Author Archive for Deborah Gaudin

Compassion; A Prayer for Our Times

“This thing that was happening now had happened so often before and would happen so often again in the history of the world. The evil, like a volcano, broke through the crust of things, and the foul lava flooded the earth, while over the roads of the world the refugees fled from the known to the unknown horror, from darkness into darkness again, with always the unconquerable hope in their souls that in the night ahead there would be some star.”
(Gentian Hill published 1949)

These words taken from Elizabeth’s novel Gentian Hill, have been resonating through my head for the last couple of weeks. Written about the French revolution for people who had just gone through the second world war, they now sound a trumpet call for our times. Elizabeth’s compassion for the dispossessed haunted her all her life. With her strong attachment to home and community, the trauma of losing both seemed to her one of the greatest tragedies of life, and many of her works deal with this theme.

Elizabeth never shirked the harsh realities, and here I believe lies one of her greatest talents. She can take myths and legends which are relevant to the location of place she is writing about and transform them into symbols and guidelines to help us through the mundane world of work and striving.

At present our sympathies are with the people of the Ukraine. But there are many others in their terrible position, from Syria to Palestine, from India to Africa. Whomever is fleeing from war and persecution, all are refugees of our modern world and need our compassion and to be welcomed to a new life without fear or favour.

Stained Glass in Elizabeth’s church Peppard Common

A Christmas Message

A Winter View from my window

“For years Christmas Day had been for him a day when one ate too much so as not to disappoint cook, stifled a great many yawns and made a lot of silly jokes to hide an inner sadness that was both a lament for romance and belief that had faded and a vague sense of unsatisfied expectation.”

How wonderfully this describes the majority of peoples festive season. The presence of ennui that the day entails, with no meaning attached to traditions which increasingly seem out dated and pointless. The gifts we exchange costing money we can’t really afford but think the recipient will be the richer for receiving. No fasting observed as in the past during Advent, which cumulated in the glory of the traditional feast

“But today in the company of Henrietta and Hugh Anthony, romance and belief and satisfaction were vicariously his again. He stood in the Cathedral during morning service with the children one on each side of him and sang “Hark the herald angels sing” aware that Henrietta whose eyes were beaming with joy and whose muff was swinging from side to side like a pendulum as her figure swayed in time to the music, was seeing a starlit sky full of wings and a manger with a baby in it and seeing them with her…..

Beyond Henrietta was Grandmother. She was sitting down with her eyes shut because she was tired with the Christmas preparations, but her mind was thankfully fixed upon the fact of God made man. She was too practical, of necessity too concerned with the details of daily living, to be romantic in her religion like Henrietta or quixotic like Grandfather, but her faith was the strength of her strong minded life.”

Here we have in a couple of well-crafted paragraphs Elizabeth’s passion for the Christmas season. The sacred meaning to her of the nadir of the Christian year, the eighty services she attended during her life, the words of joy, hope and redemption she had imbibed. This was the not only the meaning of Christmas, but the very reason it was celebrated, rather than the Winter Solstice that had preceded it.

“The Christmas dinner, too, seemed because of the children to take on a new value. The turkey was a noble bird, brought overnight by Father Christmas in his sledge and the flaming pudding, that they had stirred laboriously in its earlier stages, was alight with the wishes they had wished as the spoon went round,
And then came the ecstasy of present giving, and then a short walk to assist the processes of digestion, and then, at last, it was tea time and they were sitting in the drawing room…”

I can’t help thinking that for Elizabeth the actual meal itself would have been a chore to get through but for the closeness it engendered with her beloved family. In later life she always ate frugally and didn’t seem to enjoy rich or elaborate dishes, preferring a good loaf of bread, a nice piece of cheese, an apple from the garden, to a fine dining experience

But friends and family, especially children, were very important to her and I’m sure that if you had been lucky enough to slip in at her Christmas table she would have welcomed you with an open heart and wished you a very Happy Christmas and all Good Wishes for the coming Year.

A Glimpse through a Rose Cottage window

Lighten Despair

There is a book of Elizabeth’s for every situation in life. I have never felt turned away or unanswered when I go to her work. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, what my situation is, she gives me an answer. She is there to empathises and put out a hand in comfort.

Today I am sitting with Miss Brown on a seat outside the Free Library, with the roar of London traffic at my back. Although in truth my body is cradled in the deep quiet of a countryside afternoon in autumn.

