The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine--Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary [NOOK Book]

Overview


In the village of Wreay, near Carlisle, stands the strangest and most magical Victorian church in England. This vivid, original book tells the story of its builder, Sarah Losh, strong-willed, passionate, and unusual in every way.

Sarah Losh is a lost Romantic genius—an antiquarian, an architect, and a visionary. Born into an old Cumbrian family, heiress to an industrial fortune, Losh combined a zest for progress with a love of the past. In ...

See more details below
The Pinecone: The Story of Sarah Losh, Forgotten Romantic Heroine--Antiquarian, Architect, and Visionary

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99
BN.com price

Overview


In the village of Wreay, near Carlisle, stands the strangest and most magical Victorian church in England. This vivid, original book tells the story of its builder, Sarah Losh, strong-willed, passionate, and unusual in every way.

Sarah Losh is a lost Romantic genius—an antiquarian, an architect, and a visionary. Born into an old Cumbrian family, heiress to an industrial fortune, Losh combined a zest for progress with a love of the past. In the church, her masterpiece, she let her imagination flower—there are carvings of ammonites, scarabs, and poppies; an arrow pierces the wall as if shot from a bow; a tortoise-gargoyle launches itself into the air. And everywhere there are pinecones in stone. The church is a dramatic rendering of the power of myth and the great natural cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

Losh’s story is also that of her radical family, friends of Wordsworth and Coleridge; of the love between sisters and the life of a village; of the struggles of the weavers, the coming of the railways, the findings of geology, and the fate of a young northern soldier in the First Afghan War. Above all, it is about the joy of making and the skill of unsung local craftsmen. Intimate, engrossing, and moving, The Pinecone, by Jenny Uglow, the Prize-winning author of The Lunar Men, brings to life an extraordinary woman, a region, and an age.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Megan Marshall
[Uglow's] narrative, if not "a poem in three dimensions," as she describes Losh's church, stands as an elegant and instructive rendering of a life, a place and a time.
Publishers Weekly
Biographer Uglow (The Lunar Men) redirects her attention and the same painstaking care she's brought to historical giants (including Charles II and William Hogarth) to the obscure figure of an Industrial Revolution heiress and Victorian architect, Sarah Losh. Born in England in 1786, Losh's life took in the era's most progressive politics, arts, and technology while she rarely strayed far from her family's mansion, Woodside, in the northern town of Wreay, Cumbria. Raised in the same area, Uglow first heard of Losh through her most lasting achievement, an idiosyncratic church that pre-empted the pre-Raphaelites and embraced wildly varied cultural influences while downplaying the expected trappings of Anglicanism and even Christianity. Uglow's research uncovered a restlessly inquisitive woman, unusually independent from her era's ideas, as well as fascinating supporting characters like Losh's father, John, whose wide-ranging scientific interests led to their industrial fortune, her radical reformer uncle James, and, in a cameo, family friend William Wordsworth. By the end of the book, mystery remains around the church's bizarre pinecone-centric symbolism and Losh herself, who burned many of her papers before her death in 1853. Her voice's relative absence should not, however, diminish anyone's enjoyment of Uglow's achievement in spinning a tale of Victorian church building into a captivating epic. Agent: Melanie Jackson. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"[Uglow] quickly revealed herself to be one of the most resourceful and innovative writers in the genre . . . as in the best biographies, the question becomes not what the subject will do, but how and why she will do it." —Megan Marshall, The New York Times Book Review

"This mesmerizing account reveals the uniqueness of Losh's achievement while retaining its mystery." —The New Yorker

“[An] entrancing book . . . Always impeccable in her choice of the vivid anecdote and the memorable image with which to conjure life into the northern hillscape that she evidently loves so well, Uglow has produced a quiet masterpiece: a book to savour and treasure.” —Miranda Seymour, The Sunday Times (London)

“In its intimate tone, its lavishly detailed depictions of Losh’s creations, and its seamless interweaving of the local and immediate with the global and the timeless, [The Pinecone] is an exuberant match for the beautiful, ornate and movingly personal nature of Losh’s extraordinary church.” —Rachel Hewitt , The Guardian

