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Edward Capern



If a person is considered important enough to have a Birmingham road named after him I assume he fits into the category of a famous Brummie? He wasn't born in Birmingham but neither were many of the characters who are much vaunted in Birmingham history.

In the early 60s my Great Grandmother moved from her long term home in New John Street West to the leafy suburbs of Quinton! The properties were 'new build' and I recall helping dig and plant up the garden in her new house in Capern Grove. The work was worth it because in return she supplied me with access to a suitcase containing Beanos, Dandys, Beezers and Toppers!

Anyway, back to the point. While perusing an old Birmingham periodical, Birmingham Faces and Places, June 1891, I came across a biography of William Capern, the Postman Poet. Although born in Tiverton and writing much of his poetry while strolling the country lanes as a postman in Devon, he took 'ill health' early retirement and moved to Harborne to be near his son in 1868. Much of his poetry was subsequently published while in Birmingham.

In 1884 following his wife's illness he moved back to Braunton in Devon where he subsequently died in 1894 and was given a state funeral. Presumably this alone gives some credence to his worth as a 'famous Brummmie'! His poetry owes much to the country lanes of Devon and I think is well worth a look.

If you'd like to know more or read some poems have a look at this site

As an aside, how do you define a famous Brummie. Should we categorise by birthplace, achievements, honours, longevity?



master brummie
IMG_1059 (2).JPGHi, This may be of interest. This is headstone of Edward Capern's grave. It is in the church yard of St. Augustine's church, Heanton Punchardon, North Devon. There is a story that the bell from the headstone was "borrowed" by American soldiers based nearby on the days before D-day. A complaint to non less than Gen Eisenhower saw the prompt return of the bell.



master brummie
Although this is a long dormant thread I thought I would share that this morning at our local U3A we were given a talk by historian Liz Shakespeare who has just written a novel based on her research into the life of Edward Capern.