Lamport is a small village on the road between Market Harborough and Northampton, which I have often passed through, but never made time to visit until last week, prompted mainly by reading “A Child Alone : the Memoirs of ‘BB’“. ‘BB’ was the pen-name of D.J. Watkins-Pitchford, a naturalist, artist and author whose books I enjoyed as a child and have sometimes alluded to in writing this blog.
Watkins-Pitchford grew up in the Rectory at Lamport (now, inevitably ‘The Old Rectory’)*
which is next door to the church of which his father was the Rector.
and directly opposite Lamport Hall, the family seat (until recently) of the Isham family.
As young D.J. was an imaginative child and kept at home rather than sent to school, he would have had plenty of time to contemplate the motto of the Isham family, which is inscribed at least twice on the exterior of the Hall, and must have been visible from the windows of the Rectory. That motto is
“In Transitory Things Resteth No Glory”.
As anyone who has read them will know, “BB” prefaced all his books with the following, which he claimed his father had copied from “a tombstone in a north-country churchyard” (I also borrowed it for a previous incarnation of this blog):
The wonder of the world
The beauty and the power
The shapes of things,
Their colours, lights and shades,
These I saw,
Look ye also while life lasts.
It occurred to me that this might have been intended as a riposte, or perhaps a complement, to the Ishams’ motto?
Anyway, here are a few glorious, transitory things in and around Lamport.
And what does any of this have to do with cricket? Only that if you cannot see the glory in transitory things, you won’t find much of it in cricket.
*This picture illustrates a feature of the house that figures vividly in ‘BB”s account of childhood;
“The other ‘familiar’ of this period, shared between my twin and myself, was a most uncanny and rather dreadful entity called ‘The Peak on the Balcony’.
I must explain that all around the top of the house there was a lead-lined balcony … this balcony was just outside our nursery at the top of the house. It was possible to open the window and get out on it when the grown-ups were not around. From it, one had a stupendous aerial view of the beautiful valley, falling away towards the north-west, with its trees and fishponds. When we stood upright, the parapet came no higher than our waists.
Round this balcony, usually in winter dusks, the Peak on the Balcony patrolled. It was intense black in colour, a pointed pyramid which glided past the windows – all a figment of our imaginations. As I lay in bed on winter nights, I could visualise the Peak – hideously black – softly, soundlessly, gliding all round the house, peering in at the windows; a horrible apparition, much to be feared, quite different from Miss Skulls with whom one could converse without any qualms.”