… And day one –


I collected my friend from the station about 25 miles from my home, and we took a slight detour via a tiny, ancient village. Little Missenden is utterly beautiful. A mixture of periods and styles that span the history of the area. But the little parish church of St John the Baptist is something else.


images (8)***

The church itself sits peacefully on the edge of the village. An ancient yew grows in the churchyard shading the graves. Unusually in these times, the church stands open most days. Massive oak posts, cracked and warped with age support the porch and a dark oaken door with a heavy ring gives entry.

It was late and the place was in darkness save for the sanctuary candle. We switched on a light and my friend stood in awe of the faded but beautiful red ochre painting on the wall.  The paintings, of St Christopher, angels and the crucifixion date back 800 years or so. To see them preserved here, in a church first begun 200 years  or so before they were painted, is, quite simply, awesome.

But it is older still. There are Roman bricks in the walls, medieval tiles still in place under the grates, evidence of the Anglo Saxon construction everywhere. And as if this and the beautiful stained glass were not enough, there are small, rough carved crosses in the plaster of the walls… marks left by the hands of medieval pilgrims.


images (9)


These rough marks touch me deeply. In this tiny village church you can see the human hand of faith that has spanned over a thousand years. You see the hand and love of an artist next to the roughly gouged crosses, and they are equally beautiful.

This little church has seen the births, marriages and deaths of this tiny village for over a millennium, and continues to this day. It is such a peaceful place, welcoming and tranquil, I often used to stop there whenever I was in the area. When my son was recovering, I met the vicar there one day and we prayed together. I will pray anywhere, from a hilltop to a church, a mosque to a stone circle.. There is an old Hindu prayer that says, “Thou art everywhere, but I worship Thee here.” Somehow, this feels right to me.


images (10)


It matters not, I think, whether we share the faith practised in a building, whether our faith wears another Name or face, or reads from a different Book. There is something in these old places that takes in the passing of human life in their very fabric and mirrors a glimpse into the heart of the seeker through eternity.



Book One of the Triad of Albion

Stuart France & Sue Vincent

The Initiate is the story of a journey beyond the realms of our accustomed normality.

It is a true story told in a fictional manner. In just such a way did the Bards of old hide in the legends and deeds of folk heroes, those deeper truths for those ‘with eyes to see and ears to hear’.

Don and Wen, two founding members of a new Esoteric School, meet to explore an ancient sacred site, as a prelude to the School’s opening event. The new School is to be based upon a nine-fold system and operate under the aegis of the Horus Hawk.

The trip does not unfold as planned.

Instead, Don and Wen, guided by the birds, find themselves embarking upon a journey that will lead them through a maze of spiritual symbolism, to magical mysteries and the shadowy figure of the Ninth Knight.

As the veils thin and waver, time shifts and the present is peopled with shadowy figures of the past, weaving their tales through a quest for understanding and opening wide the doors of perception…

Now available via Amazon worldwide.

Paperback UK     Kindle UK    Paperback    Kindle



About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in Life, Love and Laughter, painting, Spirituality, The Silent Eye and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Continuity

  1. What a beautiful place. Those wall paintings are something else… so unusual! A really special place by the looks of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ioniamartin says:

    What a beautiful example of belief

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tyroper says:

    Love that kind of history. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. First let me say the comps and colors on the photos you included are just exquisite. The length of the chapel shot is particularly striking. And your descriptions of these places continues to capture my imagination and interest.
    I admire the manner in which you capture the import and impact of this structure almost entirely outside the context of its original purpose. And to the extent that you make the connection it’s with pilgrims not priests. But what I find extraordinary in this piece is your ongoing relationship with the essence of time. Old things. Very old things. It led me to wonder why almost everyone is bias to one degree or another toward the past. The common answer is we’re all resistant to change and surely that’s true so fat as it goes. But I think it’s more likely that we all harbor thoughts of permanence and eight hundred year old buildings housing thousand year old artifacts support that aspiration and add credibility to the title of your article.
    Needless to say I enjoyed your note.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you, Richard. I’ve been exploring even older places today.. a mere 50000 years of faith and speculating on how the landscape and manifestations of belief were intertwined. i think the connection with he past goes far deeper than the surfaces and into the roots of being within the landscape, almost as if the crystalline structure of the earth itself sounds a note from a particular octave that resonates with something within us.
      I think we fear change very often, and more specifically fear what those changes may mean in terms of our personal identity.Even when we are fascinated by advances in science, technology or art.. maybe we feel a little insecure and fear we cannot keep up of will become outmoded.
      Maybe I’m just waffling 🙂
      Lovely to hear from you as always x


  5. I agree Sue. I visited the church at Tintagel and spent a long time just connecting with the place. And the cemetery as well. It was such a holy place, inside and out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lizzy says:

    The pictures do look beautiful and that church must go on my places to visit list.
    I attended churches and Sunday schools of various denominations ( C of E, Methodist, RC) as a child and happily expanded to include Buddhist, Hindu, Wiccan, Druid, GD, OTO, Hare Krishna etc rituals as the occasion required. It always seems right to pay one’s respects to the local deities and light whatever candles or incense sticks are available.
    Last time I was in India in 2002 it struck me most forcefully that all paths are valid as long as they harm no-one and nothing, but this is so often not true of organised religions such as the patriarchal Abrahamic ones with their blatant or veiled misogyny. The message at the core of virtually all faiths is love and compassion, but this gets corrupted and perverted as adherents indulge in power politics, losing the essence in the fight over form. (Jesus, save me from your followers!)
    It was therefore a little heartening yesterday to be able to share the Facebook post about the Moslems in Bradford supporting local Jews in their effort to keep their synagogue alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy says:

    Enjoy reading the history. Beautiful photos of the church.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Running Elk says:

    Quite partial to the odd old thing meself… 😉 Like you, I love the energy that such buildings hold. All of life has been shared, recognised and validated within, and without these walls. The older places like this probably had some form of worship going on in that location since the ice melted… power centres in their own right, the closure of them all over the country, or worse still, the turning of them into dwelling places, is rather sobering. (Though, having said that… the temptation whenever one comes on the market is rather difficult to resist… lol )

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Continuity… – The Silent Eye

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