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, 19 July 2022

An interesting find at a flea market in Chicago...



Matthew Ennis contacted me from America with some interesting information. He has come into the possession of some very interesting hand written poems accompanied by intriguing drawings. This is his story:

'I got them at a flea market in the Chicago area that were amongst a bunch of other ephemera from the very early 1900s. I saw the elephant poem and connected it to Belloc, so I thought it may be his work since it's very professionally done and there's a whole book of the same, 24 pages and the fun simple poems are extraordinary.'

Now the opinion of the Chairman is that the drawings are probably by Basil Blackwood. He writes:

'I still don’t feel able to say definitely HB. Still not found any examples of his writing in capitals. Some of the verses seem almost too whimsical/sentimental..I’m almost tempted to say (given that the drawings seem to be by Basil Blackwood) that they might have been composed by Elodie. At least some of them inspired by her. Not that I am conscious of her writing *anything* (other than letters to HB).'

Mike did go on to say that the drawings were definitely by Basil Blackwood. 

Basil Temple Blackwood was the third son and fifth child of the first Marquess of Duffering and Ava (and Governor General of Canada). He was born in Clandeboye, Ireland.Which I suppose, given his background, made him Anglo-Irish. Strangely enough, he later went on to become Private secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1916 (a poignant year in Irish history). Before this, he went up to Balliol College - Oxford.This was Belloc's college as well. Whilst at Oxford, he became friends with Belloc.

In 1896, Belloc approached Blackwood to illustrate his book of humorous children's verse, The Bad Child's Book Of Beasts. The book was an immediate success. Blackwood went on to illustrate several more of Belloc's books, including: The Modern Traveller (1898), A Moral Alphabet (1899), More Peers (1900), Cautionary Tales for Children (1907) and More Beasts for Worse Children (1910).

Blackwood died in the trenches in 1917. 

The manuscript is available for purchase. However, we cannot say for certain who wrote the poems (except for the Elephant which is definitely by Belloc) or who is responsible for the illustrations. 







Thursday, 31 March 2022

This year we are celebrating Sussex Day with walk & song in the village of Slindon with South Downs historian Chris Hare...

 


About this event: Thu, 16 June 2022 – 7:00pm – 8:30pm


What better way to spend a summer's evening than walking around a beautiful South Downs village listening to old English sea shanties and folk songs?

This year the Friends of the South Downs are celebrating Sussex Day in style, with a walk around the historic village of Slindon, in the company of South Downs historian, Chris Hare, and the ever popular Duck Pond Sailors. You will hear all about one thousand years of downland and village history and learn about the life and work of Slindon's most famous son - Hilaire Belloc. Belloc spent his boyhood in Slindon in the 1870s and 80s, but he also returned briefly to live in Slindon with his wife Elodie and their children from 1904 - 1905. His vivid essays and moving poetry will be referred to by Chris during the walk.

The Duck Pond Sailors are renowned for 'putting some welly' into their singing and they will include many songs appropriate to the time of year and the setting. They will even be singing one of their songs by a duck pond!

Get your complimentary CD

To help celebrate Sussex Day, the Friends of the South Downs will be giving a copy of the CD and booklet 'South Coast Songs and Shanties' to everyone who attends the walk (usual price £6.50). This is a one-off promotion and is available only for this event. CDs cannot be posted to those who register and don't attend.

A fundraiser for two good causes.

The money raised from this event will be shared between the Friends of the South Downs and Olly's Future, a suicide-prevention charity.

A Gallery of Slindon photographs

During the walk, Chris will be talking about all the buildings and places seen in these photographs, some of which have the strangest and most unexpected explanations. There will even be a ghost story!

Public transport

No buses run to Slindon at this time. Barnham is the nearest mainline railway station (a distance of 3.5 miles). There is a taxi rank at Barnham Station. The journey takes about ten minutes.

Book now on Eventbrite





Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Online talk about Hilaire Belloc to the Steyning Society...



Chris was asked to give an online talk about Hilaire Belloc to the Steyning Society. So rather than create a Powerpoint, he thought it would be more interesting to go out on ‘location’ and film in the places that Belloc knew and loved the most. Tom Aubrey, chair of the Steyning Society was very pleased with the presentation and wrote: “Thank you Chris for a wonderfully spoken and sung talk on Hilaire Belloc; Sussex Laureate. Beautifully filmed in his Sussex haunts, you tell the story of a complex and idealistic man.” Thanks to Chris Evans for his expert filming and editing.






 

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Remembering Hilaire Belloc...

 


Last year Chris Hare (director of the 'Belloc, Broadwod and Beyond' project) interviewed Bob Phillips, who has lived in Shipley since 1939, when he came to the village as an evacuee. Bob is well known in Shipley as a past chairman of the parish council, and for his work with the Scouts and Cubs. In the interview, Bob recalls, how he, and his older brother, Tom, interacted with Belloc and his family over the decades.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Belloc, the South Downs and Cardinal Manning...

One beautiful autumn day, Chris Hare and cameraman Chris Evans visited some beautiful spots on the South Downs associated with Hilaire Belloc and Cardinal Manning. These three short films give you a flavour of what they discovered.








Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Hilaire Belloc, The Man Who Saw the Future by Chris Hare. Talk at the Shoreham Wordfest...

 


Local historian, Chris Hare, talks about the life and times of Hilaire Belloc, author, poet, politician and thinker. Belloc was a noted figure of his time, both for literature and his influence on political thinking. A long-time resident of Sussex, he had a deep love for the county, its people and countryside. Chris led a Community Heritage project, researching the man and his impact, which culminated in a plaque commemorating his life being installed in the village of Shipley, his long term residence. The talk took place on Sunday 25 October as part of our Local and Live festival, and features a couple of Sussex folk songs from Chris. The festival and the filmed recordings are funded by the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Fund.

For more about the Belloc project see https://belloc-broadwood.org.uk/