At the meeting point of two ancient paths, the Icknield Way and Ermine Street, stands a Rosy Stone, and around it a town: Royston.
We arrived here on day four of our pilgrimage, and took breakfast by the stone, the heart of the town. But to our disgust the stone’s hollow – its font – was full of chicken bones and cigarette butts, in foul gloopy water. So using our perfect toolkit of a milk carton (to scoop out the liquids), a plastic cereal inner packet (a glove to remove debris) and a cardboard cereal box (a bin for the foulness) – we were able to clean the Rosy Stone, and refill it with fresh clean spring water.
Immediately, all around us, nothing really changed.
“What the f**k are you doing” one chap asked. We explained thoroughly.
Royston, an ancient place of people passing through, proved kind to us in its coy way. Deep under its main road lies a secret chamber, a chalk cave carved with images of Gods and legends. Popular local tradition claims it an initiation chamber for the Knights Templar. It is also allegedly a meeting point for two great ley-lines – the Michael and Mary line. Whatever the details, it is clearly a holy place, deserving of song. Singing here was unsettlingly vast and awesome. We could feel our song more than hear it.
‘What Wondrous Love’ is from the American Southern harmony traditions, but like a true pilgrim song it adapts to fit in wherever it goes…
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What wondrous love is this, O my soul.
What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of Bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down.
When I was sinking down, beneath God's mighty frown,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside his crown for my soul.
Ye winged seraphs fly, bear the news, bear the news,
Ye winged Seraphs fly, bear the news,
Ye winged Seraphs fly, like comets in the sky,
Fill vast eternity with the news, with the news,
Fill vast eternity with the news.
all rights reserved