“Uglow pieces together an absorbing portrait . . . Like her subject, Uglow triumphs with quiet urgency.” —Laura Battle, Financial Times

“[An] engaging historical study . . . With her precise sense of history’s intellectual and political movements, Uglow is good at explaining [the] artistic background . . . [and] illuminating subjects as diverse as the use of alkalis in industry . . . and Italian politics in the wake of the Napoleonic wars . . . Uglow’s telling of [Losh’s story] is clearly focused, wonderfully stimulating and surprisingly colourful.” —Andrew Lycet, The Telegraph

“[In The Pinecone] Jenny Uglow not only proves the importance of Sarah Losh but shows what biography at its very best can do.” —Frances Wilson, Literary Review

“A riveting story, and Jenny Uglow makes the most of it, exploring the intellectual and social background to Losh’s unusual masterpiece . . . She fully explains the impetus for one of the most startling small masterpieces of nineteenth-century architecture in Britain, as well as bringing to life the admirable Miss Losh of Wreay.” —John Martin Robinson, The Spectator

“Uglow’s Pinecone, like Losh’s, spins ever outwards, but is at its most beautiful in its return to small perfections, a tiny church and a little life that tells, nonetheless, an epic story.” —Ian Kely, The Times (London), Book of the Week

Library Journal
This is as much a biography of an era, a coming-of-age story about an England on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, when romanticism and industrial fervor coexisted, as it is about an exceptional 19th-century woman—whose writings have not in fact survived. Uglow (The Lunar Men) portrays the innovation and intellect of the privileged Miss Sarah Losh (1786–1853), a writer and poet as well as an architect. The title refers to the emblem she used extensively in the eccentric Lake District church she designed. In many ways this is an interpretive biography, with Uglow understanding Sarah as well as her sister through the writings of their male family members and associates. The approach results in Uglow’s simultaneously broad yet detailed perspective. Endowed with a liberal education from her father, his compatriots (including William Wordsworth) and her uncle James Losh, and with the resolve to benefit from it, Losh and her sister, rather than their sickly younger brother, inherited their father’s wealthy estate. Uglow focuses on the whimsical church designed by Sarah Losh and how she was able to pursue such an undertaking that reflected both the Industrial Age and the romantic appeal of nature.

Verdict This study will appeal to avid readers of 19th-century British studies. Readers seeking a uniquely female perspective and story will be disappointed as the scant record includes no such personal details.—Kelsey Berry Philpot, Holderness Sch., NH

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
This elegant biography of a little-known Cumbrian landowner, builder and local daughter captures the rural and industrial changes in Georgian England. Accomplished British historian Uglow (A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration, 2010, etc.) ably depicts the picturesque landscape of Carlisle, just south of the Scottish border. As the eldest daughter of deep descendants of the Wreay landed gentry, who pioneered the iron and alkali works feeding the Industrial Revolution, Sarah Losh (1785–1853) and her beloved younger sister, Katharine, did not feel compelled to marry and relinquish their independence. Rich from their father's and uncles' early industriousness, well-educated, strong-willed and bookish, the daughters were able to travel to Italy and elsewhere to study art and architecture, and they brought their ideas home to "improve" their estate and local structures such as the Carlisle school and church. After the death of her sister in 1834, Sarah threw herself into the work of building, combining her love of poetry, antiquities and her ancient land into a distinct, original style that was not Gothic, but that melded simple, rustic elements of the old Saxon and Norman, what she considered Lombard Romanesque. Employing in the woodwork designs of available flora and fauna like eagles and pine cones, Sarah embarked on work as a sculptor herself. With a light touch, Uglow integrates greater historical developments--e.g., the Napoleonic wars and the development of Romanticism--within an intimate bucolic story of people whose life was the land. A writer who knows her subject intimately creates a fully fleshed portrait of an England that would soon vanish with the advent of the railroads.
The Barnes & Noble Review

Writing history is a challenge beset with pitfalls for the writer. Characters and context vie for center stage. Too much emphasis on characters that shape history, and you've got one foot in Hollywood, the other on a banana peel. Too much context, and the authorial ego fills the vacuum with homemade narrative, trumped-up theories, and sleep-inducing detail (years of lonely, dedicated research). It's an awful lot to ask for both.

