A Missive From Soddenham

Soddenham Pamphlet front & back cover

On Saturday I received a mysterious little package wrapped in brown paper and tied up with stout twine. Upon opening the curious parcel I was greeted with another odd missive from Messrs Les Taret and Eric Nullbrigg, both great stalwarts of keeping Soddenham’s illustrious past alive.

Those who are unfamiliar with the tiny village of Soddenham and her ways should seek out more information from their humble website which is located hereabouts on the internet.

Back to the contents of the package; I was holding a small pamphlet in my hands entitled “Soddenham Children’s Rhymes” which contains a number of rhymes, songs and sayings used by the local children in play during the distant past of the village. Soddenham has a great oral tradition, not to mention a prodigious pamphlet output so it’s great to see another booklet swelling the ranks.

Each rhyme is accompanied by an odd little woodcut which increases the feeling of slight unease felt when reading these lines. The cover clearly depicts a woman hanging by her neck from a tree – punishment for supposed witchcraft in the area?

Soddenham Pamphlet front cover

The poem which begins “Candle smoke, candle smoke…” shows what can only be a scene taken from the witch trials as a woman is thrown into the fast moving river from a bridge. This is undoubtedly an early rendering of Candlesmoke Bridge over the river Leam. It makes one shiver to see such startling images next to children’s innocent words.

Soddenham Pamphlet - Candle Smoke

Here are a few more of my favourite rhymes with accompanying woodcuts;

Soddenham Pamphlet Hay Man

Soddenham Pamphlet Charley Barley

The final poem does not have an illustration and I’m somehow glad that it does not. It is short an innocent upon first reading but then gets under the skin and a sinister tone seeps into the words causing the imagination to run riot.

Soddenham Pamphlet Doctor Dell

Still, it’s a beautiful pamphlet and I’m very happy to have been sent a copy by Les and Eric whom I’d like to thank greatly for sharing these words with me and keeping another little piece of Soddenham’s heritage alive.

Soddenham Pamphlet opening page

Well done to you both, now it’s off to the Teat for a few pints of Witches Brew with you, I wish I could join in your celebrations dear fellows.

Soddenham Shield


9 thoughts on “A Missive From Soddenham

    • unsubscriber 27/10/2014 / 9:02 am

      I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the pamphlet’s delicate but sinister charms, I thought a few folks would. It’s an odd little village and well worth a look around if you get a chance. I think you’re mistaking me for cousin Unwin though people say there is a likeness. He’s taken to his caravette of late, mumbling in the night amongst his Toby jugs and unfinished manuscripts. I hope he’s going to be alright. All the best Mr Nash.

      Liked by 1 person

      • johncnash 27/10/2014 / 9:57 am

        Aaah, many of us have a cousin like that lurking in the background. Well……I don’t personally. But I’ve heard my cousin does!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. unsubscriber 27/10/2014 / 10:03 am

    A cousin of a cousin eh… starting to sound odd now!


    • unsubscriber 27/10/2014 / 8:32 pm

      It’s absolutely beautiful in the hand too, incredibly tactile.


      • lcmt 27/10/2014 / 8:45 pm

        And of course I am falling in love with Soddenham. Wonderful website. I wish the Whittlespear Beach Chamber of Commerce would make such an effort.


      • unsubscriber 27/10/2014 / 8:54 pm

        It’s all very normal and yet deeply, darkly odd. Soddenham’s definitely my kind of village, I visit my uncle Unwin there as often as time allows but I fear his Toby jug obsession is on the rise again so must really make an effort to travel down soon. It’s a shame not all places have such interesting websites to document their comings and goings. Best wishes.


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