Sunday, November 23, 2003
posted by Jonathan Calder |
There is, for example, the green deserted country around Knaptoft in the south of Leicestershire, where the pastures of central England hardly touch five hundred feet above the sea and yet they are the watershed between Trent and Severn; and streams gather here that end in the Humber, the Wash and the Bristol Channel.
This, more than anywhere, is the very heart of England: Knaptoft, with its ruined church, its font under the trees, its village under the sheep-pastures since Henry VII's time, its medieval manor house marked only by a rectangular island within a drying moat, and the later Elizabethan hall itself falling into slow ruin at the top of the field.
Once full of life, a thriving village of plough-land and meadow in the thirteenth century, the squire within his moat and the parson in the newly built church, now it dreams its life away in the autumn sunshine, deserted by all save occasional blackberry-pickers.
W. G. Hoskins Midland England (1949)