At the end of 1902, Powys moved
to Burpham. He records the atmosphere of life in a busy village...
||' If the downs at
Court House prevented the sunshine reaching us till the
afternoon, all day long at Burpham there poured in upon
us with the full flood of sunshine the voices of
children, the bleating of sheep, the lowing of oxen, the
ringing of bells, the stamping of horses, the tinkling of
anvils, the sawing of timber, together with the most
cheerful voices from the George and Dragon.'
...and mentions an annual event
of great importance:
' The great event
of the year at Burpham was the sheep-washing which took
place in a narrow estuary of the river. Early in the
morning a vast continuous stream of woolly sheep would
pour down the lane past our house, filling the whole
space between the walls, and making a peculiar sound
unlike anything else.'
Before the advent of chemical sheep dip,
sheep-washing in rivers or pools was a necessary part of rural life described, for example, by Hardy in Far From
The Madding Crowd.
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