Cockerham Church

St Michael’s Church at Cockerham is always closed and locked when I call, so I have yet to be given entry. The church is out on a limb, just beyond the village and down a single track; perhaps the church wardens feel there is too little protection against thieves or vandals in so isolated a spot. Or that opening it up is too much trouble.

It seems to enjoy a fifteenth-century tower and Victorian nave and chancel, which I thought a pity. Still, as I inspected its curtilage, I noticed ivy creeping up its wall and almost covering a window. I have heard mixed reviews about ivy, some say that it denudes a wall of vital salts and damages the fabric, while others see it as insulating the stonework from contrasting temperatures. Be that as it may, this ivy was beginning to cover a wall and block out the light.

Once upon a time, a sign stood outside a church proclaiming We Preach Christ Crucified. Soon, ivy grew upon it, and covered the last word. We preach Christ. Not bad, preaching Christ is good. Until it grew further: We preach. Then it grew a little more: We. The it covered the while sign, by which time the church was closed and nobody noticed or cared.

Beware the creeping ivy.