A new book about the cultural heritage of the West Country has ranked two Swindon writers among the area’s finest.
Alfred Williams and Richard Jefferies have been singled out for lofty praise in The West Country: A Cultural History, by John Payne published by Signal Books (paperback, £12).
Separate sections on both Jefferies, who died in 1887, and Williams, who died in 1930, are included in the book, giving them the same prominence as major authors from the West Country, such as Thomas Hardy and Daphne du Maurier.
“So far, Swindon has chosen not to give due honour to these two great writers, which I find puzzling,” said John.
John reserves special praise for Life In A Railway Factory, the warts-and-all account of working conditions and attitudes that Alfred Williams published in 1915 after a quarter of a century of employment in Swindon Railway Works.
“It is one of the first and best accounts of the realities of industrial time and discipline,” said John.
“But Williams, who was born in South Marstonand lived his whole life there, also wrote about the surrounding area with great skill.”
These ‘headlines’ seem to be the news diet we get daily—and it has never been any different through the generations. Way back in Old Testament times we find the same problems. Our standard of living has risen, our education has improved, our scientific knowledge has increased and yet we can’t stop the continuing wrongs of our society.
Once a newspaper posed the question “What’s Wrong with the World?”
G. K. Chesterton reputedly wrote a brief letter in response:
G. K. Chesterton.”
The awful things that happen in our world come about because of the selfish nature of our hearts—always seeking what we want and not looking out for the best for others. Love always puts others first. And the greatest love a person can have is to lay down their life foranother—that is why it is so important to remember and give thanks for those who did, and are doing, just that for our freedom. We will be holding Services of Remembrance on Sunday 8th November and hope you will join with us in this act of thanksgiving.
Of course, the Christian faith celebrates the great act of love which enables people to have an intimate relationship with God. The last Sunday of November is Advent Sunday. For many preparations for Christmas will truly be underway by then. We will be preparing to celebrate too by taking time to let our hearts be open to God’s amazing grace and transforming power. We shall be not only thinking of Christ’s birth over 2000 years ago, but celebrating that Christ comes again, and again in our relationship with him.
He does that we when realise our need for him — that we need a Saviour who will take us to a place where our hearts are no longer full of selfishness but are transformed because of his love and acceptance of us.
Note: This article has been significantly updated since the original posting
Since a meeting on 15 October in the village hall, I have become aware of the strength of feeling in the village about the plans to build 12,000 houses in the Eastern Development Area to the South of the village.. Many residents here, and in other parishes affected by the proposals, want to oppose the development. They are surprised that the South Marston parish council is continuing to work with the planners to modify the proposals to bring them more in line with the village strategy, which so many of you helped to create in 2007. Continue reading Latest on the planned housing development – Updated→