It was only when I was adjusting this rather over-exposed photograph in Photoshop that I started to think about the detail it contained.
We are fairly used to seeing the initials ER to denote Elizabeth Regina, our current queen, on letterboxes around the country, as I’ve blogged about before. There are also a fair few examples of GR, for King George, the Queen’s father, and even a few VR for Queen Victoria.
However, the wrought iron lantern holder above the gate to the churchyard of the church of St Pancras in West Bagborough, Somerset, is the only example I can think of having seen of ER, for Edward Rex or King Edward VII, Victoria’s son, who came to the throne on her death in 1901. It is shown in situ below, with a rather newer gate beneath it.
We have to thank Edward’s accession to the throne for this little piece of local craftsmanship, probably the work of the local blacksmith, judging by the style of the letters above the arch. Even more revealing are the numbers for the year 1902, which seem to be adapted manufactured numbers (at least the ‘2’ is), brought into the design by the person who made the arch. If this is really the case, it is a lovely example of the juxtaposition of the old and the new worlds at the start of the exciting new twentieth century.