Charles Heather born abt 1858

This wonderful poem about his Great Grandfather was sent to us by John Wanstall. It was written by his Aunt Veronica, as a child she used to stay with her grand parents from time to time, and this is one of her memories of her grandfather Charles Heather.

Mr Charles Heather

Yonder, you see him - just a weary little man.
The knapsack on his shoulder is a part of each day's plan.
He's rather tired with walking but his feet go straight ahead,
"Each step' s another nearer home" is all he would have said.

He should be tired with walking, he's travelled far this day.
He works another County and its sixteen miles each way.
But, he will not be complaining - "The exercise is good",
And it won't affect his temper - he's always in good mood.

He's a tough little body, this close to nature,
man. He goes to work each morning and he's never ill or wan.
He’s an early morning riser, competes with sun for time
In the freshness of the morning, steps out o'er moor land rime.

He's sixteen miles to travel to get to work each day.
And, once he's there - no loitering - he has to earn his pay.
But he sets to work with pleasure - the job's a joy to him,
Its most important feature - its regularity.

He's known some very awkward times, this doughty little man,
When pence were few, and family grew beyond his means to plan.
But his wife and he close-shouldered and "soldiered" all the way,
The family's off hand now but he still must earn his pay.

The house of his residing is cool and calm and clean.
All whitey-washed exterior and just the same within.
He has a white-wash session - oh, every now and then,
The house has charm and comfort and neatness, as new pin.

At even, when his trudging's done, he reaches hearth and home.
His boots come off, his slippers don, a wash is his first move.
Then sinks into his fireside chair to gratefully consume
The dinner that his wife's prepared - perhaps a fragrant stew.

She cooks so very well, his wife - today there are but few
Put flavour in their cooking as she has learned to do.
And each day's fresh and fragrant - he anticipates each meal,
The savour of his longing whets every weary mile.

And, now his supper's over, he rests awhile in chair.
The good food, and the comfort, restore his vigour there,
And, in a space he rises - put-on his boots anew,
He’s a few jobs in the garden will take an hour or two.

There's logs there, by the woodhouse, for chopping for their fuel,
Won't take him long, he does them - he's handy with a tool.
The axe is sharp he uses, well wielded by strong arm,
The “chips” fly all around him - he stacks them in the barn.

Well, now that chore is over, his garden must have care.
The fruit trees and the flowers must all receive their share Of loving,
careful pruning, and of watering, each day,
It's a truly lovely garden, and that's the way 'twill stay.

The garden in the front of house is somewhat huge affair
And, way behind the white-washed house, an orchard full of pear
And apple trees, with damsons, and rhubarb in between,
They'll not go short of luscious fruit, all winter there, I wean.

Such truly gorgeous apples, all crisp and large and round -
Are set aside for storing, the good fruits of this ground.
But it's really all his labour, experience and care,
Which makes his orchard fruitful - no trees of his are bare.

The end of evening's coming, he stacks his tools inside
The sprawling, lean-to woodhouse and there they will abide
Until tomorrow evening, when he'll take them out once more
To start again on garden and commence his evening chore.

But, now, there's one last duty he must perform this day.
He'll fill the water buckets from the spring up lane a way.
The cold, clear water gushes, into the sturdy pails,
He climbs the steep ascendant - his courage never fails

The ticking clock in kitchen points hands to ten p.m.,
He's ready now for bed-time - no later nights for him.
He and his wife are ready, they climb the stairs to bed,
Midst fragrance of the evening, they sleep, once prayers are said.

He's a tough little body - this close to Nature man.
He places all his faith in God, then does the best he can.
He is hardy and he’s healthy, but he's gentle and so kind,
His wisdom is far reaching, an out-stretching, "seeing" mind.

He knows no word of "doctrines" ,of science of the lab.,
But he'll treat his soil with "humus" and, surely, could he stab
A million holes in doctrines with his sage, far-seeing mind,
He's learned a lot from Nature, and Nature is not blind.

A few words, sagely spoken, are all he needs to say.
He probes the heart of subject in a simple, direct way.
You can trust him with your money, your heart, your home or wife,
He's as honest as the daylight and would not stoop to strife.

I've thought a lot about him, this grand-papa of mine
And I'm proud to be his kinfolk, descendant of his line.
He was my mother's father and, at the time I write,
He was seventy and over, still "fighting the good fight".

Charles Heather was the son of Edward Heather and Ann Enticknap.

John also adds this information: As described, he was a tough but gentle little man. Not over short but not over tall, either - probably about 5-ft. 5 inches. On Sundays he always went to the little village church, he was sides-man there. Off he would go in his best Sunday black suit, always complete with black bowler, a very respectable and much respected man, Mr. Heather.

On one occasion, though, tramping across the hills with his week's wage in his pocket, on his homeward way, two idlers jumped out from the thicket where they had been lurking and attempted to rob him of his wages. They really got more than they bargained for. The first one being flung out of the fight by him, the second recoiled, having been implored by his partner, “For God's sake, leave him alone Harry, he's a proper little terror".

And away went my grandfather on his way, complete with his wages - of which he had no intention of parting.