In the Spring of 2013 we had a visitor at Cuckoo Nest, a Mrs Christine Hayes (nee Scott) whose forebears had been the Game Keepers to the Ferrands. Some time ago she came across a poem written for Mr W B Ferrand by Robert Carrick Wildon, a renowned local poet of the 19thCentury. Having associations with the Estate she bought it and we have attempted to transcribe it below. The poem was written after a visit to St Davids Ruin (a folly on the Wilsden side of the valley). We do not know exactly when it was written but the poem places St Ives in the valley bottom and Harden Grange overlooking the valley. As the names where not swapped over until 1858, it would put the work prior to this date.

To see a scan of the original document Click Here. This is quite a big file (roughly 12Mb) and may take some time to down load.

Carolyn Smith has now done some work on the initial draft produced by Susan Hart and the latest revision is herewith

rev 1

Poem composed while sitting at St David's Ruin for W B Ferrand.

Soft sylvan1 spot, Oh calm sentiment, meet
For hermit grey to make a blest retreat.
Here might he form his solitary home,
Where human footsteps seldom dared to come;
Here might the poet long-long hours beguile,
And woo and win Thalia's witching smile,
Oh gentle muse, this place must surely be
A chosen temple consecrate to thee;
Where thou dost weave bright wreaths of laurel boughs_
Garlands of fame to deck thy vot'ries2 brows;
E'en now thy pleasing influence I feel
Like summer dream, upon my senses steal;
Oh with me stay, fair goddess and inspire
My fluttering heart, and tune my rustic lyre,
Come let us sing _ though rude our numbers be_
The soothing chasms 'tis now our lot to see;
Here could I linger all the live long day,
And proudly wile the happy hours away;
All_all the troubles, all the cares forget
That in the life our onward path beset;
Wrapp'd in the joys of this enchanting scene,
The huge grey rocks, the tall trees waving green;
The old arch'd window in the antique style
Like the lone relic of some holy pile;
The fast lock'd tower where Ivy loves to creep,
Seems like remains of some old Castle Keep;
Oh like the home of some austere recluse,
Sick of the world, its outrage and abuse;
The rocks hard by a shade and shelter form
Gainst sultry rays, and gainst the driving storm;
Oh could I here but have my silent cave,
No better home, no brighter wealth I'd crave,
Here could I sing and spread the long _ long days
Heedless of lucre and of idle praise
Dwelling alone in solitude profound,
Hymning4 the scenes that sweetly lie around
An where is he who on these scenes might glance,
And still exclaim "All_all things come by chance;"
Who this would say is pityfully blind.
And ne'er can know such bliss as glads my mind;
Does not each leaf, each plant and opening bud.
Bespeak the works of One allwise_allgood!

