Harvest song

9 October 2017
Ben Pentreath

It’s been a village weekend. Autumn is settling over the valley.

On Friday, Charlie was teaching a flower course at the Parsonage, with our friends Bridget and Henrietta, of the Land Gardeners. I got down late on Thursday evening.  Friday morning dawned bright and clear. We had an early walk together.

But then I was off up to North Dorset, to Chettle, and the magical house we are working on there.  The day glowed.

Saturday drifted by in a haze – a delicious, long lunch with Jasper and Oisin over at Bettiscombe. We got back in the dark and I don’t think we’ve been to bed earlier all this year.

On Sunday, we had our Harvest Festival in the church and village hall; a service, followed by a Harvest supper.  The afternoon was bathed in hot, clear, autumnal sunshine that felt, briefly, like high summer.

On Saturday, Charlie and a team had decorated the church, which was looking beautiful. I took Mavis for an afternoon walk, that she hadn’t had in the morning.

We were back just in time for church.

Bread judging on the altar, after the service. Frances Hatch, our wonderful vicar’s wife, declared all loaves to be winners. It was a perfect evening.
Very soon I will be doing a bit of fundraising on the blog for the church roof. I’ve mentioned it before. I hope you don’t mind!

A different view of the Parsonage:

Stephen Batty, our vicar, and Frances – using the new ‘Vicar’s ramp’ – to get into the village hall. Last year Stephen was diagnosed with MND.

The bring and share supper was amazing. I suspect you can guess who decorated the tables. 

Conversation, wine and good humour flowed long into the evening, as our little village celebrated, with gratitude, another year of harvest; as it doubtless has for hundreds of years in this church, and in this place; and I feel certain that people here will be doing so for hundreds of years to come.

41 comments on this post

Natalie Greensays:

Just stumbled upon this, your blog keeps popping up in my local searches – I live in the Bride Valley. Lord how we miss Stephen, we’ve been talking of him tonight, such a wonderful man and an inspiration. Thank you.


Thank you Ben for another wonderful post.

Sally Leonardsays:

These photos send me to a fantasy world where I get to spend my life in this village surrounded by my whole family.. I can’t imagine getting to live in such a place. Saving this post!
Thanks! Sally Leoanrd Houston, Texas

Mrs Hsays:

As others have commented, something very moving about this latest post. So much love in your small community. Stephen is obviously the best sort of vicar, not least because he married you and Charlie IIRC? Past and present times perfectly reconciled. Damn his diagnosis.

Laurel Bernsays:

Hi Ben,

It was so wonderful getting to meet you and Charlie and enjoy your incredible home and garden earlier this month, even though the time was way too short. And that lunch! Charlie totally outdid himself. Or does he cook like that every day? ;]

And thank you too, for the wonderful tour in Poundbury and the incredible home of Harriet and Anthony Sykes. It was a day I will cherish forever. xo ~ Laurel

Nicola Lawrencesays:

We don’t seem to celebrate harvest (in it’s many forms) here in Australia and we should. I loved all of these images and especially the supper in the hall afterwards, Ben. I am sorry to hear about your vicar, Stephen’s diagnosis – very tough for all – it’s hard to know what to say here but I among others of your readers, Ben, am thinking of him – and his family. xx


Dorset looks so beautiful at this time of the year. I love the photos of the church and harvest dinner and cutie Mavis and it’s like a good bout of meditation to read and look at, here in London with noises of firetrucks and horns all around me.

I met Charlie last week when I popped into the shop to (finally!) collect my Roque map of London. He’s great to chat to, from one antipodean to another. :)) Back in a few days to pick up one of your marbled lampshades.


So English and timeless and beautiful; then a jolt of reality with your photograph of Stephen Batty, smiling despite his diagnosis. Bravo! With best wishes to you and all in your community, Nicola


We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful village. It was a wonderful day, service and supper. Looking forward to next year already Ben x


As a life-long Episcopalian, I relish the life in your parish. My partner and I had always been in mega churches here in Dallas, so it has been a joy to find a small parish where we now can do those things you showcased in your post. My favorite is that we tore down the rectory and turned it into a community garden. Much love from Big D.

Jan Fawkesays:

Oh to be in England, now that Autumn’s here! Always my favourite season, both here in Australia( I’m always glad of the end of the summer heat and humidity in Sydney)and in England…


So beautiful! My Gran was heavily involved with out local parish church and I used to love helping decorate for harvest festival, and the ensuing supper. Your pictures took me back to those misty Fall days with crunchy leaves underfoot, the chilly, keep your coat and gloves on, stone interior punctuated by the jewel tones of the flowers and vegetables.

lissy parkersays:

Thank you for the wonderful inspiration!
xo, lissy

Karen Nsays:

I enjoyed every picture and word in your post. Thank you. I was especially touched by Charlie’s beautiful flowers decorating the church and the photos of Mavis on your walk. She knows she’s ‘living the life’ with you and Charlie.

