The Way to Church

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In 1970 we quoted in our Newsletter from an article in another church’s magazine about a visit made to our church:

The autumn colours were at their best … the road was carpeted with yellow gold leaves, and at every gust of the wind, more leaves came dancing down, and went capering gaily along the road like leprechauns going to a Wake. Up and up goes the road through an avenue of trees, some now bare, some still golden in autumnal splendour.

“Penallt 1½ miles”, said the signpost. (Oh, those country miles!) … Turning off to the left, a signpost pointed along a leafy lane: “Penallt Old Church” … past two small cottages, through the magnificent woods … there, standing sentinel over the Wye Valley, we came to the Old Church with its saddle-back tower. Yet, although splendid in isolation, there are services every Sunday, and if you have never ventured this far, then mind you go at the first opportunity.

In the middle of a field is an old tree with a stone seat. This is the corpse tree, where mourners halted and psalms were sung. I should think this was a very necessary thing, when you consider that a coffin had to be carried for well over a mile from the village.

Lych Gate, Penallt Old Church

Through the lych gate, you go up the path to the door. Over the porch is a sundial with a cross surmounting it, and the church door has the date 1539 and a heart carved on it. People of Penallt have been going through that door to hear the Word of God since the time that Henry VIII ordered the Great Bible to be set up in every church, so that people could hear the scriptures in their own mother tongue.

Through times of controversy, through times of apathy, some at least have made the long pilgrimage to that lovely church, rejoicing in the name Christian …

[from: Penallt - A Village Miscellany]