Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Adventures Of Grumble Bear

Two days after Bob found my Slop in a CS in Dereham, I found this book for 50p in a CS in Wymondham.
I was quite intrigued, especially when I found that inside the covers were diagrams for stitchery plus some correspondence from the book's owner [but that's another story] I decided I wanted to try my hand at smock making. I started investigating the subject. I discovered that Alice's little book is the one everybody refers to - and copies of it go for £50 in the USA [no, I'm not selling] 
Although smocks were seen being worn by shepherds in Sussex, Hertfordshire and Berkshire even in the 1970s, they've almost all been replaced by more modern garb on the farms. Some Morris Dancers wear them - and a few people recreate the old designs just for pleasure.
I had not realised that the embroidery on a smock often showed the occupation of the wearer - so the farmer at market, looking to hire workers, could see [without asking] whether they were woodmen, shepherds, gardeners, cowherds, milkmaids or gravediggers etc. I looked at the patterns, and read the instructions - smocks were made from a set of rectangles - some buttoned all the way down the front, some slipped over the head with a button at the neck, some were symmetrical, with a larger neckline, and could be worn either way round. 
The more I read, the more fascinated I became. I'd done smocking at school, and knew the basic principal; You make even gathers across a length of fabric and pull it up tightly, to make corrugated 'reeds'. Then you stitch on the top surface, making patterns with variations of three stitches [reed, basket or chevron] Once that is done, you snip and remove the gathering threads and are left with a piece of fabric which is elastic and stretches round curves and springs back into shape.
I'd made myself a top with a smocked panel in my teens, and did a smocked dress for Liz when she was a baby. 
A traditional smock has smocked panels on the front, back and cuffs, plus embroidery on the shoulders, collar, sleeves and "boxes" [these are the unsmocked panels on either side of the front and back smocking]
I realised it would take me forever to make one. I discovered that a company in Hampshire in the 80s took 4-6 weeks to complete bespoke smocks for people.
So I compromised- I decided that Grumble Bear should have a new outfit. GB was the bear my Mum bought for Steph when she was born. He had a very grumbly growl [sadly it stopped working years ago] I found a piece of linen in my stash, and using the book, I chose designs based on 'Dorset Woodman' [well it seemed appropriate] and made a tiny Dorset Button to finish it off at the neck.
He still looks disgruntled, despite his fancy new outfit! Yes it is a little bit short, but that's because I wanted it to look good when he is sitting down on the spare bed. I am not sure if I have the energy to make a proper full size smock - but I think I would like to develop the ideas of smocking, and the three embroidery stitches used in smocks [single feather a.k.a. blanket, chain and feather]
Here you can see details of front, back, shoulders, cuffs and boxes
I've got some small bits of linen in the Great Stash. Maybe I need to make yet another tea cosy...

Monday, 22 May 2017

Three Years Later...

One very wet, windy day in May 2014, five of us went on a prayer walk. It was so muddy, and the rain was relentless. But we were utterly determined to walk round the fields where the New Lubbesthorpe Development was due to be built. Back in 2006, Bob had a vision, for building a strong community in this place, and things were slowly starting to take shape. As we walked, we prayed - for the old houses which were going, the new ones being built, the people who would move in, and the development of a new community.At the end of my walk, I picked up a smooth white stone and brought it home.

I wrote the date on it, and kept it on my desk, to remind me to pray for the project.
One of the hardest things about moving away from Kirby Muxloe was leaving all that behind, and trusting God to bring other people forward to share the vision and see it through.
That walk was exactly three years ago - and now Sue Steer [a Baptist Rev] has been appointed as Community Worker - and she has recently taken welcome packs to the first few houses to be occupied.
God bless you, Sue, as you share the love of Jesus in Lubbesthorpe. I've still got the stone, and I am still praying for you- even though I live miles away now!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Christian Aid Week 2017

On Monday at our WWDP Committee, Muriel led our devotions, and gave us each some red string. She used some of the prayers from the Christian Aid Week booklet, and shared this with us.

