Lake Prespa and the village of Pustec, Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? On our way to Gjyrokaster, Albania .

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Berat, Albania on October 12th.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An 800 Year Old Church

That's still in use today. When you visit a town who's referenced history goes back to the year 733, it's a pretty safe bet there will be some old buildings to see. Yesterday, we visited Somerton (pop 4,700).

Helen was working, but she dropped us off in this nice little town on her way through. It's not far from where we're staying in Keinton Mandeville, about five miles. So the plan was to walk back home when we were done exploring Somerton. We had a detailed map of the area, showing all of the public footpaths so we would be able to stay off the main roads. The only problem with this plan might be the weather.

When she dropped us off, there was actually a bit of blue sky, but you could tell the rainclouds were threatening. First stop was the local tourist office where the lady there provided us with a map of the town. And, she said we should visit one of the churches down the road that was having a flower festival. So that's where we went first. The theme was "The Olympics"! They had 21 different displays. Here's a few of them...

The rowing display.

The sailing display.

The gymnastics display.

After that, we wandered around town. Not really much to see in the outskirts, so we went back to the main square to see some of the older buildings. And the rain clouds were getting worse.

This house was OLD. Too bad the newer building behind sort of takes away from the photo. Notice the dark clouds.

The main square with it's market cross. Hmm. Are those clouds getting darker?

Market crosses have stood in the main square of Somerton since the 1300's. The current one, named Butter Cross was rebuilt in 1673. Across the street from the market square is the main church in town, the Anglican Church of St. Michael's and All Angels. The church is celebrating it's 800th year of existence, having been a church structure on this site since the year 1212. The church underwent a major renovation in the 15th century, and again in 1889. 

The 800 year old church. Is that some blue sky? Yep, but not for long.

The inside was not fancy, however two different items stood out. First, the interior wooden roof was fantastic. Dating back to 1646, it is one of the finest interior carved roofs in the country. Sorry I couldn't get a decent picture of it. The other thing was some of the grave markers. It's rare to find grave markers that date before 1700, but this church had several that were from the 1600's.

Here lyet the body of William Horsey, svn of William Horsey, who departed this life 12th day of December the yere of our lord god 1639.

Back outside, the sun was shining! But not for long.

Because exactly 8 minutes later it was pouring with rain. We took refuge under the market cross!

But it didn't last long, and about 15 minutes later we set off on our five mile hike back to Keinton Mandeville.

Scenery along the way. It did drizzle with rain on and off, but other than our feet we didn't get wet. 

The first part of the hike was on this paved path. Yes, this is a road and a car did pass us while we were walking. Some of their country roads are no wider than our bicycle paths back in Canada! Notice the puddles.

This stream was close to overflowing. Good thing there was a foot bridge over it.

Our route took us through fields with grazing sheep.

The path went through this field of wheat. 

By this time, our feet were totally soaked. The rain this summer has left the fields waterlogged and every step was "squish, squish, squish". Then near the end, we had to cross under a railway bridge and there was no other way through. The path was a just one big puddle, about 4 inches deep. Oh well, feet were wet anyhow! Just trudged on through it. Got home and had to wring the water out of our socks. Our hiking boots will take two days to dry out, and that's if we get any sun today. Not looking good so far, but they're calling for a sunny day on Sunday. I guess we'll see.


  1. Nice scenery and interesting sights, but too bad about the rain.

  2. Getting anything to completely dry out in the UK can be a challenge I understand. Good luck.

  3. Wish you could send us some of that rain. Our sky is looking pretty good for rain today so we're keeping our fingers crossed. But I won't be out walking five miles in it,that's for sure. Thinking of a church that is 800 years old is rather hard to grasp. I had trouble when I moved to the east coast and understanding how much older their buildings were than those in the west. Just amazing.

  4. Calvin and BrendaJuly 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I am always so intrigued by the old buildings and the history. It wasn't until we went to France that I really had an appreciation for it...wish I would have payed a little more attention in History classes.

  5. The tombstone is truly amazing. It puts some light on history and truly brings it to light. The man died 353 years ago and a tribute still lives on to him. I did a quick search for him, but only found a ton of people with his name.

    The rest of the pictures are postcard perfect. I bet if you changed that picture of Kevin in the cornfield to sepia or black and white it would look pretty cool!

  6. butterbean carpenterJuly 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    I'll trade y'all some sunshine for your clouds and rain; we see clouds, but they go around us.. Dry, hot and dusty!!! They're good boots; they'll dry.. Chinese ones are made of paper!!!


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