“A mardle is a gossip. I wrote it by accident. It is about a very small and isolated local church in a village of 65 people called Letheringham. Country churches are so ubiquitous that most people take them for granted, gird them in the scant rags of their ignorance and leave them outside the back door.
“So I thought I would find out if there were more to this one than meets the eye: is it anything other than stones and timbers? What are its deepest roots? Is it now superfluous to our requirements? What started in me as plain, prosaic research turned out to be a series of enthralling discoveries. So this is a gossip for the outsider to enjoy. I have had much praise from agnostics and atheists, I am delighted to say, but also from church people and, among them, Clive Young the late Bishop of Dunwich who spoke in terms of the Church’s ‘anatomy of spirituality’. What higher praise could one ever hope to hear? And it only costs £13!”
The introduction is by Ronald Blythe, the writer, essayist and editor best known for Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969), an account of agricultural life in Suffolk from the turn of the century to the 1960’s.
First published 2012 by Darton, Longman and Todd. 160pp.
Illustrations and maps by Lucinda Rogers.