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In the 1920s Walter Murray rented a derelict, remote cottage in Sussex, without running water or electricity. Most of the windows were broken, it was dirty and dark. For the next year, he made his home there, making a living from drying and selling herbs. Copsford is his account of that year, a book that bears comparison to Thoreau's Walden
Walter Murray was a young man tired of living in the city. Early in the 1920s, he persuaded a Sussex farmer to rent him a derelict cottage, which stood alone on a hill, with no running water or electricity. Most of the windows were broken, it was dirty, dark and ran with rats.

He bought a brush and pail in the village, forced the rats to retreat, brought in rudimentary furniture. The local postman found him a dog, and with his new companion he began to explore his surroundings. In that year at Copsford he made a living from collecting, drying and selling the herbs he found locally: agrimony, meadow-sweet and yarrow. He became alert to the wildlife and plants around him. His life was hard - he supplemented his income with occasional journalism, but it was here he met his future wife, who he calls The Music Mistress, and with whom he would later found a school.

Copsford is an extraordinary book. Bearing comparison to Thoreau's Walden, Murray's intense feeling for his place is evident on every page. It is, though, no simple story of a rural idyll - life at Copsford was hard, and Murray does not shy away from the occasional terrors of a house that had its hauntings.

A publishing success when first published in the late 1940s, this new edition has an introduction by Raynor Winn, author of The Salt Path.
More Information
Weight 0.000000
Author Murray, Walter J. C.
Availability IP
Department Travel Writing
Format Paperback
ISBN 9781908213709
Pages 168
Published 04/04/2019
Publisher Little Toller Books
Section Travel Writing: General
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