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Thursday, May 05, 2016

THE BILSINGTON MONUMENT

In an earlier post I compared cycling through the lanes over Romney Marsh to being at sea in a small boat with the distant escarpment being my landfall.


If one pursues that analogy then the Bilsington Monument would qualify as a "seamark". Standing 52 feet (16m) proud on that escarpment it is visible from wherever you are on the Marsh and I think its story is worth the telling.

It was erected in 1835 in memory of Sir William Cosway, one-time secretary to Vice Admiral Lord Collingwood and highly respected in Bilsington as its excellent squire and main landlord. Being very interested in the Reform Bill, he was much concerned about the plight of local farm labourers, giving financial support to them and built the village school for the benefit of their children.


In 1834 at the age of 51 he fell from his coach in London and died soon after. The Reformers of East Kent, with the support of the people of Bilsington had the monument erected in his memory.


It has had a chequered history, being struck by lightning in 1967 and half destroyed. But a trust was formed and, with Heritage Lottery funding, it was repaired in 1999, ready for the Millenium.


As one gets nearer to the escarpment it accompanies you on the skyline
After leaving the Marsh, a ride up the steep lane beside it (easy by ebike!) and crossing the local cricket field one is able to approach it
and sit in the sun beneath it on the bench provided, drinking coffee (in my case) and admiring the panorama over all of Romney Marsh.


15 comments:

Vita said...

Sir William Cosway sounds like a great landlord. Your father may have lived longer, healthier and happier if he'd worked for such a man. Thank you for the stories. Funny it's in honor of Cosway but called Bilsington.

Avus said...

Vita
Yes, he seemed to be well liked in the village. I suppose it was called the "Cosway Monument" when first erected, but as his memory faded and strangers saw it, it became named after its location.

Vita said...

Logical. I like that red arrow, and the know-how to have added it. I can barely work this thing.

Avus said...

Vita:
It is very easy to fart around with Photoshop. "The camera never lies" is now completely redundant!

Pam said...

How interesting. Didn't know about this.

Roderick Robinson said...

Nice to see the plaque hints at political agonies yet to come - fashioned by someone incapable of deciding whether to stay or to leave, hence the inclusion of both Paris and New York (but happily not Moscow or, whisper it not in Gath, Beijing).

I'm pleased to see Rye. Obviously the plaqueteer was a literary type and good on him; HJ doesn't get the tributes he deserves; too hard a read for our flash society.

Avus said...

Pam:
Thanks for visiting. You didn't know - now you do!

RR:
I have only read "The Turn of the Screw". As endlessly mystifying as Hamlet. Was the governess mad and was Peter Quint a ghost? We shall always have to debate it.
I must admit that it did not spur me to read more of his works.
I have visited his house in Rye (National Trust).

Anonymous said...

Hallo Pa,
Lovely post. I was there with you (on Mum's bike).
Love daughter x

Roderick Robinson said...

Given your avalanche of enthusiasm I'm half-way through Screw. Seems OK. Try The Awkward Age if you think you're old enough to bear the burden of literary obligation.

Avus said...

Daughter mine:
At present Mum's ebike languishes in the shed, unused. But she is intent on getting out on it again this spring. You must join me on my two-wheeled travels next time you are "over".

RR:
"Avalanch of enthusiasm" - I liked that tongue-in-cheek comment. I don't think I want to "bear the burden of literary obligation" at any age, thanks. I just wish to enjoy what I read.

Kay Cooke said...

I have, over the years, read bits and pieces (and seen on tele. occasionally) references to the marshes of England. They seem to have a unique quality to them. I'd love to see them. You never know, I might one day. Happy to add your latest posts to my list of 'the marshes of England' references.

Avus said...

Kay:
Thanks for visiting and adding my marsh posts to your references. You might like:http://theromneymarsh.net/

Romney Marsh is known as The Fifth Continent. Thomas Ingoldsby, the pen name of 19th century author and cleric Richard Harris Barham (sometime Rector of St Dunstan, Snargate), wrote in his The Ingoldsby Legends:
"The World, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh."



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Vita said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

gz said...

Greetings!
We must have a wander around Romney Marsh, next time we visit my Pirate's rellies around East Kent (he was born in Ashford and brought up in Hinxhill)

Avus said...

gz:
Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting. I live about 3 miles from Hinxhill and often go through it on my bike.
Call in for a cup of tea when you are over - Terry Pratchett fans are always welcome.