Museum Makers: I Left it on the Train

Inspired by the museum’s exhibition of railway posters of the twentieth century, Speed to the West: A Nostalgic Journey. we’ve been working on our own posters…

From this they will produce a film on the coming of the railway to Dorchester, connections with Dorset’s literary heritage and the founding of the museum itself in response to the threat posed by the construction of the new railways to Dorset’s archaeological heritage and natural history.

The finished filmed performance by the Museum Makers at Dorset County Museum. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Related Links:

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Craft Academy: Learn Printmaking

St. Peters Church, Dorchester engraved by William Barnes

St. Peters Church, Dorchester engraved by William Barnes

Looking for something to do with the kids this Easter?  Come and join us for a morning of messy fun at Dorset County Museum’s Craft Academy on Wednesday during the Easter Holidays, 10.30am – 12.30pm.

The theme for Wednesday 12 April is Printmaking. We’ve been inspired by our current exhibition in the tea room ‘Praise O’Do’set’ – an exhibition of hand painted woodblock prints illustrating the poetry of William Barnes by artist Jennifer Martindale and children will be able to create their own pieces of art using lots of different printing methods.

We’ll provide the materials and the inspiration – you’ll create a wonderful piece to take home with you. Even better, it’s absolutely FREE thanks to sponsorship from Battens Solicitors.

Each time you create a masterpiece at one of our sessions, we will stamp your Craft Academy passport. If you collect three stamps we’ll give you a special certificate.

The next Craft Academy sessions for 2017:

  • Wednesday 19 April
  • Wednesday 31 May
  • Wednesday 2 August

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Praise O’Do’set: An exhibition of handpainted woodblock prints illustrating the poetry of William Barnes by Jennifer Martindale

The Fancy Feair at Maiden Newton © Jennifer Martindale 2017

The Fancy Feäir At Maïden Newton © Jennifer Martindale 2017

The Fancy Feäir At Maïden Newton
by William Barnes

The Frome, wi‘ ever-water’d brink,
Do run where shelvèn hills do zink
Wihousen all a-cluster’d roun
The parish tow’rs below the down.
An’ now, vor woonce, at leäst, ov all
The pleäcen where the stream do vall,
There’s woone that zome to-day mid vind,
Wi‘ things a-suited to their mind.
An’ that’s out where the Fancy Feäir
Is on at Maïden Newton.

An’ vo’k,a-smarten’d up, wull hop
Out here, as ev’ry traïn do stop,
Vrom up the line, a longish ride,
An’ down along the river-zide.
An’ zome do beät, wi‘ heels an’ tooes,
The leänes an’ paths, in nimble shoes,
An’ bring, bezides, a biggish knot,
Ov all their childern that can trot,
A-vlockèn where the Fancy Feäir
Is here at Maïden Newton.

If you should goo, to-day, avore
A Chilfrome house or Downfrome door,
Or Frampton’s park-zide row, or look
Drough quiet Wraxall’s slopy nook,
Or elbow-streeted Catt’stock, down
By Castlehill’s cwold-winded crown,
An’ zee if vo’k be all at hwome,
You’d vind em out–they be a-come
Out hither, where the Fancy Feäir
Is on at Maïden Newton.

Come,young men, come, an’ here you’ll vind
A gift to please a maïden’s mind;
Come, husbands, here be gifts to please
Your wives, an’ meäke em smile vor days;
Come, so’s, an’ buy at Fancy Feäir
A keepseäke vor your friends elsewhere;
You can’t but stop an’ spend a cwein
Wileädies that ha’ goods so fine;
An’ all to meake, vor childern’s seäke,
The School at Maïden Newton.

William Barnes was a much loved and respected teacher, clergyman, scholar of languages and poet. Most of his poems are written with a strong Dorset accent as he casts a kindly eye over the lives of the hardworking Dorset rural community.

With these rustic woodblocks, hand carved, handprinted and hand coloured images, Jennifer Martindale has tried to share the spirit of the poems.

The techniques used in this tea room exhibition at the Dorset County Museum, lend themselves to simple kitchen table production.

Jennifer explains “Making pictures uses the calm mindful part of myself, and I aim to share with viewers the immense happiness that planning and making the work creates. A childish glee of playing with colours has never quite left me.  Over the years I have worked in most media, and I still move between painting and printmaking. I have long had an interest in South East Asia and have been influenced by the use of space and the concept of capturing the fleeting moment. The handpainted relief block print techniques of this William Barnes series were carefully chosen to represent the rustic nature of the poems.”

Jennifer’s work will be on view from 4 April 2017 to the 10 June 2017 in the museum’s Tea Room, and it will be FREE to come and view.  Mounted, unframed versions of her work will be for sale during the exhibition.

Meet your favourite Sci-Fi and Superhero characters at the Dorset County Museum

StormtroopersIt’s nearly time for Dorchester Christmas Cracker night. The event that officially kicks off Christmas in the County town takes place this year on Thursday 8 December from 5.00pm.

This year by popular demand, everyone’s favourite Science Fiction and Fantasy Movie and TV characters will be back at Dorset County Museum. Come along to see a host of characters from the Superheroes from the Marvel Universe, Star Wars, Doctor Who and many more….

Delicious mulled wine and mince pies will be available to buy and the Tea Room will be open for tasty snacks and refreshments.  A browse in the Museum shop will reveal a wide range of gift ideas including toys, games, books and jewellery.  The current exhibition Speed to the West: A Nostalgic Journey an exhibition of 20th Century Railway Posters will be on display, with prints and railway memorabilia on sale in the shop for just a few more weeks – another fantastic opportunity to pick up a very special Christmas present.

scifi-and-superheros-at-dorset-county-museumEntry to the Museum on Cracker Night is FREE and everyone is welcome. All the galleries will be open on the night.

For further information and other forthcoming events contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Literary Lives: Thomas Hardy and Folk Song by Dr. Peter Robson

Musicians of Mellstock Choir - Hardy Players 1910 DCM © 2015

Musicians of Mellstock Choir – Hardy Players 1910 DCM © 2015

Thomas Hardy refers to more than thirty folk songs in his novels, with many further references in his poetry, short stories, letters etc. 

Some knowledge of the folk songs in Hardy’s writings helps the reader to appreciate how appropriate they are to the author’s plotting, characterisation and settings. The songs can also occasionally throw light on Hardy’s own background.

This exploration of Hardy and Dorset song will begin by looking at the nature of folksong and at the golden age of folksong collecting, with particular reference to the work of the Hammond brothers in Dorset. Dr. Robson will then illustrate the variety of places where references to folksongs may be found in Hardy’s published and unpublished writings.

From this body of material it is then possible to suggest where and how Hardy might have obtained the songs which he knew and to look at some examples of the ways in which he used folk songs in his novels. Finally, the speaker will identify the songs which seem to have been Hardy’s personal favourites, and at a song which was actually collected from him.

Dr. Peter Robson has been researching Dorset folklore and folksong for many years and has written and spoken widely on this subject. Most recently he has become particularly interested in Thomas Hardy’s writings as an almost untapped source for the study of rural folklore.

The lecture will take place on Thursday 30 June in the Dorset County Museum’s Victorian Hall and is FREE to the public; however a donation of £3 encouraged to cover costs. Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

All the fun of a Victorian Fayre at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

The Victorian Fayre last year at the Dorset County Museum

On Sunday 21st February, from 2.00pm to 5.00pm, the Dorset County Museum opens its doors for the second year running to a traditional Victorian Fayre to celebrate the birthday of William Barnes, Dorset dialect poet. This FREE event will offer something for all the family.

Stalls will include traditional crafts and gifts and the chance to learn rural skills. There will be Maypole dancing for the children as well as popular parlour games.

The friends of the William Barnes Society and Tim Laycock, well-known folk musician, actor and storyteller will provide traditional singing, music, dance and poetry reading throughout the afternoon.

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

Frome Valley Morris Mummer

The Frome Valley Morris Men will perform the Mummers and Hoodening play. The event would not be complete without a raffle, quiz and a Victorian afternoon tea.

Marion Tait, Honorary Curator of the William Barnes Gallery and Archive said that last year the Victorian Fayre was a huge success and was hoping for a repeat performance.

For further information contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Dorset County Museum to host Sci-Fi characters and Father Christmas on Cracker Night

Dorchester Christmas CrackerIt’s nearly time for Cracker Night again in Dorchester. The event that officially kicks off Christmas in the County town takes place this year on Thursday 3rd December from 5.00pm.

This year by popular demand, everyone’s favourite science fiction characters will be back at Dorset County Museum. Come along to see characters from the Star Wars films and Dr Who. Bring the children to see Father Christmas in his grotto – every child will receive a bag of goodies in return for a small donation.

Pliosaur meets Darth Vader

Delicious mulled wine and mince pies will be available to buy in the Victorian Gallery, and the Tea Room will be open for tasty snacks and refreshments. A browse in the Museum shop will reveal a wide range of gift ideas including toys, games, books and jewellery. The current exhibition St Ives and British Modernism: the George & Ann Dannatt Collection will be on display in the exhibition gallery, and prints of some of the works will be for sale – another fantastic opportunity to pick up a very special Christmas present.

