Landscape of…. nothing?

I’m supposed to be writing, I mean ‘proper’ writing for an edited book. The problem with having a day job unrelated to my research is that I’ve have to write when time allows rather than when inspiration strikes.

So I have a chapter deadline looming fast, and my motivation has gone off to hide. As such I’m procrastinating; one such diversion is helping with some local history work of my village.

Everything is everso much more interesting when you’re trying to avoid the thing you need to do, and I’ve been happy to be pulled away on this tangent. But something is wrong. As a landscape archaeologist I have a standard toolkit of things to check first, which for my research also means delving into the local lore.

Except there isn’t any. There is nothing, not a pixie, ghost, or petrification in sight.

At first I thought I was just not looking in the right places, but hitting the internet to check more obscure gazetteers I was still drawing a blank.

How can a place have no narrative of it’s community? Is it down to the lack of existence or lack of preservation? If the latter,  why? Is there some reason, when surrounded by the Blackdown Hills that are filled with Willow-o-wisps, ghosts of dead rebels, dragons, and great battles of giants warriors and pixies there is nothing that sheds light of the beliefs of the villagers that lived here before me.

I have to admit, I am at a loss to explain, but it does elicit further distraction – I am determined to get to bottom of this odd deficit in my database.

 

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4 thoughts on “Landscape of…. nothing?

  1. In my home parish in Surrey, we would know nothing of its local lore without what was recorded in the journals of its curate between 1868-76. These turned up in Derby Public Library at some point in the middle of last century, and copies of their Surrey-related contents duly made it south in the years afterwards. The various county histories and topographies offer nothing beyond a couple of speculations that may be the authors’ own innovations. I’m crossing my fingers that your locality had a like-minded Victorian cleric and some public-spirited descendants!

  2. davidcharvey says:

    Can the void be filled …. perhaps by the “Local Landscape Legend Writing Competition” at the next village fete or at a local school? …. you might even pick up a response that starts; “My gran told me a story once, about….”

    • lucyry says:

      I was thinking about that too actually. I was planning on starting with some of the older residents and then seeing if i could get something going wider

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