Tag Archives: St Mary

Edwin Muir. Swaffham Prior, Cambridgeshire.

Born in Orkney in 1887.

Socialist, Critic, Contributor to The New Age Magazine, Translator, one of Scotland’s best poets and perhaps a counter balance to Hugh MacDiarmid vision of Scotland and poetic language?

Laid to rest in Swaffham Prior churchyard Cambridgeshire along with his beloved wife Willa Anderson who was an author in her own right.

Edwin Muir's Cottage Swaffham Prior

In 1919 he married Willa Anderson and said not long after that “my marriage was the most fortunate event in my life”. They collaborated on English translations of such writers as Franz Kafka, Gerhart Hauptmann, Sholem Asch, Heinrich Mann, and Hermann Broch.

Ewin Muir' Last Resting Place

We were a tribe, a family, a people.

Wallace and Bruce guard now a painted field,

And all may read the folio of our fable,

Peruse the sword, the sceptre and the shield.

A simple sky roofed in that rustic day,

The busy corn-fields and the haunted holms,

The green road winding up the ferny brae.

But Knox and Melville clapped their preaching palms

And bundled all the harvesters away,

Hoodicrow Peden in the blighted corn

Hacked with his rusty beak the starving haulms.

Out of that desolation we were born.

Edwin Muir From Scotland 1941.

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Elstow Bedfordshire

I do not know what I expected but it was not what we found. I was disappointed to find that Elstow the birth place of John Bunyan had been swallowed up by a sprawling Bedford and surrounded by its busy road networks and bypass leading you on to the M1 motorway and Milton Keynes.

John Buynan Birthplace Elstow Village Sign Bedfordshire

The Abbey Church of St Helena and St Mary is all that is left of a larger monastic church begun in 1078 it is situated just of the Village green where John played in his youth, he was christened here in 1628 and his parents and sister are buried in the graveyard.

As photo opportunities go it was a little disappointing, The Moot House on the village green which houses a museum on 17th century life did have a certain charm but I found it almost to pristine and clinical. The only redeeming feature was the village sign.

Perhaps this is all a little harsh but it was not helped by the fact that both the village school and the Swan public house had seen better days and we’re boarded up. There was a plaque on the high street marking the spot were John Buynan once lived on his return from the civil war but even this lacked any romance and very little inspiration.

Therefore it has to be concluded that it is the man, his teachings and his writings that are the enduring factor and leave the more lasting impression.