The Upland Hamlet 1847

by Dr Spencer Timothy Hall 1812–1885

Acknowledged with this description, plus the republication of his verse was offered by L. Lindley 1907.

About 1813 was born in Sutton the late Dr. Spencer T. Hall, well-known in the literary world by his many publications, both in prose and verse, a true lover and admirer of nature, as is exhibited in every page of his works. Prior to turning his attention to his literary avocation, he was in business as a printer, bookbinder, bookseller, and stationer in the Market Place, and in 1838 he published a "History of Sutton-in-Ashfield," a book of 12 pages, and which is incorporated in this work. A number of Mr. Hall's publications may be found in the "reference department" at the Sutton Free Library, the books having been substantially rebound and generously presented to that institute by Mr. G. G. Bonser, of Kirkstede, Sutton. It is believed that the gifted and popular author was born in a lowly cottage which once stood on the site now occupied by the cottage tenanted by Mrs. Oldham in Wood's Hill, or at the corner of Brook Street, and some of his most beautiful poetry was written upon this site, perhaps the most beautiful he ever wrote. A Mr. Oldham married a sister of Dr. S. Timothy Hall, who received his second name from an uncle who was a farmer, the footpath to Coxmoor known as "Timmy's Gorses" is so named from being on his farm. The cottage in Brook Street was probably built A.D. 1700, but its disappearance certainly broke a last link with any picturesqueness that may have existed in Sutton. Just in front of the cottage ran the brook (river Idle) with its constant stream of pure water, horse cress and yellow bulbs (blobs they were called) growing all along its course, while crimson-breasted stickle-backs, fresh water shrimps and fish called "bullheads" abounded. Mr. Hall lies in Blackpool cemetery, a stone erected by Mr. C. Plumbe marking the spot.

The following verses, written at Sutton-in-Ashfield in 1847, are taken from the late Dr. Spencer T. Hall's "The Upland Hamlet," published in that year. They are addressed "To John Whitehead, Esq., British Consul at Archangel," and are appertaining to the changes in the appearance of Sutton at the period named:—

The Upland Hamlet 1847

Allwood's Croft-stile is gone, my Friend,
Where once you frolick'd with such glee:
Stopt is the path to Smedley's-end,
And fell'd my Father's cottage tree !

Starch-yard is Starch-yard; call'd no more;
In Windmill-lane there's now no mill;
The Tithe-barn's doors were cloned before.
The Sunday-school on Oates's-hill.

A change has come o'er all the town;
The Cotton-works in ruins fit,
And Unwin's-hall is coming down.
Although to last for ages plann'd !

Cowpasture-hills are levell'd low,
And Maple-wells are all closed in:
The Forest-side few flowers can show.
Its streets grow thick, its woods grown thin !

'Tis true the Church still rises nigh;
But even that is not the same
(Since our old neighbours round it lie)
As when in childhood's day we came!

And now a fine new School they rear—
That's one good sight I'm glad to see—
Yet all such change, however fair,
Makes home less homely seem to me !

But something still, dear John, imparts
A charm to our old native spot:
Our love of many living hearts,
And many gone but not forgot,—

A tender and an infelt power.
Strength'ning as outward things decay,
Linking the past and passing hour
With a less changeful coming day !

It seems fitting to offer further found reference to this gentleman, who's life gained this appended entry in the 1885 White's Nottinghamshire Gazetteer identified amongst otherwise very eminent family names.

Dr. Spencer T. Hall, called The Sher.wood.Forester, from being born about half way between Newstead Abbey and Hardwick Hall, within the boundary of Sherwood Forest, was in early life a compositor on the staff of the Nottingham Mercury, and was afterwards reporter and editor of several newspapers. He contributed articles to various literary publications, and wrote some poems. Of late years Dr. Hall practised as a homeopathic physician, first at Kendal, then at Burnley, and more recently at Blackpool. His relations with Miss Harriet Martineau, in connection with mesmerism, are well known. Dr. HaIl was born in 1812, and died in April 1885.

Written 14 Jan 12 Revised 11 Aug 14 © by Gary Elliott