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About the Author Happiness, is it a state of mind? It was for me was I grew up in rural Wales in the shadow of the Black Mountains and the glorious Brecon Beacons. I spent most of my later schooldays and first working days on a small hill farm at the top of the bank near the village of Cwmdu. As my farther was a hill Shepard we did live in other tied houses in the locality mostly ion the Beacons, as perhaps a farmer would offer a few shillings more, or a better house would be a blessing for my father. After leaving school at 15, I started my apprenticeship as a Motor Cycle mechanic then after going to complete National Service becoming a member of the famous Royal Signals Motorcycle display team. I also was a team mechanic having completed several courses at the Triumph Motorcycle Factory, where I later went on to become a mechanic in the service department. During this time, I progressed through Triumph into the Experimental and Recing Departments becoming the leader of a smakk team of skilled race mechanics and international riders of the Triumph Racing team. Later due to factory closures I moved onto research and development before finally starting my own business as a Triumph specialist, supplying spares and parts all over the world. Now retired, I've had the chance to look back over the good life that I was fortunate to have experienced.
Richard Langs Sentimental Words Bookmark (Choice of 4) 5.7 x 18.5cm Please specify your choice in the 'Comments' box on the checkout page. If a preference is not given a design will be selected at random.
Gisela Graham Flora & Fauna A6 Notebook This stylish notebook features a whimsical flora and fauna design. Features: - A6 notebook - High quality lined paper - PU cover provides durability and protection - Dimensions: 15.5x11x1.5cm
In April 1912 Denys Corbett Wilson made an emergency landing near Colva en route to becoming the first to fly across the Irish Sea. That heroic flight heralded a flurry of aerial activity across Radnorshire and the following year air displays were becoming an accepted part of the summer’s entertainment. In 1914 a French balloon unexpectedly came to earth near New Radnor. With the start of the First World War the displays came to an end, but one of their effects may have been to encourage young Radnorshire men to join the Royal Flying Corps, the precursor of the RAF, for several did. Their stories tell of the dangers of flying in those days and of facing German planes and anti-aircraft fire. After the war one of the pilots, who had always had an interest in natural history, had a fish tank made to fit over his aircraft’s engine so that he could import tropical fish on his return flights from Germany. Between the wars, efforts were made to create an airport at Llandrindod Wells, and for two years an air taxi service operated from the town. During the 1930s air displays were common at shows at Builth, Knighton and especially Llandrindod, with visits from the likes of Sir Alan Cobham’s Flying Circus and his plane the Youth of Britain, which took youngsters on free flights, all to encourage an interest in aviation. With the coming of the Second World War, these displays once again were brought to a halt, but perhaps because of them, as before, many young Radnorshire men joined the RAF, some having previously been members of the Air Cadets of which there were several groups across the county. Several Radnorshire men undertook at least part of their RAF training in the USA and Canada, and were to serve from bases in the UK, North Africa, Italy (as the allies pushed north in 1943) and the Far East. Reading their stories is like learning about the Second World War from a peculiarly Radnorshire perspective. Chapters also cover the bombing of Radnorshire and those aircraft that came down in the county, usually on training flights but including one German plane brought down by a combination of anti-aircraft fire and the actions of a night fighter. Finally there are stories of those who joined the RAF in the 1950s and of the aircraft that have crashed as Radnorshire became part of the RAF’s area for low flying training.
The poet Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) is widely known as one of the so-called ‘Metaphysical’ poets. It is not so well known that he was born, lived most of his life, and died in the Usk Valley; hence his soubriquet ‘Swan of Usk’. His grave, in the churchyard of St Bride’s, Llansantffraed, is an important site of literary pilgrimage. The age in which Vaughan wrote was one of political and religious upheaval. As a staunch Royalist, he fought for the king and suffered the loss of friends and a beloved younger brother in the Civil Wars. This book contains essays on Vaughan’s connections with the landscape, the church, and nature by Jeremy Hooker, Helen Wilcox and Jonathan Nauman, and on the political context of the wars of the 1640s and the interregnum of the 1650s by Robert Wilcher. During the last forty years of his life, Vaughan was a respected country doctor and this aspect of his life is discussed by Simone Thomas, herself a GP. Finally, Elizabeth Siberry explains how Vaughan’s work was rediscovered in the nineteenth century and describes his subsequent influence on writers, artists and musicians in Brecknockshire and beyond. Each chapter is accompanied by the full texts of some of Vaughan’s best loved and some of his lesser known poems, with explanatory notes and brief commentaries.
