Saturday, 26 July 2014
'Brag sweet tenor bull,
descant on Rawthey's madrigal,
each pebble its part
for the fells' late Spring.
So wrote the poet, Basil Bunting, who visited the site as a child and never forgot it.
Brigflatts is a Quaker Meeting House in Cumbria, about a mile outside Sedbergh, on the Kirby Lonsdale road. It is the oldest Meeting House in the North of England, and the third oldest in the country.
Yesterday, after our lunch in Kirby Lonsdale, friend W and I called in at Brigflatts on our way
back. We have called before, and indeed friend W has been to meetings there in the past, but this time I had my camera with me.
I can tell you that it is, without a doubt, the most peaceful place I have ever been. Any church or religious building (in any sense of the word) has a kind of peace about it. But this is something special.
The tiny settlement has just three houses and this Meeting House (built in 1675). There is a Peace Garden, and there is a Cemetery - in which lies the body of Basil Bunting, who died in 1985, at the age of 85). I can't think of a nicer place to be buried.
Inside there are benches all the way round and a gallery above. And at the bottom of the wooden staircase up into the gallery there is a little gated area where dogs were allowed to wait for their masters - this is a remote country area and Quakers would often walk some miles across the fields to reach the Meeting House - presumably often accompanied by their dogs.
'fell-born men of precise instep
leading demure dogs
from Tweed and Till and Teviotdale
and hair combed back from the muzzle.
Dogs from Redesdale and Coquetdale
taught by Wilson or Telfer.'
Incidentally, the Rawthey, mentioned in the first stanza, is the River which runs nearby.