Entry to the Museum on Cracker Night is FREE and everyone is welcome. The ground floor galleries will be open on the night.

For further information and other forthcoming events contact the Museum on on 01305 756827 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

In Memoriam Rev. William Barnes B.D.

Rev. William Barnes © DCM

Rev. William Barnes © DCM 2015

From the ‘Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society’ Volume 8, 1887, an memoriam written by the Reverend Octavius PickardCambridge FRS.

“Since October 7th, 1886, when we were suddenly called upon to mourn for our old friend and staunch member of the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, the Rev. William Barnes, B.D., so much has been written and said and published about him that little, at any rate, little new, can now be said; scarcely a periodical or journal has been silent ; all have been necessarily and deservedly eulogistic. Some, it has appeared to me? have placed his claim to public notice of somewhat insufficient grounds, and others on, as it were, the side issues rather than on the main ones of his long life. It would be, however, quite out of place in our Proceedings to criticise here what has been said and published. Want of space, if nothing else, would prevent it. A very characteristic and faithful portrait of Mr. Barnes forms a frontispiece to our annual volume. As regards this portrait, it may be remarked that this has been designedly chosen rather than another, which, while it, no doubt, faithfully gives Mr. Barnes’ general appearance according to the costume adopted late in life, was by no means characteristic of the man known to those who had enjoyed his friendship in earlier days, and had watched the development of his simple but strong and almost unique character under the more usual garb of the day. What it is proposed to give here as an accompaniment to our frontispiece will consist of such biographical details as may be necessary for the information of those who would hereafter know who Mr. Barnes was, whence he came, and the more salient points of his life. A list of his works is also appended. Some of these are now not known to many, even by name; and probably few have been read or studied.

On two of them I shall offer a few more detailed observations,—viz., his poems in the Dorset dialect, and one entitled “Views on Labour and Gold,” on which last I have not seen or heard any remark made amidst the much that has been said and written on the former. I have not attempted to give any classification of Mr. Barnes’ works, but have drawn out the list in chronological order, as, in flict, he himself drew it up in his later years, and, as by the kindness of his son (the llev. W. M. Barnes, Rector of Winterborne Monkton), I am enabled to give it. Mr. Barnes’ birthplace was Eushhay, Bagber (or Bagberry), a hamlet of Sturminster Newton, in the Vale of Blackmoor, Dorset. It seems that his family had been anciently landowners in or near the Vale, but had subsequently become tenant-farmers there ; and it was in the place above mentioned that his parents, John and Grace Barnes, were living at the time of Mr. W. Barnes’ birth in 1801. From his mother (Grace Scott) he appears to have inherited strong intellectual and poetical tastes, which, becoming marked as he grew up, it was decided to place him in some line of life above that of the toilsome work of the farm. He accordingly, at a very early age, entered the office of a solicitor — Mr. Dashwood—at Sturminster Newton as an engrossing clerk, and from thence afterwards (in 1818) he removed to occupy a similar post in the office of Mr. Coombs, Solicitor, Dorchester.

During the time of these clerkships (about seven or eight years) Mr. Barnes never lost a chance of acquiring knowledge on every possible subject, laying the foundation of his future great knowledge of languages, and qualifying himself for the Mastership of the Boarding School at Mere, Wiltshire ; to this post he was appointed in 1823, and we find him described in 1829 as “Teacher of Perspective and Drawing, and of the Latin, French, Italian, and German languages.” With Italian he seems to have become conversant some time before this date, as in 1827 he published translations in verse from the Italian of Metastasio. It was during his residence at Mere that Mr. Barnes first began seriously to study the origin of his own language, both British and English. It is probable that these studies were suggested and actually begun during a visit to Wales in 1831. At any rate in 1832-33 he published papers on these subjects in the “Gentleman’s Magazine;” and to his latest days Anglo-Saxon and the British language were his favourite study.

In 1835, an opening for advancement offering, Mr. Barnes (who had previously married Miss Miles, a Dorsetshire lady) removed to Dorchester and opened a school in Durngate Street, from which a further move was not long after made (1837) into more convenient premises within a door or two of the Dorchester Grammar School, next to the Almshouses, on the east side of South Street. Here for some years his school filled and prospered, and while giving every attention to his pupils Mr. Barnes carried on his own private studies with extraordinary vigour and success] no subject, no language daunted him when once he made up his mind for the attack; his clear and logical understanding seemed to get hold of the subject, take it in, absorb and assimilate it as completely as a sea-anemone does its food. And not only did Mr. Barnes thus simultaneously carry on his school work and private studies, but he found time for extra lessons to pupils desirous of getting on, and to his assistant masters, (Mr. Isaac Hann and others), as well as for wood engraving and music ; and a glance at the list of his works shows that during the whole of this time his pen was also pretty constantly at work for the publisher.

In 1817 Mr. Barnes removed from the east side of South Street to the opposite side of the street, and it was now (1847) that, having obtained the degree of B.D. at St. John’s College, Cambridge, as a “Ten-years-man,” he was ordained Deacon by Edward Denison, Bishop of Salisbury, on the nomination to Whitcombe as a title by the Hon. Col. Damer, of Came. In 1862 Mr. (now the Rev. W.) Barnes gave up his school (which was afterwards for a time carried on by a Mr. de Winton), and accepted the living of Came on the presentation of Captain Damer, son of his former patron, and himself at one time a pupil of Mr. Barnes’. Here in the faithful work of his small secluded parish and in his own studies and literary recreation the autumn and winter of his life passed on in peace, happiness, and usefulness, until from the natural decay of extreme age he passed away on the 7th of October last at 86 years old.

It has been said that there must be blame somewhere that Mr. Barnes, with all his genius and great talents, should have thus passed a long life without any signal or very substantial recognition in high or influential quarters. I think this is unjust both to himself and to the world in which he was known.

He had no ambition i.e., no desire to use his talents as a mere means of obtaining either the world’s fame or its more solid rewards ; his mind and powers were emphatically himself, and his happiness consisted, and was amply found, in attacking and assimilating those subjects which cropped up at every turn of his path. He would have considered it a prostitution of his powers to have designedly aimed at wealth or position by their means; the attainment of knowledge was the end he always had in view, and that end was to him its own sufficient reward. No greater injury could, I conceive, have been done to him than to have offered, or, perhaps, pressed upon him, the acceptance of honours or position which might have turned him in his course or tended to obscure the end he had in view. So far as concerned himself!; and as respects the fancied neglect of him by others, what was there in his life and work to draw upon him, perforce, the notice of any excepting those of his more immediate circle? From that circle, as occasion called, he did receive such recognition as put him in the very position of all others where his talents would be freely used and his worldly requirements sufficiently supplied for the modest needs of himself and his family. In this view of it Mr. Barnes’ life forms a harmonious whole such as the world rarely sees, and if I were going to lecture to young men on the examples set by striking characters gone before, I do not know of one whom I could select, like Mr. Barnes, as so pre-eminent in all that a Christian man’s life should be both for this world and the next. A sound mind in a sound body and sufficient food for both ; the result, a long life of physical and mental happiness, and a legacy to posterity from his mind’s work, the value of which will be the more felt the more it is used by those to whom it is bequeathed. If the recognition of himself by great men or great minds were an ambition with Mr. Barnes (I am not aware that it was, I think it was not) he did obtain a share of that in the visits paid him while Rector of Came by such men as Tennyson, Allingham, Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Max Miller, Sir Henry Taylor, Coventry Patmore, and others.

With regard to Mr. Barnes’ family it is enough to say here that he had the great misfortune to lose his wife comparatively early in life, and has left four daughters and one son (Rev. William Miles Barnes, of Monkton Rectory) surviving him, another, a younger son, having died early. Miss Laura Barnes, the eldest daughter, is unmarried; the others are married. Two are settled in Italy, and from the talented pen of one of them, Lucy Barnes (Mrs. Baxter), we hope shortly to have a biography of our old friend such as none but a daughter so well qualified could possibly furnish. Some have questioned whether Mr. Barnes’ career can be pointed to as a successful one; of course that depends on what success in life is taken to mean. If I am right in the remarks I have made above, he must be considered to have been most successful. Some have pointed to his scholastic work and said it is not there that Mr. Barnes succeeded ; others have said his literary works, excepting the Poems in Dorset Dialect, will not live, and most are dead already, and that his clerical life was a mere accident. Well! I think these critics are all wrong. I am very confident that even in these separate parts of his career Mr. Barnes might, were it worth while, be shown to have amply succeeded.

I will only mention one fact in regard to his school work, and that is that he had the faculty of interesting his scholars, and not only of causing them to understand but to love what he taught. I can testify to this from my own experience as his pupil, and I feel confident of the supporting testimony of many others whom he taught. If this be so what scholastic success could be greater As regards his literary labours, perhaps few know anything of them except of the Dorset poems ; but may that not be simply a proof of their ignorance, not of any want of intrinsic value in his other works? And as respects his clerical life, those who know what it was speak of it as being as thoroughly complete as everything else he did; its sphere was no doubt small, but had it been ten, or twenty times the extent it was it could not have been more sincerely or systematically worked. Where is any proof of nonsuccess in these separate parts then of Mr. Barnes’ life? But these parts are simply parts of a whole, harmonious life, and ought not to be taken and analysed separately, rudely dissected like a beautiful flower by a would-be botanist! and that these portions of Mr. Barnes’ life and works are what they are constitutes, it seems to me, his life’s true success.