The aim of this book is to explain how, where and when the various rocks that underlie Herefordshire were formed and the forces which subsequently worked upon them to result in the scenery we now enjoy. Why is the landscape, the layout of the hills, valleys and rivers, as we see it today? Why, for example, does the Old Red Sandstone, the main rock of the county, have different qualities in different places? How have the various rocks been brought into juxtaposition through plate tectonics and fault lines? How, in more recent times, did Ice Age glaciers scour and shape the landscape, forcing rivers to change course and creating hummocky scenery through moraines deposited by ice moving from Wales and the north? Why it is that the Malverns are so prominent and different in outline to anywhere else around? How have the different rocks affected building practices? With 200 colour photographs, drawings and tables, the book explores the various geological periods and the processes at work, showing the effect on the landscape through a number of aerial photographs and explaining what you can see in the faces of quarries across the county, the places where we can all get to see the underlying geology. The book has been written by members of the Geology section of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club, which is based in Hereford and is the principal naturalist and local history society in Herefordshire. Each of the several authors has many years of experience in exploring the geology of the county and in explaining it to the public. They are active in local geological work through lecturing, leading visiting groups, geological conservation and research.
‘Jolly, insightful and struck through with a deep affection for her adopted Wales, Iolo’s Revenge is a charming account of one couple’s eventful attempts at home-making in the hills. Peppered throughout with amusing stories and colourful characters, this book presents the joyous world of birthing ewes, pond plug-holes and truncated Welsh that the ‘Retired Lady’ has learned to call her own. An uplifting, thoroughly enjoyable read.’ – Oliver Balch They’ll do! They’re the ones I want, said the old farmhouse, probably in Welsh, and the couple (the ones the old place wanted) were drawn into the life of the place, its people, creatures, landscapes and stories, rediscovering a sense of belonging lost since childhood. An orderly, retired English couple spot a derelict farmhouse for sale in the Welsh borders. They are outbid at the auction, wish the new owners well and think no more of it. But the sale falls through and before they know it ‘their offer’ has been accepted (what offer? – I didn’t know we’d made an offer!) They move in, wrestle to make the tumble-down house habitable, and somehow fall into sheep farming along the way. None of this was supposed to happen. But it did. This is their story …
Merrily’s Border explores the real world of Phil Rickman’s Merrily Watkins series. The novels are all set in actual locations mostly in Herefordshire, but also in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and over the border into Wales: a region that remains one of Britain’s best-kept secrets. This new and extended edition includes the settings of The House of Susan Lulham, Friends of the Dusk, All of a Winter’s Night and For the Hell of It. With their uniquely authentic blend of crime and the paranormal, Phil Rickman’s addictive Merrily Watkins novels, about the diocesan exorcist for Hereford, have virtually established a new fictional genre. But the fiction is never far from an often surprising and sometimes disturbing reality. Revealing the sources and inspiration, Merrily’s Border takes readers into a land where ancient mystery is never far below the surface: the Knights Templar and the Green Man; the secret lore of apples; the lair of the real Hound of the Baskervilles; a pentagram of churches; a serial killer’s dark legacy; the unchronicled links between the composer Edward Elgar and Alfred Watkins, discoverer of ley-lines. Phil Rickman is the acclaimed author of sixteen Merrily Watkins thrillers and twelve other novels. John Mason produced many of the cover images for Phil’s books, is widely published and noted for his atmospheric images and use of infra-red photography.
Driving south from Hereford one day in March memorable for trickling piles of snow, with sideshows, drift upon drift of snowdrops lapping the hedgerows, we sighted the signpost, and on impulse, turned up the winding, vertical road to Orcop. Anne Stevenson, ‘Orcop’ Since William of Wycombe carolled “sing cuckoo” eight hundred years ago, poets and painters have told their love of Herefordshire and its neighbouring Marches in the beauty of words and of paintings. This new anthology (selected by Jonathan Lumby) introduces thirty poets. William Wordsworth is here, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Siegfried Sassoon and Frances Horovitz, Thomas Traherne and Henry Vaughan. Thirty artists include Hereford’s own Brian Hatton, Presteigne’s Joseph Murray Ince, Joshua Cristall, who settled in Goodrich, and David Cox, David Jones, Samuel Palmer and Thomas Gainsborough. This is the boundary: different burrs Stick, stones make darker scars On the road down: nightingales Struggle with thorn-trees for the gate of Wales. Roland Mathias, ‘Craswall’ Voices and visions, poems and paintings, mingle in praise of a much-loved land. Some poems are centuries old, some paintings are hardly dry. Side by side they evoke light and shade, soil and air, mystical reflection and advice to a cider-maker or to a shepherd. We blink at the brightness of angels or of the shining Wye; we hear too of older, darker forces. The history of the Shires merges with locality and both with beauty. A map shows places mentioned, for Jonathan Lumby encourages us to discover for ourselves the ‘loveliness of the Borderland’.