Take a piece of red string…
Find a length of red string, wool or fabric. Hold it as you read the passage for each day. As you reflect on the questions, tie a knot in the fabric – one for each person who comes to mind as you pray. Each knot is a symbol that we are bound together as sisters and brothers in Christ. At the end of Christian Aid Week, we’ll collect the threads together as a visible symbol of the praying, acting and giving that has taken place during the week, while remembering those who are hungry, sick or need inviting in. We’ll present the postcards and bundle of wool to our political leaders as a reminder that we are bound together, and that each of us around the world is deserving of safety and welcome – particularly those in need of food and shelter.
Bound together as sisters and brothers
As you’ve prayed this Christian Aid Week, you’ve joined thousands of others all over the country. Thousands of others who are not prepared to ignore the hungry, the thirsty and the sick. Thousands of others who, together, are part of a different story where no one is left out. Turn these prayers into a powerful symbol that binds us together. 
We’ll collect threads from around the country, bind them together and present them to our political leaders to demonstrate our connectedness. We’ll demonstrate our commitment to a Britain that  refuses to turn a blind eye to suffering. We’ll demonstrate the need for a new story, a story where the hungry are fed, the thirsty are offered a drink, the stranger is invited in and all are liberated.

Dear Prime Minister

This Christian Aid Week, I’ve been listening to the stories of people forced from their homes. These stories remind us of our common humanity, which is everywhere being denied by violence, inhumane policies and the words we use. This thread reminds us that we are bound together: you and me, and all those currently seeking sanctuary. Please join us in overcoming division and uphold our proud tradition as a nation that stands up for those in desperate need wherever they are in the world.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

I Came Home In Tatters!

When I got back to Dorset after a couple of days up in London for WWDP Committees, I really was 'in tatters'. The dictionary defines it thus
Torn in many places; in shreds. Late Middle English (also in the singular meaning ‘scrap of cloth’): from Old Norse t«ętrar ‘rags’.
First up, I'd become aware on Tuesday morning when I got dressed, that I had damaged my jeans the day before. On Monday, I'd been carrying my briefcase in my hand, but slung my satchel across my body as I travelled from Waterloo to Baker Street, and then later back to Elephant and Castle. But I had put my satchel with the flap inwards [feeling it was more secure that way] not realising the sharpness of the buckles. My jeans were shredded across the top of the right thigh, with a number of pulls and there were lots of snagged threads.
Secondly, as I got my Oyster card out at E&C, I saw the orange plastic wallet had split. 
And finally, when I got home, I went past a mirror, and thought there was something on my shoulder. I checked it out - and realised I had a hole in my jacket.
Oh dear! What's a girl to do?
Jeans -  I got out my very sharp embroidery scissors and using my magnifying lamp, carefully trimmed away all the snagged threads. Snags barely visibvle now!
Jacket - I found that there was just enough spare seam allowance inside the pocket to cut a small scrap for patching. Rather than simply sew it down, I bound the edge of the patch with pink bias binding, and sewed it in place with red coton a broder thread - using blanket stitch and French Knots to make a feature of the mend.
Wallet - well, at first I thought I would just chuck it away. It is 5 years old, and these things are easily obtainable. Then I was so annoyed at the insensitive, ill-judged, offensive remarks made by BJ on his recent visit to a Sikh Gurdwara that I decided I needed to maintain my stance on this issue. So I found some brown electrical tape and carefully bound all the edges.Now it looks like it came from Sainsbury's in the 1970s.
But three items have received the Make Do And Mend treatment. And I am happy.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Making A Statement

You may remember my delight in acquiring a proper Norfolk 'slop' smock last month. Liz suggested that it would look good with a piece of 'statement' jewellery - perhaps a bold brooch, necklace or pendant. Well, I tried my various pendants - and none of them looked quite right. Most of them made me look like an enthusiastic female Anglican vicar wearing a pectoral cross! [no offence meant to any Rev Ms CofE]
However, I found a pretty blue necklace for £2 in the Trussell Trust, and brought it home. I liked the pebble-y nature of the beads, reminiscent of sea glass.Tried it on, and found it was about 6" too short, I'd forgotten quite how wide the slop's neckline was. I experimented with a bit of kitchen string, to find the optimum length, then threaded a length of narrow ribbon through the catch at one end and the chain at the other. 

