‘The Pulse Glass’ by Gillian Tindall

Anthony Quinn at The Guardian:

Gillian Tindall is a high-minded Autolycus, devoted not merely to snapping up the “unconsidered trifles” of past lives but holding them to the light to glean the stories they might conceal. “Most objects, like all people, disappear in the end,” she writes at the start of The Pulse Glass, an excellent suite of essays on transience and remembrance. And yet not everything crumbles to dust; some bits and pieces defy the odds by surviving, and it is Tindall’s delight – albeit of a measured and low-key sort – to describe their escape from “the quiet darkness of forgetting”.

Take, for instance, the scrap of tightly folded paper recently discovered in the crack of a wall at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, possibly to stop up a draught; when examined, it turned out to be a fragment of a musical score by Thomas Tallis, from a service held in St Paul’s in 1544. Or the case of an attic clearance in Westminster Abbey where debris was found strewn across the floor.

more here.