But if you love history, if you are a reader who looks to history to understand the present, you understand the thrill of the terms "Forgotten Romantic Heroine" and "Visionary." And you look for the work of writers like Jenny Uglow, who navigates past the temptations and traps of historical narrative with grace in The Pinecone.

Uglow first saw the magical church that Sarah Losh created in 1842 when she was a girl growing up in Cumbria. There it must have sat, as it has sat in the village of Wreay, near Carlisle, in Jenny Uglow's mind, as she layered prizewinning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth, the engraver Thomas Bewick, and Henry Fielding (and even A Little History of British Gardening) upon it. But how could she write about Sarah Losh — a profoundly educated woman growing up in Regency England, fascinated by the natural history of her own backyard, the medieval history buried in the stones of her family home in Wreay, and the larger world of mathematics, physics, philosophy, biology, geology, art, etc., etc. — before she (Uglow) had lived and studied and made a name for herself in her own chosen field?

Why is the timing of this book in the writer's career so interesting? Because the book explains so much. About how the little things around us, the things that fascinate us as children, the shapes and colors of our own backyards inform the mark we will make on the world. About the swirl of characters in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth cross-pollinated to move art and science forward. About women, property, struggle, and ease. About symbolism and nature; religion and power.

The family of Uglow's heroine were landowners and merchants (much of their fortune was made in ash, or soda). Her father and uncles were radicals, defenders of the poor, believers in the rightness of agrarian life but excited about the future — the mills and factories and railroads that would transform their towns and landscapes. They travelled to learn the latest in mathematics, chemistry, and physics straight from the horse's mouth — they counted among their friends William Wordsworth, William Paley, Joseph Priestly, John Dawson, William Turner, John Curwen — some names you may know, some you may vaguely recognize. The Regency conversation drew broadly on the past — what to abandon and what to cherish? Mystery, magic, druids, Celtic saints, Greek gods. Even as the poor began their long march into lives of overwhelming, unsustainable drabness, those who could afford to looked forward and back.

Sarah Losh, born in 1786, and her beloved sister, Katharine, chose not to marry. They were tutored in a broad variety of subjects; read the works of Byron, Scott, and Mary Wollestonecraft; believed in the education of women and were not challenged or thwarted in their interests, at least at home. Sarah took an interest in building (the architectural critic Simon Jenkins later called her "a Charlotte Brontë in wood and stone"). She learned how to carve from local artisans; she made the Great Tour, taking copious notes (though her journals have yet to be discovered!) on art and architecture. She was a keen naturalist, and the symbols on her buildings include oak leaves, wheat, butterflies, pomegranates, winged turtles, bees, ravens, scarabs, fir branches, fossils, and owls. The pinecone rose to the top of Losh's natural theology as her signature symbol of regeneration, the mathematical certainty of a future (like the nautilus, a natural example of the Fibonacci sequence, without end). When her old family friend William Thain was killed fighting in Afghanistan in 1842, she planted, in front of the church at Wreay, a Khelat pine seed from the pinecone he sent her before his death.

After their mother and then, fourteen years later, their father died, the sisters ran their own home and their considerable holdings. Like their father and uncles, they were pillars of their community, funding and building a chapel and then a school. The sisters traveled, and then, in 1835, Katharine died; Sarah was bereft. She threw herself into building the famous church of Wreay. Constructed at a time when Gothic cathedrals were defending the honor of the rapidly weakening Anglican Church, Losh's church was Norman, early Christian, Romanesque, pantheistic, classical. She carved the font and the candlesticks herself. In nearby Carlisle and Newcastle, the factories belched and the mills and mines took lives.

Let it be known that I am a fan of Jenny Uglow. I share her belief that land is the basis for history and nature is the fountain, the source of culture. After years of struggling with British literature (taught, in my day, as though Americans were just learning to read and write in the twentieth century), I finally understand how fundamental land, specifically the ownership of land, was and is to the British character, a driving force in politics and culture, an obsession, leading in its mildest (but still competitive form) to gardening.

