Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Brotton Lad – Anthony Rowe

Peter Anson and his companion Anthony (Tony) Rowe set off from St Augustine’s Datchet on the river Thames. It was Ash Wednesday, February 14th 1934, and they left with black smudges on their foreheads and determination in their hearts. The great caravan was pulled by two horses, Jack and Bill. Anthony was a farrier and he was chosen out of 200 applicants to accompany Peter and look after the horses.

Peter was commissioned by the Universe Catholic paper, to sketch churches and document the pilgrimage to Fort William. The journey took them to Ugthorpe where they changed caravan for a much lighter one – the horses would not have managed the hills of the north with the original van.
Peters companion was a local lad, Anthony Rowe from Brotton. Tony was a farrier and had already spent time in the local ironstone mines and an ideal choice for his knowledge of horses and practical sense. Tony went on to write the first book “The Brown Caravan.”

On their way back from Scotland through Bowes, Yarm, Guisborough and then on to Ugthorpe, which was to be their final port. The horses sensed the home run and needed to be held back rather than urged forward. The caravan was sold, the horses too and Peter continued his wandering, writing and drawing; his stories of local folk, faith and their determination.

In 1901 Anthony’s parents were living at 2 Wood street Skinningrove with three children
Anthony was born 6th January 1909 and in the 1911 census – was living at 7 Park Terrace Brotton, with:
Ralf Welford Rowe – Father
Mary Rowe (nee Harrison) Mother, and his brothers/ sisters:
Henry (Harrison) 19
Mary Elizabeth 13
Hilda 11
Alma Agnes 8
William Ralf 9
George 1-month

1939 register tells us that Anthony was living at St Augustine’s Datchet as a smallholder – together with:
Brothers Ralf William & George – both in Holy Orders and teachers.
Also his sister Mary Elizabeth as a domestic.

Anthony died June 1984 in the Isle of Wight aged 75.

Anthony’s parents both share my own ancestry, through the Welford and Harrison family’s – all recusants of the Catholic faith, during difficult times. I would be interested to know more about this young man, Anthony, who at the age of 24, set off as a caravan pilgrim. How did he and two of his brothers and his sister arrive at St Augustine’s Datchet and what took him to the Isle of Wight?

John Pearson

Monday, 23 November 2015

A Long Journey Home

A novella - finally completed and available.

The story of Brother David: about his thoughts and dreams, people and places around him, existing both in the now and the past.

A Franciscan friar, David is content in his life but continually searching for something unknown – as if he were attempting to make a jigsaw without having the picture to show the finished image, and not knowing whether the piece he is picking up fits his jigsaw or someone else’s.

Set in North Yorkshire, the friary has many comings and goings, and David is very much part of this. He loves to wander, in the woods and moors – but also in his thoughts. A chance meeting and a string of curious events sparked David’s imagination and this searching journey seemed to run parallel to his own, at times more than overlapping and also challenging his beliefs.

This is a story, although some of the place names are familiar and the characters are more typical than real. We are all on a long journey home and although some of this journey must be on our own, others have often been there before us..


Amazon Link


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


A Yorkshire man, in love with the moors and writing his fist small novel. He has been telling stories for many a year, being brought up in this tradition – and finds a way to make them relevant to our everyday life. It seems there is much we can learn about ourselves, when we reflect on things gone by.


The writing of the book was a journey in itself, taking longer than expected, but perhaps that was the way it needed to be. As Brother David remarked; "We need an ending, to see where we are going."

Friday, 6 March 2015

Lenten reflection: Sacrifice

Galatians 1

Verse 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
Paul was preaching after the death of Christ, about the sacrifice made for us.
Jesus stood in our place, for our wrong doings and paid the price. We remember the cost as through the Stations of the Cross and the services of Easter bring back the horrific death on the cross, of the one that came to rescue us from this evil world.
Thinking today – wouldn't it be nice if someone came along and paid off my mortgage, gave me a lump sum that would see me and my family right for the rest of our days; what if I could win the lottery? Money is not everything, if only I could have my health! And Paul tells us we are rescued.
The world is at war with fear and greed, we have enough but we will not share it, sickness and death is headline news. Can we imagine anything worse –
So what is it that Jesus Christ rescued us from, that was so evil? We have to wonder.
His love was so great for us that he willingly gave up his life that we might be free.


I am free to be at peace,
I am free to be happy and content with who I am and what I have
I am free to choose to love my neighbour
I am free to exercise compassion
I am free to forgive
I am free to serve
- It is my choice.



And this is the will of our God and father

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Creator & Creation - Christmas

Christmas and Incarnation: a timeless moment, when the creator becomes part of creation.

