Calling Up Constance

Heron Corn Mill Archive Collection (Constance Holme novels)

Heron Corn Mill Archive Collection (Constance Holme novels)

Enter the sixth lady (Edith) Constance Holme (Punchard)

“The sea was always there and though it came quietly perhaps and inoffensively there would be many a night when it would come like a beast of prey, ravening its path between narrow shores, devouring the watery desert.”

Constance Holme “The Lonely Plough”

The last woman to enter the landscape has written on it and about it and then disappeared into the ether. Her remains lie in a cemetery, a field’s width away from where she lived.

Her name is Constance Holme.

As you will know, if you make return visits to this blog, I have been calling together a group of women whom I can say have some relationship to the area of Cumbria where I am working: Heron Corn Mill and the surrounding land-seascape.The process of developing this work is like baking. I am still sifting the flour and cutting up the butter into small pieces.

The initial ingredients:

walking and daydreaming
a selection of women
some key texts
a flood
a botheration

I have mentioned before how it seems for the “official” record, these women’s life stories are, to some extent in the initial telling, defined by their male counterparts. “She was the wife of so and so; she was the daughter of so and so; her brother was a ….

This is also true for Constance Holme though she too found a duality that comes from taking the name of her husband, once she had become known as a writer using her father’s name – the name most of us are given at birth unless of course he cannot be located…that’s another story.

Constance Holme was known as the author and then became known locally as Mrs Punchard taking her husband’s name.

In pursuit of some more facts about Constance Holme’s life I went on a road journey with the historian Roger Bingham.

One thing I found out for my self when trawling through everything I could find was that Constance Holme had a cousin called Vera (Jack) Holme

The result of all this is the creation of three short films that serve as the “rubbing in” part of my baking.

Watch this space if you are interested in seeing the films.