Because the ribbon is threaded and knotted, I can take it out easily and return the necklace to its original length if I want to wear it with something else. 

Now I can't decide which is the better statement - over the collar and down the front, or draped all round the outside!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

As Harmless As Doves?

This is Hammersmith Bridge in London. If you've ever watched the Oxford&Cambridge Boat Race on TV, this is the one halfway round the course, just past the Harrods Depository. The current bridge - the first suspension bridge over the Thames - opened in 1887. 
But I've just come across a fascinating story involving the bridge, which happened in 1917, a hundred years ago. 
If you have been following Tracing Rainbows for a while, you will know that I am fond of William Morris, and his Arts and Crafts Movement [have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful]
We visited one of his homes, The Red House, three years ago
Morris had a great friend, Emery Walker, whose great skill was printmaking, engraving, and typography. He was, by all accounts, a generous, genial man, extremely gifted at designing beautiful lettering and developing ways of reproducing works of art to make them available to a wider audience. Thomas Cobden-Sanderson was another artist and printer, living in Hammersmith, close to the bridge. In 1893, TCS and Walker set up a business together - The Dove Press. They took their name from the nearby ancient Dove Tavern [ a favourite haunt of Charles II and Nell Gwynne, two hundred years earlier] Working with a calligrapher Edward Johnston [who designed the iconic London Transport typeface], these men produced a beautiful typeface which they called Doves Type. They produced a few books, in limited editions - in the days when every letter had to be set by hand in the printers frame, and the printing machine was hand operated too. Here's the first page of the Bible - Johnston wrote in the red capitals after the pages had been printed.
But after 15 years, EW and TCS fell out. The business was dissolved in 1908. They agreed that either could continue to use the metal type, and on the death of one, the other would have sole rights. But TCS was afraid that EW would put it to commercial use.
And here is where the bridge comes in...
In 1917, towards the end of WW1, the elderly TCS began to worry about his precious typeface. Around a ton of metal was involved here [you need an awful lot of letters if you plan to print chapters of Leviticus etc]
But Thomas was getting old - he was 77 - and he was determined to prevent Emery using the typeface. So he wrapped the letters, and printers' racks etc into small bundles. He took these, late at night, and dropped them over Hammersmith Bridge into the river. He made over one hundred of these secret nocturnal excursions. Oh just imagine this elderly man creeping out onto the bridge, leaning on the rail, always standing at the same spot, waiting for the right moment...and...splash! [please, somebody make a film about this!] The Doves Type was lost forever, people forgot about it.
The bridge remained, despite attempts by the IRA in 1939 and again in 2000 to blow it up. In recent years, tons of concrete have strengthened its foundations, and it has been repainted - now it is a Grade 2 listed structure.
And that might have been the end, except for an art student called Robert Green. He developed a fascination for the typeface, and sought out all the copies of books and tried to recreate it for himself. Then he got really obsessed - he got a Mudlark Permit from the Port of London Authority, and went searching along the shore. He found a handful of pieces of type.
Then he employed four professional divers [because the currents are dangerous round there] and in all, 150 pieces of type have been retrieved. Not much of the ton of metal TCS originally discarded, but enough. Robert believes the rest is entombed in the post IRA bomb concrete 
Robert has painstakingly recreated the typeface, with all the serifs and swashes, and made it available to purchase as a font for the computer generation. Do follow the link to see more pictures and examples. 
TCS would be very annoyed if he knew - but I think that if you have something which is a beautiful work of art, then you should be prepared to share it . Well done Mr Green for turning your obsession into something both beautiful and useful. I suspect William Morris and Emery Walker would have been pleased with your commitment. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Have You Heard Of Higglers?

