Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news

MetiNews.Com - Reverend Hawker was also addicted to morphine and excommunicated his cat

Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news

MetiNews.Com - Reverend Hawker was also addicted to morphine and excommunicated his cat

Cornwall news  Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news
18 October 2020 - 06:15

Breaking News ! The Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker should go down in the annals of history for writing what is basically the national anthem of Cornwall, Trelawny. That rousing chorus of ‘And shall Trelawny live? Or shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish men, Will know the reason why!’ beloved of generations and sung in pubs, on St Piran's Day, at the rugby and Cornwall’s own version of the Last Night of the Proms is a staple of being a proud son and daughter of the Duchy. For that alone, we should celebrate the Rev Hawker. However, there are far more reasons why we should remember the eccentric fellow. He invented the modern Harvest Festival, outdid Prince two hundred years early by always wearing purple, dressed as a mermaid, excommunicated his cat, became addicted to morphine and, according to one writer, was even responsible for hanging a mouse. Oh yes, and he believed that birds were the “thoughts of God”. Which is actually rather beautiful. The eccentric Rev Robert Stephen Hawker (Image: Richard Budd) They don’t make them like the Rev Hawker anymore. Whisper it, but Hawker wasn’t actually Cornish. He was born in Plymouth in 1803, the eldest of nine children, who – at the age of ten – was left in the care of his grandparents when his father became curate of Altarnun on Bodmin Moor Young Robert was educated at Liskeard and Cheltenham grammar schools . As an undergraduate, aged 19, he married Charlotte Eliza I'ans, who was 22 years older than him. The couple spent their honeymoon at Tintagel in 1823, a place that kindled his lifelong fascination with Arthurian legend and later inspired him to write The Quest of the Sangraal. He published The Song of the Western Men, also known as Trelawny, anonymously in 1825 before Charles Dickens acknowledged Hawker’s authorship. His family could not afford to send the bright young man to university and it is thought his wife financed his degree at Pembroke College, Oxford. In 1834 Hawker became the vicar of Morwenstow, near Bude, where he remained for the rest of his life. The Song of the Western Men (Trelawny) by the Rev Robert Stephen Hawker A good sword and a trusty hand!A merry heart and true!King James's men shall understandWhat Cornish lads can do!And have they fixed the where and when?And shall Trelawny die?Here's twenty thousand Cornish menWill know the reason why! And shall Trelawny live? Or shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why!   Out spake their Captain brave and bold:A merry wight was he:Though London Tower were Michael's hold,We'll set Trelawny free!We'll cross the Tamar, land to land:The Severn is no stay:With "one and all," and hand in hand;And who shall bid us nay? And shall Trelawny live? Or shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why!   And when we come to London Wall,A pleasant sight to view,Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:Here's men as good as you.Trelawny he's in keep and hold;Trelawny he may die:Here's twenty thousand Cornish boldWill know the reason why And shall Trelawny live? Or shall Trelawny die? Here's twenty thousand Cornish men Will know the reason why! It was in Cornwall that Hawker became renowned for his eccentricities. One of the great legends surrounding him was that he scared the bejesus out of people in Bude by dressing as a mermaid and wailing on a rock. His biographer Sabine Baring-Gould wrote: “One absurd hoax that he played on the superstitious people of Bude must not be omitted. At full moon in the July of 1825 or 1826 [aged 22 or 23], he swam or rowed out to a rock at some little distance from the shore, plaited seaweed into a wig, which he threw over his head, so that it hung in lank streamers halfway down his back, enveloped his legs in an oilskin wrap, and, otherwise naked, sat on the rock, flashing the moonbeams about from a hand-mirror, and sang and screamed till attention was arrested. “Some people passing along the cliff heard and saw him, and ran into Bude, saying that a mermaid with a fish’s tail was sitting on a rock, combing her hair, and singing. A number of people ran out on the rocks and along the beach, and listened awe-struck to the singing and disconsolate wailing of the mermaid. “Presently she dived off the rock, and disappeared. “Next night crowds of people assembled to look out for the mermaid; and in due time she re-appeared, and sent the moon flashing in their faces from her glass. Telescopes were brought to bear on her; but she sang on unmoved, braiding her tresses, and uttering remarkable sounds, unlike the singing of mortal throats which have been practised in do-re-mi. “This went on for several nights; the crowd growing greater, people arriving from Stratton, Kilkhampton, and all the villages round, till Robert Hawker got very hoarse with his nightly singing, and rather tired of sitting so long in the cold. He therefore wound up the performance one night with an unmistakable ‘God save the King’, then plunged into the waves, and the mermaid never again revisited the ‘sounding shores of Bude’.

. Finally a farmer loudly announced his intention of peppering the apparition with buckshot, whereupon it dived into the ocean and was never seen again.” It was Baring-Gould who also suggested that Hawker hanged a mouse for breaking the Sabbath. The writer was known for being economical with the truth, so the mouse may well have had a reprieve. The tale was probably mixed up with another story that he publicly excommunicated one of his ten cats for catching a mouse on the Sabbath. You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive's FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. His other pets included a ‘highly intelligent’ pig called Gyp and a stag called Robin, which was in the habit pinning visitors to the ground, despite Hawker declaring it “tame”. Then there was his dress sense. Not one for the monochrome attire of the typical clergy, Hawker wore a long purple cloak, a bright blue fisherman’s jersey, a pink brimless hat and red trousers stuffed into huge waterproof boots. If it rained he added a bright yellow poncho made of horsehair which he named the “habit of Saint Morwenna”. Others say he called it the “ancient habit of St Padarn”. However, he wasn’t just famous for his odd behaviour. The vicar's Hawker's Hut, which is the smallest National Trust property in the country (Image: Humphrey Bolton) The Harvest Festival we know today was introduced by Hawker in his Cornish parish in 1843. He invited his parishioners to a harvest service as he wanted to give thanks to God for providing such plenty. The service took place on October 1 and bread made from the first cut of corn was taken at communion. He was also known for his compassionate Christian burial of shipwrecked sailors, who had been washed up on the shores of north Cornwall. Hawker also played a vital role in the rescue of crew from the Liverpudlian ship Martha Quayle, which got into difficulty off Henna Cliff, near Morwenstow, in 1863. If that wasn’t all, he built a small building, Hawker’s Hut, out of driftwood, overlooking the Atlantic. He spent hours here writing poetry, stories and letters. It can still be seen today and is the smallest property owned by the National Trust. Hawker’s wife Charlotte died in 1863 and the following year, aged 60, he married Pauline Kuczynski, aged 20. They had three daughters – Morwenna Pauline Hawker, Rosalind Hawker and Juliot Hawker. The vicar died on August 15, 1875, having become a Roman Catholic on his deathbed. He was buried in Plymouth's Ford Park Cemetery. His funeral was noteworthy because the mourners all wore purple in his honour. More than twenty thousand Cornishmen should know the reason why this incredible man must not be forgotten. Thanks to Beachcomber’s Bizarre History Blog, Shooting Parrots and Wikipedia for elements of this article.

Source = MetiNews.Com - Cornwall

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Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news


Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news


Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news


Cornwall news Eccentric mermaid priest who wrote Trelawny and hanged a mouse UK news

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