Welcome to my Mary Stewart Advent Calendar. For my sixth post, I’m continuing to write about Trimdon, the place that held so many childhood memories for Mary Stewart. Read the start of her book Thornyhold, and you have a vivid recreation of the Trimdon that Mary knew. She is quoted in the book More Trimdon Snippets by E R Johnson:
‘My memories of Old Trimdon, as it was called then, are the impressionistic, and presumably often inaccurate memories of a young childhood, and they are purely subjective. I used some of these recollections in a recent novel, THORNYHOLD, as the childhood memories of the narrator, Geillis’.
More Trimdon Snippets then quotes these childhood memories that Mary Stewart has lent to Geillis, they are also to be found on pages 9 and 10 of the Hodder & Stoughton first edition (1988) of Thornyhold:
‘… the place was lovely, my father’s work was easy, and the house was compact and comfortable. The vicarage was ancient, low and white, with a white rose rambling over the porch, and ivied walls with beds of sweet violets beneath. There was a summer-house set in a lilac grove, and a tennis-court carefully kept by my father…
‘The village green with its grazing goats and donkeys, and the grey church at its centre. Huge trees everywhere, on the green, in the cottage gardens, studding the circling meadows, shading the dusty road…’
Here is a present-day photo of the vicarage where Mary Stewart lived: it is no longer painted white, the garden is no longer large enough to contain a tennis court but it is, I think, recognisable from her description, just as the description of St Mary Magdalene church tallies with the photos in my Sunday post. I took this photo of the vicarage from the church, which shows how close the two buildings are in relation to one another.