Church of Ferles


“What of the body of life?
They are but a flower, a dust, a shadow that fleeth away.”


Recently I was making recordings across the south downs, around Lewes and the surrounding area of Sussex, guided through the area by Robert Marshall.
On driving through Firle I remembered reading about the ‘Garden Church’ in the village.
We stopped to take a look around. Once there I felt drawn to sit a while, to listen to the birdsong, take in the atmosphere, find a little peace.
Luckily I also had the foresight to record there.
Within the Vestry is a spectacular stained glass window by John Piper, in homage to William Blake’s Book of Job. The Tree of Life is fitting with the name of the place, it’s name once known as Church of Ferles, meaning oak tree.
I read in the church guide that the site was very probably once a druid sanctuary, later becoming a place of worship for the Saxons the Normans tand through to today.
This new piece is the result of that afternoon, among the trees and stone and the atmosphere of the Church of Oaks.

Composed and performed by Matthew Shaw.
Field recording from outside the south porch St. Peter, West Firle.
July 2019




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