Sunday, 28 October 2007

'The Old House at Coate'

The Blue Doors
"The old house ar Coate, a little hamlet in Wiltshire, was shut off from the road by a solid stone wall, the general entrance being through double doors. They were called the blue doors, as that was the colour of the paint, and were between six and seven feet high.
........ As the cross-bars slowly decayed they became hollow in places, robins and wrens came to them several times in the day for insects. The tiny brown wrens appear to have their regular rounds, visiting the same spot day after day and always singing on the same perches"
[From a series of essays by Richard Jefferies called 'The Old House at Coate']
The double doors no longer exist but the solid stone wall does - the above picture was taken from inside the garden of the Richard Jefferies House - which still stands quietly on the corner of Day House Lane albeit the road mentioned in the above extract is now a duel carriageway and the main route to the M4 and local hospital.

The home of Richard Jefferies, writer and naturalist. Born at Coate Farm on November 6th 1848, Richard Jefferies spent the first 30 years of his life living in the 'Old House at Coate'. The house is now a museum and is one of Swindon's unsung treasures. It is looked after and maintained by a small dedicated group of people who work untiringly to ensure that the legacy Richard Jefferies is kept alive. Richard Jefferies has written much about the beauty of nature and the universe in the then unspoilt Wiltshire country-side. He grew up with Coate Water as his playground and perhaps his most well-known book is Bevis, based on his childhood.
He left Wiltshire in 1877 but, in spite of failing health, he continued to write about his beloved home county, some of his later work becoming soul-searching and mystical. He died in 1887 and is buried in Broadwater Cemetery, Worthing.

The above picture shows the Mulberry Tree in the foreground about which Richard Jefferies wrote a moving poem. Sadly the tree was badly damaged in the severe weather of our summer this year.