Ralph Vaughan Williams’ father was vicar at All Saints, Down Ampney when RVW was born in 1872. RVW was baptized in this church. I’m so glad we made the pilgrimage today. We found an idyllic country church on the edge of the village, with a sheep pasture on one side, a well-tended graveyard around the church, a beautiful little organ in the chancel, a lych gate, a lovely centuries-old church building, and the most picturesque and central-casting setting one could imagine.
I sang ‘Come down, O love divine‘ in the nave in honor of Ralph. His hymn tune for this text, entitled DOWN AMPNEY, is in honor of his birthplace.
My pace finally got to me. I slept a full eight hours (much needed, after the hurry of the last two days), and decided to skip morning Eucharist. So at 9 a.m., I just now headed down to breakfast. Today is a tourist day, with an alum or two to visit later. Details shall follow in due course.
In honor Ralph Vaughan Williams (another of my muses), whose 140th birthday was last Friday, here is his commemoration plaque from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was a student in the 1800’s, in addition to the plaque of A. E. Housman, one of my favorite poets: