JUDITH PARIS - The Herries Chronicles
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In October 1935, Hugh Walpole (1884 – 1941) wrote the following remarks in his diary: "Shall I have any lasting reputation? Like every author in history who has seriously tried to be an artist, I sometimes consider the question. Fifty years from now I think the Lake stories will still be read locally, other-wise I shall be mentioned in a small footnote to my period in literary history." Perhaps he was rather harsh and pessimistic in this prediction, but of all his works only the Lake stories or the Herries Chronicles have consistently remained in print.
“However, Walpole, is beginning to attract the Lakeland literati once again and that revival of interest may prove attractive to film makers, particularly when it comes to the Herries Chronicles, which have been described as the area’s own Forsyte Saga”.
In 1923 having led a restless life, Walpole took a short holiday in the Lake District, and became enchanted with the area, feeling that at long last he had found a place where he could settle. The following year, he moved into Brackenburn, a hillside house overlooking Derwentwater, and it was there that he wrote the majority of his remaining output. Over the ensuing months, he absorbed the atmosphere, scenery and history of the Lake District, and as early as 1925 he was mulling over the idea of a series of Lake novels.
These ideas evolved over the coming years until Walpole had worked out a grand design for four large novels setting out 'the history of the Herries family over a period of two hundred years, from the 18th century to the depression of the 1930s.
The first book in the series, "Rogue Herries", was published 'in 1930, and Hugh Walpole reckoned that "it was the most important book of my life so far". The three sequels, "Judith Paris", "The Fortress" and "Vanessa", followed annually, and each one was duly showered with critical accolades.
Following the completion of the Herries Chronicles Walpole planned to enlarge it with the addition of four more novels. The plan was to begin with an Elizabethan Herries, and then continue the family saga up to the start of "Rogue Herries". In his diaries, Hugh Walpole even planned six later novels which would continue the history beyond the 1930s.
In reality, he wrote the first in the new series, which was published in 1940 under the title "The Bright Pavilions", but only managed to complete half of the next novel, "Katherine Christian", before his untimely death.
Watendlath is a tiny hamlet a classic “hanging valley” between Borrowdale and Thirlmere, comprising a few dwellings, a farm, a tarn with trout, ducks and geese. It attracts many visitors, not least because of the refreshments available at the tea rooms.
In the Herries Chronicles the heroine of “Judith Paris” lived in the farmhouse with her smuggler husband - until he came to a sticky end. He was thrown down the stairs to his death, by the father of the man he had murdered for his money! There is a plaque on the wall depicting ‘Home of Judith Paris’ – look out for that.
Watendlath has an attractive packhorse bridge over the beck - the source for Lodore Falls - and set into the path over the bridge is an engraved cobble stone laid by HRH Prince Charles in 1995 – look out for that.
The hamlet is reached by a very narrow road with passing places, from the Keswick to Borrowdale road.
Vafvqr bs jung Aryyl cnpxrq!
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum