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Twixt ancient yews

Saturday, 31 July 2021 at 21:54

Bike in front of Weeting Church on Dr John Dunn. This is the second in a series of round tower churches visited whilst on a short motorcycle tour of Norfolk. Rather than publish one tour video, which would be much too long, I have, instead decided to publish a playlist series of videos, tower by tower. What follows below is the supporting commentary to the second video. Publication of each video in the series will be announced on this website.

Twixt ancient yews

I’m in the village of Weeting, on a little two day motorcycle ride around Norfolk on my single cylinder Royal Enfield, just pottering about the countryside along lovely quiet lanes. Not wanting to ride around aimlessly, I searched out a few of Norfolk’s round tower churches. Round towers were an early form of tower, part of an Anglo-Saxon building tradition which was later replaced by square towers.
This was my second sweep through Weeting, as I missed the unsigned turning to the church and castle on my first ride through.

After studying the Ordnance Survey map a little more carefully, I tried again.

I was looking for a right turn to the next round tower on my Norfolk tour.

I did turn right, only to find myself riding down a footpath of sorts. Fortunately, no-one was around to relish my embarrassment.

I rejoined the road which ran behind an estate of bungalows built on the grounds of the once Weeting Hall, demolished in 1954.

The tarmac petered out to become a gravel track…

I rounded a bend, and the glorious round tower came into view…

The church is in very good condition, most likely having been thoroughly restored in the nineteenth century - the victorian windows in the nave and the slate roof suggest that.

It stands on raised ground next to the rough track, with two ancient yew trees either side of the south door. It stands nobly on what was probably the site of the original Saxon church, next to a Saxon manor house.

The nineteenth century restoration certainly added grandeur to the church.

The beauty of travelling to Weeting is that there is also a castle a short walk away, over there, a short walk across the field.

And here I am at the castle looking back at the church.

Weeting Castle is really a grand 12th-century manor house, built on the site of an earlier Saxon settlement. It has the remains of a substantial rectangular moat around it.

The castle was eventually incorporated as an ornamental feature within the grounds of the now demolished Weeting Hall.

English Heritage have given this impression of what the old manor house may have looked like.

And here is what is left today.

No doubt the smooth finished facing stones were removed long ago for other building purposes, leaving this rough faced rubble behind. But there is still a substantial amount left to see, giving the impression of a substantial medieval building of some standing.

The substantial amount left includes this doorway and room which can still be entered, complete with the remnants of arched windows.

One last look at Weeting’s round tower, for now I’m done.

© John Dunn.

Ananke violated

Friday, 30 July 2021 at 22:07

Ananke on Dr John Dunn. Ananke violated

And Ananke lay at rest, looking to the infinite as an equilibrium, with her self-regulating humours and her own necessities.

And the One was nought, and she was non-being.

And the Spirit of Love moved upon the face of the waters.

And storm clouds rose across the face of Ananke.

And Love bore down upon her.

And Love was the Word.

And Love was living thought.

And Love was Creativity.

And Love was the Cosmic Jesus.

And God is Love.
And Ananke was nothing.

And hands closed upon the neck of Ananke, which was also the neck of Ouroborus.

And the interminable cycle was choked back.

And storms rushed across the face of the deep.

And Love violated Ananke.

And the rain beat down upon the foaming deep.

And Ananke ‘be’came; nought became one.

And the waters were stilled.
And the cry of new-born Eros echoed across the Cosmos.
Pictured: Ananke by Gilbert Bayes, 1918

© John Dunn.


Thursday, 29 July 2021 at 20:21

Bishop Berkeley on Dr John Dunn. Awakening

And Coleridge led me to Berkeley, and I was amazed.

Matter, after all, does not exist; all objects are in the mind.

So-called objects are living thoughts gone feral; they have escaped us and are reflected back to us as the real thing. Imposing this view, the Children of Urizen removed man from nature and the Cosmos. Yet, Berkeley had thrown out a lasting lifeline.

Berkeley threw a lifeline out to man, indeed to me.
We were needed again,
For when something is unperceived, it ceases to be.

Berkeley was “the first to treat the subjective starting-point really seriously and to demonstrate irrefutably its absolute necessity.” (Schopenhauer)

© John Dunn.

