Historic England has warned that a 17th-century thatched home where William Blake composed the lyrics to Jerusalem, the song that has become a symbol of optimism and patriotism, is in danger of being destroyed due to degradation.
From 1800 until 1803, Blake and his wife, Catherine, resided in a brick and flint home at Felpham, West Sussex. Charles Hubert Parry subsequently adapted his words to music, alluding to England’s “green and pleasant land” as well as its “dark satanic mills.”
The Blake Cottage Trust purchased the Grade II* listed home for £500,000 in 2015, but it requires urgent repairs to the thatch, roof structure, and supporting brickwork. In addition, the organization plans to construct a new annexe for exhibits about the poet and artist.
In 2015, the building was put in trust for the country, and a fundraising campaign was initiated.
Historic England, the government’s heritage agency, has included the cottage to a list of 130 properties endangered by neglect, degradation, or inappropriate development that will be added to the Heritage at Risk register in 2021. There are another 233 properties on the 2021 list whose fates have been ensured.
Battersea Power Station, which is set to reopen next year following major rehabilitation, is one of those removed from the at-risk list. The land, which is located on the south side of the Thames, had been abandoned for decades but is now home to retail, entertainment, housing, and office space.
Plumpton Rocks, a Grade II* listed landscape in North Yorkshire planned in the mid-nineteenth century and painted twice by JMW Turner, has been repaired and is no longer in danger.
However, another garden has been added to the list: Warley Place in Essex. It was founded by Ellen Willmott, a powerful female horticulture and early proponent of “wild gardening,” and has since become one of the most well-known gardens in the nation. Hundreds of plants have been named after Willmott or Warley Place, who died almost bankrupt in 1934 after devoting most of her money to the garden.
A protected shipwreck off the coast of Kent is also under jeopardy. In 1703, the Restoration, a 1055-ton British vessel, sunk in a storm near Deal’s Goodwin Sands. The moveable sandbank had almost entirely shifted, revealing the timber remnants of the ship and three iron cannon, according to a recent geographical study. The wreck is presently in danger of being eroded by waves and attacked by aquatic critters.
Historic England stated 1,459 buildings or structures, 2,001 non-structural archaeological locations, 923 houses of worship, 104 parks and gardens, 491 conservation areas, three battlefields, and four protected wreck sites are among the 4,985 places on its at-risk list.
“Looking after and investing in our historic places can bring communities together, contribute to the country’s economic recovery, and help tackle climate change,” said Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England. Our historic sites are deserving of care, investment, and a bright future.”