This week I went on the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Tour as part of JAM on the Marsh. We visited four churches and learned a huge amount about the history of these gorgeous buildings, thanks to Joan Campbell. In the past I learned about a possible anchorhold at St Nicholas in New Romney. Joan spoke about the belief that only the most saintly went straight to heaven on death and most of us had to work our way through purgatory. The more the living could do to ease the deceased through purgatory, the better. One of the most extreme examples is to brick someone up in the walls of the church, with a window towards the altar and another to the churchyard. The anchoress' whole existence was devoted towards praying for the dead person in order to speed up their journey to heaven. This inspired me to place one of my characters in an anchorhold in What the Monk Didn't See.
What inspired me this time? I love East Guldeford Church. It is so different to the other Marsh Churches and equally beautiful. The freeze of angels shown here is high up on the walls. Joan suggested they were painted in Victorian times at a time when the fashion was for the 'less advantaged' women of the parish to become engaged in pursuits to improve their minds. Wouldn't you love to know who painted these angels and what impact it had on their lives to be involved in such a project? Maybe one day I'll put these women and their painted angels into a novel.