Whilst this book is a record of the social, political, religious and military state of affairs in Radnorshire from before the Civil War to the Restoration, by its nature much reference is made to events in neighbouring counties and further afield. Many of those affecting the course of events in Radnorshire had a base elsewhere, and the military almost universally operated from outside the county. Keith Parker has made much use of primary sources of information to confound the generally held view that Radnorshire was both a poor county at the time of the Civil War and essentially Royalist in outlook. A more confusing picture emerges of strongly held views by a few on each side, though most notably the pro-Parliamentarians, in a sea of neutrality, bewilderment and opportunism. This is a story of Radnorshire gentry, farmers and clergymen caught up in an age of both danger and vibrant political and religious debate, when many had a rare chance to shape the future. Keith Parker, a native of Kington and graduate of Birmingham and London Universities, lives in Presteigne where he was formerly deputy head of John Beddoes School. For many years, he has lectured on local history for the Extra-mural Department of the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and for the Workers’ Educational Association.
‘He describes the landscape with a deeply personal precision’ – Ronald Blythe The discovery of a batch of old photographs of a farm in Herefordshire that once belonged to his great-grandfather, and a conversation with his grandmother about her memories of life on the farm, inspired nature writer Colin Williams to go there on foot and walk the land his ancestors once tended. The journey prompted reflections: what is it about our relationship with where we live that gives us our understanding of ‘home’, and how has that changed over the generations since the days when his family worked the land of Wolf Point? Drawing on his experience of the natural world in many of the places that he loves – the floating world of the Norfolk Fens, the roll of the Hampshire Downs, as well as his explorations of the land and lore of Herefordshire – the author reflects on what it must have been like to live alongside nature and the seasons as his family once did on the farm, and whether and how those of us living in very different circumstances today can find our own relationship with nature. Along with the photographs, a sequence of maps – by which the author is clearly fascinated – provide starting-points for a deeper understanding. Initial explorations are made with the help of the Ordnance Survey map, but in the course of his research, he discovered a beautiful demesne map of 1686, estate maps of 1906 and 1919, and – most movingly of all – a detailed 1917 map of a specific section of the trenches, from which, after years trapped in the maze of those spidery lines, his great-grandfather returned to buy Wolf Point and use his skill with horses in those peaceful fields. Through sensitive observation and clear reflection, Colin Williams gives us a sense of what it once was, and what it could perhaps still be, to live as part of the natural world that surrounds us, as did the people who look out at us from photographs taken almost a century ago. Colin Williams is a writer who explores our relationship with the landscape and its wildlife. He grew up on the open country of Norfolk’s fens with a childhood full of nature but now lives on the chalk downs of Hampshire. He’s worked as a conservationist, wildlife guide and has written for BBC Wildlife, Earthlines and Orion magazines as well as curating collections of new work by some of the world’s pre-eminent writers on the natural world. His work on landscape has been praised as having ‘a deeply personal precision’. Shadows in the Hay is his first book.
The aim of this book is to provide the visitor to Hay with a feel for the town and surrounding area. It gives a broad outline of the currents of history that have swirled around the settlement and through its streets, and of those who played a role in that history: the de Breos family, King John, the de Bohun earls of Hereford, King Henry III, Simon de Montfort, the Llywelyns, and many men and women of the Marches, that swathe of country that once straddled the current border. As times grew more settled, so traders and merchants grew in importance, as did the struggles to use the Wye as a trade route. Agricultural markets grew, associated businesses came and went, the whole percolated by the religious changes that swept to and fro. Hay even became the site of a stoning of a nonconformist preacher, William Seward, who died as a result of his injuries. With the coming of the railways, cheaper competition from further afield caused many businesses to falter. Extracts form the diary of Francis Kilvert, written whilst he was a curate at nearby Clyro, add to the atmosphere of Victorian Hay, and the account of the famous trial of Major Armstrong for murder sheds light on the town in the 1920s. Also featured are some of the people who have in recent years played a role in creating the current town, notably Richard Booth, self-styled King of Hay. For Richard began a ‘new’ trade of secondhand books which has spawned associated literary and other festivals which, combined, have brought new vigour to the town. This book is a completely revised and updated edition of that first published in 2000, which has benefited from the contributions of Clare Purcell and Mari Fforde, each intimately involved with the life of Hay. Kate Clarke, crime writer and diarist, is an ex-London schoolteacher now living in Hay-on-Wye. Her books include Murder at the Priory: The Mysterious Poisoning of Charles Bravo (with Bernard Taylor), short-listed for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger award; The Pimlico Murder; Who Killed Simon Dale?; Deadly Service; Bad Companions; Lethal Alliance and Fatal Affairs. She is currently collaborating on an A-Z of Victorian Crime. All volumes of her Journal (as Kate Paul) are held in the Mass Observation Archive, Special Collections, at Sussex University Library.