Space will not allow me to say anything scarcely of Mr. Barnes’ published works, excepting the one mentioned before, “Labour and Gold,” and his Dorset dialect poem’s. Criticism of these poems, in the ordinary sense, would be out of place – impossible! unnatural!

One might with equal propriety criticise a handful of spring flowers plucked fresh from the hedge-row. We might indeed admire one flower rather than another ; we might find greater beauties, greater sweetness, deeper suggestions in one than in another; but criticism, as such, would be, like the dissector’s knife—barbarous, almost brutal ! Mr. Barnes’ poems are the spontaneous outflowings of his remembrance of persons, things, and scenes, of which he bore away as he viewed them, the bright, the pure, the good side only. Lie looked at Nature, and human nature in his Blackmoor Vale haunts, with a soul only open to its beauties—quite closed (as far as it was possible) to all that might have been disfiguring or unsweet. His mind was attuned to harmonies, not discords ; such discords as may occasionally sound out in the songs he sings are instantly resolved into sweet harmony again. I am told, on good authority, that he never, with perhaps one exception, wrote his poems with “a purpose.” With such a purpose (everywhere evident in his poems) as that with which the bird sings, that is from the love that was in his heart and the instinct within his soul he, certainly, always wrote. I leave criticism, therefore, if such be possible, to others. Another thing I think is notable in respect to the Dorset poems; there is, if I do not mistake, not even the smallest reference there to any of the social sins or vices of peasant life. In one only such a reference may perhaps be found (Complete collection of the poems, p. 382), but only there as the product of evil in a higher rank of life, where the selfishness of idle vice has prevailed over the peasant child’s ignorant innocence.

Each poem is a picture true to life, without a touch too much or too little, and never a touch put in for mere effect. Those who have lived amongst, and loved, rural life, will, I think, see and feel this. Each poem, as it is read thus, satisfies the reader just as the picture itself, if viewed in nature, would satisfy. If this is, as I think, the perfection of poetry, then certainly Mr. Barnes approached perfection as a poet. I have remarked that he seldom or never wrote his poems ” with a purpose,” nor ever scarcely brought forward the frail or bad side of his country folk, but it was not that he was ignorant of the latter, or did not desire to have it as he wished to see it and sung of it – No! it would simply have been, in his view and intention, a distortion and blurring of what he saw and felt to have used his powers of song to denounce, or even to correct. Much rather would he look upon country life, wherever possible, from its humorous side, and this he did in his poems, as many of them so abundantly testify. He was indeed possessed with a very keen sense of humour, his laugh, at any sally of genuine wit or humour, was the most infectious that I ever met with ; it must have been a dull-witted one indeed who could fail to be caught by and to join in it. It has been remarked, and with truth, that throughout a volume of nearly 500 pages of poems there is no allusion to the sea, the seaside and its concomitants, or to mountains; but this, if it proves anything, proves the genuine sincerity of the man.

His Jot had been cast and his earliest and deepest impressions had been received inland, where neither sea nor mountain existed, and he sung of what was in him—impressions from the river, the brook, the lake or pond, the coppice, the hedgeside, the farmyard, the country folk of every degree, their thoughts, ways, habits, employments, and amusements ; these and such like formed the staple of his song, and to say that he only sang of these, but not of the sea or the mountain, is only equivalent to saying that a nightingale sings only the nightingale’s song, but never screeches like the seagull nor croaks like the raven ; and what better proof could be given than this that he had no keen ambition for any such fame as a great poet, in the world’s estimation, might aim at ! No! Mr. Barnes was here, as in all else, himself, and in his songs he was, as he was, and always loved to remember that he was, a Dorsetshire country-man. These few allusions to Mr. Barnes’ poems must suffice us here; space prevents any quotations from them. Others (notably Professor Palgrave, National Review, No. 48, February, 1887, p.p. 818-830, and the Rev. Walter Locke in an able Lecture at Dorchester, April 18th, 1887, to be published, I believe, shortly) have gone very fully into them and given numerous and apt quotations. Indeed, if anything I have said be true, the whole volume might be quoted in proof of Mr. Barnes having been a genuine staunch Dorset man; and to that proof I recommend every one who has not yet made a close.

Acquaintance with those genial and pleasant outflowings of a true and loving heart.
Although, as before remarked, Mr. Barnes did not write his poems ” with a purpose,” he could, and did, write with a purpose much, and to good purpose if some of his other works were studied. I fear, though, that most of them are but little known. I allude now to “Views of Labour and Gold,” a volume of 190 pages, published in 1859. He speaks of this work as formed from notes for a course of lectures ; but whether the lectures were ever publicly delivered, or if so, when, I do not know. This work appears to bo the outpouring of Mr. Barnes mind on an old subject, but one at that time cropping- up as a vital one for human society in all ranks, and which has, as we are aware, become the question underlying most of the other questions of the day – the question of the relations and respective rights of labour and capital. Mr. Barnes here, as in all his poems, touching en the temporal welfare of the labourer, is unmistakably in closest sympathy with the sons of toil ; but as in his poems, so here, too, he is filled with the conviction of the need of labour to man, and of its great dignity. But while he extols labour, he is unflinching in his severity upon labour for the mere sake of hoarding, and of labour that injures body, mind, or soul. Some kinds of labour, he observes, have “a painful reaction on the mind,” and others “a bad reaction on the conscience” (p. 33), and which, however easy may be “their action, and however great their gain, are not to be earnestly chosen by Christian men, since as they deaden the conscience they likewise do harm to the soul,” Weighty words of truth which need to be much taught, and still more learnt, in these enlightened days. As we might expect, Mr. Barnes is severe upon capital ! Not by any means that he objected to the prudent laying up for a rainy day, or the gathering of means to carry out works impossible to be effected without stored-up labour in the shape of gold or capital, but it was the ever-growing “monopoly and tyranny of capital” against which he warns.

A chapter is devoted to this under the above heading. Mr. Barnes’ object is “to show the possible effect of the increase of great working capitals and monopolies on the labourers’ freedom or welfare.” And, is there a doubt but that the present labourers’ Unions and Trades’ Unions, and the consequent strikes and lock-outs, and other warfare between employers and workers i.e., between “Labour and gold,” have been the result of that “tyranny and monopoly of capital” Mr. Barnes speaks of? He humorously, but forcibly, illustrates the benefits asserted to be conferred upon workers by capital when in the enlargement of an already perhaps great business, scores of small businesses of the kind are swallowed up by the outlay of capital ; “The kindness which is done by capital when it affords employment to people from whom, by a monopoly, it has taken their little businesses, is such as one might do to a cock by adorning his head with a plume made of feathers pulled out of his own tail.” And as regards these who have sunk from being (though perhaps small ones) masters to mere workers, he says their wages are doubtless better than nothing, but ” yet it may have been quite as well for them if the profit on their toil had been taken by themselves instead of the great capitalist, and if they had taken their money on their own desk rather than on the Saturday pay-table.” This, of course, at once opens up the whole question of the rights of labour to share in the profits of their work ; and this is the bone of contention still. Mr. Barnes also has a pertinent sentence upon a dogma which one frequently now hears, and sees in print, as addressed to our ” masters,” the agricultural labourers, and with a view to content them with their lot. It refers to the “identity of interest between the employer and the labourer,” or, what is the same, between ” capital and labour.” Mr. Barnes remarks (p. 70) —” It is often said that the interests of capital and labour are identical, and so in truth they are as long as they are kept so by the law of Christian kindness ; but if the truth or the broad form of it be misunderstood by the hand-hiring capital, it does not follow that the wealth of the capitalist and workman are identical.” Mr. Barnes here appeals to a higher law than the mere law of the land, or the market price, as a true and potent factor in all questions between labour and capital.

The capitalist may ensconce himself behind the law of the land, he may seek to justify himself by the ” market price of labour,” but no law, in Mr. Barnes’ opinion, can ever enforce any true identity of interest between capital and labour, but that one of which he speaks in the passage quoted, ” The law of Christian kindness,” which, when it works so as to discover that the market price is not always the just, although it may be the legal measure of labour’s value, will also operate so as to accord a share of the profits of Labour to the workman ! When will that be ? Echo answers, when? But if we may hazard a guess we shall not be far wrong, I think, in saying that the considerations and discussions continued in “Labour and Gold,” if widely spread abroad, will not fail to hasten the day. Mr. Barnes, again, speaking on the effects of the monopoly of great capitals, (p. 70), admits that “one man may leave a million to his wife, earned out of his capital by his workmen, but then fewer men out of every hundred in his trade can leave their children a hundred pounds.” Who cannot feel that the loss of the hundred pounds to each of the many is ill compensated for by the gain of a million to one person?

