WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GILBERT WHITE 27TH APRIL – 5TH MAY Part 4
Rosemary explains further about why she and a band of 80+ walkers will be making the trek from Selborne to Oxford later this month.
Why am I passionate about Gilbert White?
Not only that he was a great man, a scientist, a writer of genius, a lover of nature and gardens, someone who could classify ‘little brown birds’ by their songs into different species (imagine doing that without a tape recorder). But that he was so human and lacking in pomposity, in an age when it was very easy to be pompous.
This is what he said about marrying people in a letter to his nephew Sam Barker in 1766 ‘My rick is now almost as slender as the waste of a virgin; and it would have been much for the reputation of the two last brides that I have married, had their wastes been as slender!’
Then later in a letter to his niece, Molly: ‘Farmer Turner has left his ale-house and is retired to his new house. He is before this, I trust, marryed to his housekeeper Rose Rawkins; the Bridgeroom is 71 and the bride 69! I used to say that female beauty does not last above a century; but now I begin to retract.’
Fisher’s Buildings, the old Poor House of Selborne – Gilbert was always very concerned about the poor and whether they had enough to eat, about whether they had warm clothes in the winter, and a sound roof over their heads.