The George Borrow Society Bulletin, Autumn 2012

Cover of the current George Borrow Bulletin The Autumn 2012 George Borrow Bulletin is now out (Series 2, No. 5).

Members received their copy during December 2012.

We’re continuing with abstracts of the main articles and also giving some information on the contributors.

We hope to expand this area in future.

The current issue also has some splendid colour photographs/prints relating to the Wiltshire episodes.  This includes the one of Quicksilver being attacked by the lioness at Winterslow on 20th October 1816.

The next edition of the George Borrow Bulletin is being prepared and should be out in Spring 2013.


George Borrow Bulletin 2nd Series nº 5 (Autumn 2012)




Membership of the Society; obituary



Activities of the Executive Committee



Recent Events


The Borrow Family Tree:


Venturas, Graciella

The Notable Nineteenth Century Borrows, descendants of the Trethenni


Missler, Peter

Captain George Henry Borrow


Laurie, Kedrun

1956, René Fréchet, Louis Aragon and post-war French interest in Borrow, Part 2


Sanderson, H. K. St. J.

A Voice from the Past, two essays on Borrow

Notes and Queries


Price, David

The Rev. Francis Cunningham


Ridler, Ann M.

A postscript on Ch. 60 of Lavengro


Hentges, John

The man who outsold Dickens?


Hentges, John

58 Jermyn Street


Able, Susan

George Borrow: Does he still haunt the Oulton Estate?


Burleigh, Richard

George Borrow in Cornwall


Pritchard, Terry

What was the site of Borrow’s meeting on the Welsh border with Jasper Petulengro?


Hopkins, Simon

George Borrow’s Hebrew shekel



Rawbone, Michael

I’m a Romany Rai, CD reviewed


Bainbridge, John

Robert Macfarlane, The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, reviewed


Murphy, Martin

George Borrow, La Biblia en EspañaTraducido por Manuel Azaña.  Introducción de Alberto González Troyano, reviewed


Skillman, Michael

Tom Fort, The A303 Highway to the Sun, reviewed







Press Cuttings



Borrow On-line



A Relevant TV Programme



An Exhibition in Paris



Borrow Portrayed

Report and Proceedings of The George Borrow Society’s meeting held at Salisbury, Wiltshire, 13–15 April 2012


Rostron, Ann, and Fielder, Tony

Report on the weekend


Skillman, Michael

Borrow in Wiltshire, with a note on mail coaches



Back Numbers of Bulletins, Binders and Proceedings


Graciella Venturas

Graciella Venturas Graciella Venturas was born and grew up in Rhodesia during the sanctions era and Rhodesian Bush War. She studied Law and after moving to South Africa acquired a third Law degree, a Master of Laws, whilst working as a Tax Consultant. Her mother was a descendant of the Borrows of Trethinnick. Her interest in Human Rights Law has kept her in close touch with Zimbabwe’s struggle to define the rule of law, peculiarly locked in a state of legislative emergency for 60 years. Currently, she’s writing a faction novel in which Captain H.J Borrow appears as a real life character acquainted with Frederick Courteney Selous, used by Rider Haggard as a model for Alan Quartermain. She is also involved in original research into medieval history, an era which provides an entertaining comment on tax law, commencing with the ultimate totting up of the Domesday Book. One of the principal medieval tax collectors participates as a character in her novel.

Peter Missler

Peter Missler Peter Missler was born in 1959 in Amersfoort (The Netherlands). He briefly studied Philosophy at the University of Utrecht before moving to Paris, where he mainly exercised as bohemian. After four years as bookseller, house-cleaner, electrician, hotel attendant and metro-busker, he returned to Holland to earn a degree in Egyptology from the University of Leiden. In 1993 he moved to Granada, Spain, and two years later to Santiago de Compostela. He is a member of the George Borrow Society and a regular contributor to the George Borrow Bulletin. These Bulletin articles resulted in two book-sized studies: A Daring Game in 2009 and The Treasure Hunter of Santiago in late 2010.  Peter Missler presently lives in Brion, west of Santiago, with his wife Palmyra, their son Yasin and the Homeric sheep-dog Argos.

