"Not seldom I please myself with trying to realise the face of medieval England: the many chases and great woods, the stretches of common tillage and common pasture quite unenclosed; the rough husbandry of the tilled parts, the unimproved breeds of cattle, sheep and swine, especially the latter, so lank and long and lathy, looking so strange to us; the strings of packhorses along the bridle-roads, the scantiness of the wheel-roads, scarce any of those except those left by the Romans, and those made from monastery to monastery; the scarcity of bridges, and people using ferries instead, or fords where they could; the little towns wellbechurched, often walled ; the villages just where they are now (except for those that have nothing but the church left to tell of them), but better and more populous; their churches, some big and handsome, some small and curious, but all crowded with altars and furniture, and gay with pictures and ornament; the many religious houses, with their glorious architecture; the beautiful manor-houses, some of them castles once, or survivals from an earlier period; some new and elegant; some out of all proportion small for the importance of their lords.." from Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris, Faber and Faber, 1994, p.40 quoting from Mackail's biography of WM, and as fine a sustained piece of ecstatic description as you could find.