On the final evening of our stay near Dunwich, we travelled up the coast. The effects of the erosion means there is no coastal road, and with my sister navigating, that always brings the chance of interesting discoveries. Travelling down a long and winding road in pursuit of a striking church tower, we found ourselves faced with no more road.We parked by the Church with the great tower, which at first sight was totally ruinous, but on closer sight had, within impressive and massive ruined choirs, a tiny church which was still in use. This was Covehithe – another of the many victims of coastal erosion – once a flourishing town, now a hamlet with twenty people living there.

As we walked along the deserted road towards it end, we could see that it simply stopped – a barrier between us and the crumbling cliffs. A long trail to the left led us along a cliff path which had great holes gouged out of it by the sea. The skyline was dotted with dead trees – killed by the salt-winds coming in from the sea, and as we looked back to the ruins of the magnificent church and to the side at the decaying cliffs surrendering to the assaults of the sea, I thought myself in a landscape which exemplified decay and dying; even in high summer, the trees were dead – a stark silhouette against the darkening sky.

Here everything was dead, decaying or dying, and as we walked along the shingle and sand of the beach, we could see relics of civilisation – drainage pipes, bits of road, scattered by the foot of the eroding cliffs; the sandy glacial deposits provide no resistance – houses built on sand indeed. Soon, it would all be gone – a bit like Christianity in these islands, it seemed to me in a moment of melancholia.

We followed a footpath back towards the church, and when we got back to car, thought we would look round the ruins, which seemed, and were, a monument of by-gone glories. All things pass, and the glory of this place had gone.

We went into the tiny church, which is being rethatched. The walls by the tower were green with slime and moss – and that was on the inside; there was a smell of damp. As we prepared to leave, a nice lady came in with a brush and hoover and began to prepare the church for Sunday. She told us there was a service there every week; a final remnant indeed.

This morning I went with Chalcedon to his Catholic Chapel, which is a converted primary school, and the opposite of grand.  There was a Christening, and two families coming together to celebrate. As the priest pronounced the words over the baby, the melancholia which had been afflicting me since Covehithe vanished – ‘Behold, I make all things new’ – said He who sat upon the throne – and in each of us, by Grace, that work is done daily. In Him, and Him alone do I put my faith.