Saturday, 2 July 2011


William Barnes "The Dorset Poet"

Here is a further bit of name-dropping! This is not substantiated as I have never found the link which my father maintained existed. William Barnes, 'The Dorset Poet', is supposed to be related to my branch of the Chant family. It may have been wishful thinking but there could be a connection. In a biographical work I have seen recorded that Barnes would take his daughter to the top of Ham Hill and point out to her the various localities which were visible and which had played a part in his life.. Barnes is buried at Winterborne Came: his memorial is the Celtic cross you see. He was a friend of Thomas Hardy and in the living room at Hardy's home, Max Gate, a small painting once owned by Barnes is on display. When Hardy died this was disposed of, together with other memorabilia, by Hardy's sister. Subsequently it was repurchased as a gift to help record the friendship between the two men.

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Now for a bit of name-dropping! Thomas Hardy O.M. used to worship at Stinsford church where his father had assisted with maintaining the tidiness and appearance. Hardy would walk over the fields from the home he had designed for himself called Max Gate. On his mother's side, my late cousin David Chant was a distant cousin of Hardy, a fact of which he was proud but which he often kept to himself in discussions.

29th June 2011

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