Place: St Juliot's, near Boscastle, Cornwall.
Date: February 26, 2008.
Camera: Panasonic DMC-TZ3.
St Juliot's is a very pretty church that lies in an incredibly isolated area in north-eastern Cornwall, England. Its 14th century tower rises up above the landscape that comprises rolling green fields, tall hedgerows, moss-covered stonewalls and long, rambling laneways.
Its claim to fame is that Thomas Hardy, the architect-turned-writer, worked on its restoration in 1872. It features in his novel A Pair of Blue Eyes.
It was here, too, that Hardy met his wife-to-be, Emma Gifford, who was the sister-in-law of St Juliot's vicar. The couple married in 1874.
I visited the church during my recent trip to Cornwall. I've been fascinated by Hardy, ever since I found out about his past as an architect, and given this landmark was around the corner from where we were staying it would have been remiss not to pay our respects.
The first thing that strikes you is the isolated position of the building. There's an enormous sense of loneliness about the place, with the wind whipping up the valley and not a sound to be heard bar the twittering of birds in the trees. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to reach in Hardy's time, long before the advent of cars or other modern transportation.
Inside, the church is quite small and understated, with a high vaulted wooden ceiling and a set of stained glass windows. There are two plaques on the walls, one dedicated to Hardy, the other to Emma Gifford, claiming their place in the church's long history. There's also an etched window dedicated to Hardy complete with the dates of his birth and death (1840-1928).
I took many photographs, but I couldn't quite capture the simple beauty of the church and its position in the landscape. It was incredibly peaceful walking around the churchyard, admiring the headstones, the Celtic crosses and the early blooming daffodils.