Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Robert Bloomfield - Famous Men and Women of Suffolk No 2 in a Series

Way back in 2005 on this blog I ran a short series promoting the most famous men and women from Suffolk, England which is my home. I thought it was time to re visit this series starting with those famous men and women I originally added and then look to add more names. Though this has little to do with running I hope it will serve to broaden the knowledge of any interested readers in the people and the county where I run. After all it is Running in Suffolk.

No 1 in the series was John Constable which you can find in an earlier post. After an artist lets turn to a poet.

Robert Bloomfield 1776 - 1823 He was born in Honington, Suffolk. His father was a poor tailor. His mother, a teacher at the village school, taught him to read and write and at 11 he went to work on his Uncle's farm at Sapiston. He proved to be too frail for this, so at 15 he went to join his brothers in London to learn the trade of shoemaker. In his spare time he was inspired to write about the Suffolk countryside. He composed The Farmer’s Boy while making shoes, remembering the lines in his head until he could write them down. Initially it was refused by several publishers but was eventually published by Vernor and Hood in 1800. The work was very popular selling 26,000 copies within two years.

He followed up his success with Rural Tales (1802), Good Tidings (1804) Wild Flowers (1806) and The Banks of the Wye (1811). In 1790 he married Mary Ann Church. His last years were dogged by illness and partial blindness and in 1812 he moved to Shefford Bedfordshire where he died in 1823. His success was shortlived.

The Farmers Boy

On Giles, and such as Giles, the labour falls
To strew the frequent load where hunger calls.
On driving gales sharp hail indignant flies,
And sleet, more irksome still, assails his eyes:
Snow clogs his feet; or if no snow is seen,
The field with all its juicy store to screen,
Deep goes the frost, till every root is found
A rolling mass of ice upon the ground.

His love of Honington came out in this poem

My heart was roused, and Fancy on the wing
Thus heard the language of enchanting spring
"Come to thy native groves and fruitful fields!
Thou knowest the fragrance that the wild flower yields
Inhale the breeze that bends the purple bud
And play along the margin of the wood"

There is a Robert Bloomfield Society who seek to promote his life and his work

Honington is better known as an RAF base and since 1937 has seen a range of planes fly from here including Wellingtons,Dakotas, Canberra Bombers, Valiants,Victors,Buccaneers and Tornadoes.


  1. You have been blogging for a long time! He had a great memory to remember his ideas until he was able to write them down hours later. Personally I have been trying to think of a thought I had for 20 mins now! My memory is awful.

  2. Thanks Lindsey - it makes you wonder how much more of the brian we would probably use if forced to do so - sometimes less is more


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