LETTER: Belloc memorial would be welcome

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The discussion as to what should replace the water feature, ‘Rising Universe’ in the Bishopric, Horsham, continues. And I was interested to read the contribution made by the Rev Nick Flint (WSCT November 13th).

His suggestion for a memorial to the Anglo-French writer and historian, Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) who spent most of his life in West Sussex, is to be welcomed.

I also enjoyed Mr Flint’s piece of amusing doggerel - but don’t blame Shelley for the monstrosity water feature - it has absolutely nothing to do with the atheist romantic poet, poor fellow.

When a pupil of Horsham High School for Girls, I can well remember seeing the unmistakable figure of Hilaire Belloc - clad in his familiar cloak - making his way to the Black Horse Hotel for his pint or two of Sussex ale. Alas, both the hotel and our local brewery have now gone - victims of so-called progress.

The traditional English shire counties are in danger of extinction - the victims of the computerised post-code along with the whims of local government.

So often, the indigenous population of Sussex - families such as my own who have lived in the county for generations - are forgotten by the powers that be. And a memorial to Hilaire Belloc would help rectify this thoughtless approach.

Lest I be considered parochial, newcomers should be welcomed to Horsham. And Belloc who was born in France would be an ideal subject for a memorial.

His statue or whatever could be surrounded by a verse from his famous poem, ‘The South Country’ -

I never get between the pines

But I smell the Sussex air;

Nor I never come on a belt of sand

But my home is there.

And along the lines of the Downs

So noble and so bare

Belloc is buried at the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, at West Grinstead, along with another Sussex writer and feminist, Antonia White (1899-1980) - author of that famous novel, ‘Frost in May’. May they rest in peace.

BARBARA A. WORLEY

Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham