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, 14 May 2013

The Walk - this Saturday: 'Lift up your hearts in Gumber...'

The much anticipated Belloc Walk will be commencing this coming Saturday at 11.00 AM. We will be meeting at the George Inn, in Eartham (there will be a brief tour of the village). From there we will be walking to Gumber Corner via Slindon. If we have time we will pop into the parish church, in Slindon, to view the wooden effigy Belloc wrote a poem about when he was a little nipper: 'The Nameless Knight' (in fact it does have a name!).We may also visit his mother's grave as she is buried in the Catholic churchyard. Slindon has an interesting recusant Catholic history: Mass was celebrated at Slindon House (now a private college) for centuries. On the way out of the village we will pass Courthill Farm where Belloc briefly lived. At Gumber Farm we will picnic. There is a blue plaque, commemorating Belloc, at the Farm (it was erected by West Sussex Council on the 50th anniversary of his death).Gumber was Belloc's favourite place to walk and he mentions it in Sonnets and Verse (1923):

Lift up your hearts in Gumber, laugh the Weald
And you most ancient Valley of Arun sing.
Here am I homeward from my wandering,
Here am I homeward and my heart is healed.
If I was thirsty, I have heard a spring.
If I was dusty, I have found a field.

After the Gumber picnic the walk will resume down the old Roman Road of Stane Street. In the evening, from about 8, there may be (no promises!) a folk music session in The George (which is a splendid establishment serving splendid beer).

For those of you who would like to attend, and will be travelling down from London, the mini-bus we were going to use is currently out of action. Therefore I would recommend catching the 09.02 from Victoria to Arundel which arrives at 10.29. It would be possible to pick some people up from the station (space permitting). If you would like a lift, from the station, then please e- mail me in advance. I will only be picking up those of you who have made a prior arrangement with me.


We would also request that people e-mail us, if you intend to participate, so that we can make you aware of any last minute alterations. Please do, also, advise if you intend to eat at the pub later. If you are dining, please feel free to bring an instrument and, or, a voice for the folk session. 

For those of you who would prefer to travel by public transport, all of the way, the nearest station is Chichester where you could get the number 99 from Chichester Cathedral (15 minutes). Failing that, you could catch a taxi from Chichester, or Arundel, to Eartham (5 miles).

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