Me neither, until our recent visit to Axminster. We discovered that higgler is an archaic English word** for an itinerant pedlar of inconsequential trifles. Except in that fine town, where the West Country Higgler is a lovely little tea shop, selling delicious beverages, fresh salads, and stunning cakes. 
The other part of the shop is Little Bits of Lovely which sells hand crafted, recycled, reclaimed, preloved [etc etc] items. It's part of a crowdfunded community project - and one way of returning the 'little shops' to our towns and villages. 
We enjoyed an excellent lunch there, before our NT excursion to Loughwood. And I loved looking at all the goods in sale in the shop [didn't buy anything though!] 


I quite fancy my own button dispenser [so much more useful than bubble gum]

**Henry Fielding uses the term in his book Tom Jones. However, in the West Indies, the word higgler has now come to mean a person who sells drugs. So just be careful where you use it in conversation!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

On Yer Bike!

Carlton Reid is a historian and bike enthusiast [altho I think with a splendid name like that, he sounds like he should have been directing black and white 1950s films starring Valerie Hobson and Richard Todd] Last week he wrote a superb piece in the Guardian about English cycle paths. Not the 21st century blue ones, gradually appearing in London and other places - but historic ones, surfaced with red concrete, dating back to the 1930s.
Between 1934 and 1940, the Government planned 500 miles of dedicated cycle routes around the country  - and 280 miles of paths were actually constructed. And they were popular too.
But WW2, and the subsequent decline in cycling and rise of the motorcar, caused these paths to be forgotten about, overgrown, or incorporated into the adjacent roads to make dual carriageways.
There is a map online , where you can check these out - it is fascinating!
I have discovered that one of these routes was beside the Eastern Avenue/Gallow's Corner/Southend Arterial Road, which went through Ilford and Romford, to Southend.
Those fanatical cycling clubs of the 1930s just loved to have a day out, riding out from the eastern side of London down to the Essex coast, for a cup of cockles at Leigh on Sea, or Chips by Southend Pier!
For years I have travelled along the Eastern Avenue, en route to visit my relations in Romford- and always wondered why the pavement was so wide. As a child, the very name "Gallow's Corner" conjured up sinister events happening at this busy road junction. My parents cycled everywhere back in the 30s, but I don't recall them mentioning the Romford cycle paths.
Another of the routes was along the A47 between Dereham and Swaffham. Because of the Dereham bypass, part of the A47 has been diverted now, and the old part through Scarning is 'off the beaten track' now. But I found this old aerial photo of the New Inn/ Corner House pub - look how wide the grass verge is, and there is a wide pavement too.
In the late 1960s I remember cycling to Scarning to collect tadpoles with my brother. I recall we were able to ride along the very wide grassy verges, safely out of the way of lorries thundering past - but didn't imagine there had once been a red cycle path under our wheels.
The Ministry of Transport planners, 85 years ago, were working with the Rijkswaterstraat - the equivalent government department in the Netherlands. The Dutch have got it sorted - ask Liz and Jon, or anyone else who has been there for cycling holidays. 
It would be brilliant if we could revive these lost routes - many are 'hidden in plain sight. This road in Urmston, Manchester, very close to Steph's place, still clearly has the cycle path between the pavement and the road - but now it is used for car parking.
Carlton Reid discovered all this not whilst out on his bike, but whilst researching in dusty archives for his latest book about the history of cycling in Britain. Surely it must be worth rediscovering these old routes and getting them back into service? He's set up a Kickstarter Campaign with the aim of reviving these forgotten cycleways . All power to his elbow pedals, I say! Watch this brief video - with the cool 1930s music!
NB - Kickstarter Campaigns are short and sharp - this one finishes in a week's time, so act fast if you want to get involved

Monday, 15 May 2017

Kumihimo? I'm A Frayed Knot!

