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Andy Marshall's Genius Loci Digest - 8 July 2022

Genius Loci Digest
Welcome!
I’m an architectural photographer and writer. 
On my van-life travels through the British Isles I’m building up a word and photo-hoard of material culture that celebrates the value and distinctiveness of our built heritage and contributes to a sense of place.
My van is my time-machine, it gives me fresh perspectives on our remarkable places, shared here on a weekly basis.📸🚐🏛
🏛 Missed the last Digest? Here it is.
🚐 View Digest Archive here.
⚡️ The next Genius Loci Digest will be out on the 22nd July. I’m away on holiday next week.

Photo-hoard
The feet of Christ on the back of the Sutherland Tapestry.
It is one of my most memorable photo shoots. A commission to photograph the Sutherland Tapestry (the size of a tennis court) at Coventry Cathedral - from behind and from the scaffolding in front. I became fascinated with the rear of the tapestry - the hidden and the imperfect, the little signs of the human hand.
Warp and Weft by Andy Marshall
Words
“Remember that just writing is an act of bravery. You have the courage to do what it takes to give your voice the chance to be heard. Don’t do it because you want to be the next Maya Angelou or Margaret Atwood. Those are already taken. Do it because your voice is unique. Only you can take this chance. No one else will ever be you, or tell your story the way you can. So writers, write: with joy and love. You may not all take your stories as far as you’d like to take them. But write them, and send them into the world like dandelion seeds on the wind, because love and joy exist to be shared, and maybe, one day, they’ll come back to you.”
Joanne Harris - (Thanks to Nicola Fisher Writer)
Observations
Whispers within the walls.
I start my day at the medieval bridge over the river Windrush at Burford. It’s an idyllic scene of golden cotswold stone over a meandering river. From there I visit St. John the Baptist in Burford. I’ve photographed this church on numerous occasions. It’s a church that sits besides the Windrush at the bottom of the village. As soon as I enter, I see the graffiti. The marks are barely visible - masked by the washing of time, or hidden within the shadow of a hood-mould. 
I’m fascinated by the stuff. Etched within and without the officious walls of our churches are the vernacular whispers of ordinary people that found a way of making their mark without others seeing. For me, these marks say “We are here, we matter, our feelings and beliefs matter.” 
Take away the massing, the stones, the roof slates and the lead at St. John’s and imagine only the marks left behind. There would be, in front of us, a vast matrix - a scatter pattern of words and deeds and symbols that articulated a belief or admonished a fear. There’s so many here in Burford that they soften the liturgical straight jacket cast in rood and quire. 
Many of these marks remain hidden - unseen for centuries.
Photographing them seems like an act of releasing the memory. 
Hotspots
Burford, Oxfordshire
I have a photo shoot in the nearby village of Swinbrook and lodge near to Burford. All photos shot on iPhone (apart from aerial photo - shot on DJI Mini 3 Pro).
A short aerial video of St. John the Baptist and Buford.
Burford
Burford
St. John the Baptist, Burford.
St. John the Baptist at Burford is one of those idyllic churches, nestled at the bottom of the village next to a river. It is an ancient site with a complex plan. Originating in the C12th it was heavily restored by G. E. Street in the 1870’s which led to William Morris founding the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
A lot of the medieval material fabric, however, survives.
I love the story of change writ large on the tower wall. Several revisions to the roof and fenestration of the nave.
Graffiti
This church is full of graffiti of all types, including what looks like an angel in the porch.
A depiction of the church on the back of a memorial.
Possible consecration cross.
Look carefully and you can just make out medieval Gothic script etched on the wall of the crossing.
The Font
C12th Font with later C14th carving. The interest lies in the sculpture work and also the graffiti left on the lead lining which reads: ‘Anthony Sedley 1649 Prisner’
Sedley was one of a number of soldiers who mutinied and were later caught and imprisoned inside the church at Burford.
⚡️Discover More⚡️
Typography
Oh! The joy of fonts of the wordy type! Even if they are encased in underpant shaped boards. Looks like a line of washing.
Our churches are vast repositories of typography - its evolution and design.
Word of the day: New-Pewed. I shall use it every time I fee refreshed. As in “I’m feeling ‘new-pewed’ this morning…”
Elizabethan Gothic Script (From Romans Chapter 13) in the side chapel.
The Tanfield Monument
The tomb of Sir Lawrence and Lady Tanfield - installed in the old St. Katherine’s Chapel. Northern Renaissance in style - with effigies on top and cadavers beneath. Curiously, one of the stone carved cadavers has a human femur inserted.
⚡️ Discover More ⚡️
The Harman Memorial
This is a wonderful memorial in terms of its prescient design. It is of c. 1569 but some of the carvings look remarkably modern - with the Gill-like indigenous peoples in the relief.
The Buildings of Burford
Burford is a psychogeographer’s delight. Start your dérive at the bridge and zig-zag up The Hill in and out of the ginnels and streets that follow the lines of the original burgage plots. The streets are a museum of architectural history - with several centuries of vernacular and polite architecture on display.
Parking is free - behind the church. Public toilets are also on the site and I noticed some overnight stoppers in one of the segmented car parks.
The Doors of Burford.
Some places can be a little overwhelming, so I focus my camera or device on the detail. Buildings, like nature, are nested. Look closer and you see more detail - more clues as to who built or lived in the place. Doors are the perfect little microcosms - they are the boundary between public and private - a threshold of sorts. What do the doors of Burford tell you?
Vanlife
Just a few minutes from the free car park at Burford is the Bakery On The Hill. I walked the streets at around 7am and the bakery was full of hustle and bustle - working on the days bread. The best coffee in Burford too and the pastries are a delight.
I took my haul from the bakery back to the van and worked on the Digest with the spire of St. John’s as inspiration.
My bread knife is from Ilkley and the chopping board is from Grassington. I pick these things up as I travel in the van - the van becoming, itself, a material hoard of memories.
V'Envy
Lovely little sky blue bay VW camper van on the the high street in Burford.
On My Coffee Table
From The Charo's
Bookmarked
A look under the bonnet: why are we still so obsessed with the Regency era? | Jane Austen | The Guardian
‘It’s quite a commute’: climbers scale Salisbury Cathedral to repair stonework | Heritage | The Guardian
Film and Sound
A walk along The Hill at Burford
The Sense of Place Podcast
From the Twittersphere
Response
Thank You!
From the bottom of my heart, a huge thanks to those that have become Members and Patrons.
As well as helping me keep this digest free and public facing, your support also helps me connect with others.
I’m a niche photographer in a niche business and you are helping fill in the gaps, in a challenging climate, to help me maintain my advocacy of the historic environment.
Whilst our historic environment is increasingly under threat, I believe that we need to create emotional connections to our buildings, culture and places - no matter what country we live in. This digest is at the forefront of that.
Without attachments to place, and the values it engenders, the more practical issues of finance, conservation and environment are more difficult to advocate.
In sharing my world view I show the emotive strengths behind our built environment and how it impacts our identity and wellbeing in positive ways that are not yet fully understood. I orchestrate attachments to place that might, eventually, help protect them.
Membership
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I sincerely hope that my digest adds value (in a small kind of way) to your Fridays. 
It takes a day every week to write my digest and I love doing it! It remains free and open to all to read on a weekly basis. If you think it’s of value, you can opt in to support this digest and my work by becoming a member for £3 per month, or £36 per year. You can unsubscribe at any time. There are also some juicy member benefits.
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Andy Marshall
Andy Marshall @fotofacade

Join me on my van-life travels in the British Isles as I build a photo-hoard of material treasures that celebrate our built heritage and contribute to a sense of place.

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