Author(s): MURRAY, Walter J C
ISBN13/Barcode: 9781908213709

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.


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Walter J. C. Murray was born in Seaford, Sussex, a county where he spent most of his life. He served in the Merchant Navy and RAF during the First World War, after which he worked in London for a short time as a journalist. Disillusioned with city life, he moved to Horam and lived hand-to-mouth as a writer and collector of wild herbs and flowers, before becoming a teacher. In 1923, he founded a small school of which he remained the headmaster for forty years. Murray was also a well-known nature photographer, broadcaster and writer whose books include Nature’s Undiscovered Kingdom (1946) and Copsford (1948).

Additional Information

ISBN13/Barcode 9781908213709
ISBN10 1908213701
Author MURRAY, Walter J C
Binding Paperback
Date Published 15 Apr 2019
Frequency No
Report Date N/A
Pages 160
Publisher Little Toller Books

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