Monday 30 March 2015

Jaunt Notes

Well, I am back from a weekend of jaunting, church-crawling - and, latterly, sheltering from torrential rain - in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, where the highlights were the beautiful little church of Blore, where one chapel is entirely filled with the immensely grand Bassett monument (see below), and the glorious perfection that is Pugin's spired steeple of St Giles, Cheadle (the interior is equally elegant in design but the relentless decoration in oppressive).
 Before that came an afternoon walking, in whipping winds, around Cuckmere Haven in Sussex and up onto the first of the Seven Sisters cliffs, where the inevitable idiot daredevils were sitting with their feet dangling over the friable edge. Then, the following day, it was over the border into Kent for a walk on Romney Marsh. This began at St Mary in the Marsh, where due homage was made at the humble wooden grave marker of E. Nesbit, made and inscribed by her second husband, Thomas 'The Captain' Tucker, a genial old salt with whom she spent the last years of her life.
 From New Romney, we rode the small-scale Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway - a splendid, slightly absurd survival from the 1920s which has proved its usefulness and lives on, to the delight of tourists and vintage railway enthusiasts - to Dungeness. This is a windswept coastal outpost that, even on a spring morning with the sun shining, epitomises the word 'bleak' in all its dismal dimensions. A shingly straggle of huddling pseudo-cottages and hutments, interspersed with outcrops of arty gentrification, it has little to commend it but its two rather fine lighthouses. Prospect Cottage, where the late Derek Jarman lived and created an unaccountably famous garden out of flotsam and pebbles, does little to lift the gloom, but happily the place is served by two well windproofed pubs. The New Romney to Dungeness section of the railway was reopened as a single-track shuttle service in 1947 by Laurel and Hardy, no less, and there is no better way to cheer yourself up after a visit to Dungeness than watching this newsreel footage of the event - what pros! Their genius glimmers through even this.


  1. Next time you're near Ashbourne, you should visit St Mary & St Barlok Church at Norbury, if you haven't already done so. Fine alabaster tombs and lovely medieval glass. It's in a beautiful setting too, next to the old manor house.

  2. Thanks for the tip Mary - we passed close to Norbury at the weekend. St Barlok is a fine dedication...

  3. Thanks for the tip Mary - we passed close to Norbury at the weekend. St Barlok is a fine dedication...