Friday, 29 September 2017

Iddesleigh Dowland & Monkokehampton; C21 Palette

From Iddesleigh church
Iddesleigh Dowland and Monkokehampton; a C21 palette

Several branches of my paternal ancestors were rooted in Iddesleigh the neighbouring parish to Broadwoodkelly, where the Sampson family were yeoman farmers for many centuries. There were offshoot branches also established in nearby Dowland and Monkokehampton. The piece here is from a layered prose-poem written after a recent visit to the area in search of graves and sites linked with the family. It includes the names of several generations of our forbearers who lived in these parishes.
Do also look at Finding Sites the Older Way; Broadwoodkelly, which links with this piece and the ancestral branch of the people it features. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Finding Sites the Older Ways (2) Broadwoodkelly

Cornfield near Broadwoodkelly
Photo Julie Sampson

Phew! I've reached the marker point of the second section of my ancestral family-wheel, which turns this blog clock round to my paternal grandfather and his predecessors. Jane Harris married Samuel Sampson in Chelsea, in London, but the couple soon returned to both of their roots when they built and set up house in mid Devon. Samuel's family were born and bred in and around Broadwoodkelly, over at least four centuries. And so, I have no problem making a big feature of that place.

The text which follows was written and compiled following a trip down to the parish. Taking more or less the same 'format'  as Finding Site the Older Ways (1) Otter Valley Land of the Luggs, which marked the beginning of the blog family-wheel, it's a layered piece which, beneath the surface embeds faintly the names of Samuel's parents, John Sampson and Nancy Earland - and their parents.

The piece is made up of a backcloth of impressionistic description, which sets the scene; early drafts of as yet unpublished poems about a couple of women in the same Sampson ancestry (Susannah Weekes and Ann Lang); and an imagined bit of dialogue taken from a fictional piece written some years ago.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Snap Marjorie -

Another poem from several written with Wildridge and various individuals who lived there, as background. This one began with an old photo of one of my two maiden aunts, whose childhoods were spent at the house. Both of them appear in the photo in Turning the Wheel. Typical of their generation neither aunt fulfilled her true potential. Nancy, the younger was a gifted pianist and taught piano for many years; she was wonderful with children and retained her own inner child until the end of her life. Marjorie, the elder, subject of this poem, also talented as musician, was unable to completely pursue her considerable intellectual talents. However during WW2 she became a Land Girl and following that period, making use of the skills she'd obtained during the war, worked for many years as a gifted gardener at a place near Topsham.

copyright Julie Sampson

Wild Ridge Ways

Our branch of Sampsons left the wild ridge in 1963, in the middle of the season of the big blizzard, but another branch of kin moved in and stayed for many more years. This piece is part of a 'homage' to that home.

Copyright Julie Sampson

Continuing to Turn the Ancestral Family-Wheel - Wildridge

Continuing to turn the ancestral family-wheel, our paternal grandmother Jane, who - though she like her siblings, was born and brought up in London - had Devon parentage on both sides (mother's in East Devon and father's roots in and about Okehampton), and after marriage to Samuel Sampson returned with him to find and link up again with both of their ancestral home-zones in mid Devon. After a search around the area looking for a suitable house for their 4 - soon with the addition of my own father - 5 children, the couple decided to build their own house back in the vicinity of both Jane's and Samuel's roots. I'm not sure why they settled on North Tawton. Perhaps because the Sampsons from nearby Broadwoodkelly already owned land there. I'm not yet sure. But the house our grandparents built in and around 1910, high on the red ridge above the town, their children's and our childhood home and our cousin's sometime holiday home, has become locked in my mind as a presence the central lodestone of childhood life and beyond. That is why it features here, in another layered piece of writing, which is part of a longer text. Next door Grandfather's brother John built Wildridge's twin called Highcroft and that became home to the other branch of Sampsons of that family.

Sampson family at Wildridge circa 1920.

Wildridge Lych-Gate 1963.
The following poem written some time ago and published in the online, but I think now non-existent magazine Cyclamens and Swords, was inspired by Wildridge's lych-gate.

copyright Julie Sampson

Saturday, 16 September 2017

And so to Okehampton - Harris and Sprague families

So now we're under Dartmoor, in Okehampton. Jane Harris' father's family were rooted in the district for several  - perhaps many centuries. I wanted to mark the route of that family prior to her grandfather William Harris' leaving his home-town and settling over in East Devon.

Following a recent visit to the town I decided to write an underlayer of 'description' conjuring the moorland, which here appears half visible beneath a poem I wrote after finding the graves of Jane's ggrandparents (and my generation's great great grandparents) Richard Harris and Jane Sprague (who probably spent their lives in Okehampton), in the graveyard of the church high above the town.

Path leading up to Okehampton Church

Richard Harris and Jane Sprague -
at Okehampton Church
Photo Julie Sampson

A slightly different version of  'As We Climbed the Slope' was published by Helen Ivory online, in Ink Sweat and Tears

Best Blog Post to read before this is Land of the Luggs

Jane Harris first on the Wheel

OK. So, though there are still many gaps in her tree, this shows four generations of Jane Harris, my father's mother's parentage.

You can find my own Finding Sites the Older Ways exploration of Jane's family beginning in this Lugg post.

Jane Harris Sampson 1876-1951

I recently drafted a poem which contains a fragment about Jane; our life-paths only just crossed. Here are a few lines from the poem:
I don't know why, but then I
think of the granny I didn't know,
how our lives had crossed
the day after, in my cradle,
     I'd cried
my first six months away
and, coming alive,
Jane, grandmother,

Then, I recall her forbearers from these parts,
their fossil traces

must litter the sandstone landscapes of this place.

Copyright Julie Sampson