Behold! St Ives, calm nestling in the vale,
Like a sweet home describ'd in fair tale;
Before it Nature like a bounteous dame
Such carpets spreads as man may never frame;
Soft by its side luxurious gardens bloom,
Shedding fair blossom in its rich perfume;
There grow such plants and there such lovely flowers
As might adorn a queen's imperial bowers;
Oh gentle spot so silent, so serene,
How calm thou look'st amid this peaceful scene;
The stout trees near thee clad in robes of May
Bow like sad mourners and would seem to say,
"Alas the hour! that Death arriv'd to claim
The breath of her'our last indulgent dame."
Whose bounty aft on suffering hearts, I ween.
Shed light and joy where darkness else had been;
Tull4 oft her kindness reach'd the cotter's5 hearth;
And sooth'd the pains of penury and dearth;
A balmy influence her sweet nature shed
Around the scene of many a sick man's bed;
And throbbing hearts when sinking into death
Have bless'd her mem'ry with the parting breath;
And all shall wail ' maids, husbands, children, wives,'
The loss of their late matron of St Ives
Oh fairy home that sought of tumult knows,
Where world worn heart might truly find repose.
And to the sights the lowly Woodbank Stands
Deck'd in green robes by Nature's magic hands;
While far above 'mid fair trees towering high
The lofty Grange attracts the gladsome eye,
Glancing below on its extensive lands
As plumed chief looks on his warrior bands6;
And that fair mansion proudly seems to say
"I am the lord of all that I survey"
These meadows broad where flowers in myriads rise
And deck the green sward7 with their laughing eyes;
These vallies deep where soft rills8 roll along
And ever sing their murmuring_tinkling song
These brakes these glens, these silent perfum'd groves,
Where happy pair might breath their secret loves-,
These far spread woods of elm,ash,oak and pine,
All these fair things, know- lowly bard are mine!"
To this the poet has but one reply,
"I envy not your wealth and fortunes high,
All I would crave is freedom to repair
To this lone place its witching charms to share;
To woo the muse in her most pleasing mood,
And with her revel in this solitude;
Then might I strike the unassuming lyre,
And feel a spark of true poetic fire;
Not all the pomp produc'd by human art
Could e'er to me such rapt'rous joys impart,
Let noble lord in gilt saloon recline,
And seek enjoyment in the rosy wine'
Let wealthy merchant ply9 his daily schemes;
And find a joy in speculative dreams.
Let the bold sailor Ocean's anger brave
And feel delight upon the wrathful wave;
Let the stern soldier on the tented field
Go seek the joy that bloody battles field;
Let miser starve with hunger and with cold,
And pleasure find in counting o'er his gold;
Let the dark poacher seek his fierce delight,
In prowling forth beneath the shades of the night,
To trap the hare or shed the pheasants blood,
Far in the depths of some sequester'd wood;
Ranging abroad unknown to fear or awe,
Breaking his country's long established law-,
Let vulgar drunkard in the tap room house,
And idly revel in the deep carouse;
Seeking vain pleasure in the maddening bowl
" Death to his body, anguish to his soul,-
These may pursue their various paths whilst I
Amid the silence of these ruins lie,
Finding such rapture as is only found
In such scenes as Nature spreads around,
The rustling trees soft waving o'er my head,
The distant brooklet brawling o'er its bed,
The moss-grown stones, the woodbine creeping there
The wild rose waving in the sunny air;
The timid cowies10 skipping to and fro
Amid the brushwood in the glen below

Poor artless thinks did man heed any behest,
Nor gun nor snare should ever ye molest;
Nor should my hand the rifles lock constrain
To take the life I could not give again,
Nor, ye should gambol where ye love to dwell,
And sport unharm'd in this your native dell;
The throstle's song that rings from glade to glade,
The blackbird's whistle in the thorny shade;
The soft sweet twitter of the linnet's note,
As in the brake it swells it's little throat;
Oh happy sounds, Oh ever happy things,
Whence purest love and inspiration springs;
Here lovely spot with thee I'd ever stay,
But sterner duties call my steps away;
This were a home I'd never sigh to change
For e'en St Ives, nor for the towering Grange.

By Robert Carrick Wildon - Bingley


Notes on words in the poem by Caroline Smith

1. Sylvan

Sylvan or Silvan refers to an association with the woods. Specifically, that which inhabits the wood, is made of tree materials, or comprises the forest itself. The term can also refer to a person who resides in the woods or a spirit of the wood.

2. Vot'ries (votaries)

A person, such as a monk or nun, who has made vows of dedication to religious service. A devoted follower, adherent, or advocate of someone or something: "he was a votary of John Keats".

3. Hymning

4. Tull/full

Undecided about this though the name Tull meaning is as follows: Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English surname. It derives from the 8th century female personal name "Matilda" which translates as "The mighty battle maid", a striking description which no doubt accounted for much of its popularity. The immediate derivatives were Tilda, Tilla and Tulla, and after these became surnames in their own right, patronymic diminutives soon followed, denoting "son of Till or Tull". This is one of a handful of surnames surviving which were derived from the name of the first bearer's mother.

5. Cotters

1. (Historical Terms) Also called cottier English history a villein in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman times occupying a cottage and land in return for labour.
2. (Historical Terms) Also called cottar a peasant occupying a cottage and land in the Scottish Highlands under the same tenure as an Irish cottier.

6. TBA

7. Sward

An expanse of short grass. The upper layer of soil, especially when covered with grass. (Lawn - turf - grass - green - greensward)

8. Rills

A small brook; a rivulet.

9. Ply

10. Cowie

Woodland spirit - like a Brownie.