Item 1 - Letter from Robert H. Groome to W. Aldis Wright

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Add. MS b/74/8/1


Letter from Robert H. Groome to W. Aldis Wright


  • 14 Nov. 1877 (Creation)

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1 folded sheet, 1 envelope

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Monk Soham Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk.—Returns Crowfoot’s letter, and comments on it. Is planning to print an old ballad, which he heard recited by a local labourer. Encloses a related letter from Frank. Has received some poems from FitzGerald.

(With an envelope.)



Monk Soham Rectory, Wickham Market, Suffolk
Nov. 14th 1877.

My dear Wright

Many thanks for sending me Crowfoots interesting letter {1}, which I return herewith.

I am afraid the “spinam agens” or “spine-ache” will not hold water; since I suppose that the word is formed from its primal nouns in “-agium” {2}, like so many of our Latinized Words.

But the analogy between it and Rickets is curious and possibly the solution.

Rickets commonly leave some malformation, especially humptiness, so that the Somersetshire word “Spinnick” is quite in keeping.

I am always interested with such hints as that about nets and net; but I dare not put too much weight upon them.

I think that the cry of Simon Peter has a deeper feeling than the mere distinction, which is drawn between a part, and a perfect, fulfilment of the command.

Yet I would not say this to my dear old friend; since every tentacle, which lays hold on a reverent mind has its great value—especially for him.

And now I want your help, si licet, on another point.

I have unearthed, as I believe, a veritable old ballad, taken down last week from the mouth of the reciter, an old labourer of this parish.

It will appear, most likely, in Suffolk N. and Q, and so it was sent to Frank, at Edinburgh, who is, as you may remember, Mr Editor. I told him my views, and he has tried to verify them; and now wants more light, as you will see by his letter {3}.

But has the Ballad been ever in print? Much, as regards the interest of re-printing it, turns on this?

It has the veritable go of an old Ballad about it.

Can you give any light, or find up some Ballad-monger who can?

Only if it is a find, we must have the first prize in our Suffolk N. and Q.

I have got several more songs from our Bard {4}; one very pretty, but for the most part of an ordinary type—of the Billy Taylor type {5} rather.

You will greatly oblige us by any kind help in the matter.

Yours sincerely
Robert H. Groome

But “O the Hobby-horse”. Will you be willing to write a note concerning “Spinnage” for us? If so, pray do.

[Direction on envelope:] W. Aldis Wright Esq: | Trinity College | Cambridge [Redirected to:] Jerusalem Chamber | Westminster | London


The envelope was postmarked at Cambridge on 15 Nov. 1877, and at London, E.C., on the same day. Two postage stamps have been peeled off.

{1} Add. MS b. 74/8/2.

{2} Closing inverted commas supplied.

{3} FitzGerald.

{4} Add. MS b. 74/8/3.

{5} Perhaps a reference to the translations of William Taylor of Norwich (1765-1836).

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      Sent with Add. MS b. 74/8/2–3.

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      This description was created by A. C. Green in 2022.




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