Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tree by the Wheel, Anno Domini 1880 and Calm & Still

"Tree by the Wheel" :- This is a great bit of English history with a superb story attached to it. This water wheel and wheel house is in the grounds of Michelham Priory in Hailsham, East Sussex, England. Incredibly a mill has stood on this site since at least 1434 but the story that goes with it is what I love. While out hunting with his friend and mentor Richer de l'Aigle, the Lord of Pevensey Castle it is said that Thomas Becket fell into this very mill stream at Michelham and was " saved by a miracle". Quite what that miracle was or how he was saved we shall never know and it is questioned by some if he fell in at all. The mill still works and is run by volunteers who operate it and open it to the public.

"Anno Domini 1880" :- I can tell you right now that being there was as spooky as it looks. There was an odd sense of unease as I walked around the ruin in the woods. These are the remains of a derelict Victorian school which was also the Bedham Mission Church of St. Michæl and All Angels. Finding the ruin was not easy. I'd been given drections, had looked it up on Google maps and had even programmed the coordinates into the sat nav but I still ended up driving around and around tight country lanes that wound up and down and through a wood. I'd actually given up and was driving out of the area when I suddenly spotted it down in a clearing. I managed to park in a layby and clambered down the overgrown bank to get to it. It was mangnficent and eerie. It felt like a lost soul and it seemed to be yearning for life again. It wasn't as it's just an old building and a pile of bricks but it did convey a surreal and otherworldly feeling. The small oblong brick / plaque above the door has writing engraved into it which reads :- "FOR THE WORSHIP OF ALMIGHTY GOD/ IN GRATITUDE FOR MANY BLESSINGS/ THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED BY/ WM. TOWNLEY MITFORD, OF PITSHILL/ ANNO DOMINI 1880."

"Calm & Still" :- Late afternoon, low tide, clear blue skies and a blazing sun. Perfection. A gentle three mile walk along the coastline into Brighton provided me with a few photo opportunities on this day. The sea was like a dew pond, still and perfectly flat. The sunlight was bouncing off the surface of the water making most of the stones, rocks and pebbles fall into silhouette along with the huge Brighton Marina.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill