Next Village Society Talk
After a short Annual General Meeting, Mike Petty will talk about the life of James Reynolds Withers, the Cambridgeshire Hedge-side Poet (1812 – 1892). Mike Petty has been helping people research Cambridgeshire for 50 years. He has a daily “Looking Back” column in the Cambridge News, and a weekly “Memories” page.
James Withers’ mother was a seamstress at Hall Farm, Weston Colville, and his father was the village shoemaker. James was sent into the fields at the age of five to watch sheep. He had a variety of early “careers”, none of which was successful. He was taught to read by his mother and endlessly wrote rhymes and poems. During his lifetime James Withers was a contemporary of John Clare, and became as famous a poet as Burns and Byron. He came to the notice of Queen Victoria, who granted him a pension. Until recently he was sadly forgotten.