Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Downland Shepherds

It's often the case, that the items upon which one stumbles, are the best!

Like so many things unplanned, they offer the best thrills...and this 

happened to me on Friday as I dived into a charity shop,

in Newton Abbot.

I usually make for the books and I'm glad that I did.

Having long been an admirer of Gordon Beningfield,

I recognised his art, instantly!

But as I opened the book, I discovered an even bigger treat.

This is the story of the Downland shepherds...in detail.

I think it is one of the most charming books

 that I have ever come across.

In 1982, whilst browsing in a second-hand bookshop,

(one of the best pastimes, in my opinion)

a man called  Shaun Payne came across a book:

'Bypaths in Downland' by Barclay Wills.

From this chance discovery, Shaun Payne went on to

investigate the life of Barclay Wills

and the passion he had for the Downland.

Along with Richard Pailthorpe and Gordon Beningfield,

Shaun Payne produced this most lovely book, in 1989.

Barclay Wills was an interesting character.

He sought out the Downland shepherds and he recorded their

lives and their work. 

At the same time, he took photos of the

things that the shepherds considered important to their work and

he took photos of the shepherds themselves.

Furthermore, in his writing, he showed the bond between

 the shepherds and their sheep.

Anyone who loves the countryside ( and what goes on in it),

will love this book.

Anyone who loves the history of the countryside, will love it too!

But Barclay Wills also had other talents ... he could draw!

Within his nature notes could be found the most lovely sketches.

Gordon Beningfield's superb art work only serves to

enhance this book and show it off to its best.

Also included is the glossary of shepherding and dialect words.

I'm not sure how I missed this book when it was first published!

And if someone told me about it, I'd go searching

...and find it...by hook or by crook...!

This book cost me £2.

I'd say that was a bargain, for the pleasure that it has given me so far.



galant said...

Love the books of Gordon Beningfield. I have several of them myself.

Vintage Jane said...

It looks a lovely book and a bargain too. M x