The South Porch of St Mary’s, built around 1150, is famous for its animal carvings. Some of the scenes are very rare, indeed pictures of this porch appear in books about 12th century sculpture. The original carvers made use of the illuminated manuscript of a ‘Book of Beasts’ – or Bestiary – which would have been available from the Minster library. Incidentally, these carvings were used as a blueprint for a mosaic sundial created by villagers. It is situated on the corner of Monk Green, to commemorate the new millennium.
We have constructed a grid-based location map of the graves, including as much of the inscriptions as was readable. The information is available on a spreadsheet. Possibly due to the extra rain this year (2012), a larger than usual number of headstones have begun to lean. We are working to rectify this, particularly with graves from the 19th century, although more recent headstones also need a bit of a helping hand. Please could anyone who has a family grave help with this problem? It would be much appreciated – please call Peter Cove (01347-838346).
Apart from the church, there is an area in the south part of the churchyard which is allocated as a site for quiet contemplation. It is marked by a wooden cross and there are a number of simple seats in the vicinity. Nearby is an ash tree estimated to be over 300 years old. All are welcome to enjoy the peace of this place.
In the true spirit of the original meaning, the church building as a place for gatherings, our church is also used for teaching Maths lessons (Alne Primary School), exhibitions and concerts. We have recently installed a little kitchen and toilets, making our church available for a broader use.
The fabric of the church and the surrounding large churchyard is looked after by a small group of dedicated volunteers. Sheep help with keeping the grass down during the growing season. If you would like to get involved please call Sharon Oliver (07778-158770).
If you wish to know more about Alne Church please contact the Revd Carmel Gittens (01347-833437) for services, or Peter Cove for history (01347-838346). The church co-ordinator for all other matters is Sharon Oliver (07778-158770).