Seventeen years ago a friend and I were riding through Wales when, by chance, we came upon the remote church of Patrishow.  As always at churches, we tied our horses up in the shade of  the lych gate and walked up the flagstone path to the south door. On entering, we weren’t prepared for the shock of its beauty .  It was a moving and unforgettable experience.  Driving through Crickowell this week I suddenly  remembered Patrishow wasn’t far away and couldn’t resist another glimpse . I tried to remember the way I’d ridden but after twenty minutes of being lost in a maze of pencil-thin, deep cut  lanes I lost my nerve. (On a horse you can see where you are above the hedgeline, in a car you can’t).My husband, ambivalent about the diversion in the first place, was grumbling.  On the edge of tears and a row ,I  began to doubt that Patrishow was worth this painful pilgrimage. Then by some miracle there it was –  the small silver stoned church settled half way up the great shoulder of mountain ahead , its sacred well, hidden in the steep, darkly wooded valley below . No village, no manor : just the church and the vestiges of paths across fields leading to unseen farms and cottages lost in the folds of hills. Beyond it the tiny lane trickled up the mountain into a track.  The grave yard is stuffed with lichen covered gravestones of Lewises, Griffiths, Morgans and Rees’s. Inside it did not fail to work its magic and brought us to our knees as it must have brought thousands through the centuries: the simple barrel vaulted ceiling the pale oak rood screen are sublime as is the comforting,  encompassing silence and feeling of prayerfulness . Outside it was all birdsong. We felt uplifted, our souls calm.


1 comment to Patrishow

  • Oh, I do so agree with you about the spiritual power of the Church Partrishow. It’s a wonderful place (lived not far away, & was moved to blog about it, among other local places, last year: ‘hiraeth’ hitting hard …).
    PS Do – if you haven’t already (and forgive me, if you have) – look up Penallt Old Church in the LWValley: it, too, is a gem of atmospheric peace and beauty. And is best approached on horseback, also.

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