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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Thursday, 3 April 2014

Belloc's old home...

   
Belloc's Family home in the suburbs of Paris

A friend of mine was wandering around La Celle-Saint-Cloud, recently, and he took a picture of Belloc's old Family home. The area is now effectively part of Paris, whereas in 1870 it was outside the Capital. Belloc was born here on the 27th of July 1870 during a thunderstorm. Hence his early nick-name 'Old Thunder' (although this also had something to do with the fact that he was a noisy little fellow). The forces of Prussian militarism were just about to flatten France and, in the process, Prussian soldiers trashed his home on their way to Paris. Belloc never forgave the Prussians for this: hence his life-long loathing of Germania (by which he meant Prussia).

I have compared the photograph with an old illustration of his home. It's much as it was except for some plastering at the front, which covers some wooden timbers.

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