Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Source of the River Thames and eventually on to London

A walk from Kemble Station to the source of the Thames and thence to Cricklade, with interesting conversations on the way:
On Monday November 23rd.
9.52 train to Kemble from Stroud; 6 or 7 mile walk to Cricklade; bus to Swindon; 15.38 train from Swindon to Stroud. This is the plan.
Kel Portman from Walking the Land, James Pentney from Marah, and yours truly, are going – but you are welcome to join us, if interested.
Conversations will turn to the idea of following the Thames bit by bit, to London, and beyond to the sea. This will take as long as it takes.

Allen Davenport (1775 – 1846) will also feature. He was one of 10 children of handloom weaving parents, born at Ewen, near the source of the Thames. He taught himself to read and write and subsequently became a well-known republican, revolutionary and reformer in London.
His name is recorded on the Reformers’ Memorial at Kensal Green cemetery, where he was buried in un-consecrated ground.

Our pilgrimage along the Thames (both water and footpath) might well involve the engraving of a stone taken from the dry river bed at Ewen, and its eventual placement at the Memorial in Kensal Green.
There will also be conversations about Chartism in general, and the projected film based on the events surrounding the 1839 mass Chartist meeting on Selsley Common.

But, obvs, you can talk about whatever you like.
'I was born May 1st, 1775, in the small and obscure village of Ewen … somewhat more than a mile from the source of the Thames, on the banks of which stream stands the cottage in which I was born … I came into existence, while the revolutionary war of America was raging.'

Here are a few words from Davenport’s speech about Peterloo (1819), from a spy’s account of a meeting in Soho’s Hopkins Street: 'The Yeomanry had murdered our fellow Countrymen but had we even in our own Defence shot one or two of them it would have been called Murder and Rebellion, but [we] put up with it no longer … we must arm ourselves … and though we may lose a few lives in the onset yet what is the army compared to the Mass of the Country who are labouring under the yoke of Despotism.’

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