A Cornish Rower by Ruth Tremayne Harry

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Ann Glanville (Photo: Terry Harry)


Ruth brings us her poem about Ann Glanville (1796–1880), a Cornishwoman who achieved national celebrity for rowing a four-oared watermen’s boat.


Cornish Rower by Ruth Tremayne Harry

There’s a statue by the river
A woman sitting on a bench
She is gazing at the water
With a rower’s steel intent

Ann Glanville is this rower
She had a mission to survive
With 14 children and no husband
She had the strength to stay alive

Her husband John was unwell
So she took over with her oars
She became a female waterman
And the family business was secured

With other female rowers
They won regattas far and wide
And watched by Queen Victoria
Their fame a source of pride

She was born in Saltash, Cornwall
But her story was widely known
In rowing competitions clearly
She became a legend on her own

This was the 19th century
Yet her story still endures
As she gazes at The Tamar
She’s remembered on both the shores

She sits beneath the bridges
Brunel’s masterpiece above
The setting quite magnificent
Yet it’s a testament to love


Brunel’s Railway Bridge (Photo: Terry Harry)



Ruth Tremayne Harry

Ruth was born in Quintrell Downs to Hugh and Edna Tremayne and believes her poetry stems from her love of music lyrics and the Methodist hymns from her childhood when her father was the organist at Kestle Mill and Quintrell Downs Methodist Chapels. Her writing in rhymed couplets was further developed during her many years in creative writing groups in New York City. One of her poems about a Cornish childhood was written for the Toronto Cornish Association and sent by her brother-in-law to cornwallyesteryear.com a newly created website in 2020. This re-connected Ruth and Terry Harry who had worked together at Barclays Bank Trust Company in Truro during the late 1960s. Reunited when Ruth visited for a holiday in 2020, they married in 2021 and now make their home in St Day. Her poetry is currently inspired by her homecoming to Cornwall and is enhanced by Terry’s photography and posted to the website. They have jointly published a book entitled A Cornish Homecoming.




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