Uglow builds Losh from the ground up, so to speak. Once her subject, who died in 1853, is fixed in your mind, you will look at pinecones quite differently — their sturdy promise, their rich complexity — and you may think that you will begin to read more in the evenings, maybe study a language, entertain a childhood dream, leave something enigmatic behind when you finally, gracefully, slip away.

Susan Salter Reynolds is a writer and book critic. She is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times.

Reviewer: Susan Salter Reynolds

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466828216
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 871,074
  • File size: 16 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Jenny Uglow’s books include prizewinning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell and William Hogarth. The Lunar Men, published in 2002, was described by Richard Holmes as “an extraordinarily gripping account,” while Nature’s Engraver won the National Arts Writers Award for 2007. A Gambling Man was short-listed for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. Uglow grew up in Cumbria and now lives in Canterbury, England.


Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1 The Walk

 

In mid-March the Cumbrian skies are sometimes a clear, cutting blue. At noon, the sun holds a faint touch of warmth, but it is cold, half a season behind the southern counties. Snowdrops are still out and wild daffodils just in bud. Sitting on the low wall with its rounded arches, around the enclosure of family graves, on a March day in 1850, Sarah Losh could feel snow in the breeze as she listened to the children’s voices from the school across the road that she and her sister Katharine had built long ago. From here Sarah could survey her kingdom. At her back was her church and in front of her the broad green oval on the slope of the hill was ringed with her works. The buildings with their ancient forms looked now like part of the landscape, as if they had always been here. On the brow of the hill, she could see the wall of the new cemetery that she had given to the village, the mortuary chapel, standing out against the skyline, and the sexton’s cottage beside it. Then the road dipped back to the churchyard, past the little dame school down to the cottages and the blacksmith’s shop and the Plough Inn, before plunging towards the river Petteril in the valley.

Her first task, when she began to plan her church, had been to move the lane that cut across the north of the churchyard to the other side, so that it circled the whole domain. The process was slow, following set customs. First she had to gain the agreement of the Twelve Men of Wreay, the landowners and farmers who had run village affairs since the Restoration, using the rents of parish land to pay the schoolmaster, administering local charities and acting as guardians of the poor. Every Candlemas Eve, before the quarter day that falls on 2 February, they met at the Plough at six in the evening to conduct their business, then paid a shilling for their supper of bread, cheese, oatcake, butter and ale, lit their churchwarden pipes and filled their tankards before they told tales, sang ballads and recited poetry. They were ‘the Township’, and convivial or not, they took their role seriously. In notes and petitions in the early eighteenth century the men asked for the schoolmaster to be made a deacon so that he could administer baptisms and visit the sick.1 Sarah’s great-grandfather, William Losh, was one of the signatories to this petition, and in the year of her birth the list of the Twelve Men included both her grandfather and her father.

The vicar, William Gaskin, who had lived with her family before his marriage, when he was a young curate, had recorded the meetings of the Twelve Men in his leather-bound notebook since 1786, when she was born. In her own notes describing the building of the church Sarah explained that the plot of land on which it stood was ‘anciently part of the common belonging to the Township’ and when Wreay Common was enclosed in 1778, ‘this was hedged in to form a cow grassing’ for the parish clerk. The original church on the common was a long, low building dating back to the time of Edward II: in 1319 the bishop allowed a chaplain here.2 The district was known as the Chapelry of Wreay, a sub-parish of St Mary’s abbey in Carlisle, and villagers always referred to the church simply as ‘the chapel’. In 1739 it was reconsecrated as St Mary’s of Wreay and since 1750 burials had been allowed here, relieving the families of the arduous custom of carrying the corpse to the mother church in Carlisle.

When Sarah persuaded the Twelve Men to hand the land over to her in 1836, their action, she said, enabled her ‘to improve the appearance of the place by planting it with evergreens and also to rebuild, with a little additional space, the wall of the chapel yard, which had almost wholly disappeared’. It seemed a reasonable and modest exchange, a gracious act by a local benefactor. But more was to come. ‘June twentieth, 1836’, the minutes declared in a looping hand, ‘Resolved unanimously that leave be granted to Miss Losh to divert the Road to the West end of the Chapel yard’. But moving the road, although no one noted this at the time, also left her room to build a new church.

