Walking to Little Gidding

Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always.
T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

This ramble across the English landscape sounds lovely (especially if you’re Anglican).

220px-st_johns_church_little_gidding
St. John’s Church

The Society of the Friends of Little Gidding will host a spiritual walk stretching five beautiful miles between Leighton Bromswold and Little Gidding (Huntingdonshire) on 20 May this year.

Little Gidding is a small village, with an equally small Anglican church. In the 17th century, Nicholas Ferrar, a courtier, businessman, and Anglican deacon, founded a religious community in the village, which dissolved  approximately thirty years later.

You may be familiar with Little Gidding as it’s the title of one of  T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (you can read the poem here). Eliot’s poem, published in 1942, in the midst of WWII, references the church.

The pilgrimage begins with a service at the 13th century St Mary, Leighton Bromswold (George Herbert oversaw its restoration in the 17th century). It continues through five stations, and it concludes with tea at the Ferrar’s House and Evensong at Little Gidding Church. The event is free (the Society of Friends do request a donation for lunch and tea), but it sounds richly rewarding. Click here for more details (icluding how to participate).

By the way: Ferrar and Herbert were friends. Before he died, Herbert gave Ferrar a manuscript of his poems. After Herbert’s death, Ferrar had them published. And that is how we have Herbert’s poems now.

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