Today is the last day of a long holiday. One of the nicest days was when me and Lorna drove across Kent to visit the small village church of Challock. I had been looking for somewhere new to go and the only words that caught my attention were those saying that the church had painted murals that were 'interesting', that was enough for me.
Of course it was a great surprise that two of the three sets of murals were painted by John Ward, an artist that I love fir his pen and ink illustrations. The church in Challock is in a bumpy field about a mile away from the actual village and we had to go back to the village post office to collect the key, a huge old thing !
The first mural was made in the fifties to celebrate the queens coronation and the second to celebrate the millennium. One mural is quite Stanley Spencer-ish in feel as it depicts Christ riding into Challock on a donkey, not Cookham nor even Jerusalem. What is so special is that all the people in the crowds surrounding him are all real portraits of people from the village immortalised on the Walls of their own church, it is a very special thing.
Even the local W.I. Are there to welcome the messiah with a refreshing brew from their tea urn!
I like to think that the teddy bear the little boy is holding is the likeness of the actual bear, why shouldn't he be immortalised too.
John Ward is buried in the churchyard, but he turns up again a couple of weeks later when we visit Scotney castle. Framed on the Walls are some beautiful illustrated thank you letters he wrote to the owners, very reminiscent of the beautiful letters written and drawn by Edward Ardizzone, he was obviously a very welcome house guest.