The ornate blue door of St Michael Cornhill leads from the hustle and bustle of the city into an oasis of peace. Its rich colour is reminiscent of the now famous ‘tardis blue’. What awaits within is as stunning. A favourite of Bill Bryson, he describes it as a jewel which is ‘bright and sumptuous within’, a feeling that is heightened by the light turquoise roof and white walls.
Let's fill our Blue Monday with beauty and explore some of the gorgeousness that this deep, sultry, and serene colour has to offer.
The bluebell is arguably the nation’s favourite flower. This is probably not surprising given that the UK is home to half of the global bluebell population. For a few short weeks, before the leaves begin to unfurl, our woodlands are transformed. The woods of Calder Vale, surrounding the church, are filled with the glorious sight and scent of bluebells, a hypnotic blue wonderland. Visitors travel from far and wide to enjoy local nature at its best.
Bathe in the gorgeous blue light of all 12 windows by Marc Chagall. Known for his exquisite palate and control of colour, it was not until Chagall was in his 70s that he began to create artworks of stained glass. The quality of the glass, placed where light would shine through them, allowed him to exploit the properties of glass and get unimaginable coloration. This is enhanced by the illumination of light.
Lying in the lee of mysterious Mam Tor, locally known as the 'Shivering Mountain', Castleton is one of the most beautifully situated villages in the White Peak. It is the only place in the world where the semi precious stone Blue John, unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire, can be found. Its church is a haven of peace and tranquillity in this busy tourist village.
Set against the expanse of the big blue Atlantic Ocean, the tiny church of St Wynwallow, with a detached tower is set into the solid rock of the headland of Church Cove. Enjoy the fresh sea air and soak in the blues of sky and water.
London’s famous blue plaques link the people of the past with the buildings of the present. The scheme was started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest of its kind in the world. There are now some 900 plaques, on buildings humble and grand, honouring the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them. Some are on churches, including this one to William Wilberforce and the Clapham Sect, who worshipped in Holy Trinity.
Rightfully known as the 'King of English Cheeses', Blue Stilton takes its name from a village in Cambridgeshire which was a coaching stop on the Great North Road. No one person invented Stilton, but one of the early developers Cooper Thornhill, landlord and owner of The Bluebell Inn, has an impressive tomb in the church. You can still enjoy blue veined Stilton in his pub, perhaps after paying homage at his grave!
Many of the Craft Guilds of the town adopted St Mary's and its sheer gorgeousness is thanks to almost 400 years continuous building, from 1120 to 1530. There are a number of incredible painted ceilings, some in beautiful blue tones with golden stars and constellations to gaze up at as you would the night sky.
More often associated with her green monster, Mary Shelley also has a lovely blue plaque. Before her death, she requested that to be buried in Bournemouth, along with her parents. Also interred was her husband’s heart. Retrieved before his cremation, Mary kept his heart, pressed flat in a copy of their poem ‘Adonais’ and was buried for the first time with Mary in the tomb.
In 1938, the 250th anniversary of its foundation, Dr Ronald Selby Wright announced his plans for a revolutionary renovation of the church. Perhaps the boldest stroke was the colour scheme, the pews painted light blue, the pulpit a darker blue and the walls white giving a startling, elegant effect.
Close to Maenclochog are rugged outcrops of Carn Menyn, source of the famous ‘bluestones’ which form the inner circle at Stonehenge. Resonance is a particular acoustic phenomenon of some Preseli rocks. They have the rare property of being ‘musical’ and can ring like a bell or gong when struck with a small hammer stone. This gave the village its name, Maenclochog or ‘ringing stone’ in English.
Between 1840 and 1884, Llanbadrig church was lovingly restored by Lord Henry Stanley, the 3rd Lord Stanley of Alderley. Lord Stanley converted to Islam and was the first Muslim member of the House of Lords. He loved Islamic design. The use of blue is very noticeable in the tiles, mosaic and stained glass and gives the feel of being inside a beautiful mosque on a sunny day.
When entering this little gem, through the 18th century semi circular headed west doorway, the colour of the east window casts a wonderful pale blue hue across the chancel and nave, making an almost ethereal illusion. Together with the decorated organ and painted chancel roofs, this little church is a treat.
Wow, look up! The elaborately created plastered nave ceiling dates from 1636. On a gorgeous blue background, a local man was paid ten guineas for the work which must have taken an incredibly long time.
Many churches benefit from the beauty and ‘waterproofedness’ of a Welsh blue slate roof. One, however, is unique. St George’s is one of only two remaining world renowned cast iron churches, and the roofing system is based on Charles Rawlinson’s 1772 patent to use iron rather than timber.