Cotswold Ways: Moyra’s Knoll to Stoney Lit­tle­ton, in the foot­steps of a vi­sion­ary writer

From stun­ning views of Bath, high on Bar­row Hill, this walk will take you down wind­ing back­lanes to Stoney Lit­tle­ton Ne­olithic long bar­row, in the foot­steps of vi­sion­ary writer Moyra Calde­cott

Cotswold Life - - CONTENTS -

There is a round hill in the south of Bath, off Mount Road, that may well be a gate­way be­tween the worlds. Moyra Calde­cott, ‘Gate­way’, from A Breath­less Pause: poems and thoughts, Bladud 2007

On the south­ern edge of the beau­ti­ful Ge­or­gian city of Bath there lived a vi­sion­ary writer who led, in her imag­i­na­tion, a multi-di­men­sional life. Her name was Moyra Calde­cott and she was born in Pre­to­ria, South Africa on June 1, 1927. She moved to Lon­don in 1951. She earned de­grees in English and Phi­los­o­phy and an MA in English Lit­er­a­ture. Her hus­band, Oliver Calde­cott, was a pub­lisher, but it was under her own steam that she fi­nally saw print in her late for­ties, go­ing on to write more than 20 books. Her trade­mark oeu­vre of Fan­tasy fic­tion and non-fic­tion works on myth and le­gend in­clude the Guardians of the Tall Stones quar­tet set in and around Ave­bury stone cir­cle; her Egyp­tian Se­quence, and a pair of nov­els about Ro­mano-bri­tish Aquae Sulis; The Winged Man, and The Wa­ters of Sul. She was a founder mem­ber of the Bladud So­ci­ety, a fo­rum for dis­cus­sion on as­pects of mythol­ogy, and was made an Hon­orary Bard of Bath in 2008 for her works and in­spi­ra­tion. She was an eru­dite speaker and per­formed her poems at open mics in the city un­til ill-health pre­vented her from con­tin­u­ing. Moyra died peace­fully on May 23, 2015, aged 87. In 2016 a bench was placed on Bar­row Hill by her sur­viv­ing chil­dren. It bears a plaque ded­i­cated to Moyra and Oliver with a quote from one of her poems: But we alone on this hill/re­joice in the uni­verse/and our part in it. Near her home in South­down, Moyra liked to walk up the dis­tinc­tive hill and spend some time con­tem­plat­ing and writ­ing there. She noted in her poem ‘Gate­way’ how In Spring/it is clothed in May blos­som/like a bride.’ Her friends and fam­ily rechris­tened it Moyra’s Knoll in her mem­ory. As some­one who had a deep knowl­edge and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of pre­his­tory it feels like a fit­ting trib­ute to the writer to walk to Stoney Lit­tle­ton long bar­row from here – con­nect­ing the an­cient to the modern, and the city to the wild.

Fort­night Farm

Ke­van Man­war­ing is a Stroud-based writer and sto­ry­teller. He is the au­thor of Ox­ford­shire Folk Tales and Northamp­ton­shire Folk Tales, a con­trib­u­tor to English Folk Tales and ed­i­tor of the forth­com­ing Bal­lad Tales, all from The His­tory Press. He teaches cre­ative writ­ing for the Open Univer­sity and in the Stroud area.­van­man­war­

The lane to Stoney Lit­tle­ton

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