Transitory Things in Lamport

 

Lamport trees

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’)*

Lamport Rectory

Lamport Rectory

which is next door to the church of which his father was the Rector.

All Saints, Lamport

All Saints, Lamport

and directly opposite Lamport Hall, the family seat (until recently) of the Isham family.

Lamport Hall

Lamport Hall

 

Lamport Hall

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.

Farm at Lamport

A Bright Stream

A Bright Stream

 

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.”

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3 thoughts on “Transitory Things in Lamport

  1. The Little Grey Men Go Down The Bright Stream! How completely perfect! My mum bought that book for me on a family outing, because we stopped outside Henley to watch a cricket match, and I was moaning like mad because I’d much rather play than watch. Everyone in my family is cricket mad, and I spent four hours straight lying in the back of the Landie reading whilst everyone else watched the match. Love that book – I finished it exactly on the last over. How lovely that you reminded me!

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  2. Thanks – I’m glad you liked it. I partly like the gnome books because they remind me of staying with my Grandparents in the summer holidays. My Mother had LGM & DBS when she was a girl & they were still around in the house, my Grandad had some of his books about shooting & we used to go fishing in various streams not far from Lamport. Now I’m living here. I think you do need to grow up with cricket to understand the point of it, or at least what I think of as the point.

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