Heritage Open Days 2017 (Thursday 7th September to Sunday 10th September)
For the last three years, the Friends of the Church on the Hill, have participated in Heritage Open Days which is an international initiative aimed at encouraging people to visit and enjoy buildings which are part of our historical heritage but not regularly in use.
This year will be special because the famous Edlesborough Rose Brass will return to the village for one day only so that local peoplecan enjoy seeing it again. It is not coming to stay, at least for the time being, as it requires some conservation work to be carried out. There will also be a free talk about the Rose on Saturday 9th September at 3pm. The talk will be given by Rachel Morley of the CCT; it was her energy and enthusiasm that finally led to discovering the whereabouts of the Rose.
The church will be open on all 4 days and there will be displays about the village and family history. On the Sunday we will have bell ringing at 3pm followed by Songs of Praise at 4pm with Revd Joy Cousans, Vicar of Eaton Bray with Edlesborough.
Our historic Rose Brass
The Edlesborough Rose is a unique medieval memorial brass which has been associated with the history of Edlesborough Church for many centuries. It has travelled a bit in its time having had stays in both Pitstone Church and Ashridge House chapel during the 19th & early 20th centuries, and more recently it has languished for 33 years in a bank vault in Bedford where it was taken for safekeeping after the theft of another brass from the church.
As those 33 years ticked by, the memories of those who had placed the brass there or who had been active in the church at that time, grew dim, and when the newly reformed Friends group started to ask, there was no direct answer to the question of the Rose Brass’s whereabouts; hence began a four year Quest to find this precious artifact.
There were many twists and turns with hopes being raised and dashed in those four years. Numerous local people were quizzed and former employees of the Redundant Churches Fund, and current officers of the Churches Conservation Trust that succeeded it, were minutely questioned. Many theories were put forward but one by one they were discounted or brought forth no success. Then, in the autumn of 2016 a new employee arrived at the CCT, a lovely lady called Rachel who, fascinated by ancient churches and always enjoying a good mystery, took it upon herself to delve the depths of the CCT’s archives. Here, with great tenacity and the determination to succeed, she finally found the necessary documents to prove to the Bank that the brass had been lodged with them. Thereafter, it was not exactly plain-sailing but finally in January of this year she was able to reclaim the brass!
The long-term future of this precious item has not been decided, but the Friends of the Church on the Hill hope to bring it home at least for a temporary stay during the Heritage Open Days 7-10 September. More information about our plans and about the brass, its importance and significance, will be made available in Focus and on this website in the intervening months. In the meanwhile let’s rejoice that this important part of our local heritage has been restored to us!