After several incidents of branches breaking and falling, the 150 year old ash tree adjacent to the path from the car park to the church was agreed to be unsafe by ERYC's planning staff and cut down by specialists in 2017. It could not be cut to ground level or removed entirely in view of proximity of graves and gravestones, so was left at a height of 2 metres with the iintention of the residual stumps being carved into artwork.
In February 2018 the PCC approved the principle that the church should involve the schoolchildren of Patrington Primary Academy in the designs of the carvings. The Minister and the appointed tree carver (Mr. Allen Stichler) went to the school, talked to the children and involved them in the project. An interpretation of part of St. Patrick's mission to Ireland covers what is known as "The Deer's Cry", which was explained to the schoolchildren as whilst St.Patrick was travelling to Tara in Ireland to sow the Christian faith, he became aware of an intended ambush on him and his followers by Druids inimcal to Christianity. Patrick and his followers chanted the sacred Lorica or Deer's Cry, so as the druids lay in hiding they only saw a deer and twenty fawns, enabling the Christians to pass in safety. This is the reason for the deer appearing in the carving.
The script below the carving of St. Patrick is the opening words of "St. Patrick's Breastplate", a lengthy prayer ascribed in its original version to St. Patrick himself. A Victorian version (C.F. Alexander) is sometimes sung in church on St. Patrick's Day (it does not usually appear in modern hymnals):-
"I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity...."
The hymn ends with a last verse of :-
"I bind unto myself the name, the strong name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in Three, of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word. Praise to the Lord of my salvation: salvation is of Christ the Lord."
Each verse of St. Patrick's prayer begins "Atomruig indiu" "I arise today" or "I bind unto myself today" and this is followed by a list of sources of strength that the prayer calls on for support.
The first verse invokes the Holy Trinity
The second verse invokes Christ's baptism, death, resurrection, ascension and future return on the last day.
The third verse invokes the virtues of angels, patriarchs, saints and martyrs.
The fourth verse the virtues of the natural world - the sun, moon, fire, lightning.
The fifth verse invokes various aspects of God – his wisdom, his eye, his ear, his hand.
The sixth verse lists the things against which protection is required – against snares of devils, temptations of nature, those who wish ill.
This list of things against which protection is required continues in the next verse – false prophets, heathens, heretics, wizards, druids.
The next verse calls for Christ to be in all things – Christ in me, all around me, in the eye and ear and mouth of the people I meet.
the last verse returns to the theme of the Trinity.