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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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

This Saturday's Sussex event...

The Amberley Wildbrooks

If you would like to attend this Saturday's talk, walk and sing-along in Amberley, Sussex please do e-mail the organisers at:


It promises to be a splendid day and the Amberley Wildbrooks are very beautiful at the moment. 

WHEN I am living in the Midlands 
That are sodden and unkind, 
I light my lamp in the evening: 
My work is left behind; 
And the great hills of the South Country 
Come back into my mind. 

The great hills of the South Country 
They stand along the sea; 
And it's there walking in the high woods 
That I could wish to be, 
And the men that were boys when I was a boy 
Walking along with me. 

The men that live in North England 
I saw them for a day: 
Their hearts are set upon the waste fells, 
Their skies are fast and grey; 
From their castle-walls a man may see 
The mountains far away. 

The men that live in West England 
They see the Severn strong, 
A-rolling on rough water brown 
Light aspen leaves along. 
They have the secret of the Rocks, 
And the oldest kind of song. 

But the men that live in the South Country 
Are the kindest and most wise, 
They get their laughter from the loud surf, 
And the faith in their happy eyes 
Comes surely from our Sister the Spring 
When over the sea she flies; 
The violets suddenly bloom at her feet, 
She blesses us with surprise. 

I never get between the pines 
But I smell the Sussex air; 
Nor I never come on a belt of sand 
But my home is there. 
And along the sky the line of the Downs 
So noble and so bare. 

A lost thing could I never find, 
Nor a broken thing mend: 
And I fear I shall be all alone 
When I get towards the end. 
Who will there be to comfort me 
Or who will be my friend? 

I will gather and carefully make my friends 
Of the men of the Sussex Weald; 
They watch the stars from silent folds, 
They stiffly plough the field. 
By them and the God of the South Country 
My poor soul shall be healed. 

If I ever become a rich man, 
Or if ever I grow to be old, 
I will build a house with deep thatch 
To shelter me from the cold, 
And there shall the Sussex songs be sung 
And the story of Sussex told. 

I will hold my house in the high wood 
Within a walk of the sea, 
And the men that were boys when I was a boy 
Shall sit and drink with me.

The South Country by Hilaire Belloc

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