HARRY MCGEE: AUTHOR, EDITOR, PUBLISHER
PUBLISHED IN 2005
Old stories of the Rollright Stones in England's unspoiled Cotswolds tweaked a curiosity that could only be sated by a visit to the circle of weathered stones pre-dating the ancient Druid culture. I made the visit in July 2003 and photographed the prehistoric ring now under the care of Britain's National Trust. The conservation authority tried for many years to acquire the property from an owner that refused to sell it because they would commercialize its access. Once acquired after her death, the Trust placed a five foot diameter silvered sphere at the centre of the stone circle only one week before I photographed it. It creates a wonderful artistic tension between the very old and the very new.
Some distance from the ring of monoliths stands an index stone of uncertain purpose, and in another direction, a few stones which probably formed a dolmen or special burial site. All appear in colour in the book.
What people cannot understand, they will create magical stories to explain. The legends about the stone configurations are included.
A panoramic view of the Rollright Stones dating from pre-Druid times.
Near the Rollright Stones rests the village of Great Rollright with a Norman church dating from the rule of the Norman kings. The Lych Gate dates from 1100 and the church itself from 1100 to 1300. In it, Alfred Pidgeon and Eliza Farbrother, my maternal great grandparents, were married before they crossed the Atlantic to begin a farming life in Canada in 1871. Their rich experiences in the newly confederated country with their eight children is the subject of the book. The main protagonist's name was even changed to Fred Pigeon. The story also encompasses the settlement of Fred's brother, George Pidgeon, and half-brother, Tom Fawdry, in the same area east of historic Amherstburg, Ontario.
Here is how the book was received by some recipients:
"I've read it twice so far and expect (it) will get a third read before summer is over.....I'm a fan of telling the family story rather than names and numbers.....You were so fortunate to have the letters from England at your disposal. I especially found the letters from George Farbrother so very touching...." - Eleanor Warren, Administrator, Marsh Collection Society.
"It is so interesting and informative. We feel honoured to have received it and will always treasure it" - Heidi Woodbridge, family member.
The book was published by Rosecom. It is 8½ x11 inches, flex cover with spine, 64 pages, with 17 b&w rare old photos and seven recent photos in colour. It is identified as ISBN 0-9686988-4-0 and two copies are in The National Library in Ottawa. It is priced at CAD or USD $15.00. The price covers mailing. To order, please provide your return address and your cheque made out to Rosecom. Mail them to Rosecom, 41 Outer Drive, London, Ontario, Canada N6P 1E1.