But like Miss Brown, I have been “ in the grip of fear; not just apprehension or anxiety, but real fear, naked and horrible”

And yet as she says I am “ not worse off than many other people” Miss Brown loses her home and her livelihood during a world war, and that is not the case with me. We just have to sell the home we have lived in for over thirty years and earnt our living from and move away. We too do not  know where we will end up or how we will get there.

But then I think about all the refugees that are currently displaced in the world today, and try to imagine their trauma and pain, fleeing from war or famine. The loss of one’s home, the identity we have made over generations must be immense. Isaac the refugee from Germany speaks for them all. “God how he hated the loneliness of perpetual wandering! No satisfactory companionship was possible if you could not strike down roots”
(Castle On The Hill p36 of the 1949 edition) He feels as if he was superfluous to life, that his existence has no meaning or relevance to anyone. Something which is realizes as the book progresses is far from the truth.

Elizabeth peppers her books with wonderful quotes from other writers to enhance her themes or underline a point she is making and I love the one she uses here
“We are the Pilgrims, Master; we shall go
Always a little further:”
Flecker’s verse is out of vouge and difficult in it’s subject matter, but seems very appropriate for our situation and times, when the world is undergoing the mass exodus of people from intolerable situations, desperate to find sanctuary.

So, I will read of the courage and strength endured in The Castle On The Hill during the Second World War and find the tranquillity of  the autumn countryside mirrored back at me. As Dame Juliana of Norwich says and is quoted  famously by T. S. Eliot, “ And all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Thank you Elizabeth for bringing perspective and good sense into my life.

In response to Easter’s Gifts

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and comments. As always insightful and valid I had in fact meant Elizabeth’s works of fiction, which wouldn’t include “God so Loved The World” or “The Two Caves”. Although The Two Caves does contain one of my favourite quotes by St Augustine ” God looked at us through the lattice of our flesh and spake us fair”. So easy to do when we love another, so hard when they are a perceived stranger.

Easter’s Gift

Spring Daffodils

Throughout Elizabeth’s long writing career, Easter is the time of year that receives the least attention. The minor Saints days with their muted chords and colours and the bells and joy of Christmas appear frequently. But the central tenant of the Christian faith she lived her life by, appears only twice.

Right at the beginning of her career, she wrote a short story entitled The Easter Bunny, in which one of her major themes appeared , that of the redemption and joy of the world that children can bring to the jaded lives of the adults around them. This was a subject she returned to again and again.

Later, towards the end of her life she wrote a poem Easter in the Ward. It concerned a dark time of pain and fear for her, as she had been hospitalised for an operation on her leg.

One of my most treasured possessions is a letter written by the author, Rosemary Sutcliffe to Elizabeth commiserating with her on her illness and wishing her a speedy recovery.

But none of her adult novels takes on Easter. In City of Bells, we learn of Felicity’s aunts dress code and how she takes on differing colours for the church festivals, but very little else.

In her Diary of Prayer, the Easter section starts with a poem by the 13th century Welsh poet and mystic, David ap Gwilym and celebrates a mass conducted by all the birds in a remote Welsh valley, not people in a church.
“My spirit was lapped in ecstasy: each word,
Word after word, thrilled through me like a deep
Rich music of a dream: not wholly asleep
Nor all awake was I, but, as it were
Tranced somewhere between one state and another,
All heavy thoughts that through the long day smother
Man’s heart and soul with weariness and care
Were gone, and in their place reigned pure delight”

It seems to me that the central core of her faith was too vast and mysteriously precious to Elizabeth to include in her works of fiction. A mystery that each must come to on their own terms, in their own way.

All of her works are about the redemption of her characters, they are all reborn in differing ways. But the tenant of Easter was never something she could trivialise, a part of her faith that was deeply personal. I think she saw life as a pilgrimage, a journey of the soul reaching for the love and understanding of God. The gift of Easter for her was the sacrifice made for the world’s redemption on the cross.

Wishing all of you the Peace and Joy of Easter.

Triptych from Tewkesbury Abbey

Hopefully problems solved

There have been major problems with the site, and you will not have received notifications of the last few posts

After much work the wonderful admin have sorted this out Please enjoy and apologies for the breakdown in communication

Goudgian Archetypes

Well she has been and gone, like the Persiad meteors a fleeting splendour. As Elizabeth says ” a shining star in every generation” and for us it is our daughter. The delight of the first visit since lockdown was mutual. Like David, she was returning to her childhood home, and while Riverside is no Damerosehay, it’s roots are even deeper going back to Saxon times and has it has it’s own myths and hosts of people to draw strength and a sense of achievement from.

