Today I made a pilgrimage to Wigan Parish Church. Well, not really. I happened to be in Wigan and noticed that the church was open, as it apparently it is every Saturday.
Some of you will recall that this is the church from which Alianore Audley rescued the Duke of Gloucester's stolen banner, so I couldn't resist a look inside. It is a surprisingly large building, heavily 'restored' by our Victorian friends, who introduced an awful lot of their dark, heavy, gothic fittings. If you like that sort of thing, you will be delighted. Indeed, although the church was founded as far back as the days of Edward the Confessor, the present building is largely Victorian, as it was pretty much completely rebuilt.
However in the Walmesley Chapel are some rather attractive medieval altar panels. They don't 'belong' having been bought from Germany, but they are rather nice, and well worth a look.
In the Lady chapel there are effigies of a 14th Century knight and lady. These lie rather forlornly on the floor, having evidently lost their tomb chests at some point. Again they are rather lovely, although not of the first quality.
It is obvious that the parishioners are rather proud of their church and are doing their best to keep it well maintained. If you happen to be in the area, it's certainly worth a look. Admission is completely free, but obviously a suitable donation is appreciated.
I returned to Manchester by train. This was once part of the main line of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, the 'Business Line', along which expresses hurtled from Liverpool to Manchester (and vice-versa) in 40 minutes. Unfortunately the railway is not nearly so well cared-for as Wigan Church. The laughingly named 'Sprinter' train dawdles along, calling at various shamefully neglected stations en route. The lineside is an utter disgrace, with dense trees and bushes blocking the view almost all the way and, at one point, Japanese Knotweed, a pernicious weed which the law says should be rooted out and destroyed, reigns supreme over the cutting side. Small wonder there are problems with 'leaves on the line' when hulking great trees are allowed to flourish just a few feet from the metals! What visitors to this scepter'd isle must make of such untidiness I shudder to think.