Everywhere throughout this little book the relations of capital and labour are discussed thus earnestly and temperately. If space allowed we might show how fair he is towards capital rightly employed, and how dear to his heart were the interests and well being of the working man, especially in those chapters on ” the measure and quantity of labour,” on ” overwork,” on the “reaction of labour,” and of ” inaction;” as well as on the “dignity and disdain of work,” on ” machinery,” and ” congregated labour.” But what I consider the essential point in this work is the insistence upon a higher law than the law of the land, and the market price as a factor in the relations of labour and capital—’ the law of Christian Kindness.” I have gone thus much into this work of Mr. Barnes’, not only because of the great and pressing present importance of the subject, but, principally, here, to show that Mr. Barnes was not merely a poet, not simply a singer of pretty melodious songs, but a true, a large hearted, and a just philanthropist; and I venture to think that Mr. Barnes ‘ fame will not in the future simply rest upon his Dorset Dialect poems, exquisite as they undoubtedly are.

It is time, though, that some mention should be made here of Mr. Barnes in connection with the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club. As we might have supposed, Mr. Barnes was always forward to support anything connected with the interests of natural history and natural science. Every morning during his scholastic life before the regular school work began he gave his scholars a short lecture on some natural history or scientific subject. Each scholar had to take down in writing a proposition, generally embracing one point only, on which the lecture was based. Notes were to be taken upon the lecture, which was always illustrated by objects or experiments, and an examination upon it was subsequently made. I have still in my possession the MS. notes of these lectures during the whole of the two years that I was a pupil of Mr. Barnes’.

He was among the founders of the County Museum, and stood firmly by it through evil and good report until it bloomed into its present fair and prosperous form; and at once on its inauguration in 1875 became a member of the Field Club, frequently attending the Field Meetings, even down to a very recent period, and, whenever called upon to do so, always contributed his quota to the proceedings of the day in his habitually retiring, but simple, clear, and concise way. These contributions were usually of an Antiquarian kind, as are all those contributed in writing to the Field Club’s published proceedings. I have given these contributions in a separate list at the end of the general list of his works ; they are 14 in number and are mostly concerned with topics at the moment before the club. The last paper contributed to our Proceedings was in September, 1885, on “Pilsdon,” and is published in vol. vii. p. 102. Mr. Barnes was then in too feeble a state to attend outdoor meetings, and I myself had the pleasure of reading (in his absence) his last words to us ; and the very last words (with which the paper concludes) suggest to us a bit of practical work, which, I hope, some one among us may one day carry out. He was speaking of the curious parallelogram on the area of the Great Earthwork at Pilsdon, and, after hazarding a guess on the subject, concludes with these words—”I wonder what is under its turf?” and I will now add ” Will not some one institute a search and let us know?”

And now, ill done indeed I fear, but yet, so far as I have been able to do it, my task is done. I should have liked to dwell longer on many points of Mr. Barnes’ life and character, and particularly on some others of his published works. I feel little doubt but that if the real value of his philological work were thoroughly gone into he would be found to have been well abreast of the greatest contemporary masters of philological science, but I must leave that to other hands. To say that we of the Field Club most deeply lament our old friend is only to repeat what all the world has said since his death ; to say that we shall never see his like again would be to prophesy when we do not know, a proceeding proverbially unwise ; but I do think that it may well be the ambition of us all, when our time shall come, to have lived as Mr. Barnes lived and to have died as he died.

A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF THE PUBLISHED WORKS OF THE REV. WILLIAM BARNES B.D.

1822 Orra : A Lapland Tale. A short poem, published by Clarke, Dorchester. 8vo., p.p. 28, with four woodcuts engraved by the Author,

Other Short Poems, also published in this year.

1827 Some Little Essays and other papers, signed “Dilettante,” in Dorset County Chronicle from 1827, cir. to 1835.

Some Sonnets and other Poems, some of which were printed in a book in 1846.

Translations in Verse from the Italian of Metastasio.

1829 The Etymological Glossary ; or Easy Exposition for the use of Schools and Non-Latinists, wherein the greater part of the English words of foreign derivation are so arranged that the learner is enabled to acquire the meaning at once. By William Barnes, Master of the Boarding School at Mere, in Wiltshire, Teacher of Perspective and Drawing, and of the Latin, French, Italian, and German languages. Shaftesbury : T. Rutter. London : Whittaker, Teacher, and Arnot.

1831 Papers in Gentleman’s Magazine –
ON ENGLISH DERIVATIONS.
ON THE STRUCTURE OF DICTIONARIES.
ON PRONUNCIATION OF LATIN.
HIEROGLYPHICS.

1832 Papers in Hones Year Book –
DORSETSHIRE CUSTOMS, p. 1172.
SINGLE STICK AND CUDGELS, p. 1525.
LENT CROCKING, p, 1599.

In Gentleman’s Magazine –
IDENTITY OF NATIONAL MANNERS AND LANGUAGE.
MERE CHURCH, WITH WOODCUTS.
SONGS OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS.
ANALOGY OF GREEK AND OTHER LANGUAGES.
ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE.
THORNHILL OBELISK, WITH A WOODCUT.
ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE.
ENGLISH COMPOUNDS.

1833 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
NAPPER’S MITE, Dorchester, with a woodcut.
SILTON CHURCH, with woodcut. Supplement to vol. ciii. pt.
STURMINSTER NEWTON CHURCH.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
NAILSEA CHURCH, Somerset.
CHELVEY, Somerset.
A CATECHISM OF GOVERNMENT in general and of England in particular. Shaftesbury,

1833.
THE MNEMONICAL MANUAL, founded on a new and simple system of Mnemonics. Recommended to the notice of teachers and readers of
history, &c. , &c.

1834 A FEW WORDS ON THE ADVANTAGES of a MORE COMMON ADOPTION OF THE MATHEMATICS AS A BRANCH OF EDUCATION OR SUBJECT OF STUDY.
London : Whittaker. 20vo., and various Local Publishers, 1834.
POEMS OF RURAL LIFE in Dorset Dialect, begun in this year, published in
Dorset County Chronicle.
A DORSET IDYL, written in a sick room coming on to convalescence – ” When I was uphalening from a sickness – an ailing of the liver.”
“ON THE CROSS AT ST. (?).” A paper in Gentleman’s Magazine.

1835 A MATHEMATICAL INVESTIGATION of the principle of Hanging Doors, Gates, Swing Bridges, and other heavy bodies swinging on vertical axes. Dorchester : Simonds and Sydenham, 1835.

In Gentleman’s Magazine –
PUNCK KNOWLE HOUSE, with a woodcut.

1837 ON ROMAN MINERALS, p. 573.

1838 On Æsop.
SOME ETYMOLOGIES.

1840 ANOTHER LETTER to Gentleman’s Magazine on the distinction between VIR and HOMO. According to the general rule of the ‘Elegantitæ Latinsæ ” ViR is equivalent to a man, when noticed for praise or excellence; never when blame is expressed. Homo is used indiscriminately. What Mr. Barnes thought was that VIR is equivalent to man, as distinguished from a woman, as of the female sex ; Homo i equivalent to a human being, in distinction from one of a different order, whether higher or lower ; VIR is equivalent to the German Mann, Homo is equivalent to German MENSCH. He quotes from Ovid, Metamorph, Sallust, Horace, Terence, &c, in proof of his idea.

1839 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
ON THE SO-CALLED KIMMERIDGE COAL MONEY.
BATTLE OF PENN.
THE ROMAN AMPHITHEATRE AT DORCHESTER.
THE HINDOO SHASTERS.
PHŒNICIANS.
HINDOO POORAN AND SCIENCES.

1840 In Gentleman’s Magazine –
HINDOO FAQUEERS.
DORSET DIALECT compared with Anglo-Saxon.
THE OLD JUDGE’S HOUSE, DORCHESTER, with a woodcut.
LAWS OF CASE. An investigation of the Laws of Case in Language
Published 1840. Longman and Co. and Whittaker and Co , London.

1841 EDUCATION ON WORDS AND THINGS.
FIELDING’S HOUSE AT STOWER, with a woodcut.
GOTHS AND TEUTONS.
AN ARITHMETICAL AND COMMERCIAL DICTIONARY. Pubhshed by (?)
HINTS ON TEACHING, in the Educational Magazine, pp. 160, March 1841.
PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY of Geographical Names, pp. 249. Published by (?)

1842 THE ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH GRAMMAR. London : W^hittaker and Co.
THE ELEMENTS OF LINEAR Perspective and the Projection of Shadows,
16 woodcut diagrams, by author. Published by Longman and Co. and Hamilton and Adams.
NUMEROUS REVIEWS of all kinds of books in Gentleman’s Magazine from
1841 to 1849 (inclusive.)

1844 SIX SACRED SONGS “SABBATH LAYS.” Poetry by W. Barnes, music composed by F. W. Smith, Dorchester. Price to Subscribers, 5s. ; to Non-subscribers, 6s. London : Chappell, New Bond-street, London.
EXERCISES IN PRACTICAL SCIENCE, containing the Main Principles of Dynamics, Statics, Hydro-Statics and Hydrodynamics, with 14 diagrams in wood, by author, pp. 65 for my pupils. Pub. Dorchester, Clark,

DORSET POEMS (collected from Dorset County Chronicle) with a dissertation
on the Folk Speech, and a glossary of Dorset words. Published by George Simonds, Dorchester.

