Hanging a picture?

We went up to Chester to stay with our daughter Laura and her  family last weekend. It was lovely to see them all and of course to be looked  after so well.  It was time to re-acquaint myself with our two grandsons. Mr Will is 3 and has  a long-standing obsession with Disney’s Cars. Lightning McQueen is a red car for those of you who don’t know. It is believed that he can talk. Alex who is  8 had no time for such trivia and preferred to run through the Portuguese  football team for me. It was information that I needed.Apparently he expects to see a number of them when they go on holiday to Portugal later in the year.
It had been a busy day of shopping along  the Rows and, once I had discussed with son in law Richard which wines to open, I settled down with a local history book. The welcome clattering  sounds from the kitchen were soon replaced by the fine aroma of a  bubbling cassoulet and I drifted into the past.
Soon I was paying little attention to the episode of Lazy Town that the boys insisted on watching (a place which had a certain appeal for me  after a day in the shops) and instead was diverted by a good grave story, although sadly the headstone  has long since disappeared. This is not surprising really, since it allegedly  marked the burial place of a picture.
I had better explain.
This local legend is from the village of Hawarden and dates back to about 946 AD.  It was a very hot summer and the people needed rain. They prayed to a picture  called The Holy Rood which they kept in a hay loft. It showed the Virgin Mary  holding a large cross in her hands. Lady Trawst was particularly devoted and  spent a long time in front of the picture, praying for rain. Suddenly the  picture fell down on her head and killed her.
The decision was taken to try the image for  murder and a jury was formed. The verdict was “guilty” and it was determined  that the picture should die. They apparently discussed hanging (well what else  are you going to do with a picture?) and rejected death by drowning, even  though they were hoping for rain. Their decision making was hampered by their  awareness that this was after all a holy picture. They decided in the end to  lay it on the banks of river Dee. The picture was duly carried away on the tide and  deposited near the city walls of Chester.
The good people of Chester were not so sure that they wanted it,  so they buried it where they found it and erected a headstone over it.
The Jews their  God did crucify,
The Hardeners theirs  did drown,
‘Cause with  their wants she did not comply
And lies under  this cold stone.
It is not recorded how long it was before  it rained again but the place where the picture was buried was named “Rood Dee,”  hence the name for the car park.
I don’t believe a word. It sounds like an insulting story to me, invented by a neighbouring village to prove how stupid the people of Hawarden really were. I don’t really know, but I can tell you that Laura’s cassoulet was  excellent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.