In The Drovers’ Roads of the Middle Marches, Wayne Smith tells the story of the men who until as recently as the 1930s used to walk with their sheep and cattle out of Wales along the ancient trackways to the markets and fairs of England. The journeys were carefully judged – too slow and the expenses of feeding and accommodating men and beasts would mount, too fast and the animals would lose condition. Taking the easier routes meant the expense of turnpikes and tollgates, but going the long way round cost time. Droving was a steady trade, and it is no wonder that the drovers were often entrusted with commissions and even money to be taken to London, a practice from which the first banks developed. Along the way, they would stop at drovers’ inns, some of which still exist, and smithies where the cattle would be shod for the harder English roads. It was the coming of the railways and other means of transport that ended the centuries-old practice of droving, but as the author explains, tell-tale signs of droving routes can still be discerned in the landscape today in the pine trees and ponds that marked the routes, and the names of farms, houses and inns. Drawing on his deep knowledge and love of the Welsh Marches, Wayne Smith describes the routes the drovers took over the hills and through the valleys, and gives detailed guidance to 16 circular walks, all in places of great beauty, and provides information about castles, hill forts and other places of interest to be seen on the way, all illustrated with his own photographs.
Ella Mary Leather’s The Folk-lore of Herefordshire was first published in 1912 and has been a treasured source of the folklore of the county ever since. Living in Weobley, Mrs Leather gathered much of her material from people in the community she loved and supported, including cottage dwellers, workhouse residents and gypsy families living in the vicinity. She wrote down the songs and carols they sang for her, sometimes in the company of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who would note down the tunes and used some of them in his compositions. Her collection of folklore, which is special to Herefordshire but recognized as being of national importance, includes cures for remedies, local sayings, morris dance tunes and dances, love divinations, and tales of ghosts and fairies. This facsimile edition includes a biographical portrait of Mrs Leather written by John Simons, who lives in Castle House in Weobley, which used to be the Leather family home. Portraits of Ella were found in the house, along with an album of her photographs – some of which are reproduced here for the first time – and other pieces of information which have helped inform the biography.
This book both gives a history of the Mortimers (notably in their actions and impact on the central Marches) and suggests a tour, which you can vary to suit your own interests, that explores the surviving physical remains that relate to the family. The Mortimer family came from Normandy, either at or shortly after the Norman Conquest, became established in Wigmore and the surrounding area and, over the centuries, rose to be one of the most powerful families in the land. Partly through the good fortune of having an unbroken male succession for over 350 years, and also through conquest, marriage and royal favour, they amassed a great empire of estates in England, Wales and Ireland; played key roles in the changing balance of power between the monarchy and nobles; deposed a king and virtually ruled the kingdom for three years; became, in later generations, close heirs to the throne through marriage; and seized the throne through battle when a Mortimer grandson became King Edward IV. The tour outlined in the book details what there is to see at 17 locations connected with the Mortimers. These include substantial remains of stone-built castles as well as mottes of several smaller castles; churches and tombs; depictions of individual members of the family and their heraldic coats of arms in stained glass; and buildings and art patronised by the family. A Quiz and an I-Spy have been designed to give pleasure to families wishing to find out more, with the successful completion of the latter leading to a certificate issued by the Mortimer History Society. Richly illustrated with over 75 colour photographs, together with maps and family trees, this book can therefore be enjoyed on several fronts. Philip Hume lives outside Ludlow in the heart of ‘Mortimer Country’. This has been an ideal location to link his enthusiasm for medieval history and researching the lives and events that shaped the area, with exploring new places to find the buildings and artefacts that connect us to our past.
This book contains four personal memories of Gwernyfed and its environs — those of Elyned Hore-Ruthven who was brought up at Gwernyfed Park in the late 1800s and early 1900s, returning to use Old Gwernyfed in later life as a home for part of the year; of Thomas Perks whose family farmed at Old Gwernyfed in the mid 1800s; of J.W. Hobbs who worked on the railways at Three Cocks Station in the early 1900s; and of Mary Kinsey who tells of those who lived in the area between the 1880s and 1960s. To these Colin Lewis has added a history of the Gwernyfed Estate that provides a background to these four accounts, together with other details that develop the overall story and bring it up to date with the creation of Gwernyfed High School, which the Welsh Government has placed in the highest educational category for schools in Wales. Colin Lewis lectured in Geography in Ireland before moving to South Africa, where he was successively Professor and Head of Department at the Universities of Transkei and Zululand, and at Rhodes University. Professor Lewis is the author of many books, and has been awarded the prestigious National University of Ireland’s Prize for Irish Historical Research.