1846 POEMS PARTLY OF RURAL LIFE (in national English). London : J. R. Smith. Containing “Some of my Earlier Bits of verse Sonnets and others”, with some later ones in Common English.

1847 “POEMS OF RURAL LIFE IN DORSET DIALECT.” 2nd Edition. J. R. Smith. London.

OUTLINES OF GEOGRAPHY AND ETHNOGRAPHY FOR YOUTH, pp. 242. Barclay, Dorchester. 1857 A new edition, applied for by H. C. Harris ; published 21, Great Alie-street, Goodmansfields, and afterwards brought out.

1849 SE GEFYLSTA (the Helper) an Anglo-Saxon Delectus. J. R. Smith, London. (Another edition since.)
HUMILIS DOMUS. Some thoughts on the Abodes, Life, and Social Condition of the Poor, especially in Dorsetshire. (Printed from the Poole Herald).

1853 and 1854 Papers in ”The Retrosprctivi Review.” London: J. R. Smith. Vols. I. and 11.
POPULATION AND EMIGRATION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE 17TH CENTURY.
Art. 4.
ANECDOTA LITERARIA. Extracts from the Diary of John Richards, Esq.,
pp. 97, 201.
PYRRHONISM OF JOSEPH GLANVILLE
ENGLISH MUSIC AND MADRIGALS. Vol. II., Art. 4. The Antiquary.
Art. 6, No. 6. Lelantd, February, 1854.
ASTROLOGY, Xo. 7, Art. 5.
CONTROVERSIAL WRITERS on Waterhouse and Fox, on the Utility of
Learning in the Church. No. 8, Art. 3. Aug. 1854.

1854 A PHILOLOGICAL GRAMMAR, 8vo., pp. 312. J, R. Smith, London.

1859 HWOMELY RHYMES, a second collection of Dorset Poems. J. R. Smith, London.
BRITAIN AND THE ANCIENT BRITONS, pp. 167. J. R. Smith, London.

1859 VIEWS OF LABOUR AND GOLD, pp. 190. J. R. Smith, London.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON, in the Dorset Dialect (for ” Prince Louis Buonaparte).

1861 In Macmillans Magazine (May, 1861)
ON THE BEAUTIFUL IN NATURE AND ART.

1862 DORSET POEMS, 3rd Edition of 1st Coll , being in fact the 4th Edition: John Russell Smith, London.
TIU, OR A VIEW OF THE ROOTS, and stems of the English as a Teutonic
Tongue, p.p., 324. J. R. Smith.

Macmillan’s Magazine –
ON THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF TRIAL BY JURY in Britain, March 1S62.

1863 The “RARIORA” of Old Poetry. May 1863.
Fraser’s Magazine –
ON THE CREDIBILITY OF OLD SONG, History and Tradition, Sept. 1863.
ON PATMORE’S POETRY, July 1863.
POEMS IN THE DORSET DIALECT. 3rd collection, with frontispiece and vignette. 4s. 6d. 1st ed., J. R. Smith, London.
DORSET POEMS. 2nd edition of 2nd collection. J. R. Smith, London.
GRAMMAR AND GLOSSARY OF THE DORSET DIALECT, with the history, outspreading and bearing of the South-western English. Published for the Philological Society, by A. Asher and Co , Berlin – 8vo., p.p. 103.

1863 In the Reader –
A REVIEW OF DEAN HOARE on English Roots and Exotics.
In the Ladies’ Treasury –
“ON CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE.”

1864 In the Reader –
REVIEW OF COOKE’S “NEGLECTED FACT,” in English History.

1865 A GUIDE TO DORCHESTER. Published by Barclay.

1864 and 1865 VERSIONS OF THE PSALMS in English measures (unrhymed), formed upon those of the Hebrew, with some original and other notes – printed in the Dorset County Chronicle. (This appears to have been afterwards published in a vol. by some Liverpool publishers O.P.C.)

1865 “ON DORSET.” Read before the Archaeological Society at Dorchester. Printed in the Transactions of the Society.

1866 In Fraser s Magazine –
ON THE WELSH TRIADS, Oct. 1866.

1866 DORSET POEMS A 4th Edition of 1st coll.—in fact the 5th edition. John Russell Smith, London.

In Macmillans Magazine –
ON PLAGIARISM.

In Ladies’ Treasury –
ON PRINKING OR BODILY ORNAMENT.
A GLOSSARY, with some pieces of verse of the old dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, Co. Wexford, Ireland, formerly collected by Jacob Poole, of Growton. Edited by Rev. W. Barnes. J. R Smith, Lond.

1867 In the Ladies’ Treasury –
THE HOAX.

1867 In Macmillan’s Magazine –
ON BARDIC POETRY.
SOME BITS OF WRITING IN THE HAWK—a monthly hover from the Vale of Avon. Published by W. Wheaton, Ringwood.
THE CHURCH IN IRELAND. Logical anomalies of the disendowment of. Dorset County Chronicle.
THE RATING OF TITHES. Ditto.

1868 POEMS OF RURAL LIFE, in common English, pp. 200. Macmillan and Co.

1869 EARLY ENGLAND and the Saxon English, with some notes on the Fatherstock
of the Saxon English—the Frisians. J. R. Smith.

1869 A PAPER FOR THE GOVERNMENT COMMISSION on the Employment of children, young persons, and women in agriculture. Printed in the Blue Book. Appendix : Part II , to Second Report, p. 12.

1870 DORSET POEMS 2nd Edition of 3rd coll. J. R Smith.
“ON SOMERSET,” read before the Somerset Archaeological Society, at Wincanton.

1871 ON THE ORIGIN OF THE HUNDRED AND TITHING of English Law. Read before the Archaeological Association at Weymouth. Printed in the Transactions.

1878 AN OUTLINE OF ENGLISH SPEECHCRAFT. Kegan Paul and Co.

1879 POEMS OF RURAL LIFE (in the Dorset dialect.) 8vo , pp., 467: Kegan Paul and Co. (This is a complete collection of all the Dorset dialect poems.)

1880 AN OUTLINE OF REDECRAFT (logic) in English Wording. 8vo. pp. 56. Kegan Paul and Co.
In Leisure Hour (a series). Dorset Folk and Dorset, with illustrations.

188(?) A GLOSSARY OF DORSET and West English words as kindred stems from their main roots. Published by (?)

PAPERS PUBLISHED IN THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE DORSET NATURAL HISTORY AND ANTIQUARIAN FIELD CLUB, FROM 1875 TO 1886.

Vol. I. – A British Earthwork, p 94.
Vol. III .- Notes on the History of Shaftesbury, p. 27.
The Tout Hill, Shaftesbury, p. 48.

Vol. IV. – On the Iter xvi., of Antoninus, p. 62.
Addendum to Notes on the History of Shaftesbury, p. 77.
Cranborne, the so called Castle, p. 134.
On the Maze or Mismaze at Leigh, p. 154.

Vol. V. – Some Slight Notes on Badbury Rings, p. 38.
Eggardon and British Tribeship, p. 40.
A Study 0.1 the Bockley, or Bockerly, Dyke, and others, in Dorset, p 49.
Notes on the so-called Roman Roads, p. 69,

Vol. VI. – A Study on the Invasion of the South-West of Britain, by Vespasian, p. 18.
A Study on the Belga:; in South Britain, p. 33.

Vol. VII. – Pilsdon, p. 102.

Several songs have been composed by various composers to words written by
Mr. Barnes. Among these are : –

“There’s a Chakm in the Bloom of Youth.” Music by F. W. Smith.
” The Mother’.s Dream.” Music by Sir A. Sullivan.
“The Bells of Alderburnham.” Music by Dolores.
“John Bleake of Blackmoor.” Music by F. W. Smith,

MSS. NOT PRINTED

  • A Second Set of Poems in Common English.
  • Hymns on Church openings, Harvest Thanksgivings, Baptism, Marriage, Choir Meeting, School.
  • Word Building in English.
  • A Word List of EngUsh Words, which have heretofore holden, or would do, instead of others that have been intaken from other tongues,
  • A Latin Word-book of Words ranked under their Roots or main Stem-words,
  • On Angria the Pirate, and the Indian Wars of his time. (A paper meant for the Retrospective Review.)
  • Utilitarianism. An answer to Utilitarianism, by John Mill.
  • A Version of the Song of Solomon, handled as poetry, with some out-clearing notes from Eastern poetry, and other sources
  • Studies in poetry of less known schools.
  • Notes on Persian Word Stems.
  • Notes on the Song of Deborah and Barak.
  • Alphabetical and Etymological Dictionary of the common names of animals (not polished.)
  • Echoes from Zion – a free version of as many of the Psalms.
  • King Arthur and Welsh poetry, of and since his time
  • Notes on the God-ha-dum, a Redeemer of blood under the Law.
  • Latin Word-building in the noun and verb endings.
  • A Word List of Grammar terms, out-cleared by wording, and English words in their stead.
  • Essay on the Maintenance of the Church of England as an Established Church
    Palraam non meruit.
    (This is the author’s simple endorsement on the rejected essay, which was written in competition for the Peeke prizes in 1872, but failed to win.)
  • Dorset Dialogues.
  • Preaching.
  • Liturgy,
  • Hymn for a Harvest Thanksgiving,

Related Links:

 

Second World War Drama ‘Stronghold of Happiness’ at the Dorset County Museum

Kitty Sansom and Toby Ingram in the play 'Stronghold of Happiness'

Kitty Sansom and Toby Ingram in the play ‘Stronghold of Happiness’

In 2015, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the ending of Second World War, Dorset couple, Peter and Ella Samways, have answered an advert placed by the local drama college, for couples who were married in Second World War to write in with their story.