*   *   *

For many years the villagers remembered Sarah in her black cloak and bonnet, walking from the church to her home at Woodside, a good mile away. At the brow of the hill, where she could lean on the gate to the sexton’s cottage, Wreay lay behind her in a sheltered curve on the side of the ridge that blocked the view to the west. To the east, though, the view suddenly widened: across the valleys of the Petteril and the Eden, the long shoulders of the Pennines sloped northwards from the heights of Cross Fell, still covered in snow, towards Carrock Fell, the small town of Brampton and the Newcastle road. She knew the name of every field she passed, for she owned them all, over six hundred acres on both sides of the road, as far as the hamlets of Brisco and Upperby, almost up to Carlisle.

The old road, known as Waygates, ran straight as an arrow. Before the enclosures of the late eighteenth century – from which the Loshes gained considerably – this had been a track across common land, crossing others at right angles with no need to circle awkwardly round private property. It was unusually wide, so that haycarts could pass, avoiding ruts and boggy patches. One half of it was paved and the other half was left as common. Canon Hall, the vicar of Wreay in the early twentieth century, remembered this wide margin as ‘a wild tangle of gorse, sallows, brambles, honeysuckle, and dog roses, with meadow sweet, peppermint, orchids, and other flowers below’. In spring there were violets and dog’s mercury, in autumn it was red with haws and hips, and in winter the snow lay deep and frozen.

The road ran past the farms of Wood House and Low Hurst, then down through a small wood, across the beck and up the hill to Woodside. The old house, set at right angles to the road, stood on a spur of land with views to all points of the compass. The effect of an airy plateau was strengthened by the way the grass was banked up to the top of the wall so that the road was hidden and the eye passed straight across to the fields and trees of the West Park: on a clear day you could see the Caldbeck Fells and the back of Saddleback, northern sentinel of the Lakes. Across the hidden ditch of the ha-ha, the view stretched across the pond and clumps of trees in the North Park to the hazy land of the borders; to the east lay the Pennines, and to the south Woodside’s windows gazed across terraced lawns to the heights of Cross Fell.

A leisurely walk on the Woodside lawns, from William Hutchinson’s History of Cumberland, published in 1794, when Sarah was eight.

The Loshes had lived at Woodside for generations and her grandfather John had turned the old house into a Georgian mansion, with sweeping lawns and open views. A sundial stood in the garden, marked ‘1757’, two years after his marriage. When her parents John and Isabella married in 1785, her grandparents moved to a house in Fisher Street in Carlisle, leaving Woodside to them. Sarah was born on New Year’s Day 1786, and baptised six days later in St Cuthbert’s, Carlisle. This was where all the family worshipped when they were in the city, where her parents had married and where her grandparents were buried within a week of each other in April 1789 – Catherine dying first and the Squire tumbling after.

Sarah was three when her grandfather died, but stories abounded of this huge, rumbustious man, twenty stone or more, with a roaring voice and bellowing laugh, fair-haired and red-faced, known as the Big Black Squire after the black stallion he rode. The Loshes were not among the grandest landowners but they were friends with all the powerful local families: the Blamires of Thackwood, a few miles away; the Hudlestons of Hutton John to the south; the Aglionbys of Nunnery; and the three branches of the Howard family, at Greystoke Castle, Corby and Naworth. They knew the Christians of Cockermouth and the magnates of the coast, like the Curwens of Workington Hall, who combined collieries with farming, the Senhouses of Netherhall, who had developed the fishing village of Maryport into a thriving port, and the Spedding families of Whitehaven and Bassenthwaite. Beyond this the marriages of the Squire’s sisters brought connections with other well-known local names which would be marked in the margins of Sarah’s life: Parkers, Bells and Wilsons.3

