Monk's House






        Photos taken April 09.  Bloomsbury Group  Monk's House Review  Dora Carrington  Art Store  Search Site
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        The Photos
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        Photographs of the exterior of Monk's House & surrounding area taken April 2009.

        Monk's House dates from the 18th century and is a weatherboarded white cottage now belonging to the National Trust. It is in the village of Rodmell which is approx three miles south-east of Lewes, East Sussex, England and the road which runs through the village from Lewes ends up a couple of miles from Rodmell at the ugly port of Newhaven. The writer Virginia Woolf and her husband, Leonard Woolf, purchased the house in 1919, and received many important visitors connected to the Bloomsbury Group, including T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry and Lytton Strachey.

        Virginia's sister, the artist Vanessa Bell, lived at Charleston Farmhouse in Firle (which is approx 8 miles away) from 1916, and both houses became important outposts of the Bloomsbury Group.

        Virginia and Leonard Woolf divided their time between Monk's House and their London house until 1940 when the latter was bombed. Virginia, who suffered from severe depression for many years, took her life in 1941 at the age of 59, drowning in the River Ouse after walking from the cottage to the river with her overcoat filled with stones. Her body wasn't found for some three weeks by children. Her husand had her ashes scattered under an elm just beyond the garden of Monks House.

        Today, the designer Caroline Zoob lives upstairs with her husband. As tenants they are responsible for both the upkeep of the house and that of the gardens which are exactly as Leonard Woolf left them in 1969 (or so I am told).

        Rodmell is just a beautiful village with quaint cottages and houses straight out of an episode of Midsomer Murders. I had been to Monk's House before and a review can be found of the place can e found here. I went back again because I wanted to sense the last walk Virginia would have made to her death at around noon on the 28th March, 1941. There is a lonely pathway at the side of Monks House that ends with the old church on one side and the village school on the other (of which I remember reading that Leonard was involved as a governor or something after his wife had died). The church also backs on to the garden of Monk's House and is by the cabin Virginia wrote in (which is preserved). Now this is the place, the landscape, Virginia walked towards her final destination in a state of mind I know not what, and beyond the church (pictured) there is nothing, a kind of big expanse of nothingness. By that I mean it is open countryside, openfields with clusters of woodland through which the River Ouse runs on its way to the sea. She had known the land well for she had walked across in many a time when she walked to her sister's home at Charleston. From Monk's House it is quite a walk to the river, a mile or two, and standing by the church I tried to envisage the forlorn ghost of Virginia in coat and hat, stopping briefly now and again stooped over her walking stick and looking back at the church spire, then walking on, further and further away down the country path until she could be seen no more, walking from the present into history.

        Standing at the church wall some 70 years later and looking at this enormous expanse of countryside to the Ouse I knew little would have changed from that fateful walk. What I saw is what Virginia would have seen. It filled me with melancholy for then I felt the obvious maxim that all things must past and all things go on and that I too like everyone would be making that walk from the present into history. And I felt it acutely for I realised with certainty that all Virginia achieved in her life was way way beyond me.

        Sobering.

        Hover over each thumbnail image for details on picture and click on each to open a bigger picture.

        Most of these photos are available as signed prints. Please e-mail for details.

        I'd be grateful if the photos are not used without prior permission. Please e-mail any request for usage or to obtain any photo without the copyright wording. Any commercial usage will incur a small fee.

        Charleston Farmhouse postcards can be found here.


        dvd


        - Paul Page (2009)

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        Manipulated
        I M A G E S


        Heavily thatched cottage, Rodmell, toward's Monk's House - April 09 Heavily thatched cottage, Rodmell, toward's Monk's House - April 09 Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Entrance to Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09

        Side garden of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Garden of Monk's House, Rodmell, Church spire in background  - April 09 Garden of Monk's House, Rodmell - April 09 Church behind Monk's House, Rodmell, beyond whicd there is only open countryside to the River Ouse where Virginia Woolf drowned herself - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Rodmell, East Sussex - April 09

        Heavily thatched cottage, Rodmell, toward's Monk's House - April 09 Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Side garden of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09


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        Untouched
        I M A G E S


        Heavily thatched cottage, Rodmell, toward's Monk's House - April 09 Heavily thatched cottage, Rodmell, toward's Monk's House - April 09 Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Entrance to Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09

        Side garden of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Garden of Monk's House, Rodmell, Church spire in background  - April 09 Garden of Monk's House, Rodmell - April 09 Church behind Monk's House, Rodmell, beyond whicd there is only open countryside to the River Ouse where Virginia Woolf drowned herself - April 09 Front of Monk's House, Rodmell,  - April 09 Rodmell, East Sussex - April 09



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      • Virginia Woolf Biography

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