My young days were lived in Millbeck, and I attended Scalebeck, Crosthwaite and Keswick Schools, so had the honour of coming into contact with him on many occasions. During his travels round the district he called, quite unexpectedly, and sat down to whatever we were having. At times he would suddenly appear in the house, calling “Hey . . . what are you all doing working when the hounds are out on Skiddaw”?
As a small lad I often went out on Adamson’s butchers cart with the roundsman. It was a light trap with a lively black horse, and one day when he was delivering near the “Pheasant” at Crosthwaite, a train going under the bridge whistled and the horse “took off” with me, carrying me along the road towards the Vicarage, at breakneck speed.
I hung on and struggled but it was hopeless, until, luckily, a man rushed out and pulled it up, just at the top of Vicarage Hill. Hearing the commotion Canon Rawnsley came out of the Vicarage Drive and took me into his den, gave me some lemonade, and after talking a while, no doubt to calm me, presented me with an orange, saying “That’s because thoo wasn’t flayt”. I have always had the greatest admiration for him and his works. Each year he held a children’s service in Crosthwaite Church and his text a flower, understandable to all we country children. Back went his head, his eyes closed and he had the rapt attention of all, without a sound or a whisper until he finished. Personally I was always spellbound. Many years after moving to Liverpool district, my Mother and I went to hear him give a lecture in Blundellsands. Frequently he appeared to look our way and I whispered to Mother “I think he has spotted us.” Sure enough at the end he hurried from the platform, came directly to us, shook hands, and asked what we were doing down here. He was really pleased to see [us].
No doubt you will have seen, many times, the design executed by his first wife for the C.E.C., and inserted in books won at school as prizes. I have several.
I doubt if this is of any help in your objective, but the letter serves to wish you well in your endeavours and to pass my salutations to the loveliest place I know – Borrowdale and Keswick district. With the happiest of happy memories of Canon Rawnsley.
(Source - RR/9/2)
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