The Squire married pretty, charming Catherine Liddell, a woman less than half his size. She came from Burgh-by-Sands – or ‘Bruff’ in local speech – where the flat lands and creeks at the mouth of the Eden merged into the misty wastes of the Solway Firth. They were a sociable couple and they and their children were great favourites in Carlisle society. John was born in 1757, the eldest of nine children, eight boys and a girl, Margaret. The Loshes had their share of family tragedies: one of a pair of twins died within a week and their second son, William, died aged ten, after a fall from a tree while bird-nesting. Then just before John married, his brother Joseph, a young dragoons officer, died in Gloucester: there were lasting rumours of a duel, but his violent fever seems to have stemmed not from wounds but from heatstroke in the fierce July sun. Three years later Margaret’s twin brother Robert collapsed in Newcastle when he was nineteen, after a walking match ‘which, however, he won’.4 These shadows hovered over Sarah’s childhood. But when she was growing up her aunt Margaret and her uncles James and George, still in their twenties, and another William, who was fourteen when she was born, were vibrantly alive.

Their world was far from cut off in the late 1780s, however much their family friend Kitty Senhouse might lament that travel was so difficult: ‘The mail being overturn’d does not surprise one as I believe accidents often happen to it unknown to anyone but those who have the misfortune of sharing in them – for the obvious reason that if it was known nobody would be foolhardy enough to trust so dangerous a conveyance.’5 The Loshes had a house in London and business interests in Newcastle and Edinburgh and their sons travelled the world. The Squire was interested in new scientific ideas and friendly with the intellectuals of the cathedral close. His plans for his sons followed a standard pattern for the landed gentry: the eldest, John, would inherit the land; the next, James, would go into the church; the third – the ill-fated Joseph – into the army. The younger sons, Robert, George and William, would make their way in trade. As far as that was concerned, there were already good openings in Newcastle. Their mother Catherine had useful family connections with the Liddells of Ravensworth, powerful coal owners and merchants who were prominent in the politics of the Tyne.

John and his brothers had a radical, adventurous streak and looked far beyond Carlisle. All were talented linguists, studying abroad in France and Germany and the Low Countries, lovers of literature, filling the old house with books. They were born into a new age of improvement, science, law, industry and reform. Like many Cumbrians of their generation, their futures lay on the quays of Newcastle as much as in the markets of Carlisle.

Cumberland, from the Lyson brothers’ Magna Britannia, 1816.

After his father died, John was head of the family, technically responsible for his younger brothers – although in the event it was James, the second son, who worried about their lives and sorted out their problems. Until they were sixteen James and John were both taught at home by the curate William Gaskin, whom James summed up as a man of ‘considerable powers of mind’, who had studied law and was a good classical scholar, despite being uncouth in his manners and abrupt in his speech.6 From Wreay they went to be tutored by John Dawson, a brilliant, self-taught doctor and mathematician who took private pupils at Sedbergh, on the edge of the Yorkshire dales. Dawson’s story became part of local lore: the poor boy from Garsdale in Yorkshire who walked to Edinburgh with his savings sewn into his coat to train as a doctor and eventually became a noted tutor at Cambridge, studying the orbit of the moon and correcting calculations of the distance of the earth from the sun. Mathematics, Dawson showed, could describe the world and open new vistas.

Both John and James Losh went on to Cambridge. James took his degree in 1786, the year of Sarah’s birth. He began, as planned, by studying for the church but at Cambridge he became an admirer of Joseph Priestley, a Unitarian and avowed republican; no longer eligible for the church, he enrolled at Lincoln’s Inn and was called to the Bar. His home, though, was still Woodside, and in his twenties, when Sarah and Katharine were girls, he cut a striking Rousseau-esque figure, distinctly at odds with the farmers around him, elegantly dressed, his dark, shining hair hanging over his shoulders. George and William went to school briefly at Hawkshead, where William lodged with Anne Tyson at the same time as William Wordsworth and his younger brothers John and Christopher, and the Spedding brothers.7 George, always confrontational or ‘disputacious’ as James called him, was destined for commerce and studied in France and Germany, while William went to college in Erfurt in the centre of Germany, where he met and became a lifelong friend of the great naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. The two brothers spent time in Sweden, a centre of new discoveries in chemistry and, with Russia, one of Newcastle’s great trading partners for timber, tar and bar-iron. George also went to Russia, astounding the locals by walking out without a topcoat, and both brothers travelled to Italy, perhaps taking their sister Margaret with them.8

George Losh, looking fine in his green silk waistcoat – the only known portrait of any of the four surviving Losh brothers as dashing young men.

