember my Uncle Tony & Auntie Pam telling me that they loved to go to visit country churches. I remember wondering why they spent so much time doing that. When I turned fifty it was as if I also got the magical power to see the fascination of rural churches. There are so many intriguing details and stories to uncover.
The smaller and older the church, the better. I'm not sure why. I'm just drawn to places that are less ornate, where you perhaps have to work a little harder to find the beauty in the more 'ordinary'. But what is ordinary anyway?
A while ago I was mooching around Muker and wandered into St. Mary's church. It's a lovely small building, simply constructed and apparently one of the few churches built in the reign of Elizabeth 1st, originally with a thatched roof, and part of the Corpse Way. This is where I saw a photo on the wall, that stuck in my mind.
Imagine a fairly remote Dales village in the hills, where the Romans left a few straight roads but where no lane is ever actually flat. Of course, many go downhill, but they also go uphill again...
And imagine a vicar, who's stretched for time and who has to visit his parishioners in that hilly location. So he chooses a bike, one that's quite old-fashioned and very heavy looking. Either he's not very skilled at riding a bike or acknowledges that the hills are a little tricky so he chooses a three wheeler bike, not unlike a larger version of a trike you might have had as a toddler. His name is Reverend Peter Midwood.
This photo was different - Reverend Midwood is shown on his bike with the Swaledale fields and hay meadows around him. I've tried to find out a bit more about Reverend Midwood online. According to the fascinating Reeth and District Gazette, a Reverend Midwood was still holding services in 1996, and according to the Church Times a Revd Canon Peter Midwood was Hon Canon of Ripon Cathedral in 2013.
Was that the same vicar or his son? How old was 'my' Revd Midwood when he was riding his bike in Swaledale?
How far did he have to ride it? Was it just for convenience or pleasure. I'm intrigued by his story so if you by any chance know more about him, please do tell me!