To make our pilgrimage to Jerusalem the song, we had a plan. We tried to follow it. But as ever on pilgrimage, the whim of journey was key. If solid local knowledge presented itself in the form of an old dear’s wise whispers, or if a quest emerged from the forest, or if the wind blew strongly counterwise, or if our bodies and minds could not accomplish everything, we naturally followed the best path offered.
But for interest, here is the itinerary we had planned for our pilgrimage to Jerusalem the song:
DETAILS OF THE ROUTE
Saturday 22nd October: Primrose Hill to Piccadilly
Via: Primrose Hill (where Blake spoke with the spiritual sun), Bunhill Fields (Blake’s unmarked grave), St Johns Hospitallers at Clerkenwell (ancient military order to protect pilgrims to Jerusalem), St Paul’s Cathedral (Parry’s grave), The London Stone (Blake’s Druidic Centre of London), The Globe (400 years since Shakespeare’s death), Temple Church (modelled on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem), 100 the Strand (Blake’s singing deathplace), Golden Square (Blake’s brother’s sock shop where Blake exhibited), 28 Broad Street (Blake’s birthplace), St George’s Hotel (formerly Queen’s Hall, place of first performance of Jerusalem), 17 Molton Street (the only surviving London residence of Blake), St James Piccadilly (Blake’s baptism).
Sunday 23rd October: Piccadilly to Wimbledon
Via: Wellington House (The WW1 propaganda bureau that commissioned Parry to set Jerusalem to music), the Cenotaph (memorial for the WW1 dead), Westminster Abbey (where Blake spent years in artistic study), Tate Britain (the Blake Room), 39 Ecclestone Street (first London WI HQ, who owned the song from 1928), Royal College of Music (where Parry was director), Royal Albert Hall (where Jerusalem has been sung more than any song apart from God Save the Queen), the Israeli Embassy (Jerusalem’s modern inhabitants), Kensington Square (Parry’s London home), St Mary’s Battersea (where William and Catherine Blake (wills and kate) were married), Wimbledon Common (where Caesar camped and Robin Hood roamed).
Monday 24th October: Wimbledon to Esher
Via: Wimbledon War Memorial, The King Stone of Kingston (Saxon coronation stone), Clattern Bridge (oldest in England), Diana Fountain (ancient statue of uncertain mythic provenance), Hampton Court (500 year old Royal Palace), the River Mole, All Saints Weston Church, Esher Common.
Tuesday 25th October: Esher to Ripley
Via: Oxshott Common, Cobham Chapel (memorial to Robert McAlpine, concrete magnate who builded modern England), Cobham Water Mill (oldest ‘satanic’? mill in England), St Andrews Church Cobham (Winstanley of the Diggers warden here), the M25 (escape from London), All Saints Church Ockham (where Parry tutored the Lushington daughters).
Wednesday 26th October: Ripley to Peaslake
Via: St Mary Magdalene Church Ripley (Eric Clapton and Lord Nelson – war and music), Thomas Becket Church East Clandon (home of first VC of WW1), the Box Groves of the North Downs Pilgrims Way, The Silent Pool, Albury Catholic Apostolic Church (bizarre but once-vast millennial English sect), St James Church Shere (Anchorites and Bridget Jones).
Thursday 27th October: Peaslake to Hascombe
Via: St Marks Church, Peaslake, The Hurt Wood (vast common woodland), Long lost Roman roads, Hascombe Church (Medieval Jerusalem Olive Wood Screen), Hascombe Iron Age Hillfort.
Friday 28th October: Hascombe to Black Downs
Via: Dunsfold Holy Well, Dunsfold Church and Ancient Yew (oldest pews in England and William Morris’s favourite church), Chiddingfold Green (huge Nov 5 bonfire, site of 11 ancient glassworks, and the oldest inn in England, once a pilgrimage refuge for monks), the start of Sussex.
Saturday 29th October: Black Downs to Easebourne
Via: The Temple of the Winds (highest hill in Sussex, and Tennyson’s haunt, an early adopter of Blake’s work), St Margaret of Antioch Church (Jerusalem Crusader built), Shulbrede Priory (where Parry’s piano lives, and his descendants), St Mary’s Church Easebourne.
Sunday 30th October: Easebourne to Kingley Vale
Via: The ruins of Cowdrey castle, St Ann’s Hillfort, The Angel Inn (where the Pilgrim Fathers stopped en route to Plymouth and the Mayflower), Bepton St Mary’s Church (ancient oak and Black Death victims grave – like Parry who died of Spanish Influenza in 1918!), Kingley Vale (largest Yew Tree forest in Europe).
Monday 31st October: Kingley Vale to Felpham
Via: St Andrews West Stoke, Chichester Guildhall (where Blake stood trial for sedition), Chichester Cross and Cathedral, St Leodegar’s Church Hunston, St Mary’s Felpham, Blake’s Cottage Felpham (where he wrote Jerusalem!).
Tuesday 1st November: Felpham to Rustington (and on to Arundel)
Via: Knights Croft Rustington (where Parry wrote the melody for Jerusalem, and where he died of Spanish Influenza in 1918), St Peter and Paul Church Rustington (Parry’s local church), The Street, Rustington (where the NUWSS leaders were based, to whom Parry gave the song Jerusalem in 1916), St Mary Magdalene Lyminster and the Knucker Hole (bottomless lake where the last dragon of Sussex was slain by a poisoned pie).
We only made it to Rustington – but stayed an ecstatically restful night afterwards in Burpham, near Arundel.