The Roadmender

FOREWORD TO THE 1920 EDITION

The country amid which Margaret Fairless Barber (“Michael Fairless”) wrote “The Roadmender” is that central part of Sussex drained by the river Adur, the least known of the three main rivers, Ouse, Adur and Arun, which breach the South Downs.

From Chanctonbury Ring to Ditchling Beacon the Downs belong to the Adur, and this is the country of the Roadmender. Here, from under the “stunted hawthorn,” the eye looks down on the one side to the “little church” on the Weald, and on the other to the more distant “to and fro of the Sea.” Over all this Wealden valley the “long grey downs” keep watch, and on the inland side a constant companion of the roads is the spire on “the monastery where the Bedesmen of St Hugh watch and pray.”

Michael Fairless wrote Parts I and II of “The Roadmender” in a farmhouse at Mock Bridge on the Adur near Henfield, and here in her last days she lay writing “The White Gate,” looking out over the “pasture bright with buttercups where the cattle feed.” Here she died, and she was carried to the grave “under the firs in the quiet churchyard” at Ashurst, two miles away across the river.

 

 

ILLUSTRATIONS

 

 
Home
e-Mail
Favourites
Family History
Photo Album
Baglady
Calendar