Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter weekend

An illustration taken from the article

This morning I have been in the company of a long dead vicar of Morenstowe.  Completely eccentric but he wrote an article on Daniel Gumb.  Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall by R.S.Hawker; 1870

Daniel was usually seen alone with a book or a slate whereon he worked, at a very early age, the axioms of algebra or the diagrams of Euclid. He had mastered with marvellous rapidity all the books of the countryside, and he had even exhausted the instructions of the schoolmaster of the neighbouring town. Then it became his chosen delight to wander on the moors with some favourite volume in his hand, and a crust from his mother's loaf in his bag; with his inseparable tools, also, the chisel and the mallet, wherewithal to chip and gather the geological specimens of his own district. Often he would be absent whole nights, and when he was questioned as to his place of shelter, he would reply, " Where John the Baptist slept," or " At Roche, in the hermit's bed " for the ruined cell of a Christian anchorite stood, and yet stands,

R.S.Hawker, for that is his name, was an eccentric, dressing in funny colourful clothes, the only black he wore were his socks.  Dressing up as a mermaid once, and excommunicating his cat for mousing on Sunday (he had 9 cats).  His vicarage had four chimneys stacks, all made in the design of local church towers, but he wrote well, and though the introduction to his book states that he might have written in a romantic vein, given to telling tall tales and exaggerating his stories, I for one will take him at his word.
The fact of the matter is that many 19th century books have been put online, often though by such places as American, Canadian and Australian universities, and of course the Gutenberg organisation, which uploads in a funny way, and the spelling mistakes have to be corrected, but at least we can be transported back to a time when the Druids were the savages of the moors.

I found my Easter surprise of chocolates in the garden this morning that LS had thoughtfully put there, so we will share them this evening.  We will not be travelling, a photo of the M25 with cars jammed for miles, should make anyone stay at home.  This road which we have to take to Cornwall is a nightmare, we always have the choice of going North or South, there is not much difference either way to Chelmsford, but last time we (by accident) got on the old North Circular road, and went through the less salubrious outskirts of London.  We are such a crowded island down south, sometimes I think England will tip into the sea.

And to prove that the world can go at a slower pace this video of the Weaving of Fine Ramie in Korea, will soothe the soul.  This is a video by Unesco of the protection of  Intangible Cultural Heritage.

King Arthur's Hall with Tor in distance


  1. When my son was small we used to holiday every year on a farm in Morwenstowe, so I know all about Hawker's Hut. I understand that it is owned by the National Trust Now. Friends went there recently and brought me back some postcards - it has a lovely church.

  2. Happy coincidence that you recognised him ;). Hawker, according to the pictures I have seen of him, has quite a benign face, slightly plump. The vicarage is now turned into an upmarket B&B.