Elizabeth has given us many archetypes during her writing career; the Matriarch, stern, loving, benign, the under valued hard working aunt, the struggling parish priest, the local workers, domestic, agricultural, the impoverished gentry, the misfits and outsiders, prisoners,  the mentally disturbed.

All of these however hold one trait in common, they grow, evolve, into the best they can be at what they are.

Lucilla learns to be humble and to know her faith, Margaret is lauded by both David and Lucilla for being the under valued but indispensable person she has become, Hilary, blissfully unaware of the depth of his spiritual growth and power, Nadine and George’s acceptance of the wonderful life they have created, Michael’s rehabilitation, Cousin Mary’s grace.

Whenever my daughter is spending time with us I always want to be Lucilla, dispensing words of wisdom and comfort. It’s invariably the other way round, and I find myself being cast into the role of Margaret, being more than capable of looking after creature comforts.

Do you have a Goudge archetype that you relate to and who inspires and impacts on your daily life? I suspect like me it depends a little on the situation you are currently living through.

“All bereavement, whether fate inflicts it on you or whether the relinquishment is your own, changes you” said Lucilla, “Don’t people say that nature abhors a vacuum? Something lost in the present means something new flowing in from the future; often a new or stronger faith. In your loss and gain you are bound to change and look at things a little differently.”

Contemplation

In Our Time of Trouble

In these days of self-isolation we work to reach out to one another in different ways. Reaching for consolation and advise from Elizabeth is probably one that we have all experienced.

She herself lived through the great flu pandemic of 1918, which killed more people than the horrendous world war they had just gone through, and was a contributing factor to Elizabeth’s spinsterhood.

So what would Elizabeth recommend that I read, I reached out and pulled The Rosemary Tree from the shelf. Not one of my favourite of her books, Daphne annoys me. I went to put it back and then remembered the themes that this work explores; confinement, isolation, imprisonment, illness, and the ultimate journey of death.

Perhaps it has something to say to me after all. Let Elizabeth keep you company and offer consolation for an evening or two, I don’t think the conversation will disappoint.

Happy New Year

Open a book and let Elizabeth speak…..
“During the next twenty minutes he passed through one of the oddest experiences of his life. As he moved up and down before the bars, trying ceaselessly for another sight of that boy, he began to recognise some of the faces that came and went in front of him. One hulking brute of a fellow had the bluest Irish eyes he had ever seen. Another, a boy, with the face of a depraved old man, had a mouth as sensitively cut as Stella’s own. A third, hunchbacked and deformed, had a pock marked face that startled the Abbe by suddenly splitting into a grin. He noticed other eyes, other mouths, other gallant attempts at cheerfulness. Occasionally, when he slipped a coin into a wooden spoon, his eyes would meet the eyes of the poor devil that held it, and he had the sensation that the trivial act was not trivial at all but an actual entering in of himself into the being of the man before him”

(Gentian Hill p 378)

Front cover of 1st Edition Gentian Hill

Like many of us, we were taken out for dinner over the festive break and went to a small market town to enjoy it. The town is a pretty and ancient one, the evening cool enough to be seasonal and the Christmas lights added their glamour to the occasion.

As we walked up the charming narrow street soaking up the atmosphere, we passed in a doorway a hump of sleeping bag and blankets, and a man looked up and gave me a cheerful wave as we passed. Not behind bars, but a prisoner none the less; of circumstances, of fate, from a society that had locked him out. In 2020, I am appalled, ashamed and amazed that this is one of the problems that not only has not been eradicated, but sadly is on the rise.

Elizabeth spoke to me through the medium of the random page of the first of her works I pulled off the shelf. Many of her works contain prisoners, their inner turmoil, their crimes and punishment. Prisoner welfare was a cause close to her heart, one that she carried out quietly, consummately away from the public eye, all her life.

One of her favourite quotes was: – “what the dead had no speech for, when living, they can tell you, being dead: the communication of the dead is tongued with fire..”
(T. S. Eliot Little Gidding). I have no doubt that Elizabeth would have had similar feelings towards the homeless as my own.

She would also have taken away the gifts of his smile, the total lack of judgement he displayed, the fact that in his destitution, he could look up and be happy for us. She would also have enjoyed the other aspects of the evening just as keenly; companionship and the importance of family, the quiet appreciation of the beauty of starlight over old roofs.

Thank you for the companionship of like minds. We wish all of you a safe, peaceful and happy New Year.