Sarah’s father, John, was carefree, ‘handsome in person, and highly generous, fond of the beautiful in woman as well as art and nature’, as Henry Lonsdale tactfully put it.9 A gregarious soul, he was ‘studious to please everybody, and as ready to entertain a peasant as a peer … cock of the walk, and one of the most popular of men’. In the girls’ childhood he was seen at all county gatherings, riding a black mare as highly strung as his father’s, and was known for his love of country sports, following the hounds, wrestling and cock-fighting. Her mother, Isabella, was ten years his junior, only eighteen when they married. Small and elegant, with a classical profile, she was easy-going, affectionate and impulsive, fiercely defensive of her family, her husband and her children. She was not a local girl but came from Callerton Hall, near Newcastle. Her family, like the Loshes, cherished their history and stuck to their radical principles: one forebear, Thomas Bonner, had held out as a Puritan mayor in royalist Newcastle in 1649, and Cromwell, who was deeply unpopular in the region, was reputed to have hidden in the Hall. By contrast, when Isabella’s brother, Robert Bonner, inherited his uncle’s estate of Warwick Hall, east of Carlisle, and changed his name to Warwick in 1792, he moved into a devoutly Catholic enclave. The Warwicks were Catholics and Jacobites, like their neighbours, the Howards of Corby Castle: if Cromwell stayed at Callerton, Bonnie Prince Charlie slept at Warwick Hall. Woodside itself was the birthplace of Christopher Robinson, a Catholic priest who preached in defiance of the laws of Elizabeth I and was hanged, drawn and quartered in Carlisle in 1597. Tolerance and religious liberty, Sarah came to believe, were the only ways forward.

The Losh babies came fast. When Sarah was one her new brother John died at the age of five weeks; a year later, in early February 1788, Katharine was born, and last of all Joseph, the longed-for male heir. The children shared the nursery, looked after by their nurse and their mother. The girls thrived, began to read, took trips to Carlisle, paid calls on neighbours, visited their Losh and Warwick relations, and went to dancing lessons in Dalston a few miles away.10 But Joseph was slow, and it was soon clear that something was wrong with him: he grew up to be severely backward, so much so that he could never look after himself and had to be cared for all his life. The hope of Woodside lay, after all, with the girls.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Jenny Uglow

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

The Losh Family Tree x

Map xii

Prologue 1

I Daughter

1 The Walk 7

2 City and Strife 19

3 Foundations 31

4 Fields and Woods 41

5 Springs, Fresh and Salt 49

6 Friendships and Books 57

7 Family Matters 71

II Sister

8 Wanderings and Waterloo 89

9 Italy 101

10 Mullioned Windows 113

11 The Misses Losh 130

12 'The Ancient and Present State' 145

13 Broken Glass 157

14 A Thousand Ages 169

III Maker

15 Mourning 181

16 Extraordinary Power 191

17 Not in the Gothick Style 198

18 Stone by Stone 215

19 Jubilate 229

20 Remembering 243

21 Living On 258

Epilogue 273

Acknowledgements 289

Abbreviations and Notes 291

List of Illustrations 315

Index 319

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Shadowclaw

    Stalks into the clearing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2013

    Poppypaw

    She looks around.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Heroin

    A beautiful she cat pads in looking around. May I join?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Icestar 2

    Dont advertise

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Naturekit

    No im the only one with powers but i only use them when they are needed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Tailstrike

    "Thanks."
    %Tailstrike%

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Frostwing

    Hey can i join pineclan? I am a hard working cat as loyal as can be! I am black with silver tipped ears and tail as well as paws. I would like to be a deputy-but i am just as good as a warrior i am eager to learn and have a small knowledge of herbs and stuff i hope youll accept me!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)