Have you come across Kumihimo? It's yet another Japanese craft. I mastered Kusudama [paper flowers]  few years ago, but this was a new one to me. My friend Kim was doing it at our Craft and Coffee morning last year. Kumihimo - the word means gathered threads - is a method of weaving braid using a circular loom. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a kit [this site has a lot of information and a link to purchasing materials]
In Norwich after Easter, I spotted a starter kit for a couple of quid in Tiger [that crazy little Danish store] So I decided to have a go.  The mathematical repetition of the method appealed to me. 
You cut 8 lengths of nylon yarn to twice your 'finish' length [the yarn came in the kit] and knot the ends together. This goes down through the centre hole, and then you weave the threads over, whilst turning the disc - it's rather like the way children braid ribbons as they dance round a maypole!

It is not hard, once you get into a rhythm, but it is very labour intensive. It took me more than 2 hours to weave a braid 35 cm long.  It is pretty, and the nylon yarn makes a strong, even weave. But now what do I do with it? Kim puts end caps on her braids, and threads beads onto the yarn,  to make bracelets, or necklaces. Also she makes keyrings. 
But I found the whole thing rather slow, so I doubt this is a craft I'll be continuing with. I shall keep the loom, in case I ever do find a project which requires braids like this. But it's not going to be high on my list of "Crafts I enjoy" Without buying fancy end caps, can I see no good way of finishing off the ends. Opportunity here for bad puns about "I'm a frayed knot" 
Which segues neatly into something else - this "Knot Prayer" has been doing the rounds of the internet recently. It is a bit contrived - but maybe the words will encourage you if you've got that 'Monday Morning' feeling...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Get Well Soon

My thoughts and prayers today are with all those affected by this weekend's cyber attack on healthcare systems - not just the NHS here in the UK - but in 99 other countries around the world. 
Thinking of 

  • those whose tests, treatments and operations have been delayed
  • the medical personnel struggling to do their job efficiently without access to the data, results, and records they need
  • all who are anxious for the health and healing, for themselves and for their loved ones
  • and for those who have perpetrated these cruel and senseless acts - may their hearts be turned from hurting to helping.
  • and above all, praying that the problems can be rectified quickly, to enable healthcare workers to resume their work efficiently.
I am definitely not an advocate of praying to the saints, but thought I would just mention [because this chap is so often overlooked] that today is the feast day of St Ethelmund. Born in England, he went off as a missionary to Friesland, working in Haarlem in the diocese of Utrecht. He founded lots of churches there and died in 739AD - in Holland you can still find his image depicted  in stained glass windows. Ethelmund is apparently the patron saint of those who suffer from toothache!

Saturday, 13 May 2017


It  has been Dorset Residents' Week so we used our 2-fr-1 voucher to visit the Wimborne Model Town. It's gorgeous! Seventy years ago, Charles Coffen [who lived in Ferndown] had the idea for a model village based on the nearby historic town of Wimborne Minister. Built to one tenth scale, there are dozens of little house, a model of the Minster, the Methodist Chapel and shops and houses. First opened in 1951, people flocked to see the attraction...but as time went on, interest in the models declined, and the buildings deteriorated. A developer purchased the site. Then people woke up to the fact that this was something worth preserving - the buildings [made of concrete panels - sort of proto-IKEA flatpacks] were rescued, a local landowner donated a new site just behind the Minster and an army of volunteers set about restoring and salvaging the models. Roy Castle opened the refurbished village on the new site in 1991. WMT is now run as a charity. I took around a hundred pictures on our visit - I was entranced by the attention to detail, the tiny knitted garments in the various wool shops, the price list in the fishmongers, the wedding scene going on inside the Minster. I'm sorry I cannot reproduce here the sound of the bells in the Minster, the clock chiming, and the flushing sounds from the public loos!

Sadly many of these old little independent shops have now gone in the full-sized town outside. No Woolworths - but there is a Waitrose, and the properties that once housed ironmongers, stationers and bakeries are now Charity Shops. Jack-of-All-Trades, the toolshop, didn't appear in Wimborne till after the model town was built. We have loved visiting Marion and Tony's shop over the past two years, they are craftspeople who know really about tools- and we were so sorry to learn this week that they too are closing in the autumn. Holman's Electrical Shops still remain in Wimborne and Ferndown - but it's a shame when the little shops have to close. Usually they say the high business rates make it impossible for them to remain economically viable.

