Saturday, 25 February 2017
From Essex to Edward Thomas's Field
En route to the start of the walk, we breakfasted at an improbably located cafe in a small off-road industrial estate. The place was called Childerditch - a name that must resonate with any Edward Thomas fan.
In April 1916, while convalescing from an illness, Thomas wrote a set of four 'Household Poems', of which the first is addressed to his elder daughter, Bronwen.
If I should ever by chance grow rich
I'll buy Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch,
Roses, Pyrgo, and Lapwater,
And let them all to my elder daughter.
The rent I shall ask of her will be only
Each year's first violets, white and lonely,
The first primroses and orchises--
She must find them before I do, that is.
But if she finds a blossom on furze
Without rent they shall all forever be hers,
Codham, Cockridden, and Childerditch,
Roses, Pyrgo, and Lapwater,--
I shall give them all to my elder daughter.
The original of this sweet, musical poem, in Thomas's hand, survived among his documents - you can see it here. The Childerditch he was thinking of was a field, of course, and far from Essex.