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I'm an architectural photographer. I travel around Britain recording and interacting with special places that have a spirit about them. I work from my camper van called Woody and I share my experiences via this digest.

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Ghost door, Lavenham, Suffolk.

Words from Common Ground: Sue Clifford and Angela King

Thanks to: "EC.B1328.620ib, Houghton Library, Harvard University" 


1620, was a year of paradox. It was a year of abundance and yet a year that still enshrined religious discrimination with the echoes of the Gunpowder Plot, from only 15 years earlier, still reverberating.

It marked a juncture of both burgeoning possibilities and the persistent weight of history. Some argue that this era served as a tipping point into modernity, while the shadow of the past, exemplified by witchhunts and divisive wars, cast a long and sombre pall over time.

The Northern Renaissance was well underway - out of the Jacobean came bolder ways of thinking - ways that might challenge notions of origin and the supremacy of God.

In 1620 there was a glimmer of hope in the treaty with Spain for the marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Infanta Maria Anna - it might lead to a relaxation of the rules against the Roman Catholics.

In 1620 the legendary journey began on the Mayflower - to a new destination and new hopes for freedom.

Embarkation of Mayflower Pilgrims on the Speedwell - Robert W. Weir (photograph courtesy Architect of the Capitol), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It was also in 1620 that Francis Bacon published his Novum Organum - a work that outlined a new system of logic by looking for the essence of things through the process of reduction.

And so I come to Long Compton in the Warwickshire Cotswolds.

Weighed down with the complexities of modernity, I stand before the porch of St. Peter and St. Paul and take on the mantra of Bacon's Novum Organum.

I start with the porch and then I work my way to the door. I look for the essence of things and redact and reduce their complexity through the conduit of my lens.

This time, my camera is not an instrument for recording, but a way of teaching me how to see and, like the Mayflower, a passage into another world.

"This time, my camera is not an instrument for recording, but a way of teaching me how to see and, like the Mayflower, a passage into another world."

My camera is taking me beyond the threshold of time into the twill and texture of material that has been fashioned by human hands.

And because I take it upon myself to look and observe things through the lens, I'm rewarded with an image that conjures up a thought from centuries ago.

They thought to sacrifice the plate and save the nail. They thought to nick and cut around the nail.

A single thought - an electrical impulse, that passed through the mind of another, like molten lava, and solidified into an imperfect lock plate and nail.

This single act that sprang from an intention is so telling of the year it was made: a more relaxed, pragmatic and vernacular view - one that didn't insist upon straight lines and pure perfection.

This charming imperfection conjures up our humanity, draws it up into my consciousness and dilutes the gush of our present times.

"This charming imperfection conjures up our humanity, draws it up into my consciousness and dilutes the gush of our present times."

And now my mind is fully tuned into this weatherbeaten door.

Novum Organum has cast its spell, and I'm shrinking my world into the essence of pattern and patina from another time. This has become a place where I'm able to dwell.

I think of all the years that have unfolded since 1620, the ever growing intricacies of our world that have led us to the complexity of modernity. It's astonishing to think about the vast expanse of time that separates us from that pivotal year, akin to a river with countless currents and eddies, each moment re-shaping and negating the memories of the past.

With the tendency of our world to impose itself upon the past - to break it up into digestible LED-lit chunks behind shiny glass - I find it hard to think how anything like this can survive the perils of our times.

I'm struck by how rare and significant this door is, as it clings precariously to our present day, but, more than anything else, I'm struck by how invisible these momentous things are to us.

I'm reminded of some words by Paul Nash:

" The landscapes I have in mind are not part of the unseen world in a psychic sense, nor are they part of the Unconscious. They belong to the world that lies visibly about us. They are unseen merely because they are not perceived; only in that way can they be regarded as invisible."

"...more than anything else, I'm struck by how invisible these momentous things are to us. "

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Courtesy of Google Maps

St. Peter and St. Paul, Long Compton, Warwickshire.

I have to admit that this is one of those church views that benefits from a drive-past. I've driven the route in Woody from both directions and the view of the lychgate pirouetting at a comfortable (and legal) speed is second to none.

The lychgate is from the late C16th and is another example of mend and make do. It was formerly part of a row of cottages - the others demolished and the surviving one 'undercut' to form an entrance into the churchyard.

