Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Haslemere Cranks - Part 2

In Therese La Chard’s memoirs A Sailor Hat in the House of the Lord (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1967) she relates her move to Haslemere to teach in an elementary school, “I was able to rent a small bungalow used as his studio by a well-known artist Godfrey Blount before he had built a home for himself.  The bungalow was lightly furnished from his family scrapings and I paid five shillings a week for it.  It consisted  of a large studio with two small bedrooms and a tiny kitchen.  The outdoor sanitation was well away in the woods.  A huge butt supplied rain-water for the wash-tub bath, and a stout Pither stove, planted in the middle of the studio, heated the whole building…”
Little St Cross or the Country Church, St Cross reproduced courtesy of The Dartford Warbler

Following on from the generous receipt of information from the Dartford Warbler, I have deduced that the bungalow that La Chard rented was in the grounds of St Cross, Weydown Road and was to later become Little St Cross or the Country Church.  This is where the Blounts held Supernatural Society meetings in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  The Country Church was originally held in St George’s Hall on King’s Road and must have transferred to St Cross at some point.  From the photographs of it, it would appear that some of the creeds on the beams of the main St Cross house were also written on the beams at Little St Cross.  As La Chard does not mention the writing on the beams of her bungalow, it would appear that they first were used in St Cross itself.
Little St Cross or the Country Church, St Cross reproduced courtesy of The Dartford Warbler

La Chard goes on to explain “Haslemere was at that time a charming little centre of crankdom and, because of my quaint bungalow, I was from the first counted one of the cranks.  My neighbours were two good women with unswerving faith in handweaving.  They had almost squeezed themselves out of their homes by the number of handlooms they had installed.  The Blounts invited me to their barnlike house with its open roof.  The cross-beams bore strange inscriptions of which the one facing the door ran: ‘Be in league with the toad and the stone’, while the inner side of the beam gave to esoteric reason for this command: ‘For mine are the cattle on a thousand hills.’  The meals seemed to consist largely of salads and haricot beans eaten with horn spoons off heavy pottery plates laid on handwoven strips.  When taking tea on the lawn, the stately old gardener could occasionally be seen passing slowly by with two buckets of human excrement on their way to remoter fertilizing duty.  In nature nothing was held to be unpleasant or unclean.  In a beautiful country house nearby, Maude Egerton King was writing children’s stories of valuable socialist intent.  It was all very kindly and very amusing.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...