Wednesday 28 April 2010

Oare Church, Exmoor

Oare Church, near Malmsmead
Scene of the wedding of John Ridd and Lorna Doone in R. D. Blackmore's novel.  Oare's 15th century church has much else of interest to offer.
The card is unused with no indication of its age.  I think it may have been bought during the 1960s.

The church at Oare, St Mary's, plays an important part in R. D. Blackmore's 1869 novel, Lorna Doone, because it was there on the altar steps that Lorna was shot by Carver, her half brother, during her wedding to John Ridd in 1686.

At that time the church, which dates as the card says from the 15th century, would have been far smaller, probably holding only about 12 people.  It was extended in the 19th century and box pews installed.  There is a memorial to the author, added in 1925, 100 years after his birth.  A plaque marks the likely window through which Lorna may have been shot.

It all sounds like a mixing of fact and fiction but it is claimed that the story of the Doones is based on real history, that the Doones were outlaws who fled from Scotland to Exmoor during the 17th century.  Blackmore went to some lengths to incorporate real events and settings in the novel, even trying to reproduce authentically the accents of the characters in the area at that time.

The tale is a variation on the Romeo and Juliet theme, with feuding families, murder, and romance, but there's also a long-lost fortune thrown in for good measure.   In spite of the best known scene from the story, which happens in this church, it really isn't a tragedy.  There truly is a happy ending.

O is for Oare Church.  A post for ABC Wednesday.

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  1. Beautiful church and wonderful tale! I love it that it has a happy ending as well :)

    O is for...

  2. Love the pic, but you always give such great detail, which really enhances the photo.

    ROGER, ABC Wednesday team

  3. The postcard itself is beautiful, but coupled with the story behind is even more wonderful.

    Thank you for sharing-- that was a pretty good read!

  4. Looks like a pretty area. On behalf of the ABC Wed. team, thanks for playing this week.

  5. I always loved that story - might be time for a re-read. The postcard is wonderful!

  6. Makes me wonder what the happy ending is in the book. Lovely church. The background history makes it all the more interesting.

  7. I thought Lorna Doones were a type of cookie!

    What an imposing building, and yet somehow it doesn't seem like a welcoming church.

    Either way, a fascinating bit of history.
    On behalf of the ABC Wednesday Team, Thanks for participating this week. Hope you can join us again next week.


  8. It's interesting to see the church. I didn't realise it was a real place! I haven't read Lorna Doone for a while. My copy is abridged, I need to get the full version.

  9. Gosh, my knowledge of English geography has a lot of improving to do! While reading your fascinating text, I imagined it to be close to Scotland and boy was I wrong. My Dad used to live in Cornwall so you'd think I'd be less useless. Anyway, I think I am going to make big plans to visit the West of England next year.

    Lovely postcard!


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