At Lesnes Abbey

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I’ve made a pilgrimage way beyond Canary Wharf, to Lesnes Abbey, in East London. Before finding the ruins, I lost myself in the neighbouring Abbey Woods. They’re very ancient; there’s a strong sense of the numinous there, of the close presence of a specifically English, and very primal divinity.

Less so at the Abbey. There’s a group of people playing football, a man teaching his small son and daughter cricket. Gothic buildings lie in ruins, their intensity replaced by everyday joys. A walking party comes by, discussing history. Religion is a memory here; a soft counterpoint to the vivid life of the surrounding woods.

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