Dr Kedrun Laurie

Dr Kedrun Laurie Dr Kedrun Laurie was formerly Assistant Curator of the Geffrye Museum in London, specialising in the history of interiors and costume. She subsequently worked for some years as a consultant on the restoration of historic parks and gardens. She received her doctorate in English Literature from King’s College London in 2003. Her thesis, entitled ‘“If I had Wings”: country writers and the claims of conservation’, included a chapter on George Borrow. She now works as an independent scholar in Belgium with a particular interest in the art and literature of the long nineteenth century.

Michael Skillman

Dr Kedrun Laurie Hello.  I am Mike Skillman. I first became interested in George Borrow back in the 1980s when looking for books on Gypsies in our local library. There was only one: a tiny copy of The Romany Rye. I was immediately hooked.  So I bought Lavengro, and then Wild Wales. My wife and I began to visit many of the places mentioned in the latter and one day in Llangollen I spotted what must have been the house Borrow stayed in whilst there. On being invited in by the owner I was told about the George Borrow Society and now I am the Membership Secretary.


The Borrow Family Tree: (1) The Notable Nineteenth-Century Borrows, descendants of the Trethenni, by Graciella Venturas

The note traces the record of nineteenth-century descendants of Trethinnick Borrows whose lives attracted the notice of historians. It examines in particular the descendants of one of Captain Thomas Borrow’s twin brothers, John. John Borrow’s son and grandson participated respectively in the economic and religious history of Cornwall, whilst the life and death of Captain Henry John Borrow, his great-grandson, has been dramatised and memorialised in the nineteenth and the twentieth century and received some contentious mention in the twenty-first century. He was involved in the founding of the southern African nation Rhodesia, present day Zimbabwe. It also considers why these cousins, one a resident of Truro and major shareholder of the second largest producer of Arsenic, failed to make contact with Borrow during his 1854 visit to Cornwall.

The Borrow Family Tree: (2) Captain George Henry Borrow, by Peter Missler

The note tells the life story of Captain George Henry Borrow (1921–1944), namesake and distant cousin of the author of Lavengro and The Bible in Spain, who fought with the Chindits in Burma during WWII, served as ADC to General Charles Orde Wingate, and died in the same plane crash as his superior on 24 May 1944.

1956. René Fréchet, Louis Aragon and post-war French interest in Borrow, Part 2, Louis Aragon, by Kedrun Laurie

Paris 1956, the place and the year not only in which René Fréchet published his Borrow monograph but also in which the Communist poet Louis Aragon (1897–1982) alluded to Borrow in Le Roman inachevé. The events of 1956, in particular Khrushchev’s exposure of Stalin’s purges, made Aragon reconsider Borrow’s significance. The Bohemianism his works had inspired in him as a youth, once rejected, seemed valid again as the excesses of Communist doctrine became clear.

Aragon uses Gypsies throughout his book as emblems of individual freedom or of free speech itself. I discuss by means of textual analysis to what extent this discourse and another, that surrounding religious belief, derive from Borrow.

I suggest that Aragon’s interest in Borrow originated with Nancy Cunard, his lover from 1926–8. Finally I compare Aragon’s work on Borrow to that of René Fréchet, whose book he seems almost conclusively to have read.

Borrow in Wiltshire, by Michael Skillman, with a note on mail coaches

Some members heard my recent talk to the Society at Salisbury about Lavengro’s journey from London to Stonehenge.  His journey would inevitably have taken him over much of the ground now covered by the A303, a road very familiar to me. The old road in his day was one of two main mail coach routes from London to Exeter. Of all Borrow’s books Lavengro is the only one having a chapter mentioning places in Wiltshire so, of course, I was especially interested in that one. Unfortunately there isn’t a great deal of information in it but there was enough to give me material for my talk and perhaps, more importantly, to give me food for thought. Why did Lavengro head west and then, later, north? I hope in my talk I answered the former but the latter is still perhaps a mystery.