Wells, Birth Place of Elizabeth Goudge

Visiting a City of Bells

Written By Susan Lee Hauser (2019)

The train swung round a bend, the blue hills parted like a curtain and the city of Torminster was visible. . .  . It seemed a buried city sunk at the bottom of the sea, where no life stirred and no sound was heard but the ringing of bells as the tide surged through forgotten towers and steeples. . . . and out of this sea rose a gray rock with three towers. . . The Cathedral. Chapt. I, ii

In July 2019 I re-visited the most beautiful cathedral city in England, Wells in Somerset, and soon after re-visited A City of Bells, Elizabeth Goudge’s loving tribute to Wells. I was delighted to recognize so much of what I saw and experienced in Wells reflected in her book. Goudge was born and spent her childhood in Wells and wrote Bells in 1935—one of her first books. Come on a tour with me and Miss Goudge!

by Barry Lewis – Picture Postcard Pretty- Wells CC

The water, that welled up no one knew how far down in the earth, was always inky black. . . . There were always pigeons wheeling round the holy well, the reflection of their wings passing over it like light. Chapt. I, iii

The most famous thing about Wells—and the origin of its name—is its ancient springs, which still flow around the Bishop’s Palace and right down the High Street through the market place. (Note that in this novel Miss Goudge has renamed the city “Torminster.”

Although the first church in the area was built in Saxon days (705 AD), there is some evidence that it was a holy place both for early British tribes and, later, for the Romans. The foundations of the Saxon church can be found today in the cemetery inside the cloister. The present cathedral was built from 1175 (under leadership of a Bishop Jocelin!) to the late 1400s, the first entirely Gothic-style cathedral in England.

The water from the wells is abundant around the city center. It flows in the gardens and moat of the Bishop’s Palace; it is home to fish and ducks, dragonflies and swans. (See below for more about the swans!) There is an actual well—Goudge’s “holy well,” above—that has stood in the market place for centuries. In the center of the photograph above you can see the well’s stone cover, and the channel to the right of the street runs with well water.

Springs behind Bishop’s Palace

Springs behind the cathedral

Between the tall Green Dragon and the equally tall bakery two doors off was wedged a little house only two stories high. . . . There were two gables, with a small window in each . . . and [a] large bow-window was to the right of the door and a smaller one to the left. Chapt. I, iii

The mystery house at the center of “The City of Bells” is still there on the high street at the market. (Both these photos, courtesy Robin McDowell Willis, 2018)  The house is now a restaurant on the ground level; it is said that William Penn once spoke from the double windows. The name “Green Dragon” that Miss Goudge gives the tavern may have come from  the fellow above, who can be found inside the Bishop’s Palace (see below).

Twice a week the market is full of vendors and shoppers for everything from books to delicious local cheeses or handmade jewelry to crocheted scarves or homemade sausage. But Wells is a busy city any day of the week. Tour buses now come barreling through “downtown” in a reverse of much of the same route Jocelyn took by foot in “Bells”: They completed the circuit of the Market Place and turned to their right up a steep street at a smart pace. Then they turned to their right a second time and passed under a stone archway into the Close. Instantly it seemed that they had come to the very center of peace. Chapt. I, iii

That ”steep street” is Sadler Street, and at its corner with the marketplace there is a pastry shop, much like the sweet shop Goudge often mentions. The “archway” of which Goudge writes is one of the old city gates, Brown’s Gate or The Dean’s Eye (1451). Incidentally, our apartment at 7A Cathedral Green—an apartment you may rent from Rural Retreats—was just two doors down from the gatehouse and several doors up from the Deanery, which is discussed below.

Gatehouse Wells

As for “the very center of peace,” that is the cathedral close, or green. It is a huge grassy area, sprinkled with starry daisy-like flowers and buttercups (are they in the aster family, dear reader?). The close may sometimes be the center of peace, but it was the center of football games, picnics, and play rehearsals while we were there (the city was conducting a theatre festival that weekend, with a local production of “As You Like It” set directly in front of the west doors of the cathedral.)

Jocelyn . . . looked across a space of green grass . . . to the . . . mass of the Cathedral. Its towers rose four-square against the sky and the wide expanse of the west front, rising like a precipice, was crowded with sculptured figures. They stood in their ranks, rising higher and higher, kings and queens and saints and angels, remote and still. Chapt. I, iii

Only the carved figures on the west front were still, those kings and queens and saints and angels who had faced a thousand such days and would face a thousand more. Chapt. II, iv

While Goudge describes the cathedral as being made of grey stone, Wells Cathedral is actually a honey color, made of local limestone. The entire western front is covered with some 300 statues, as Goudge says, of “kings and queens and saints and angels.” A good guidebook will help you figure out who’s who, but many of the statues are unrecognizable, having been destroyed in 1685’s Monmouth Rebellion. A handful have been restored recently, due to their actually crumbling. Interestingly, the front was originally painted with bright primary colors (as was much of the interior)!

