« AnkstesnisTęsti »
quite a Dutch look, whether originally intended or
The church at Boreham (dedicated to St. Andrew) is very interesting, and shows a wonderful variety of styles of architecture, from the early Norman, or it may be even the earlier Saxon (for where learned archæologists dispute how can an ignorant layman feel certain ?), to the Late Perpendicular, a little history in stone to him who can read it. This church contains an exceedingly fine altartomb in a chapel built to contain it by the Earl of Sussex some time in the sixteenth century; the altar-tomb is of many-coloured marbles, with effigies of warriors in complete armour most carefully and painstakingly carved even to the smallest detail. These ancient altar-tombs with their effigies of knights must be of the greatest interest and value to the antiquary, showing as they do the arrangement and manner of wearing the armour at different past periods, so minutely finished and exactly reproduced even to a rivet, that one feels almost as though by some strange magic the ancient armour had been suddenly converted into stone; the sculptured faces, too, are veritable likenesses of the brave dead that lie in the vault beneath; we can thus in some measure gather from them what manner of men our ancestors were. Before such work one can only stand silent and grieved that we cannot do the like; the spirit and the innate love of art that animated the workman of the past is gone from us, alas! I fear for ever; our workmen now are workmen merely; we have only too successfully
THE MEDIEVAL CRAFTSMAN.
turned them into machines; once they were artists. With what consummate skill, with what loved labour, the medieval craftsmen converted the meaningless marble or inanimate metal into
The stone that breathes and struggles,
Shall we ever again, I wonder, approach even to the standard of the long ago, of a time (however undesirable in some respects, still for all that a glorious time) when we Englishmen were an art-loving and art-producing race. For who but an art-loving people could have conceived or raised our magnificent cathedrals, with all their wealth of beauty, their grandeur and gracefulness, the culmination of gothic glory miracles in architecture that plainly speak of the masterful inventiveness and daring genius of their designers; poems in stone that, in a moneymaking age of utility and ugliness, still stand here and there in the land, silent monuments of a lost art of building?
Shortly after leaving Boreham we came to an ancient farmstead, literally so drowned in greenery as to allow us merely a peep of its many gables and mighty stacks of chimneys, one of those old homes (once the yeoman's pride) to be found nowhere outside the four seas that encircle our island home. I wonder if the old-fashioned rambling farmhouse, with its great barns, rickyards, cowsheds, stabling, and picturesque outbuildings gathered around it in such a delightfully irregular manner, will endure for another generation? Of all the homes of the people, surely the old farmhouse of our boyhood days is the most de
lightful to think about. What recollections it calls up of haymaking, reaping, gleaning, of rides in the harvest waggons, of rabbit shooting, and it may be fishing, or blackberrying and nutting; of feasts of strawberries, raspberries, currants, and other fruits, gathered fresh from the garden; and what a perfect playground for children the fields around made, with bird-nesting for a change when tired of games; very wrong and cruel this, of course, but then 'boys will be boys!' I pity the lad who has never spent a summer holiday in a genuine old-time farmhouse. But we live in an age of changes, changes that come upon us almost without our knowing that they have taken place, and I greatly fear that the farmstead of our easy-going forefathers is slowly but surely being improved away. So picturesque, so beloved of poet and painter, so suggestive of plenty and prosperity, with its fat ricks around and bird-haunted barns, above all so essentially English, we can ill afford to lose the dear old farmstead.
The observant traveller through rural England cannot close his eyes to the alterations that are steadily taking place in agricultural matters. We must progress with the times or be left behind, and, whether it please us or no, the stern facts of to-day have to be accepted. The pleasant old farmstead, with its outspreading collection of barns, sheds, and other buildings, so suggestive of contented abiding, is, alas, in all human probability doomed. No such solid and spacious buildings of the kind are now being raised, the rent of land will not allow of it; moreover the ample barns-so essentially picturesque, without