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tecture, the outcome of to-day, with their gable fronts, mullioned windows, and pleasant porches, in reverent imitation of what is best in the old. Besides these, sundry restorations of ancient buildings backwards, not forwards, point to a striving again for beauty.
An excellent and most delightful example of the revival of picturesque village architecture we discovered the other year when driving through Leigh, near Tunbridge, where the modern cottages are all pictures, charming to look upon with their halftimber framework, thatched roofs of the true Devon type, many gables, big chimneys, and quaint porches
-all modern, but imbued with the spirit and poetry of the past. It is as though a medieval architect had been at work on them. The simple cottages are nobly designed; there is no starving of material in the attempt to make the utmost of everything; they are all humble abodes, yet dignified; a millionaire might live in one and not be ashamed; and withal they are essentially English. If they have a failing, it is perhaps that they look a trifle artificial – too suggestive of the model village or of stage scenery ; but this I take it arises mainly because we are not accustomed in these commonplace days to find poetry out of books and paintings, so that the coming suddenly upon it realised in bricks and mortar strikes one for the moment as strange and unreal.
After another stretch of wide, open country, flushed with air and suffused with sunshine, the hamlet of Tempsford was reached. By the roadside
AN ANCIENT CHEST
here stood the ancient fane, gray and dusky with years. Its door was unfastened, so we stepped inside. Our hoary churches are stories in stone, to those who can read them; though not always is the reading easy, or the story complete. The first thing on entering that attracted our attention was an unusually fine medieval muniment chest, its age uncertain, but without doubt centuries old. It had evidently been cut out of the solid trunk of a tree (presumably of an oak). The chest is now much worm-eaten, and is bound round with many broad iron bands, and further secured by five locks. They had great faith in big locks in those days—locks with twisted keyholes, though to the modern mind they look easy enough to pick. The problem that presented itself to us was, seeing that about two-thirds of the wood was interlaced with these metal bands, why was not the chest at the start made wholly of iron ? In this case the bands promise to outlast the worm-eaten and decaying wood they enclose, though in some old chests of a similar nature the iron has rusted more than the wood has perished, possibly owing to atmospheric conditions, for dampness would probably destroy the iron quicker than the wood, and dryness would reverse these conditions.
At the west end of the north aisle we observed a curious triangular window, and in the pavement at the base of the tower we found two flat tombstones a little apart. One is inscribed in Latin to the memory of “Knightley Chetwode,” and the other in English to his wife, who, we learnt, was noted for her "piety towards God, fidelity to the King and the Protestant succession"; though why the virtues of the husband should be set forth in Latin and those of his wife in English I do not quite see. I
On the wall of the tower we also noted the following inscription cut in a stone slab, the exact import of which was not very clear to us ; possibly it related to some rebuilding :
Wilī Savnderson Gē
The lettering of this was delightfully full of character, and pleasing to look upon simply for the forms of the letters—a something quite apart from the mechanical precision with which the present-day engravers render their works, possibly because they cannot do otherwise; it does not require much thought to be simply precise!
Just beyond Tempsford our road came close to the side of the quiet-flowing Ouse, and there, where for a space the road and river ran together, stood an inviting and picturesque inn, whose sign was that of “ The Anchor.” An ideal angler's haunt it seemed to us as we passed by, with an old punt and boats close inshore, and shady trees overhanging the gleaming stream. There was a look of homely repose about the spot quite incommunicable in words, a beauty about the fresh greens and silvery grays of the wind-stirred foliage to be felt, not described.