The White Horse, Prior's Dean, or The Pub With No Name.
This Saturday, 19th September 2015.
The Edward Thomas Fellowship has organised a tremendous event to celebrate the pub which was the setting for Edward Thomas's first poem.
The inn, as Thomas would have called it - is the Pub-with-no-name near Froxfield and Prior's Dean, but really near nowhere at all. It is a comfortable walk from Steep and the subject of his first known poem, Up in the Wind.(3rd December 1914).
|The Pub with no name - the inn sign frame remains blank. ( Its name is The White Horse)|
"Tall beeches overhang the inn, dwarfing and half hiding it, for it lies back a field’s breadth from the by road. The field is divided from the road by a hedge and only a path from one corner and a cart track from the other which meet under the beeches connect the inn with the road. But for a signboard or rather the post and empty iron frame of a signboard close to the road behind the hedge a traveller could not guess at an inn. The low dirty white building looks like a farmhouse, with a lean-to, a rick and a shed of black boarding at one side . . . "
As Edna Longley writes, "Up in the Wind is Thomas's closest approximation to the Robert Frost "eclogue" in which rural speakers tell or act out their story." Her annotation to the poem adds so much to the reading of it.
The event is open to the public, but the lunches, including the 'Edward Thomas sausage', are already booked. There is to be a strenuous walk beginning at 10 15 from the pub, lunch and the dedication of a bench to Thomas. In the evening Pedal Folk and others are performing at Steep.
Here is the beginning of the beginning of the poem, but not the version we know. It is an early draft from the Oxford digitalisation project, full of too much verbiage but giving an insight into the place and the process. Don't ask me why, though on screen it is laid out with enjambments, when you copy and paste they are lost! The capital letters help you find your way and in this case I find it interesting - half note-book, half poem.