They are excited when their story is chosen for dramatization, and are invited to watch a rehearsal of the play and to answer questions posed by the actors about the war and local history.

Watching their story unfold, with its shattering wartime events, turns out to be more dramatic and cathartic than the couple initially realised.

Stronghold of Happiness PosterThe play based on the book ‘Stronghold of Happinessby Devina Symes is fiction based on fact, and includes the true story of the RAF’s 151 wing’s unique mission to Russia, where the latter were the only members of His Majesty’s Forces to serve alongside the Russians as allies, and were on the first convoy to leave the United Kingdom.

Intrinsic to the story is Peter’s father, Archie, who, like other Dorset characters, copes with the dark side of life through humour and wisdom, and makes innocent observations about life at that time, little realising he is standing on the cusp of a vanishing world.

The performance is at the Dorset County Museum on Saturday 17th October 2015.  Tickets for the play cost £7.00 each to include a complimentary glass of wine or juice, and nibbles. Tickets are available from Dorset County Museum Shop or by telephone on 01305 756827. All proceeds will go to the refurbishment of the William Barnes Gallery at the Dorset County Museum.

  • 1940s dress optional!. Please note this event contains adult themes and is not suitable for children

Sponsored by Mark Cummins Chartered Certified Accountants & Tax Advisers www.cumminsaccountants.co.uk

The Harvest Customs and Traditions in Dorset

Harvest HomeExtract taken from the Chambers Book of Days August 1st 1864, details the traditions of Lammas.

LAMMAS – This was one of the four great pagan festivals of Britain, the others being on 1st November, 1st February, and 1st May. The festival of the Gule of August, as it was called, probably celebrated the realisation of the first-fruits of the earth, and more particularly that of the grain-harvest. When Christianity was introduced, the day continued to be observed as a festival on these grounds, and, from a loaf being the usual offering at church, the service, and consequently the day, came to be called Half-mass, subsequently shortened into Lammas, just as hlaf-dig (bread-dispenser), applicable to the mistress of a house, came to be softened into the familiar and extensively used term, lady. This we would call the rational definition of the word Lammas.

There is another, but in our opinion utterly inadmissible derivation, pointing to the custom of bringing a lamb on this day, as an offering to the cathedral church of York. Without doubt, this custom, which was purely local, would take its rise with reference to the term Lammas, after the true original signification of that word had been forgotten. It was once customary in England, in contravention of the proverb, that a cat in mittens catches no mice, to give money to servants on Lammas-day, to buy gloves; hence the term Glove-Silver. It is mentioned among the ancient customs of the abbey of St. Edmund’s, in which the clerk of the cellarer had 2d.; the cellarer’s squire, 11d.; the granger, 11d.; and the cowherd a penny. Anciently, too, it was customary for every family to give annually to the pope on this day one penny, which was thence called Denarius Sancti Petri, or Peter’s Penny.’—Hampson’s Medii AEvi Kalendarium.

What appears as a relic of the ancient pagan festival of the Gule of August, was practised in Lothian till about the middle of the eighteenth century. From the unenclosed state of the country, the tending of cattle then employed a great number of hands, and the cow-boys, being more than half idle, were much disposed to unite in seeking and creating amusement. In each little district, a group of them built, against Lammas-day, a tower of stones and sods in some conspicuous place.

On Lammas-morning, they assembled here, bearing flags, and blowing cow-horns — breakfasted together on bread and cheese, or other provisions—then set out on a march or procession, which usually ended in a foot-race for some trifling prize. The most remarkable feature of these rustic fetes was a practice of each party trying, before or on the day, to demolish the sod fortalice of some other party near by. This, of course, led to great fights and brawls, in which blood was occasionally spilt. But, on the whole, the Lammas Festival of Lothian was a pleasant affair, characteristic of an age which, with less to gain, had perhaps rather more to enjoy than the present”

Dorset Folklorist, John Symonds Udal wrote about the customs and traditions of Harvest Home in Dorset in his book ‘Dorsetshire Folklore’ published in 1922:-

HAY-MAKING

Haymaking

Haymaking in Dorset – DCM © 2015

The season of hay-making would seem never to have been such a period of gaiety and festivity in Dorsetshire as was the case with the “harvest-home” gatherings later in the year. The success of the hay harvest, however, was a very important matter to so large a pastoral community as the county comprised; and without doubt some celebration by way of reward for and appreciation of services loyally rendered, often in long extended hours of work when the weather was uncertain, was indulged in at the conclusion of that harvest. Extra money payments, as in the corn harvest, have largely taken the place of social gatherings and festivities amongst the labourers in which their employers once freely joined. Still in many places at the ingathering of the hay an extra jar of cider or ale would be brought out, and the men would sit down and have a chat amongst themselves and, perhaps, a song or two ; whilst at the close hats would be raised and ” hip, hip, hurrahs ” would be given.

In later years, both in hay and corn harvesting, machinery has taken a very active part in reducing the amount of manual labour employed in these operations, which at its introduction went sorely against the conservative feelings of the Dorset peasant. This feeling was just as strongly expressed as in the great industrial centres in the North where labour-saving appliances were ever on the increase; and sometimes took the form of reprisals by way of burning hay and corn ricks as well as the occasional destruction of the offending machinery.

Under these influences in course of time the very names of the old haymakers’ several occupations would be lost. In William Barnes’s early days—a century ago—these were numerous and distinctive. We are fortunate in having him to record what they were. Here is a description which he gives in his Glossary (1863) of what haymaking was like in his time (s.v. Häymeäken).

“Hay-making consists of several operations which with fine weather, commonly follow each other in Dorsetshire, thus : The mown grass—in zwath, swath,—is thrown abroad—tedded, and afterwards turned once or twice ; in the evening it is raked up into little ridges—rollers,—single or double, as they may be formed by one raker, or by two raking against each other ; and sometimes put up into small cones or heaps, called cocks. On the following morning the rollers or cocks are thrown abroad in passels—parcels,—which, after being turned, are in the evening put up into large ridges—weals ; and the weals are sometimes pooked, put up into larger cones—pooks,—in which the hay is loaded. In raking grass into double rollers, or pushing hay into weals, the fore raker or pickman is said to rake in or push in, or row or roo, and the other to close.”

Barnes had already preserved many of these terms in two of his charming dialect poems, one on “Häymeäken “, and the other on “Häy-carrén” (pp. 51-2), which afford so delightful a picture of rustic life in the hay-field that one feels inclined to say, too:

“I do long to toss a pick,
A pitchén or a-meäkén rick.”

HARVEST HOME

The celebration of the ingathering of the corn harvest is common to all our counties and to most countries. Full accounts of these festivals and their significance may be found in Brand’s, Hone’s, and Chambers’s works, as well as in those of less known writers.

It is to the late William Barnes that we might expect to look for a fitting description of a Dorset harvest-home feast, or supper, and we find it in an account,—as particular and as life-like as a painting of an old Dutch interior—of what usually took place on these occasions, which he contributed to Hone’s Year Book (p. 586), from which I take the following extract:—

“Harvest Home, formerly celebrated with great mirth but now a declining usage, was a feast given by the farmer at the end of harvest, or when his hay and corn were got in … Some years ago the ‘ harvest home ‘ in my native county, Dorset, was kept up with good old English hospitality.

Harvesting

Reapers gathering the harvest – DCM © 2015

“When the last load was ricked the labourers, male and female, the swarthy reaper and the sun-burnt hay-maker, the saucy boy who had not seen twelve summers and the stiff horny-handed old mower who had borne the toil of fifty, all made a happy groupe, and went with singing and loud-laughing to the harvest-home supper at the farmhouse, where they were expected by the good mistress, dressed in a quilted petticoat and a linsey-wolsey apron, with shoes fastened by large silver buckles which extended over her foot like a pack-saddle on a donkey.

“The dame and her husband welcomed them to a supper of good wholesome food, a round of beef, and a piece of bacon; and perhaps the host and hostess had gone so far as to kill a fowl or two, or stick a turkey, which they had fattened in the wheat-yard. The plain English fare was eaten from wooden trenchers, by the side of which were put little cups of horn filled with beer or cider. When the cloth was removed one of the men, putting forth his large hand like the gauntlet of an armed knight, would grasp his horn of beer, and standing up on a pair of legs which had long out-grown the largest holes of the village stocks, and with a voice which, if he had not been speaking a dialect of the English language, you might have thought came from the deep-seated lungs of a lion, he would propose the health of the farmer in the following lines :—

‘Here’s a health unto our miaster
The founder of the feast,
And I hope to God wi’ all my heart
His soul in heaven mid rest;
That everything mid prosper
That ever he tiak in hand,
Vor we be all his sarvants,
And all at his command.’