It was a beautiful morning when we walked round the little town. Things are clearly geared up for visitors - other buildings house a dolls' house exhibition, a model railway track, and there's a permanent video loop showing the history and wall displays. A play area for children, gift shop, loos, coffee shop - it's all there.
And in one corner of the gardens, seats - and a fabulous Storyteller's Throne.
Oh, how we'd love one of these!!
I shall be telling stories at our Ferndown Fete-on-the-Field next month, and again at Kids Club in August - but this chair wouldn't fit inside my little tent. Please Bob, can you build me a model one?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Five Go Home On A Bicycle...**

On Tuesday,among other activities, we did a cycle ride to the Library. Here are the five volumes I borrowed.
Val McDermid "The Skeleton Road" - I enjoy VM's thrillers, although sometimes they are a little bit too dark for me. I like her style of writing, we are the same age. When I have heard her on the radio, I have liked her as a person. This will be a good book to read on the train next week.
Country Living "Short Cuts to Country Style".  This is for inspiration for an ongoing project - the redecoration of the Futility Room at Cornerstones. When we moved in, this room was part of the new extension built by the previous owners. Tiled floor, magnolia walls, and down one side, a worktop over a few cupboards relocated from the kitchen. In the gaps, we have installed a dishwasher and washing machine. 
However, as we usually come in the side door, laden with bags and boxes, this is where things get unloaded, and often it looks like a Left Luggage Office. The Roller Towel which I made in the Easter holidays has proved the germ of an idea for this room - and I am working towards a 'country house laundry room' theme. At Liz's suggestion I have started a pinterest board - and purchased some paint tester pots. This will not be an overnight event, but one needing thought and care. My third book Chantal Sabatier's "Linen and Lace"  -  which features 'simple-to-sew homestyle projects using new and vintage fabrics' may be of use here.
Dorset Feather Stitchery by Olivia Pass was referenced in a few articles I read recently on the subject of smocks. Since obtaining my Norfolk Slop, I have become fascinated with 'workwear' and smocks in particular. This little book, produced 50 years ago, written by a Dorset woman, primarily for the benefit of the doughty needleworkers of the Women's Institute, is a real treasure trove of designs and ideas.
Finally I was delighted to find "Book Art by Clare Youngs" in the craft section. I lap up anything written by CY. Her Scandinavian Needlecraft is a joy to skim through, along with Folk Art Needlecraft, and Christmas Crafting in No Time. Clare is a gifted craftswoman, her talents are not confined to just needlework. I am looking forward to the creativity unleashed in this volume.
By the way, did you know this is "Real Bread Week"? This is part of the Real Bread Campaign's drive to encourage people to eschew the mass produced factory loaves, in favour of small scale bakeries, and local initiatives helping communities to eat better bread. Their project "Together We Rise"  is an amazing scheme, helping to offer therapeutic, social and employment opportunities to those involved- especially folk with mental health issues. 
I really admire the commitment of the people behind this project. Many small bakeries produce great loaves. I have blogged about Bakehouse24 in Ringwood, but I must also mention Pandora's Bakery which is in Ferndown. They make excellent gluten free bread for our church to use at Communion Services - so everyone can share in the one loaf. I know other churches locally use them as well - and they are so helpful [the supermarket GF loaves don't work as well for 'breaking the bread' ]
** Enid Blyton wrote 21 Famous Five titles - and none involving bicycles, or gluten free loaves!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Sicilian Snacks

 When we visited Sicily last year, one thing Bob was determined to do was eat arancini - the traditional local dish, made from leftover risotto which has been shaped into balls and deep fried. This snack is mentioned frequently in the Montelbano novels. We knew that in different parts of the island the arancini are different shapes- either balls, or cone/egg shaped.