Ancient Terror

Wednesday, 28 July 2021 at 21:53

Antique terror on Dr John Dunn. Terror Antiquus by Léon Bakst (1908)*

Ancient Terror

In the beginning was the One.

And the One was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the world was one to me, and I was indistinguishable from it.

And the One looked to the infinite as an equilibrium, with its self-regulating humours and its own necessities.

And there was no observer to confirm upon the One the status of being.

For what is it to be?

‘To be’ is to be distinguished as one thing from another.

To be is the ‘that is’ of the observer's mind.

In an infinite Cosmos without man, there would be no ‘that is’, there would be no ‘be’ing.

Where there is no being, there is void, no-thing; there is 0.

Without man, 1=0.

And the One was nought, and I was non-being.

And I did not see; there was no-one to see.

And Ananke, the entropic death of all previous existences, reigned supreme over the face of the still dark waters.

© John Dunn.

Whose “dark Satanic mills”?

Tuesday, 27 July 2021 at 20:56

The Ancient of Days on Dr John Dunn. Pictured: William Blake's Urizen

Whose “dark Satanic mills”?

Blake’s “Jerusalem” was an anti-establishment poem. The “dark Satanic mills” are most commonly interpreted as a reference to the industrial revolution, but is in fact from the Blakean mythology in which Satan is likened to a miller who grinds down human souls.

This begs the question - who is Satan in this mythology?

I touched on this in an earlier Thought blog.

Blake did not see the Creator as an entity apart, an all-knowing God which controlled the affairs of man from across a divide. Such a distanced entity Blake described rather as Urizen, the demiurge, a 'self-deluded and anxious' shaper of pre-existent matter.

By implication, this made of the Bible's Jehovah a Satan, the puppeteer pulling the strings of mankind, an over-bearing father, a failed architect, and the ‘Accuserof the World' who unfairly condemned Adam and Eve when he was the one at fault.

Christian religionism for Blake had carried over the worshipping of the demiurge from the followers of Jehovah, which made it, essentially, Devil Worship.

© John Dunn.

Round the towers

Monday, 26 July 2021 at 22:37

Croxton round tower on Dr John Dunn. First in a short YouTube video playlist.

Round the towers

A leisurely motorcycle tour along the country lanes of Norfolk, in search of the round tower churches.

The videos will be published as a playlist series.

"I never ride around aimlessly, and whilst the journey is almost everything, I still like to have destinations in mind... So I thought I’d search out a few of Norfolk’s round tower churches.

"These round towers became waymarkers for my tour, targets for the ride that drew me along delightful lanes in lovely rural settings."

Original writing set to video.

Please click here to view.

© John Dunn.

Round the towers

Sunday, 25 July 2021 at 21:37

Cranwich church on Dr John Dunn. The next series of YouTube videos will come from a recent motorcycle mini-tour that I made in the county of Norfolk. Much too long to be published as one video, I have instead decided to publish a playlist series of videos. By way of an introduction, what follows is some of the text to the supporting commentary of the first of these. Publication of each video in the series will be announced on this website.

Round the towers

I’m motorcycling today in Norfolk, taking a couple of days out, just pottering about the countryside along lovely quiet lanes. But I never ride around aimlessly, and whilst the journey is everything, I still like to have a destination in mind. So I thought I’d search out a few ofNorfolk’s round tower churches.

Round towers were an early form of tower, part of an Anglo-Saxon building tradition which was later replaced by square towers.

Churches with round towers are unusual. Most of them are in East Anglia; Norfolk in particular. Most of these are medieval in origin.

Some round towers were later replaced with square towers, perhaps because square towers were considered more attractive and prestigious, or because they were more convenient for hanging several bells.

Medieval in origin, round towers survive, as time capsules, in small rural villages where there was not enough money or a sufficiently wealthy donor to rebuild the tower.

I rode to Norfolk to search for a few. It wasn’t a difficult exploration, as there are many round towers to be found in the county.

Perhaps more important to me than the round towers discovered along the way were the routes taken to reach them.

These round towers were waymarkers for my tour, targets for the ride that drew me along delightful lanes in lovely rural settings.

© John Dunn.

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