Thursday, March 30, 2006

04Nov1858, Old Saxon Architecture

LANHYDROCK, November 4th, 1858.
—Dim, grey day, cold and autumnal, with no distance. We drove with Papa and Mr. Robartes in a post-chay and two, a 40 miles drive to Tintagel and back. The drive was bleak and desolate, over dreary moor, with stunted trees, few and ruinous cottages, and not a human creature for miles ; nearly went melancholy mad. At length we came within sight of the church, standing nakedly up on a hill against the sky, and then by a most unprepossessing approach to a pretty little parsonage smothered in creepers. Here the brisk little Vicar received us with a rapid flow of words and welcomes, and carried us off to the church. I never saw such an interesting one : much of old Saxon architecture, so supposed, Norman, E. English, and a bit of Decorated and Perpendicular : a side-chapel with a stone altar 1,000 years old, with crosses cut upon it, ancient carved wood, and little single lancet windows, with deep splayed sides. We returned to a sumptuous and highly peppered luncheon, and then---- Now for the beauty that forms a fit crowning-point to all that we have seen in this beautiful county.

We went down a rocky valley with a stream running along it into the sea. Then we turned to the left and saw before us a steep path up one of the cliffs, which stood up grandly round the bay, all craggy and broken. The sea was deep emerald-green, far below us. We climbed higher and higher, among the scanty ruins of the Castle, old beyond all date, and said to have been King Arthur's. No use trying to do justice to the greatness and dignity of these perpendicular cliffs, and the sea four hundred feet below, warm with that wonderful colouring in spite of the grey November sunlessness, which, alas ! prevented us from seeing the glorious expanse of horizon.
We saw a peak standing apart, like a needle ; rough and craggy ; and on the flat top is a cross carved, still easy to be seen, and having a look of solemnity, as if the wild rocks and sea would speak of One greater than they. As indeed they do !

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