During my research of hermitage cells and oratory's, I came across the ruins of a local early 15th Century (1409) cell/oratory built into a large granite outcrop in the village of Roche. Pre-dating the cell, the outcrop appears to be the centre of a site long-venerated with pre-historic religious importance - Neolithic pottery and remains have been uncovered in the vicinity and local settlements taking their name from the feature. The chapel, a masterpiece of mediæval engineering, is dedicated to St Michael and is said to have been the abode of a hermit monk named Ogrin.
I found an oddly but highly appropriate (to my work) description of the rock written (in Olde English) in 1610 by topographer Jon Norden (see fig.1). It reads:'In this ragged pyle may be obserued five seueral workes: the firste of nature, whoe, as a mother, begate this stonye substance; nexte of force, whereby the water at the generall floude depryued it of her earth coueringe shelter, leauinge it naked; the therde of arte, which raysed a buylding vpon so cragged a foundation; a fourth, of industrye, in workinge concauitye (concavity) in so obdurate a subjecte; lastly, of deuotion, wherein men, in their then well-wenuinge (well-meaning) zeale, would abandon, as it were, the societye of humane creatures, and undergoe the tedious daylie asceut, and continuance of so cold and so abandoned a place. To this may be added a sixth worke, euen of Time, who, as she is the mother, and begetteth, so is she the destroyer of her begotten chyldren; and nothinge that she bringeth forth is permanent.' - (Norden's 'Description of Cornwall' (1610), quoted in Ancient Crosses, and Other Antiquities in the East of Cornwall, John Thomas Blight (1865:107-108).
The paragraph addresses the key themes of my project: Nature ('as a mother, begat this stone substance; next of force, whereby the water at the general flood deprived it of her earth covering shelter, leaving it naked'), art ('which raised a building upon so cragged a foundation'), the abandonment of society to submit and fuse with nature (of devotion, wherein men, in their then well-meaning zeale, would abandon, as it were, the society of humane creatures) and impermanence in connection to nature and time ('Time, who, as she is the mother, and begetteth, so is she the destroyer of her begotten children; and nothing that she bringeth forth is permanent'). I am keen to incorporate this text into my work somehow, or at the very least, my work moving forward will be in consideration of this citation. I love the odd idea of 'a sixth of five works', and it might well be that this becomes part of the title of the work.
Blight, J.T. (1858) Ancient Crosses and Other Antiquities in the East of Cornwall. London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. Dublin: Hodges & Smith. Penzance: F.T Vibert.