Here he is on holiday about to cut into his rice-y treat.
I made a butternut squash risotto recently and there was some left over. So having cooled it quickly, and refrigerated it, I was ready to attempt making my own arancini. Arancini means 'little oranges' which is what this dish looks like. [Sort of]
I found an excellent article here, and that gave me the confidence to begin.
I chopped up the pieces of squash, and mixed them in, along with half a beaten egg, and some leftover fresh parsley and coriander.
The mix took on more of a golden hue.
In two of the balls, I pushed a cube of cheese into the centre [and marked them with large coriander leaves, so I'd know which they were!]
Then I coated the balls in batter and breadcrumbs and deep fried them.
When drained on paper, plenty of oil came out!
I served them with a simple fresh salad [we had 2½ each]

They weren't as good as the authentic Sicilian ones, but not bad for a first attempt. Using my cooking thermometer to ensure the oil was hot enough helped. But they are very fragile, a couple started to disintegrate in the pan. I took comfort from reading in the article that Yotam Ottolenghi has the same problem!
Definitely fattening fast food - but a delicious occasional treat.
I must remember to make some in December on Saint Lucia's Day 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Honouring My Heritage

Last week we visited another National Trust Property - Loughwood Meeting House, just outside Axminster. This is one of the oldest Baptist Chapels in the UK, and I wanted to see where my forebears worshiped - the building dates back to 1653, but people met there in the woods from 1650 onward. When Charles II became King, and the monarchy was restored, he sought to make the Church Of England supreme, and ended tolerance for dissenters - the nonconformists like Baptists and Presbyterians.
Loughwood was on the county border between Dorset and Devon - and when the people met for their services, watchmen stood outside - if troops were heard approaching from one county, then the preacher would flee into the other, for safety! 
Because people travelled quite a way, to be able to worship as they thought appropriate, the chapel had a stable outside for their horses, and two 'receiving rooms' at the back, where they could rest after their journey, and have food etc. The chapel is set in the side of the hill, and for many years was in the middle of dense woodland, so it was not visible to casual travellers.
Here is Bob walking up to the Chapel,and standing in the stables, below is the main door at the side, and the graveyard looking across the valley. What a glorious view!

Inside the chapel, there were box pews, and a raised pulpit. Upstairs, a gallery, where the musicians played for worship - wind and stringed instruments. They even cut a hole in the music stand to accommodate a bass violin!
Here's a view of one receiving room, a shot looking to the front of the church and the pulpit, and another taken from the pulpit, showing the gallery at the back
There was nobody else around, so Bob went into the pulpit and stood in his best Charles Spurgeon Preaching Stance.
I enjoyed looking at the various items showing the history of the church - a plaque on the front of the pulpit, a memorial on the wall to an early pastor. Isaac Haan is one of a tiny minority of Baptist Ministers who actually got buried inside his chapel [after his death, obviously!]
It was also good to look at the old hymnbooks on the pedal organ at the back [a Victorian arrival] I am just old enough to remember using the "1933 Baptist Church Hymnal Revised" at morning services in my childhood.

Many of the first worshippers came from nearby Kilmington - and I am thrilled that Kilmington Baptist Church @ The Beacon is still a lively and welcoming church. Twice a year, they meet in the Old Chapel to acknowledge their history. Many Huguenots found a spiritual home at Loughwood, escaping the persecution in their own country. Nicknamed 'The French' lots of them adopted "French" as their surname, and we found their graves outside. On our drive across Dorset, we had seem sheep and their baby lambs, so this little leaflet was rather apt.
It is too easy sometimes, to take our freedom for granted. Men and women risked imprisonment, execution, transportation just because they wanted to worship God in the way they felt was right and biblical.
Believers' Baptism - by total immersion - was not tolerated, preachers were forbidden to come within 5 miles of a town, the use of the Anglican Prayer Book was compulsory - and only people living within the same household were allowed to gather for an unauthorized meeting for worship. The Clarendon Code instituted in the time of Charles II endeavoured to stamp out all this Nonconformity.
We lifted a panel in the floor and slid another board back, so we could look down into the baptistery.
How brave these men and women were - and they kept the flame of faith burning bright, at tremendous cost to themselves. I must remind myself of that, the next time I feel that I can't be bothered to get ready for church.