The Causley Way: A Walk through his home town of Launceston
Charles Causley wrote many poems which were either directly about features in his
home town of Launceston or which were set in specific locations within the town.
If you are visiting Launceston, this walk, which is on good paths with a few
gentle inclines (Launceston is not a flat town!), will take you about one hour,
including stops to read the poems. You can download a guide here (MS Word).
Below are the poems which relate to the numbers on the map and one or two other locations can be found in the Newport area of the town:
1: Mary, Mary Magdalene/Lying on the wall/I throw a pebble on your back/Will it lie or fall? From: Mary, Mary Magdalene. This relief is to be found on the east wall of St Mary Magdalene church. It is said that a stone lodged on her back will bring good luck
2. Henry Trecarell sat up in bed/His face was white and his eyes were red,/‘I dreamed,’ he cried, ‘ that our son was dead!’/‘Lie over, Sir Henry,’ her ladyship said. From: A True Ballad of Sir Henry Trecarell. Henry Trecarell rebuilt the church of St Mary Magdalene in 1531. A story goes that he purchased the elaborately carved granite stones for a house, but donated them to the church after the death of his young son.
3. As I went down Zig Zag/The clock striking one,/I saw a man cooking/An egg in the sun. From As I went down Zig Zag. Zig Zag is the name of a steep footpath in Launceston. It linked the town to the railway stations.
4. Eagle one, eagle two,/Standing on the wall./Your wings a-spread are made of lead/You never fly at all. From Eagle one, eagle two. The two eagles are found at the entrance to the Eagle House Hotel. The building was originally built by a local constable from the proceeds of a national lottery. The eagles are rumoured to fly by night with a full moon.
5&6:  Winded, on this blue stack/Of downward-drifting stone/The unwashed sky a low-/Slung blanket-thick with rain,/I searched the cold, unclear/Vernacular of clay,/Water and woods and rock:/The primer of my day. From: On Launceston Castle  Mr Hector Pennycomequick/Stood on the Castle Keep,/Opened up a carriage-umbrella/And took a mighty leap. From: Mr Pennycomequick
7: In the Willow Gardens/Under the castle keep/A hundred town allotments/Stand beside the steep. From: In the Willow Gardens. The allotments have since disappeared.
8: Pepper and salt his whiskers,/Pepper and salt his hair,/Pepper and salt the three-piece suit/He always likes to wear. From: Pepper and Salt . A description of a teacher at the National School where Causley himself taught for many years.
9: Tom and Tim the quarter boys/On the Guildhall tower/Turn and strike the quarter-bell/Twenty times an hour. From: Quarter-Jacks. These can be found on the Guildhall above the clock face and overlooking the castle entrance.
10: I saw Charlie Chaplin/In 1924/Playing golf with a walking-cane/Outside our front door. From: I saw Charlie Chaplin
Here we go round the roundhouse/In the month of one/Looking to the eastward/For the springing sun. From: Here We Go Round The Roundhouse. The roundhouse is built over a broken market cross and used to be the spot where election results (often for local pocket boroughs) were announced.
By St Thomas water/Where the river is thin/We looked for a jam jar/To catch the quick fish in From: By St Thomas Water. St Thomas water is in fact the river Kensey which flows past St Thomas church. Causley’s birthplace is the white house on the left of this photograph
For more information on Launceston and its activities, please visit the Launceston community website
All Photos (c) Malcolm Wright 2015