It is one of the most singular vernacular buildings in the country and I love it.

The church sits besides the road as proud as punch. One noticeable feature is the row of yew trees that take you up to the door of 1620. I can imagine Francis Bacon walking along there loving the logic and syncopation of the tree parade.

The top stage of the tower is C15th (all that below, C13th).

Members can view Long Compton in a beautiful VR - showing the Warwickshire Cotswolds beyond the church. It's almost as good as being there.. (viewable in any device)

Be there: Long Compton in glorious VR.
I have to admit that this is one of those church views that benefits from a drive-past.


Inside, I get the 'Francis Bacons' again. I want to redact everything down to its essence - and when I do I realise that, after all the percolating and diluting through the lens of my camera, nature is at the heart of it all.

And then I see the lectern cover - the natural forms and colours. I move in slowly and steady the camera as I get closer to the pattern.

When I do, a transformation takes place. I look through the viewfinder at the pattern and my perspective shifts beyond the hand-made pattern to the pattern of the material itself.

A universe within a universe. A small item, no bigger than a laptop that has a depth and complexity that is profoundly rewarding.

Members can view a delightful aerial video of the church and village of Long Compton here:

Aerial Video of St. Peter and St. Paul, Long Compton, Warwickshire
Even better than that is the fly-around - giving a unique perspective to this beautiful church and village.


I'm giving away one of my most 'thumbed' books - "Common Ground: England in Particular" to the next person to sign up for Membership. "

I'll also be sending out some 'goodies' from my travels to all the runners up who become a member on the day.

I'm afraid the book is so big and heavy that it applies to the UK only. If you do sign up from overseas - I'll still send out a goody pack.

It's a book that has underpinned and informed my travels in Woody and holds a wisdom beyond its years.

Membership gives you access to a whole host of extra content. It helps keep Woody on the road and also helps towards Member Powered Photography.


I drive on and park up on the roadside for lunch. The impact of Long Compton, the door, the interior, the view has coursed through me like wine through water.

Even the most mundane acts start to open up and stretch my mind. 😬

Van Life Gallery
My van, Woody, is my time-travelling machine, taking me to some remarkable places that have altered my mind like wine through water.

Rose Ferraby – artist and archaeologist
Archaeologists uncover rare 18th-century cold bath under Bath Assembly Rooms
Excavations reveal structure that may be one of a kind below building that was used for range of leisure activities
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Horseshoe crab wins gold
Winners of the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year have been revealed.

Building Soul - with Thomas Heatherwick - Why Boring Buildings Are Bad for Us - BBC Sounds
Thomas Heatherwick argues for change in our building design.


From this time last year:

"For some reason, that I'm not able to explain - this kind of detailed exploration of my environment seems to contribute to my mental health and wellbeing. It's underpinned by a curiosity that has been influenced by my vocation which involves the act of looking. There's also something about the unalloyed delight of making discoveries in the most unexpected places, combined with a feeling of adding relevancy to my own perspective - worthy of this world, participating."

Andy Marshall’s Genius Loci Digest 14 Oct 2022
It’s all about the detail.The Counting House in Wirksworth, Derbyshire is articulated by its delightfully asymmetrical roof: a lead covered ogee Gothik style dormer on a lean to roof covered in hand made plain tiles. The abutments are waterproofed in stepped lead flashing and soakers.

Members’ Area
Members only content
Member Powered Photography Status Page
In essence I’m offering my professional services for free to historic locations in Britain.

New Content & Updated:

Comperandum - Church Towers
A nod to Banister Fletcher: Church Towers


The door at Long Compton wasn't the only thing that arrested my attention - across the road is an old petrol pump. I wonder how long it will be before somebody gets the urge to paint it?

I love the fact that nature dwells all around it - almost, in parts, becoming indistinguishable from the object itself.

I photographed it as a record of the imperfect upon the perfect.

"I love the fact that nature dwells all around it - almost, in parts, becoming indistinguishable from the object itself. "

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Andy Marshall is documenting his travels in his time-travelling camper van 🚐📸🏛

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Photographs and words by Andy Marshall (unless otherwise stated). Most photographs are taken with Iphone 14 Pro and DJI Mini 3 Pro.