In our view of how things are, we see a creator (artist, sculptor) as someone who creates, stands back to view his creation with others; and said it was good.
Our understanding is routed in our timescale and knowing of how things are; it is essential to have the shepherds, sheep, wise men, Mary and Joseph. It is the angels that draw us into the mystery, although we now have them also routed in our reality; but they too are very much part of this story, as heavenly narrators.
To see the Christ child, vulnerable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger is a convenient position for us; full of sentiment and awe, which is reserved for new birth.
Whisper though to a small child and tell them “this Christ child threw stars into space before he was born here, and he has brought about an order that can only bring joy”.

Peering out of our windows in expectation of something much better, and wondering why it never arrives. Perfection and imperfection; “you sold me a dream that has become coloured and distorted; it’s as if it fits into something that is not real and becomes distant with time”.

The moments that count and form imprints on our being, are more often overlooked at the time. To be focused on happiness, contentment, love and passion for vocation; you know when such a moment has happened, for it touches the very core of who we are and screams out “this is me – this is who I can be”. Chasing after illusion and manufactured joy is the pastime of this world and falls so short every time.

The story of the Christ child and all that happened so many years ago is best viewed from the eyes of a child; so journey back with me, to that tender age when mystery, and all we held as dear, were one and the same. Become one with the creator as he has became one with his creation; believe in the possibility of wonder, beyond our imagining and the question will be answered
 “What is my part”?



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Jesus before the Sanhedrin


Matt 26:57-67

Reflection
Jesus was taken before the Sanhedrin, which was a council of men, usually 23; they sat in judgement of religious affairs.

In our reading we hear that Peter followed, to see the end.
Peter who in Matthew 16, when asked by Jesus “who do you say I am” declared “You are the Christ, the son of the living God”.

The law of Moses required two witnesses; and still they could not agree, the Sanhedrin to and froed between opinions. Questions were asked of Jesus and He remained silent. The final question “are you the Christ, son of God” a long silence, then Jesus answered “thou hast said it”.

In Peter’s eyes, he was witnessing the end, there can be no coming back from this; the High Priest tore his clothes.

When someone lets us down, hurts or moves radically away from what we imagined, and believed to be; our response tends to be isolation, rejection and anger. We turn this round and fire it back at the source of our pain, because we do not know what else to do.

Peter went on that night to strongly deny ever knowing Jesus, separating himself from a situation he could not understand; Peter wanted an end he could make sense of.

What was to unfold could not have been imagined; Jesus death and resurrection ensured there is no end – but an infinite number of beginnings for each one of us.



Sunday, 8 December 2013

Jaz (James Davidson)

Sat in my armchair reading the Evening Gazette, I was taken back about thirty years. It was a cold and wet November evening, the streets were empty; the wind was blowing the rain into my face. I could see the phone box at the end of the street from where the urgent call had been made, but the house number 1a could not be found. An elderly lady had called the house, asking for the doctor, her great niece was pregnant and in discomfort.

I decided to knock at number one and ask directions, I was told, “round the back”, before the door was closed quickly on me. As I pushed my way past the bins and overgrown hedge, I could see a dim light through a small window. I was greeted at the door and taken quickly to the young lady; her husband was working and great Aunt staying over a few days to help prepare for baby’s arrival. It soon became clear that baby was imminent and would be delivered there and then.

The house was less than basic but Aunty was a great help rushing around preparing what was needed. Jenny (the young lady) followed all my guiding and soon we had a beautiful baby boy. The gift of new life has never ceased to amaze me, and there was a moment when Aunty was holding the child in her arm; she looked at him and said “You will be called James, and you are very special; we have waited such a long time for you”. She placed her first and second finger of her right hand on his heart, bent over and kissed his forehead. Before I knew what was happening, Aunty said “Here, have a cuddle” and there I was, looking into the child’s eyes; the moment was an eternity and I could sense something that I could not understand, but strangely did not disturb me.

A few nights later in the newspaper, there was a mention in the birth column: “James Davidson born to Chris and Jenny. Blessings and hope for the future. Love, Aunty Liz”. What are the ingredients, what needs to happen, for there to be hope for the future? Could James, shape, mould, create new colours, that our lives became fused in such a way, that possibilities became our reality; now I was beginning to dream.

I had little contact with the family over the following years. Life was not easy for them but they seemed content in their unity and keeping themselves to themselves. James became known as Jaz and gained some popularity around the community, involving himself in social action, speaking out against injustice, poverty and inequality. I read this evening in that same local newspaper, how he intends to run for office in the next election. He is challenging a regime that has been very comfortable for far too long. Jaz speaks with simple words of truth and wisdom that has freshness about them; he speaks with integrity that people respond to, they want to believe, and turn away from how things have been. The old ways will not give up easily and I can see a battle brewing. I remembered again, that first moment I held James, and wondered how this story will end. 




©Copyright 2013 John Pearson