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Monday, 22 February 2016

Barnes Night! Happy Birthday Rev. William Barnes

Rev. William Barnes
On this day 22nd February 1801, Dorset poet and dialectologist, Rev. William Barnes. was born in the village of Bagber, near Sturminster Newton.

Barnes wrote a large number of poems in the Dorset dialect and his works paint a simple and sincere picture of the life and labour of the south west of England.  His many books include 'An Outline of English Speech Craft', 'Poems of Rural Life in Common England', 'Poems of Rural Life' (two series) and 'Hwomely Rhymes'.  Barnes began his working life as a solicitor's clerk. He went on to become a successful teacher and headmaster and in later life, a priest. Dorset Folklorist John Symonds Udal was a close friend of Barnes and would often visit him at his home at Winterborne Came.

Lucy Baxter, when writing the life of her father William Barnes (1801-1886), says 'Another visitor was J. S. Udal, Esq., a barrister who used to find time for a visit to the Rectory as often as his duties on circuit brought him near Came. Mr. Udal was of some assistance to the Dorset poet in sending him new words for the Glossary, which was always enlarging itself under his hand, and he returned the service by collecting legends and superstitions for Mr. Udal’s contemplated work on the Folk-lore of Dorsetshire, for which, nearly ten years later, Barnes, at his request, wrote an introduction.'

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