In the photo above, you can see the audience and cast of “As You Like It,” which was performed on the front terrace that weekend. Inside the cathedral, I saw a new play about Jane Austin, “Austen Sisters,” written by and starring Susannah Harker and her sister Nelly. (Harker played Jane Bennett in the 1995 “Pride and Prejudice.”) It was fabulous!

My favorite carvings on the cathedral are the two seraphim flanking Christ triumphant at the top of the west front. They look like singing sunflowers, fresh from the set of “The Wizard of Oz”!  (The bible describes seraphim as having six wings; quite often in art even up in the eighteenth century seraphim are depicted literally with six wings, but with no arms or legs!) Goudge’s favorite carving, as described by Henrietta in Bells, was the infant Christ over the west door:

Henrietta . . . was in too much of a hurry to look up at the carved baby over the west door, as she usually did, always hoping that he would jump and crow in his mother’s arms at the sound of the bell. . . . ‘I do wish He’d laugh,’ said Henrietta, looking up at the Christ Child. ‘If I could I’d pinch his toes and then I’m sure He’d laugh.’ ‘Don’t be so silly,’ said Hugh Anthony. ‘He’s only stone. Come on. Run.’ Chapt. II, iv

Vicar’s Close Wells

To his left, on the opposite side of the road to the Cathedral, was another smaller mass of gray masonry, the Deanery, and in front of him was a second archway. Once through it they were in a discreet road bordered on each side with gracious old houses standing back in walled gardens. Here dwelt the Canons of the Cathedral with their respective wives and families. Chapt. I, iii

The Deanery Wells

The Deanery (photo above, left) is the former home of the Dean of the Cathedral, a magnificent 800-year-old mansion with its own Tudor garden out back. It is on the market for the first time, and rumors are that it may become an art gallery or a hotel. The photo on the right is of the Vicars’ Close, the oldest medieval residential street in Europe (1348). Built for cathedral clergymen, it now houses members of the choir and their families. I once had the good fortune to stay in the house in the far left back corner!

When she got to the Cathedral she turned to her left on to the Green by the west front, for it was possible for pedestrians to get from the Green to the Market Place through a little tunnel that bored through one of the houses. Chapt. II, iv

“little tunnel”

This “little tunnel” is another bit of medieval construction, known as the “Penniless Porch.” While it was a spot for beggars in earlier centuries, today one may frequently find a street musician playing and hoping for a bit of change. To the right through the opening is, as Goudge describes, the market place.

The interior of Wells Cathedral is nothing short of breathtaking. It beggars belief that the cathedral’s towering pillars and windows were built before the invention of hydraulic lifts and machinery. Some scholars credit the cathedral as being the first completely Gothic cathedral in Europe; certainly there are no Romanesque elements to be found anywhere, as there are in most medieval cathedrals. While the vaulting at the top of each pillar is spectacular, the other feature unique to Wells is the scissor arches at the crossing on all four sides. Absent from the original structure, the arches were added in the mid-14th century to bolster the building after the structure began to sink under its own weight.  

From where they stood at the west door it stretched away from their feet into the shadows in the distance so that they could not see where it ended. Great pillars stood in ordered ranks all the way up the nave, so tall that it gave one a crick in the neck to look up to the place where their straightness curved into lovely dim arching shapes that went up and up into the roof and criss-crossed high over your head like the branches of trees in a forest. Chapt. II, iv

Exterior clock face

Today you can tour the “higher parts” of the cathedral. During the tour you can observe the inner workings of the clock (see below), visit the masons’ drafting room, see a real stencil for the ceiling in the nave, sing through the singing holes in the western front (for the choir in the procession of psalms on Psalm Sunday); and enjoy some spectacular views in and outside the cathedral. This tour is relatively new and well worth the price and the stairs climbed!

