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.



Heather said...

That is a lovely old building - thank you for taking your camera and letting us enjoy seeing it. I can sense the feeling of peace from your photos.

Tom Stephenson said...

The walls must have soaked it all up over the years. It is lovely when you find that sort of atmosphere in a man-made building. Something must be going on - inside or out - but it has nothing to do with 'grow-fish-eat's outlook on life and death.

Joanne Noragon said...

A peaceful building, inside and out. The image of sedate little dogs goes well.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

I like to think they allow dogs, still.
Absolutely my kind of place. I agree with Tom about the walls soaking up the reverence all these many years.
The poem just sets off the pictures so well.

And as for Sup-er, you are so right. I have never had a cat who flies through the air like she does. In straight lines, and arcs. "It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Josephine!"

Terry and Linda said...

How lovely! It does radiate peace and calm and contentment.


angryparsnip said...

Very lovely !

cheers, parsnip

Cloudia said...

I was born in the Quaker State (Pennsylvania) and am much the better for it! Thank Thee

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Amy said...

I love reading about places like this, I enjoy reading alot of historical fiction and non-fiction. sounds like my sort of place to visit.

Cro Magnon said...

Old oak and stone are the perfect combination. Maybe a new version of Quaker-ism is needed for today's people; I think a non preaching, contemplative, organisation could have great success.