Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Abbeys and books

You will see from the following photo that I love maps.  Maps like children books are something I keep quiet about, maps because I love following the rivers and the many varied landscapes but feel that it is a more male occupation to map read. And as for collecting children's book a certain shamed feeling for loving books as I do. So when Weaver of Grass asks about a truly excellent story about  the 'little people'  The Little Grey Men by BB,  out it comes to be read again.

I used a black Japanese teapot to hold down the book for illustrations, and of course end up with a not very good photo, but it struck me that the above has a certain Japanese style.  The book is a Folio Society one, and I have four other fairy tale books, old favourites, McDonald, Andersen etc in the Folio editions.
But the map was opened out for a different reason, I had been studying the area around Normanby, and had found that Rievaulx Abbey is not too far way, just outside Helmsley.  Abbeys are a particular favourite of mine, especially the great Northern Cistercian ones, and I have always anticipated wandering around them.  So today I took photos of the 19th century steel engravings in a book that is slowly breaking up, my idea is to print all of the Rievaulx Abbey engravings and when we visit to photo and match same......

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r

The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Elegy from a Churchyard Thomas Gray

Four lines that always come to mind when looking on ruins, a moping owl always makes me laugh....


  1. I love abbeys too - we live very close to Jervaulx Abbey and not too far from Rievaulx and Fountains - Byland fairly near too. Those monks were so active in the north of the country weren't they?
    Funnily enough I got out Little Grey Men to read again - I could read it over and over again - it's magic. As for Grey's Elegy - I love it - my father could recite it off by heart all the way through and I always think of him when I hear it.

  2. There is a fascinating history about the Cistercian Abbeys of Yorkshire, starting from s simple life and then going on to great wealthy establishments and of course ruins are so romantic...