“Jack Blandifers”

Then they . . . planted themselves in front of the clock on the north wall of the Cathedral to watch it strike nine. . . . It was a wonderful clock. A great bell hung between the life-size figures of two gentlemen sitting down. They had bushy hair and square caps on their heads, and held sticks in their hands, and for most of the day they sat perfectly still gazing at each other with every appearance of acute boredom. But at each hour they suddenly came to agitated life and made savage onslaughts on the bell. They struck it with their sticks and kicked it with their feet and made a great deal of noise indeed. Chapt. III, i

Interior clock face with jousting figures

The cathedral clock is a marvel. The interior clock face is the oldest in Europe, and it tells the months, days, and the phases of the moon. Above the face three men on horseback rotate in a circle, with one poor fellow constantly being knocked back on his horse and popping up again at every rotation. This performance draws quite a crowd every hour, on the hour!

Another hourly ritual at the cathedral is pausing for prayer. Led by different members of the clergy, visitors are asked to stop whatever they are doing to provide silence for the prayers that are then offered, reminding all present that the magnificent building monuments and carvings were built and are maintained for the glory of God. If you are lucky, you may also hear the organist or choir members rehearsing in the space. At 4:30, vergers rope off the eastern end of the cathedral to prepare for evensong (to which everyone is invited). If you have never been to evensong, do not miss this beautiful and ancient ceremony!

Man with toothache
Fan vaulting Chapter House
Man pulling a face

At the far end of the Market Place yet another of the archways in which Torminster abounded led to the great trees and green grass that surrounded the moated Bishop’s Palace. . . . Gray, battlemented walls, with loopholes for arrows, surrounded it and its gardens, completely hiding them from sight, and a wide moat, brimful of water, surrounded the walls. Chapt. VI, iv

The swan filled moat

The foremost swan turned gracefully towards her . . . and then turning from her with beautiful contempt he pulled with his beak the bell-rope that hung from the Palace wall. He rang it once, imperiously . . . and instantly a human menial showered bread from a window. Chapt. VI, iv

The swans of Bishop’s Palace have been a fixture for centuries. Apparently, Miss Goudge had some less than pleasant encounters with the swans as a child (see quote above), but most visitors are charmed by them. Now and again the swans fly away, but they are soon replaced and newcomers are trained to ring the bell for food as did their predecessors. It is certainly one of the most photogenic spots in a very photogenic city! There are a café and gift shop adjacent to the moat where one can watch the swans and have tea before visiting the spectacular palace ruins and gardens.

Fewer lovelier rooms were to be met with at this time in England than the gallery of the Bishop’s Palace at Torminster. It stretched the whole length of one wing of the Palace. . . . From the walls of the gallery the former Bishops of Torminster looked down upon it from their portraits. Chapt. IX, ii

The Gallery
The E

The bulk of the Bishop’s Palace was destroyed after the dissolution of the monasteries, but its ruins are still quite impressive. The portion of the palace described by Goudge—the gallery, stairwell, chapel, and some drawing rooms—remains for visitors. As you can see, the palace is still decorated for Christmas, recalling the party for the choirboys in City of Bells:

The polished floor shone like dark water.. . . At each end of the gallery a log-fire was blazing, its glow reflected on floor and walls, and in the center was a Christmas-tree, its top reaching to the ceiling and its branches laden with twinkling candles and presents done up in colored paper. Chapt. IX, ii

For fans of Elizabeth Goudge, no trip to Wells would be complete without paying homage to the house where she spent most of her childhood, a house affectionately called “the Rib.” Goudge was born elsewhere, the nearby but difficult to see “Tower House, but moved to this second location the age of three. The Rib can be found adjacent to both the eastern end of the cathedral and the Vicar’s Close. It is still a private home.

It is easy to fill a week or more with a visit to Wells. One can easily spend a couple days touring the cathedral—its carvings and stained glass, its high parts and outside carvings. There is a self-guided walking tour of the city, plenty of shopping (the cathedral also has a fine gift shop), several wonderful restaurants, a museum of the city and the surrounding area (including archaeological finds, as well as native flora and fauna), and nearby caverns and caves.

He saw this pattern now as a series of lovely things hung one behind the other like great curtains closest to him was the life of men with the moving figures of those he must love, an old man and a little girl and a husband and wife whose generosity would make their home his. Then came the city of bells and towers, then the blue hills behind it, then the sky that was now to him a rich o’erhanging firmament. And behind that? He was no imaginative child and his vision of wings and crowns was not as clear as Henrietta’s, but behind the things that are seen he was aware now of the things that are not seen and in his new-made pattern they were the warp.” Chapt. XIV, vii

For more information on Elizabeth Goudge, see this link, https://www.elizabethgoudge.org/index.php/a-short-biography/

All photos by Susan Lee Hauser (2019), unless otherwise noted.