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Geoffrey Holborow Memorial Window
This stained glass window in Ladock Church was commissioned by the Holborow family in memorial to Geoffrey Holborow (GJH) who died in August 2015. He and his wife (Mary Holborow - MCH) first moved to Ladock House in 1967 and, as well as transforming Ladock House (and gardens), GJH was very active in supporting Ladock Church, as Church Warden until 2015 and raising considerable sums of money for maintenance and restoration.
Themes for the window
From his youth (a passion especially inspired by his Uncle Fred) GJH loved the countryside and he prided himself on being a ‘countryman’ first and foremost. He undoubtedly did feel “nearer to God in the garden than anywhere else on earth’, - gardening was a huge passion for him and if there is one plant which epitomizes all the work he has done at Ladock, it is the camellia, itself an iconic Cornish shrub. His garden will be one of his lasting legacies at Ladock.
When we met to initially discuss the planned window, it was commented how appropriate that it was the gardener who first discovered the empty tomb on Easter Day.
GJH also loved animals (especially dogs – Polly his beloved terrier) – a central part of the pattern of being a countryman - and country sports. Specifically hunting (when he was younger) and shooting which he carried on right up until 2014. Polly came to the church most Sundays for coffee and biscuits for 15 years and sometimes (by mistake) rather earlier in the service!
To GJH, the church was a focal point of the countryside and country values. He poured considerable time into the upkeep and restoration of Ladock Church and we certainly see the church (St Ladoca is patron saint) playing a part in the window. Our favourite view of the church is across the fields viewed from a gateway as you drive down into the village the other side of the valley. Or as you come into Ladock from the New Mills direction and see the church perched up on the hill again across the fields. We also like the idea of St Ladoca’s Holy Well perhaps being part of the window? We are looking at the theme of the place of worship being an important part of the worship.
The people who live in the countryside were also a crucial part of country life to GJH. As a land agent (he first came to Cornwall in the late fifties as agent to the Williams family before setting up Stratton & Holborow in 1960) GJH nurtured enduring relationships with Cornish farmers – often over at least two generations. He genuinely adopted Cornwall as his own and was very proud to represent the county as High Sheriff.
A particular inspiration for the window comes from the Elizabeth Craven poem (below) which was read at the memorial service for GJH.
Especially important words/phrases which resonate are:
“the love of Kin and fellowship of friends”
“And morning light break through to me again”
“The faithful eyes of dogs”
“the beat of waves upon the rocky shore” – he did love the sea (sailed a lot when he was younger and was a keen body boarder)
And of course his unerring belief and faith:
“Because I know there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life”
The Holborow family
7th March 2016
The Bishop of Truro, Kate Holborow and the artist, Oriel Hicks
Service of Dedication for the window Friday 26th May 2016.
I thank You, God, that I have lived
In this great world and known its many joys;
The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay
And cooling breezes in the secret dusk,
The flaming sunsets at the close of the day,
Hills, and the lonely, heather-covered moors,
Music at night, and moonlight on the sea,
The beat of waves upon the rocky shore
And wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy:
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books.
The love of kin and fellowship of friends,
And all that makes life dear and beautiful.
I thank You, too, that there has come to me
A little sorrow and, sometimes, defeat,
A little heartache and the loneliness
That comes with parting, and the word “Goodbye,”
Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain,
When I discovered that night’s gloom must yield
And morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
Unasked upon my wondering head,
Because I know that there is yet to come
An even richer and more glorious life,
And most of all, because Your only Son
Once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me –
I thank You, God, that I have lived.
Elizabeth, Countess of Craven, writer and dramatist, 1750-1828