Randy Coxsays:

Beautiful images! A nice distraction from all the unrest happening in America. Thanks for posting.

Isla Simpsonsays:

What a wonderful sense of community you have in Dorset. It is so important to come together and celebrate traditions. I’ll be showing my Mum Charlie’s flowers, as she has also been busy decorating the church at home. Such a glorious time of year!

Jennifer Phillippssays:

Always a delight to see your country idyll and the many beautiful vistas….luscious bulls included. The dappled light on the church and gravestones is particularly gorgeous. Have a lovely week or dappled autumn! Cheers from a rather damp springy NZ!


Lovely to have your blog back again Ben.What a beautiful weekend you have had.I must say your church and the valley is one of the most idyllic places l have ever been to.The peace and beauty makes you feel closer to god and his creation.I love your photo of the bull and what a big dog Mavis has grown to be.
I was saddened to hear your vicar has been diagnosed with MND it was good to see him enjoying your harvest celebrations l will pray that he can keep well.Charlies flower arrangements were beautiful and the supper candles and lights were magical.This is the first blog that has touched me deeply there was something incredibly moving to see faces of joy that have and will continue to appreciate harvest time in Littlebredy for many years to come.Thank you Ben and Charlie for sharing your idyllic life with us.

Clay McCleerysays:

Beautiful church!


There’s such a beautiful light in these photos.


Wishes from Kansas for many more centuries! Bring on the fund raising!!!


words of wise peace from you, dear ben, that you are certain that people will continue on the same, over your way. wonderful news, words to live by. love the bull, what a cutey!

thank you for sharing yours and charlie’s grace filled week, dear ben.



Oh Ben
Your photos are all like in paradise … thanks a lot for sharing this perfect village weekend with us 🙂
These are my dreams to live life !
I wish that all the people will celebrate year for year of harvest and all the celebrations are going further the next hundred years ! Have a fantastic autumn week,
Yours Birgit from Germany.



Charlotte Ksays:

Wish I lived somewhere with ubiquitous narrow lanes and footpaths. Got a taste of that when I lived in rural south Wales for 6 months 10,000 years ago. But one had to mind the bull when one crossed the farmer’s field!


Beautiful scenery. I could move into Church Walk today!

Elizabeth B. Hickmansays:

Thank you for sharing your beautiful corner of the world with us – I agree – it makes Monday, and the entire week, a bit easier. Your church is so pretty and it was lovely hearing about the annual dinner. I am so excited to be planting dahlias in my garden for next year – Charlie has inspired me!
Warm regards, Elizabeth in Nashville

Teresa Personsays:

Thank you for sharing these precious moments … so beautiful…you are blessed w/a lovely life… thanks be to God… Teresa

Southern galsays:

So wonderful to see the celebration of the seasons. Here we have summer weather in October in NY.

Jusst a question -the church you mention IS the one of which the parsonage was part? How convenient if it is !


Well this almost takes the place of morning meditation. It is a perfect report on the small moments ~ flowers, walks, landscapes, delightful windows and doors, caring community ~ which make our crazy world tolerable. Monday can now commence. Certainly do an ask for the church roof! Have a lovely week.

Susan Fergusonsays:

Holy, holy, holy…thank you for sharing your very lovely and peaceful weekend and that wonderful church with such beautiful windows! I live in New England and its so similar!


Beauty and joy of simple pleasures. Such a delightful post. Thankyou.

Jane Leonardsays:

Dahlias and stained glass – perfect combination. Will try and give you something for the church roof.

Thanks, Ben – and Charlie.


Sarah Pollard Fauresays:

Your posts make me happy! Thanks for sharing.


Mr Pentreath has posted so all is well with my week. I was married by Stephen Batty in 1998 when he was Rector of Yetminster, and he was marvellous. He had a magnificent long pony tail in those days. I’m so sorry to hear that he has MND and wish him all the very best, as I do you, Ben.


To me this is the most beautiful entry ( and all are wonderful ) that you have posted . It is all that is lovely and fine about rural England captured in your exquisite images. Thank you.

Bill Follettsays:

Such a pleasant way to begin my Monday… Thank you

Andrew Bsays:

Thank you as always for the visit to (Autumnal) Arcadia

Patricia Taylorsays:

Thank you so much for taking the time to share those
images of your weekend. I’m not an envious person at all
but confess to a just a tiny bit on Monday mornings!


Thank you for the wonderful glimpses into your weekend. It makes Monday morning in the office a little less daunting.

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