This song was written for the Living Archive Band’s radio ballad The Horse and the Tractor, but was not included when the ghost story fell victim to the editorial axe- a not inappropriate metaphor! The song intertwines two stories- the murder of Lady Grace Bennet at Calverton Manor, Buckinghamshire in 1694, and the childhood fears of Richard Fountaine who was brought to live in Calverton Manor after his family had bought the farm and the house. Not surprisingly, having heard rumours of hauntings, the boy was not happy, as he recounted much later in life:-
Richard Fountaine talking to Roger Kitchen in 2009
Grace Bennet was widowed when her husband Simon died in 1682, and thereafter she lived alone as Lady of the Manor in Calverton. She was widely disliked for her ‘mean and covetous’ ways, and being ‘a terror to the village’ she would have anyone found gathering firewood on her land severely beaten.
My 19th century German workshop Maggini copy, with two bands of purfling front and back, and an extra turn in the scroll (apparently not one of Maggini’s signatures).
In thirty years together we have seen and done a lot: from Castlethorpe Village Hall to Westminster Hall, from Leicester to Leipzig, countless ceilidhs, innumerable morris stands and nearly as many pubs as there are stars in the sky. I ought to be sad, but I truly am not. I keep saying that l’d rather all my instruments were being played and loved rather than hanging on my wall, and I mean it. It isn’t even leaving the village, so I could ask to see it every so often if I really wanted to. It is in good hands. So long!
Today marks the centenary of the opening of the British and Canadian offensive at Arras, on the Western Front.
Hawtin Mundy of New Bradwell, Buckinghamshire, fought and was captured in the battle. His powerful memories were recorded late in life, inspiring community drama and song that ties modern Milton Keynes and its inhabitants to its past.
Here is a part of Hawtin’s moving testimony:
Hawtin’s description of the battlefield at Arras was carefully turned into song by Paul Clark for the play Days of Pride, and has never failed to move audiences each of the many times it has been sung since. Continue reading →
We have an old bell sally at home, tied to the balusters upstairs and hanging down into the hall. When I was still repairing violins, customers (children usually, but not exclusively) would ask what it was. Continue reading →
Two years ago I set myself the task of finishing off a number of tracks which had been hanging around for some time. Here are the resulting two albums. Sheltermore is pretty folky (after the folk-rock of the first track), while Shining is much more layered, instrumental and personal.
Question: Who led the pedants’ revolt?
Answer: Which Tyler.
I am pedantic about the use and misuse of the English language. I know it, and laugh at myself for it, because I also know that concerns about a lowering of standards in both the written and the spoken word have been voiced ‘since time immoral’. ‘Twas ever thus. Continue reading →
It is a very unremarkable guitar, except to me and to its current owner.
It was my first guitar, bought for me by my parents some time around 1969. I had pestered them for it, and Dad was not too convinced.
“It’ll be a five minute wonder like everything else,” he predicted. Continue reading →