“After this would follow a course of jokes, anecdotes, and songs, in some of which the whole company joined, without attention to the technicalities of counterpoint, bass, tenor, and treble, common chords and major thirds; but each singing the air and pitching in at the key that best fitted his voice, making a medley of big and little sounds, like the lowings of oxen and the low beatings of old ewes, mixed up with the shrill pipings of the lambs at a fair.

“The conversation commonly turned on the incidents of the summer ; how the hay-makers overtook the mowers, or how the rain kept the labour back ; how they all crept in a heap under the waggon in a thunderstorm ; how nearly some of them were crushed under the load that was upset; who was the best mower or reaper in the village ; which field yielded the best crop ; and which stack was most likely to heat.”

Later Barnes devoted two of his charming dialect poems to a similar description, which form such a delightful complement to the whole subject that I have no hesitation in reproducing them here in full. They are to be found at pp. 78-80 of the first collected edition of the poems published by Kcgan Paul & Co. in 1879, and again in 1888. (The first edition of Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect was in 1844, whilst the earlier edition of Hone’s Year Book in which Barnes’s contribution first appeared was published in 1832. A change of spelling in some of the dialect words,—particularly the ‘”vowel sounds “,— (e.g. ” ia “, in ” miaster “, or ” tiak “, to ” eä, “) will be noticed in the earlier and later editions of the poems ; a scheme not involving so much a change of pronunciation» perhaps, but, as justified by Barnes in the preface to the third edition of his ” first collection” of poems, published in 1862, on the ground that ” while it affords the Dorset forms of the words to Dorset readers it may make them of more English look and more legible to others “.)

HARVEST HWOME

The vu’st peärt. The Supper.

“Since we wer striplèns naïghbour John,

The good wold merry times be gone:
But we do like to think upon
What we’ve a-zeed an’ done.
When I wer up a hardish lad,
At harvest hwome the work-vo’k had
Sich suppers, they wer jumpèn mad
Wi’ feästèn an’ wi’ fun.

At uncle’s, I do mind, woone year,
I zeed a vill o’ hearty cheer;
Fat beef an’ puddèn, eäle an’ beer,
Vor ev’ry workman’s crop
An’ after they’d a-gie’d God thanks,
They all zot down, in two long ranks,
Along a teäble-bwoard o’ planks,
Wi’ uncle at the top.

An’ there, in platters, big and brown,
Wer red fat beäcon, an’ a roun’
O’ beef wi’ gravy that would drown
A little rwoastèn pig;
Wi’ beäns an’ teäties vull a zack,
An’ cabbage that would meäke a stack,
An’ puddèns brown, a-speckled black
Wi’ figs, so big’s my wig.

An’ uncle, wi’ his elbows out,
Did carve, an’ meäke the gravy spout;
An’ aunt did gi’e the mugs about
A-frothèn to the brim.
Pleätes werden then ov e’then ware,
They ate off pewter, that would bear
A knock; or wooden trenchers, square,
Wi’ zalt-holes at the rim.

An’ zoo they munch’d their hearty cheer,
An’ dipp’d their beards in frothy-beer,
An’ laugh’d, an’ jok’d–they couldden hear
What woone another zaid.
An’ all o’m drink’d, wi’ woone accword,
The wold vo’k’s health: an’ beät the bwoard,
An’ swung their eärms about, an’ roar’d,

Enough to crack woone’s head.

Second Peärt. What they did after Supper.

Zoo after supper wer a-done,
They clear’d the teäbles, an’ begun
To have a little bit o’ fun,
As long as they mid stop.
The wold woones took their pipes to smoke,
An’ tell their teäles, an’ laugh an’ joke,
A-lookèn at the younger vo’k,
That got up vor a hop.

Woone screäp’d away, wi’ merry grin,
A fiddle stuck below his chin;
An’ woone o’m took the rollèn pin,
An’ beät the fryèn pan.
An’ tothers, dancèn to the soun’,
Went in an’ out, an’ droo an’ roun’,
An’ kick’d, an’ beät the tuèn down,
A-laughèn, maïd an’ man.

An’ then a maïd, all up tip-tooe,
Vell down; an’ woone o’m wi’ his shoe
Slit down her pocket-hole in two,
Vrom top a-most to bottom.
An’ when they had a-danc’d enough,
They got a-plaÿèn blindman’s buff,
An’ sard the maïdens pretty rough,
When woonce they had a-got em.

An’ zome did drink, an’ laugh, an’ roar,
An’ lots o’ teäles they had in store,
O’ things that happen’d years avore
To them, or vo’k they know’d.
An’ zome did joke, an’ zome did zing,
An’ meäke the girt wold kitchen ring;
Till uncle’s cock, wi’ flappèn wing,
Stratch’d out his neck an’ crow’d.

To these Barnes has added ” A Zong of the Harvest Home ” (p. 80), of which the refrain to each of the six verses is:

“The happy zight—the merry night—
The men’s delight—the Harvest Hwome.”

Again, many years later, in his ” Fore-say ” to this work, Barnes speaks of the decline of the old-time celebrations of this festival. He says: “The feasts of Harvest-Home in which the work-folk were invited to

‘the hall
where beards wagged all,—'(Thomas Tusser: Five Hundred Points of Husbandry)

to share of mirth and meat under the smiles of the master and mistress, as tokens of approbation of their work, are now less customary than they formerly were, as in these commercial days it seems to be felt that the clock measures all the workman owes his master and the paytable all that the master owes to him.”

As Brand says (i, 443), ” Different places adopt different ceremonies ” ; but that which seems to me to conform most to the Dorset ritual on these occasions is that of ” crying the knack “, or ” neck “, in the neighbouring counties of Devon and Cornwall, and in which there seems not only a strong affinity but traces of considerable antiquity. (Conf. Shropshire Folk-lore, pp372-3)

In 1873 I contributed an article to Notes and Queries (Ser. iv, xii, 491), describing ” A Dorsetshire Harvest-Home ” in West Dorset, which I had recently attended, and this I now reproduce :

“It was my good fortune to be present in September last at one of those old-fashioned gatherings in the West of Dorset, a harvest-home, and I thought that perhaps an account of such a quaint and time-honoured custom might not be unacceptable to some among the readers of ‘ N. and Q.’, especially as these congenial meetings are becoming scarcer year by year and ere long bid fair to rank amongst the things that have been. Small sums of money are now in many places given to the men, women, and boys instead of the usual supper, a practice that I am sorry to say seems to be on the increase, and which I here offer up my voice to protest against.

” I say ‘sorry’, first, because it denotes a departure from old customs, and, secondly, because the purpose for which the alteration is intended is, it seems to me, but very imperfectly carried out. At the time of such a general holiday in the parish the labourers of one farm do not seem willing to disperse quietly to their own homes and husband the few shillings they may have received as ‘largess’, whilst their fellows are enjoying themselves on another farm ; but rather to keep up a harvest-home of their own in the village ale-house, though, I need scarcely say, not of so orderly a character as that of the bond fide supper ; and which, to tell the truth, they themselves much prefer, for a ‘ Dorsetshire labourer ‘, though he may be poor, is none the less Conservative.
“On the day appointed for the celebration of the harvest, the labourers from the several farms attended afternoon service in the parish church, dressed in their best clothes, the church being decorated in the usually seasonable manner. The entrance-gates of the principal farms were likewise decorated with an arch of evergreen, flowers, corn, etc., crowned with a sickle and scythe swathed in bands of wheat barley, the whole surmounted by appropriate mottoes.

“In the evening tables were laid out in the kitchen of a size sufficient to accommodate the men, women, boys and girls employed on the farm, the ‘ master ‘, assisted by such members of his family as might be, sitting at their head and carving a grand rump of Old English beef.

“As soon as the company had partaken of as much beef and plum-pudding as was considered desirable an adjournment was made to a large tree that stood near the homestead, where the following quaint custom—peculiar, I was informed, to the west of Dorset—took place. (it would seem to be somewhat similiar to the custom of ‘crying the knack’, which obtains to Devon and Cornwall)

“The men formed themselves into a circle, and each taking off his hat and holding it out in front of him, stooped to the ground; then, led by one standing in the centre, chanted the words : ‘ We have ’em ‘ (or ‘ ‘en’). The first word, ‘ We/ is commenced in a very low tone, the men the while slowly and gradually raising themselves up, and so prolonged till they have almost reached their full height. They close the sentence by saying ‘ have ’em ‘ more quickly. This is done three times. They then shout ‘ Huzza ! ‘ once. Again they stoop down and go the same performance ; finishing up this time with two ‘ huzzas’. This is repeated once more, and finally wound up by huzzaing three times. As soon as the men have finished the women come forward and go through the same ceremony. This, when well performed, a not altogether unimpressive or unmusical effect. The words, I believe, bear reference to the conclusion of the harvest and the sheaves of corn being satisfactorily ‘ had ‘ in.

“The discharge of small cannon, (the peculiar care of the boys) likewise gave considerable éclat to the whole proceeding. This over, the party returned to the house and entered upon a course of singing and drinking, not unmixed with dancing in the back kitchen.

