Saturday, 19 November 2011

Society Summer Event

A group of members gathered at Shefford on 19 August, a pleasantly warm late summer's day, to commemorate Bloomfield's death on that day in 1823. A very enjoyable and informative tour was made of sites which would have been familiar to Bloomfield or are associated with him.

The natural place to start was 'Bloomfield House' in Northbridge Street, with its plaque erected by Constance Isherwood, founder of the first Robert Bloomfield Society in 1904.

After exploring Shefford and enjoying lunch we drove the short distance to Campton village to view Bloomfield's grave in All Saints churchyard and the plaque on the south wall installed by the Society in 2003.

Besides Bloomfield's headstone, and touchingly inclined toward it, is that of his Shefford friend Thomas Inskip, who had paid for Bloomfield's stone.

Arrangements had been made previously with one of the church wardens for the church to be opened and we were warmly received. Of interest, in addition to the Welsh stone plaque, is the chapel containing monuments to members of the Osborn family of Chicksands and a memorial to the Rev. Edmond Williamson. Bloomfield had dined with Sir Charles Osborn at Chicksands Priory in 1810 and this helped precipitate his move from London in 1812. Edmond Williamson was the Campton rector in Bloomfield's time and evidence suggests they were on friendly terms.

The last stop in our peregrinations was the church and churchyard at the neighbouring village of Meppershall. Here are to be found the burial place of Constance Isherwood and her father, the then Rector of Mepperhsall and Treasurer of the first Bloomfield Society.

Finally, Dorothy Hoskins showed us the very beautiful headstone, in the same Welsh stone as the Bloomfield memorial plaque in Campton church, of her husband, Philip, buried here in 2007; to whom the current Robert Bloomfield Society owes an immesurable debt.

Adapted from The Robert Bloomfield Society, No. 22 (Autumn, 2011)