Film ID:
NEFA 10903

A WORLD OF MY OWN: BASIL BUNTING

1969

Visitor Tabs

Description

Tyne Tees Television auto-biographical arts documentary edition of the series A World of My Own about north east Modernist poet Basil Bunting, broadcast on 15 May 1969. The poet visits locations in Northumberland and Cumbria that have inspired his poems, with an emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon culture in the region. His poetry recitals from Briggflatts, published in 1966, accompany the film.

Basil Bunting walks along the low tide causeway of Pilgrims Way, marked by a series of stakes, heading towards Lindisfarne, and the Holy Island. He passes beached fishing boats and a stone cobble house, heading for the ruins of Lindisfarne Abbey, which appear in the background.

A high angle view follows of Lindisfarne Priory, moving over to the grounds of St. Mary Virgin Parish Church. Close-up of the Celtic cross, zooming back to reveal its location in St Mary’s Church graveyard, with background view of Lindisfarne Castle. Moving forward, there are close-ups of the statue of St Aidan. General view of St. Cuthbert’s Isle, also known as Hobthrush, off the coast of Lindisfarne, with various shots of the simple cross, the remains of a chapel, and the landscape. With the wooden cross in the foreground, St Mary’s Church, Lindisfarne Priory, the whin stone hill and castle, and village houses are visible in the background.

Basil Bunting walks amongst the ruins of Lindisfarne Priory and sits on the remains of a tomb. He speaks to camera. Various shots focus on the priory ruins, and on the carved Celtic cross.

A hand turns the page of a copy of an illuminated manuscript, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and there are various close-ups of the decorative fonts and woven patterns in the book.

The camera tracks back from a white cross on top of the monument in Market Place, Hexham, crowded with parked cars, looking towards Market Street. A small group of people crowd around a shop window near the town walls gate. A Mini car rounds a corner of another street in Hexham, passing the premises of F. Chirgwin. There are views of the Old Gaol on Hallgates, and of city walls straddling a road. A woman walks by Hexham Abbey.

The next sequence depicts the interior of Hexham Abbey, with close-ups of carved Saxon details on a frith stool, a seventh century ceremonial throne. Basil Bunting descends the steps to the Saxon crypt, one room containing a chapel with altar, candles and cross. He examines the carved stones of the walls, with close-ups recording the Celtic pattern in the walls and animistic carved stone flag floors.

Basil Bunting sits at a desk typing. He gets up and leaves the room, opening a door on which a poster advertises a poetry reading of Briggflatts at MordenTower. The camera pans from the closed door to a small framed painted portrait on the wall. Bunting leaves his home at Wylam. He crosses Wylam Bridge in the Tyne Valley. A woman posts a letter at Wylam Post Office as the poet walks past and heads down a country lane.

There is a view down into a valley, with a fallen barren tree in the foreground, followed by a rural valley landscape shot through tree trunks. A boy is fishing in the River Tyne and various shots of the fast flowing water follow. Zooming out from a stone bridge, the camera pans along the river bank to a castle with adjoining manor house. There is a shot of the gateway and low angle shot of the ruined castle walls. Looking down from the castle battlements across the river, a church stands on the opposite bank. Bunting walks to the church, glancing at the Saxon carved panels beside the door. A close-up of the carved stone inlaid in the exterior church walls follows. Bunting looks up at the church tower. A general view through the graveyard towards the church follows. A weathered Celtic cross stands in the church grounds, the castle on the far bank of the river in the background. Bunting sits on a flat tombstone in the church graveyard and speaks. Portrait shot of Bunting speaking.

Next, there's a high angle view of an inn beside a small stone bridge as the poet crosses. In the next shot, he visits Bewcastle Church with a walled graveyard where he examines the runic inscription on a tall, carved Saxon column known as the Bewcastle Cross. Various shots follow of an early rural church and of a ruined stone tower and arches.

Bunting arrives on foot at the small town of Sedbergh, Cumbria, entering the garden of the Briggflatts Meeting House, with porch front engraved stone in the wall that reads “Anno. Do. 1675.” He sits on a bench in the garden. The poet walks along the road beside an aqueduct. There are various shots of the structure. Bunting sits beside a fast flowing river and recites poetry from his book. The camera pans across from an old arched bridge and back to focus on the poet, seated on the riverside.

Waves roll onto the Northumberland mainland, the north side of Lindisfarne visible in the background. There is a view of Lindisfarne Castle with a series of wooden stakes sticking out of the rocky shoreline in the foreground. The sun glints into shallow rock pools on the shore. A fishing boat and other small vessels are moored in the bay, with the raised causeway and castle in the background. From the raised concrete causeway, there is a shot of Lindisfarne Priory, followed by an exterior shot of St Mary’s Church with the stone statue of St Aidan in the foreground. Various shots follow of the ruined abbey. The film then tracks back as waves break on the stony mainland shore and the Holy Island peninsula on the horizon.