Saturday, 28 April 2012

"Sacred Land"

In between listening to obscure music from the 1960s, tending to tiny plants, drinking endless cups of tea and staring out at the rain, I've found time to read a book: "Sacred Land" by Martin Palmer.

It started like this: I woke up ridiculously early one morning, a time which most people refer to as "the middle of the night", turned on the radio to Five Live and, instead of someone telling me about soccer in Albania, there was a man talking about churches in Bristol. And telling me things I'd never even paused to consider.

A little research the next morning led me to the nighttime broadcaster's book, "Sacred Land". Mr Palmer has a theory, an insight, a mission, a story to tell and a whole lot of information that he simply has to impart. It concerns what he terms the "sacred landscape" of these islands. The vast sweep of his subject stretches from Bronze Age burial mounds to modern architecture, taking in the layout of churches, town plans, the significance of the names of villages, hills and rivers, social change, sewers, railways...well, just about everything!

Just occasionally he seems to be selecting information which supports his theory while disregarding other possibilities but that's inevitable when tackling such a huge subject in just a single volume; if he examined every piece of evidence in detail we'd end up with a vast, unwieldy tome. As it is we have a breathtaking ride through 4,000-odd years of history and how our shifting beliefs and priorities have left their mark on our British landscape.

Take care.


  1. Sounds like one I'd enjoy. I'll look into it. Jim

  2. That sounds a really interesting book. I'll try to read iit! Jane x

  3. Sounds a really interesting book. I will look out for that one. I love your second photo too - a quintessential English lane.

  4. ..ah yes, the radio is a great standby for the long night hours when you're tossing/turning. You give an exciting review for Sacred Land. So there was a reason maybe for your not being able to sleep well that morning; see what you gained from it.

  5. I must look out for this book, it sounds really interesting. Lovely photo of what looks rather like a hollow lane?

  6. Love the photo in the lane, I always wonder what is just around the corner? Sacred Land sounds like an interesting book, I must look out for it at the library:)


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