Hilaire Belloc bought King's Land (in Shipley, Sussex), 5 acres and a working windmill for £1000 in 1907 and it was his home for the rest of his life. Belloc loved Sussex as few other writers have loved her: he lived there for most of his 83 years, he tramped the length and breadth of the county, slept under her hedgerows, drank in her inns, sailed her coast and her rivers and wrote several incomparable books about her. "He does not die that can bequeath Some influence to the land he knows, Or dares, persistent, interwreath Love permanent with the wild hedgerows; He does not die, but still remains Substantiate with his darling plains."

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

'The South Downs Song Project'

BBC News report on the 'South Downs Song Project'
Chris Hare, who is currently spearheading the revival of folk music in Sussex was, in a previous life, the Vice Chairman of the Hilaire Belloc Society. Belloc would warmly endorse such a project because although he didn't, arguably, have a great voice he was the champion of Sussex's historical identity which included, of course, its folk traditions.

Indeed he contributed to it:

They sell good beer at Haslemere
And under Guildford Hill.
At Little Cowfold, as I've been told,
A beggar may drink his fill:
There is a good brew in Amberley too,
And by the bridge also;
But the swipes they take in at Washington Inn
Is the very best beer I know, the very best beer I know.


With my here it goes, there it goes,
All the fun's before us;
The tipple's aboard and the night is young,
The door's ajar and the barrel is sprung,
I am singing the best song ever was sung
And it has a rousing chorus.

And if you feel like singing it:

Anyhow, full marks to Chris and all that he does to promote Belloc and protect the wonderful South Downs, so beloved by the great man, from unsympathetic development.


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