Showing posts from January, 2017

D ... Down the Devon roads to Dunkeswell - A-Z of Devon Places & Devon Women Writers

Churchyard at Dunkeswell Abbey 'Blest by the power, by heaven's own flame inspired, That first through shades monastic poured the light; Where, with unsocial indolence retired. Fell Superstition reigned in tenfold night' from  'Written on Visiting the Ruins of Dunkeswell Abbey, in Devonshire' by Mary Hunt Photo Julie Sampson  If you've stumbled upon this piece you might wonder what it is. If so, please take a look at From the Devon Ridge where a Book Began , where I explain this blog...  So I've reached D in this A-Z of places linked with Devon's women writers. There are several places I could have featured, but I decided on Dunkeswell , because the parish is the hub of a whole district towards the eastern edges of the, county s broad sweep of lands during the late C18 early C19 were owned and to a large extent, controlled, by one family, the Simcoes.  It is usually General John Graves Simcoe, first Lieutenant Governor of Upp

C ... Caribbean Seas at Cheriton Fitzpaine

C  ... Caribbean Seas at Cheriton Fitzpaine Looking back northward toward Cheriton Fitzpaine from the Raddon ridge Photo Julie Sampson (The Blue Hour: A Portrait of Jean Rhys, by  Lilian Pizzichini) A to Z of Devon places and Devon women writers - B      During the very early 1960's  for almost a couple of years two of the twentieth century's now most famous women writers lived within twenty miles of one another, in mid Devon. One was Sylvia Plath, who moved to North Tawton, in 1961 and left there late 1962; the other, Jean Rhys, who moved to Cheriton Fitzpaine in 1960 and stayed there until her death in 1979. Plath and Rhys are probably the two foremost C20 writers whose Devon home base/place must appear on this A to Z of Devon women writers places. Both authors have drawn countless followers and admirers to seek out their Devon homes and in Rhys' case, grave, in Cheriton's churchyard. One of these visitors remarked that finding the grave

B - Beside the Sea at Brixham and Budleigh Salterton

At Brixham 'The merry boats of Brixham Go out to search the seas; A staunch and sturdy fleet are they, Who love a swinging breeze; And before the woods of Devon, And the silver cliffs of Wales, You may see, when summer evenings fall, The light upon their sails'. ( The Wives of Brixham by Menella Bute Smedley)       A to Z of Devon places and Devon women writers - B Excerpt from my poem about Flora Thompson in Brixham B for Brixham Page from Miss Green's Journals 1841 It's unlikely that you reading this don't know of Brixham, in Torbay in the south of Devon. Chances are you may have been there. Brixham is one of the county's prime tourist places as well as one of Devon's most famous fishing towns, In my first post in this A-Z of Devon places and women writers I noted that, as I've trawled the county in search of places associated with various authors, it has often happened that my quest to find one or other writer has coincid

A for the ashes - Ashton and Ashridge.

Ashridge lane 'Ash trees often marked sites of special significance' Forestry Focus Photo Julie Sampson A to Z of Devon places and Devon women writers  A is for ...  Ashridge  This track, leading to Ashridge Court, in mid Devon, is typical of this part of the county. It has always seemed to me that Devon's lanes, almost always edged with the high hedges associated with the county and also, intersecting with one another in maze-like interconnections, are unique. The first feature means that if you're in such a lane invariably you cannot see over the top of the bank to the vista the other side; the second leads to visiting strangers becoming hopelessly lost in the lane labyrinth. These features match the experiences I have sometimes had as I've tried to formulate my research. At times, in the early stages of writing, overloaded with material, and in the middle of a chaos of papers, I have sometimes struggled to find a way in, or indeed, out again.