Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The last days of English summer

This weekend I visited Alfriston, in the South Downs. On the Vernal Equinox, the last day of summer. The weather was hot and sunny. We picnicked. We sat in beer gardens. We walked without jumpers or coats.

The church of St Andrew stands on a mound overlooking "The Tye", the village green. Adjacent is the Clergy House which was the first National Trust property. The church is one of a number of English parish churches which have been given a cathedral epithet (cf. Tideswell, Louth, Cirencenster). St Andrew's is known as the cathedral of the Downs. But this church is pure parochialism. Vernacular externally, simple internally. Flint walls, red tiles, squat little spire, limewashed interior.
I also visited the old Congregational Chapel, now united with the CofE church. The Georgian chapel retains galleries on three sides.

The village sits between high rolling hills of the South Downs, next to the meandering River Cuckmere. The place is a bit of a tourist honeypot, with tea rooms, antique shops and three historic pubs.

And now for the long, cold decent into winter.

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