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every passing stranger, posted in local lore, lets off a joke or makes jocular inquiry. Returning to the main road, a signpost directs into the heart of Romney Marsh, by way of Ivychurch and Newchurch. Ivychurch, whose tower is dimly visible from the road in the soft atmosphere of the marsh, is a mile and a half distant, and stands as isolated from the world as a place well may be and yet remain a “going concern.” What is there of Ivychurch A few farmsteads, a few more cottages, an oast-house or so, a village inn, and an amazingly large church. Apart from New Romney church, which is that of a town and therefore not comparable with that of this rural parish, the great church of Ivychurch is by far the largest in the whole district, and fully deserves to be called the Marshland Cathedral. It could accommodate, fifty times over, the present population of the parish, and the irresistible inference is that this must, six hundred years ago, when the great church was built, have been the most densely peopled region of the marsh. Nowadays, like all its fellow churches, it is damp and mouldy and a world too large. Nay, more : its vast empty interior is falling into decay, and the north aisle is made to serve the purpose of a coal-cellar; while, because the windows are broken, the wildfowl of this “recondite region” have made it a favourite roosting-place. It is an eerie experience, having procured the keys and unlocked the door, to be met with a tremendous whirring of wings, and to be almost knocked down with the surprise of a moorhen flying in one's face. Funds are accumulating for a restoration of this church ; but, unless the people come back to the land, why expend so much good money Better were it that this should go the way of the other ruined churches of the marsh if there be none to worship. The wheel of fortune, however, still turns. God grant the time be at hand when the yellowing corn becomes again that predominant feature in the landscape

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it never has been in the eyes of the present generation ; that the farmer may again find his industry pay, and we be no longer dependent upon the foreigner for our food supplies. Newchurch, nearly three miles farther into the the marsh, was new seven hundred years ago, when the church was built. It is second only in size to Ivychurch, with the same lichenous damp,

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but better cared for, and the centre of a quite considerable village, as villages go in these parts. There must actually be sufficient inhabitants in the parish to quarter fill the building ! Newchurch makes a pretty picture, thoroughly characteristic of the marsh. From it the eye ranges to the wooded cliffs at Bilsington, to Aldington Knoll, and to Lympne, with its castle and church, looking fairylike and ethereal in the shimmering light of a summer afternoon ; or in the other direction to where the marsh is bounded by the sea. The picture of Newchurch itself is seen here, and is more eloquent than mere words can be. In it you perceive how this is an epitome of the marsh, with windmill and rushy dyke in the foreground, and farmsteads, rickyards and church, companionable together, and in appearance mutually dependent, in middle distance : the infinite levels of this interesting district appearing in the background. It is not by mere chance or by any figment of literary imagination that farms and church here look so dependent upon one another. They actually were so in the marsh, much more than is indicated by that tithing of the unhappy farmer customary all over the country. It was the Church, in the form of the monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, that originally reclaimed the marsh and brought it under cultivation, and the Church was, by consequence, landlord. Long years of patient labour had resulted in winning these lands for agriculture, and the monastery fully earned the profits it eventually secured from its long-continued enterprise. Its piety was of two kinds,-of that practical sort which makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before, and thus improves our temporal condition in this vale of tears; and of that spiritual and intellectual variety which, having founded settlements for the husbandmen, saw to it that his immortal as well as his earthly part should have due sustenance. This is no place to tell how in the course of centuries that Church fell away from its high ideals: here still survive neighbourly farm and parish place of worship, to prove that they once existed. It is here, in the middle of the marsh, that you perceive how little given to change are the local methods. Sheep are still to be found here in thousands, and still tended, as from time immemorial, by that variety of shepherd known in these parts as a “looker.” Ingoldsby names the manservant of Thomas Marsh of Marston, “Ralph Looker,” and derived the name, doubtless, from this local title for shepherd. The terms of a “looker's " employment are curious, and look wretchedly poor, but as they have survived, and show no signs of being revised in these times when labour is scarce on the farms and farmers eagerly compete for help, they cannot be worse than methods of paying shepherds in other parts of the country. A “looker” does everything connected with sheep-tending at an inclusive payment of one shilling and sixpence an acre per annum. For this he looks after the flocks, sees them through the horrors of the lambing season, shears them in summer, succours them in winter, and cures their ailments throughout the year. The sum seems pitiful, but when calculated on farms of six hundred acres or so, works out fairly well. One comes to love the marsh, to delight in its

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