Morwenstow Church – a poem by Ruth Tremayne Harry

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There’s a Church in northern Cornwall
Where an eccentric used to roam
He was the vicar and a poet
Morwenstow Church became his home

Reverend Hawker was this cleric
He wrote poetic sermons in his hut
Made out of driftwood from the seashore
From shipwrecked vessels out of luck

With a service of thanksgiving
And prayers for harvesting the corn
The bread of Eucharist was baking
And a Harvest Festival was born

In the night he would awaken
To rescue seamen from the wrecks
They were buried in the churchyard
Not what the locals would expect

He was married to an heiress
Much older than himself
She would fund his education
Providing all his earthly wealth

The Old Vicarage was their home
It’s a magnificent building still
His contemplations by the sea
Were just his calling to fulfill

There’s a figurehead on a grave
To mark the Caledonia’s demise
And Reverend Hawker is remembered
For honouring their lives

Was he a sinner or a saint
It’s not for us to question why
We’re left to ponder on his life
And respect where many seamen lie



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 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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