How silent now the desolated spot
For a description of the ruins and their history written in 1913 see Minsden Chapel
In his History of Hertfordshire, Cussans quoted the following lines, when
describing the old church at Thundridge :-
Is this the place where numerous footsteps trod,
Where living votaries fill'd the house of God?
Where the full chorus of the sounding choir
Bade one loud strain of prayer and praise aspire?
How silent now the desolated spot,
Its paths untrodden and its use forgot!
In July 2007 Mark asks "I would very much like to know who the poem is by and when it was written." As Cussans quoted it in 1870 it is must be at least that old. The only quotation on Google is to this page, or to pages which contain text copied from this page - so it is unlikely to be a well-known poem. It may have been written by Cussans himself, or quoted from an unknown source.
Teresa responded that the poem can be found by a search of Google Books - in An Historic and Picturesque Guide from Clifton through the counties of Monmouth. Glamorgan and Brecknock with Representations of Ruins, Interesting Antiquities &c. &c. by G. W. Manby, published in 1802. This describes a ruined church overlooking the River Severn and quotes the following poem.
"A mouldering structure then appeared in view,
"Around whose top the creeping ivy grew
"Once a fair church, adorned by curious art,
"In crumbling stones now dropping part from part,
"White-thorns and briars interwoven round,
"Vie with its top and fill the desert ground;
"Denying entrance to the curious eye,
"To view the graves that underneath them lie;
"When thus my thoughts with meditation flow:
'Is this the place where numerous footsteps trod,
'Where living votaries fill'd the house of God?
'Where the full chorus of the sounding choir
'Bade one loud strain of prayer and praise aspire?
'How silent now the desolated spot,
'Its paths untrodden and its use forgot!
The way the poem is laid out, when compared with other poems and quotations in the book, suggest that the poem was being quoted from an earlier source, and the final six lines were a quotation within the poem
Google Books also includes a reference to Hine's The History of Hitchin (Volume 2, page 41, published 1927) and this shows that the above was a fragment of a much longer poem, On the ruins of Minsden or Minzell Chapel written in 1750 by Wallis, an usher at the school in Hitchin founded by the Rev Edward Hickman.
The ruins of Minsden Chapel were in the parish of Hitchin but are now in the parish of Preston. [Wikipedia]