In 1875 Ruskin described the view from the church yard across the River Lune as 'one of the loveliest scenes in England—therefore, in the world' and who could argue with that? He added 'I do not know in all my own country, still less in France or Italy, a place more naturally divine.'
Some time before Ruskin, Turner had also celebrated the view. His 1818 water colour was reproduced as an engraving in his 1822 book An History of Richmondshire in the North Riding of the County of York. In fact the view was still known as Turner's View well into the twentieth century.
|Turner's water colour of the View|
|Ruskin's View today|
Ruskin was, it seems, especially concerned about the installation of metal railings along the path from the church yard to the viewpoint.
|Those skewer-topped railings|
He was equally unhappy that two benches had been installed behind the new railings, not being able to comprehend why people would need to sit down in order to enjoy the fine view.
And finally he noted that local people were now habitually throwing rubbish over the new railings 'among the primroses and violets' whereas, before the railings, the area was free of rubbish. Ruskin clearly had real insight into the psychology of the fly-tipper.
The view is still very fine. But perhaps Turner was more positive about Kirkby Lonsdale than Ruskin was.