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holders would effectually prevent the electric fluid from being led harmlessly to earth. I make bold to say that nine out of every ten conductors fixed to buildings in England are worse than useless-even dangerous. Therefore, from our experience in such matters, we were surprised for once, in a remote Norfolk town, to find the church fitted with a real conductor, that would conduct, and properly attached; this one is a continuous copper band, of sufficient width, and nailed to the tower, and really protects it. It is astonishing how much ignorance there is upon this matter of lightning conductors.
A Wooded Country--A Gipsy Encampment-Cawston Church-A Grand Carved Roof-The 'Plough-light' Gallery—A Fine Rood Screen-The Saint who cured the Gout-An Interesting FrescoA Curiosity-Sall Church-Hard Times-The Cottager's WantAncient Brasses-Birds in Church-Reepham-Names not always pronounced as spelt-Two Churches in one Churchyard-A Quaint Tomb to a Crusader.
WE had another fine morning on which to continue our pleasant pilgrimage; the clouds that had gathered threateningly around overnight had dispersed, the sun was shining softly down, and a balmy summer breeze was blowing. What better could the most fastidious wayfarer desire? Our aneroid (which useful instrument we always carry with us when driving across country, for hotel barometers are not always in working order or to be relied upon, and some hotels have none), our aneroid then we found had risen considerably since the previous evening. We felt therefore that we had nothing to fear from the weather, so we started away in the best of spirits, full of pleasant anticipations as to what the day would bring forth. All before us was fresh, unknown; we had not even given a thought as to where we should spend the night, so unfettered and delightfully uncertain of our movements were we.
Such freedom is of the essence of a driving tour; to be, or feel, in any way bound would be to rob it of its chief advantage.
We passed at first through a level stretch of agricultural country, the the scenery of which, though agreeable, it must be confessed was a trifle monotonous, reminding us of Dr. Johnson's famous saying, that the country is only a collection of green fields,' for the landscape was without any character. However, after a time our road gradually plucked up spirit and became even hilly. As the soil grew sandy and poorer, so the scenery improved, woods took the place of ploughed fields, and very beautiful woods they were. The clumps of Scotch firs that were mingled with other trees came as a pleasant change from the familiar elms, their dark green foliage and rich red trunks formed a striking contrast with the fresh greens of the woods around. A very picturesque tree is the Scotch fir; it has a sturdy individuality all its own, its branches grow in a wayward fashion, as though they could never quite make up their mind which direction they would finally take. I think that the Scotch fir has more character than any other tree, not excepting the oak. Land is of little value here, so there were waste stretches left unenclosed by the wayside, covered with green waving bracken and yellow with broom, and from the hidden thickets of these rabbits were continually darting across our path. By-and-by we came to a gipsys' encampment, and quite a picture it was, with its film of blue smoke ascending from a wood fire till it lost itself in the bluer sky. The
fragrant scent of burning wood in the country side, how delightful it is!
It was a pleasant thing driving through that wooded country; the pines as we drove along filled the air with their warm resinous odours. But suddenly the woods ended and we found ourselves once more in the open country; a picturesque village was before us, clustering round a magnificent church. Though the village was small the church was grand; it challenged attention, manifestly it would repay a visit. So we asked where the clerk lived, and were told, 'There ain't no clerk now; you'll have to go to the rectory to get in'; so to the rectory we went, and obtaining the key without question, we proceeded to inspect the fine old church, which, with its square tower and dressed stonework, looked peculiar to us after the round towers and flint walls that mostly prevail in Norfolk; so soon does the eye get accustomed to new forms and surroundings. Though finer far than the average country fane, this church was of the same type, yet after our short wanderings in these parts it had a strangely unfamiliar look. Perhaps I may as well state here that the name of the place possessing this grand and most interesting church is Cawston. I know a certain cathedral, in better repair truly, but for all by no means in my opinion so fine a structure as this remote village church. How comes it, I wonder, that Norfolk should have so many truly magnificent sacred edifices, and the majority of these too situated in small hamlets, that never seem to have been much larger or more important?
Entering Cawston church we were at once struck by its splendid carved open oak roof, of the 'hammer-beam' type, enriched where the woodwork abuts upon the walls by figures of winged angels, the vacant angles of the beams being further decorated with carved tracery. As we were looking delightedly upon this superb roof, a glorious specimen of old-time craftsmanship that surprised as well as delighted us by its rare beauties so wholly unexpected-for it was, to employ a favourite expression of our American cousins, sprung upon us'—as we were gazing upon it, half lost in a day dream, the rector entered the church, introduced himself, and most kindly offered to conduct us over the building (of which he seemed proud) and point out what was of interest. It was a fortunate chance that gave us so excellent a guide to so beautiful and interesting a church. We told him how much we admired the wonderful roof. 'Yes,' he said, 'well you may, for it is fine indeed, though little known. The late Sir Gilbert Scott once came to see the church, and carefully inspected it; he was as surprised as you are at the splendour of the roof, which he said "will vie for beauty with any other in England." Great praise this from such an authority, yet none too great. 'But,' continued the rector, 'the roof is sadly out of repair; pieces of decayed and wormeaten oak now and again come down with a clash. It is not quite safe to hold service in the church.' Just then, as though to prove the words, a bit of oak carving came tumbling down close to where we were standing. We certainly should not have cared