Save Church Field
This Song to the flower of Flaxman’s joy To the blossom of hope for a sweet decoy; Do all that you can, or all that you may, To entice him to Felpham and far away. Away to sweet Felpham, for Heaven is there; The Ladder of Angels descends thro’ the air; On the turret its spiral does softly descend, Thro’ the village then winds,at my cot it does end. You stand in the village and look up to Heaven; The precious stones glitter on flights seventy-seven; And my brother is there, and my friend and thine Descend and ascend with the bread and the wine. The bread of sweet thought and the wine of delight Feed the village of Felpham by day and by night, And at his own door the bless’d Hermit does stand, Dispensing unceasing to all the wide land. The idea is to conserve church field as an open space now. Also in the future, to reflect the visions and poetry of Blake in a wider way, magnifying much that is present in the current stained glass window to the surrounding land through the creation of a Blake Trail. This would use Blake’s poetry and mosaics of his artwork to enhance our identity, encourage the wider community to appreciate the beauty of our natural setting and hopefully be inspired.
Perhaps a centre piece could take as its inspiration the above letter written by William to Anna Flaxman. Blake loved our fields as shown in the painting held at the tate, and “Church Field” is the last one remaining in Felpham, where he was inspired to write these famous, resounding words and “I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem In England’s green and pleasant land.” I think conserving this last piece of “green and pleasant land” in Felpham would itself be a fitting and long over due tribute to the genius of William Blake. The precise use of the field could reflect the will of the whole community should it ever be sold, if not for development. Options are endless from simple orchards, which are part of Felpham’s heritage, to a butterfly and bee conservation site to a simple community field and education centre. I really hope that designing the neighbourhood plan will be a chance for people to really reflect on what they do value about Felpham and how it can be enhanced.