Kings and railway bridges

Oct 19th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

I have knelt beside the grave of Henry VI, King of England these past few mornings.

Sitting in the same spot in St George’s Chapel each day for morning prayer at 7.30 am tends to mean, that when it comes to the Holy Communion service at 8.00, being at the same place at the Communion rail, in my case at the right hand end, right beside the tomb of the man who was king from 1422 until 1471.

Walking back down the chapel, you pass over the vaults of George III and Charles I, whose head was sewn back onto his body in the Dean’s house before his remains were buried.  It would be 1837 before William IV had Charles buried in a vault in the floor of the chapel.

It is a special place and a place I will remember it, but sitting this morning, pondering the vast array of members of the British Royal Family buried in this place, I wondered if this would be the most special moment of the year.

I decided not. 

One evening in March I drove to a railway bridge outside of a little Somerset village called Long Sutton.  The road was called Upton when I was young, but maybe has a different name now.

The twin tracks ran towards Taunton in one direction and Paddington in the other and in the darkness of a March evening there was little to see.  I leant on the wall of the bridge and stared into the gloom.  Barely visible there was the base of what had once been a ralway platform – this had been Long Sutton and Pitney station.

The station was closed more than 40 years ago, but it had been my Nan’s gateway to the world.  It was a special place to her and her family.

I paused for a few moments and remembered Nan and Grandad, and all those who had been dear to me. 

I’m sorry King Henry, but remembering my Nan on a dark night in the spring is more important to me than being beside you this morning.

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