Beginning with a surprisingly exuberant response to the landscape recorded by a distinguished scholar, this paper explores the agency of things and places though time. It argues that the recent ‘material turn’ is part of a broader re-enchantment of the world: a re-enchantment that has parallels with a similar process at the turn of the nineteenth century. Tracing this history suggests that within the space of a single generation the material world can be enchanted or disenchanted, with things and places imbued with – or stripped of –agency. In other words, different periods possess what we might call different regimes of materiality. Any approach which assumes the existence of material agency throughout history, or which imports our assumptions into a period which did not share them, will necessarily fail. Before we look at the material world, therefore, we need to examine how the material world was looked at, how it was conceptualised and how it was experienced. We need to apprehend its regime of materiality.