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Crich village cross

Love Lost in Devonshire Gardens

 

In Chapter 7 of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Sons and Lovers’ Paul Morel and Miriam walk from Wingfield Manor to Crich. The chapter is called ‘Lad-and-Girl Love’ and the paragraph that describe the boy and girl approaching Crich is full of romantic images.

“They were now in the bare country of stone walls, which he loved... As they were crossing a large meadow that sloped away from the sun, along a path embedded with innumerable tiny glittering points. Paul, walking alongside, laced his fingers in the strings of the bag Miriam was carrying ... But the meadow was bathed in a glory of sunshine, and the path was jewelled, and it was seldom that he gave her any sign. She held her fingers very still among the strings of the bag, his fingers touching; and the place was golden as a vision … At last they came into the straggling grey village of Crich that lies high.”

(1980 Penguin edition p.209)

Of course, now they would need to break through the security fencing and wade through the mud and diggers of the Harron Homes development: “Devonshire Gardens is a development of four and five bedroom family homes located in Crich, a village nestled in the rolling Derbyshire countryside”, according to the brochure. (No mention of the affordable housing that was part of the original application?)

Bearing in mind that this is the most celebrated reference to Crich in English literature and that people still do D.H. Lawrence pilgrimages, would it not be too much to ask that Devonshire Gardens might have a Paul Morel Road and a Miriam Close? The village has had little enough say in the development so this might at least be an acknowledgement of what we have lost.

Martyn Offord