Alas, would that I were writing an extensive blog post about wonders.
Since we last spoke, I have found myself workless for a short time – I worked too hard and completed my last project seven months ahead of time. So my employers trimmed my contract and I have been looking for work.
The Universe is abundant, my friends, and a little work found me. A kind former employer thought of me when looking for someone to devise trails for one of the most beautiful churches on the planet.
A perfect, tiny East Sussex church, settled at the foot of the downs in amidst fields of cereal mottled with large beautiful farmhouses. A church which seems to date from at least 447AD. A church where vicars just seem to stay and stay, with terms of 60 years at a time. With a Saxon font, and a changing footprint over the centuries, with periods of dilapidation and over-enthusiastic improvement, this just happens to be the church which caught the eye of the Bloomsbury set.
Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell moved in just down the road at Charleston Farmhouse in 1916. And World War I ended and fascism simmered and World War II began, and there they stayed in the farmhouse, in the singular light of Sussex. As the second great war rumbled on, Powers That Be began to fret about artists who couldn’t get work during wartime.
It happened that the Bishop of Chichester, a poet himself, aligned himself with the artists, and devised a plan by which artists would paint murals on the walls of the churches of Sussex.
It is an absorbing story, but we get off at the first stop, where Grant and Bell were commissioned to paint the walls of Berwick Church.
If ever, friend, you happen upon Sussex, go and see it: the product of artists professing themselves atheists, yet tuned in to the resonance of their lives, the hedgerows, rivers and fields of East Sussex, and the underlying metaphors of the stories they wove on the walls of Berwick.
This is all a preamble, to explain the following Audio track. I’m hoping to run audio tours using these and I want to see if QR’s codes will work in the little church, when they are embedded in the church website. Meanwhile, you’ll hear a little about our font. I shall leave a picture of it above for your information. The church is closed for restoration, so it is currently amid the paraphernalia of improvement.
Speak soon, Friends.