Westgate Cottage – Self Catering holiday cottage, Isle of Wight

Set in St Lawrence, a recognised area of outstanding natural beauty near the south point of the Isle of Wight

About Bonchurch

Old St Boniface Church, Bonchurch

Old St Boniface Church, Bonchurch

Bonchurch, one of the oldest established settlement on the Isle of Wight, is a small village on the other side of Ventnor to Westgate Cottage and is about a 15 minutes drive away

This lovely village is perfect for spending a quite afternoon exploring. The Old St Boniface Church which dates back to the 11th Century and St Boniface Church which was established in 1847.

The pond at Bonchurch

The pond at Bonchurch

Don’t forget to take some bread with you to feed the fish in the pond – the kids will love it!

The beach is a short walk away and opposite the pond in Bonchurch is the Pond Café which is a lovely place for an evening meal

According to Wikipedia, In the mid to late 19th Century, Bonchurch developed into a fashionable centre for writers and artists. Celebrated Victorians such as Charles DickensThomas Carlyle, and Lord Macauley came here and stayed in large villas that they rented, often for the season.

The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne spent his boyhood in Bonchurch, at East Dene, and was buried in 1909 at Bonchurch New Church, his grave being the subject of a poem by Thomas Hardy. He had an atheist funeral which was picketted in protest by his relatives. In the 20th Century Henry de Vere Stacpoole lived in the village for over 40 years, and was buried here in 1951.

A Singer Asleep by Thomas Hardy (about Algernon Charles Swinburne, 1837-1909)

I

In this fair niche above the unslumbering sea,
That sentrys up and down all night, all day,
From cove to promontory, from ness to bay,
The Fates have fitly bidden that he should be Pillowed eternally.

II

– It was as though a garland of red roses
Had fallen about the hood of some smug nun
When irresponsibly dropped as from the sun,
In fulth of numbers freaked with musical closes,
Upon Victoria’s formal middle time
His leaves of rhythm and rhyme.

III

O that far morning of a summer day
When, down a terraced street whose pavements lay
Glassing the sunshine into my bent eyes,
I walked and read with a quick glad surprise
New words, in classic guise, –

IV

The passionate pages of his earlier years,
Fraught with hot sighs, sad laughters, kisses, tears;
Fresh-fluted notes, yet from a minstrel who
Blew them not naively, but as one who knew
Full well why thus he blew.

V

I still can hear the brabble and the roar
At those thy tunes, O still one, now passed through
That fitful fire of tongues then entered new!
Their power is spent like spindrift on this shore;
Thine swells yet more and more.

VI

– His singing-mistress verily was no other
Than she the Lesbian, she the music-mother
Of all the tribe that feel in melodies;
Who leapt, love-anguished, from the Leucadian steep
Into the rambling world-encircling deep
Which hides her where none sees.

VII

And one can hold in thought that nightly here
His phantom may draw down to the water’s brim,
And hers come up to meet it, as a dim
Lone shine upon the heaving hydrosphere,
And mariners wonder as they traverse near,
Unknowing of her and him.

VIII

One dreams him sighing to her spectral form:
“O teacher, where lies hid thy burning line;
Where are those songs, O poetess divine
Whose very arts are love incarnadine?”
And her smile back: “Disciple true and warm,
Sufficient now are thine.” . . .

IX

So here, beneath the waking constellations,
Where the waves peal their everlasting strains,
And their dull subterrene reverberations
Shake him when storms make mountains of their plains –
Him once their peer in sad improvisations,
And deft as wind to cleave their frothy manes –
I leave him, while the daylight gleam declines
Upon the capes and chines.

BONCHURCH, 1910.

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