“The first song was, of course, in honour of the ‘ meäster ‘, and unenriched by the Dorset vernacular indulged in by the toast-master, was in the following words :—

‘Here’s a health unto our master,
The founder of the feast,
And when that he is dead and gone,
I hope his soul may rest.
I wish all things may prosper,
Whatever he takes in hand.
For we are all his servants
And serve at his command.So drink, boys, drink!
And see that you do not spill.For if you do,You shall drink two,
“Tis by your master’s will.’
“This song is repeated till everybody present has drunk the health.

‘Here’s Mrs’ (or Mr’s) good health !Let the glass go roundAnd the trumpet sound,— Huzza ! huzza ! huzza ! Down fall all the re-bels,We long to see the day,—Con-fusion unto themThat set ’em up again ! Huzza I huzza i huzza !Confusion etc.’

“This, like the last, was repeated till all had drunk.

“Then followed the curious and laughable custom of’ drinking to your love over the left arm ‘. Each man, while the following verse was being sung, was obliged to drain his mug or horn-cup of ale by holding it in his right hand, and passing it outside of and over his left arm, which would be thrown across the chest. Great merriment was afforded when some of the older hands, through age or other infirmities failed to accomplish this in a satisfactory manner. The words sung were the following :—

‘ As I was a-riding over a mountain so highI saw a pretty girl that plea-sed my eye,She plea-sed my eye, but pla-gued my heart;From this cup of liquor we never will part;’Twill do us no good,—’twill do us no harm.”Here’s a health to my love, over left arm, over left arm! “Here’s a health etc.’

“This was continued till all had satisfactorily passed the crucial test. Songs of a more general character and sundry speeches followed; and eventually the proceedings were brought to a close about midnight by the whole company joining in the National Anthem, ‘ God Save the Queen.’ ”

The following version, similar but less ornate, of the ” whooping ” ceremony,—as it was called in the district,—was given me as having been performed at a farmhouse in the same neighbourhood as the last. At the end of the harvest a jar of cider or ale and two small cups were taken just outside the yard, when all the labourers would gather in a circle round the jar, which is presided over by the oldest man amongst them, and, taking off their hats and standing in a stooping position, would bow slowly down to the ground, whilst singing in a low, guttural, drawling tone, ” We-e-e-e have ‘en ! ” They then stand upright again and holloa ” hurrah ” once. This is gone through a second time, when the ” hurrah” is given twice. Again, a third repetition, when three ” hurrahs ” are given. They then have a drink all round; after which they return mostly for songs or dances after supper. I have been told that these cheers were often heard at a distance of a mile or two!

At the time I sent the above account to Notes and Queries I was not acquainted with Jacob Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology—or, rather, Stallybrass’s translation of it,—in four volumes, which were not published till 1880-8. After I had read it I was struck by the very strong resemblance to the Dorset ” whooping “, as it is called, that exists in the custom of the people in Lower Saxony invoking their great god Woden at the conclusion of the harvest. Grimm states (i, 154) that it is usual to leave a clump of corn standing in a field to Woden for his horse.

Mr Wellen of Charlton Marshall at a Harvest Festival, taken 1940

Mr Wellen of Charlton Marshall at a Harvest Festival, taken 1940 – DCM © 2015

He then describes (p. 156) a custom in Schaumburg where the people, having finished the mowing of the corn, or having purposely left only a small strip standing which they could cut down at a stroke, then at the finish would raise their implements aloft, beating the blades three times with the strop, while each would spill a small quantity of beer on the ground and then drink himself. They would then wave their hats and beat their scythes three times and cry aloud, ” Wôld-wôld-wôld” which, Grimm says, a Schaumburg man pronounced as ” wauden “. They would then march home shouting and singing. If the ceremony were omitted the next year would bring bad crops of hay and corn.

It is a pity that Grimm did not know of the custom as existing in western Dorsetshire, which I have described above. I wonder whether he would have agreed with the suggestion that I now venture to make, that the Dorset labourers’ cry in this corner of old Wessex of “We hav’en “, repeated three times, is but a survival of the old invocation to the great god Woden of their Saxon ancestors, still continued from time immemorial at these harvest celebrations but of which the real significance and meaning have been lost.

Shortly before I left England in 1889 I was anxious to test this resemblance still further, so I invited certain of the farm labourers belonging to the same West Dorset parish—Symondsbury— in which the ceremony had been performed in 1873, after they had attended the now usual harvest festival service at the old parish church, to do their ” whooping ” on the lawn in front of the Manor House close to the church. They went through it all in much the same way as their predecessors had done, and again the close affinity to what Grimm had related was borne in upon me. Out of compliment to him I added a further Teutonic association that was by no means unacceptable to the performers. I made the men drink the healths from a tall seventeenth century pewter tankard, or loving-cup, with covered lid (of which there were one or two similar ones in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington), of a capacity of several quarts, which had formerly been the property of some civic company or guild in some German town (to judge from the inscription), this being the first opportunity I had had of putting it to anything approaching its former use. It would be a strange but not inappropriate incident if it should again, after so many years, have assisted in the survival of an ancient Teutonic festivity.

I have since obtained from locally printed sources and otherwise a few songs or verses that were sung at harvest-home gatherings. Several of these, as I have already pointed out, may also have been sung at sheep-shearing feasts in the days when these feasts were more worthy of the name. The main toasts were evidently the same. In particular the one sent by Mr. T. H. Garland to the Dorset County Chronicle (which had reprinted my paper from Notes and Queries), wherein he added that he was a West Dorset man and had for many years witnessed the old customs to which I had alluded.
The following verse appeared in the Bridport News in 1874 as having been sung at the same place as my account referred to:

“When the wheat is all ripe the harvest begin,The farmer the fruits of the earth gather in ;In the mornings as soon as the reap hooks are grindWe repair to the field for to reap and to bind.”

Another couplet ran :—

“When the harvest is over to our master’s we will steer, And wet a good supper with a drink of strong beer.”

The following toast was given by a farm labourer at a harvest home at Blandford in 1849 (” N. & Q.,” Ser. v, x, 306. For a more correctly rhyming Worcestershire variant see the same volume, p. 375) :—

” Drink, boys, drink, and see you do not spill;
If you do you shall drink two,
For ’tis our master’s will.”

“Horses strong, sheep healthy,
Barns full, money plenty.”

A correspondent in Notes and Queries in 1878 (Ser. v, x, 375) speaks to his having heard, some forty years previously, the same refrain

” Drink, boys, drink, and see you do not spill;
If you do you shall drink two,
For ’tis our master’s will.”

at a sheep-shearing feast in the lower part of Dorsetshire, when each man was supplied with a small cup of about the third of a pint to drink the customary healths in.

Forfeits.—Amongst the amusements at harvest home suppers forfeits appear to have been sometimes indulged in (though such games were usually set apart for Christmas), when songs or rhythmic jingles were sung with the object of entrapping the unwary. The following were given me as having been used at harvest homes in the parish of Stoke Abbott, also in West Dorset.

One of the company leads off with the following rhythmic jingle, followed by the others :—

“Green grow the leaves on the hawthorn tree,Some grow high and some grow low; With my ringo and my jingoWe seldom disagree,And the tenor of my song goes merrily— And the tenor of my song goes merrily.”
The leader alone then sings :

” Twenty, nineteen, eighteen—”
The next one in rotation :
” Seventeen, sixteen, fifteen—”
The next, in their order :
” Fourteen, thirteen, twelve—”” Eleven, ten, nine—”” Eight, seven, six—”
The last in rotation chimes in with ” Five, four, three “—and they all add:
“And the tenor of my song goes merrily.”

When this is done the person next to the leader begins it over again, and it goes on as before, except that when he comes to the figures he starts with ” Seventeen, sixteen, fifteen “—the next to him taking it up as before, and so on to the end. This over, the third person in rotation commences the strain, beginning the figures at ” Fourteen, thirteen, twelve “—and so on as before until the whole is exhausted.

Should anyone make a mistake in repeating his portion he must pay forfeit, which, on these occasions, generally consists in being made to drink something.

Here is another one from the same place :—

“O splice the cable-rope,
The rope it is so fine;*
And with a sugar loaf we’ll have
A glass of currant wine ;
And if the wine is sharp
The sugar makes it sweet;
What greater joy in all the world
When two sweethearts do meet!
With my Rider, Ready, Rum,
My Rider, Ready, Rum,
So drink half your liquor, boys,
And say no more than ‘ Mum’.
So drink off your liquor,
boys,And say no more than ‘Mum’!”

  • *Possibly a covert allusion to the excellent quality of the hemp grown in the neighbourhood. So highly was it esteemed that a statute, 21 Henry VIII, provided that cables intended for the use of the Royal Navy should be made from hemp grown within a certain radius of Bridport, within which radius the parish of Stoke Abbott is situated.

The above rhyme is sung by all the company together, after which the leader, and any one who may be initiated in the game, endeavour to entrap the person sitting next them into answering more than the permitted ” Mum ” by accusing him, truly or otherwise, of having made a mistake in singing or in drinking more than half the liquor at the wrong time, so as to entail a forfeit. The verse is then gone through again, and the next person is interrogated with the like object, and so on in rotation until all have been subjected to the ordeal.”