I took a walk through Lyndhurst in the New Forest recently and decided to visit St Michael and All Angels Church at the top of the main high street. Somewhat imposing it is nevertheless a beautifully cool and peaceful place to spend some time.
As I strolled around the perimeter of the Church grounds I was surprised to find this plain head stone laid to mark the grave of a Mrs Reginald Hargreaves.
This was The ‘Alice’ in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’
I had noted on driving through the town that there were frequent references to this at various locations although I had never fully made the link. So I decided that I might just do a quick search on Wikipedia just to see what I could find out.
It made for some very interesting reading.
One Alice Liddell was born; May 4, 1852 and died on Nov 16, 1934.
An extract from the biography by; (Jose L Bernabe Tronchoni) reads as follows;
Folk Figure. Child of whom Lewis Carroll based his book “Alice in Wonderland” Daughter of Henry Lydell and Lorina Hanna, she met Lewis Carroll in a rowboat travelling in 1862 on the River thames and soon became his friend and his inspiration for the famous book.
Alice Liddell was married with Reginald Hargreaves and had three sons. The original manuscript of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground: (initial title) was auctioned for Sotheby’s and today resides in the British Library.
She was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium and was buried under the name of Mrs Reginald Hargreaves here in Hampshire.
So there you go! What started out as a little stroll through a Churchyard in Lyndhurst led to me having learned something I literally had never known of or appreciated; despite the many times I have visited there in the past.
Coincidentally, both of our children were able to recite word perfectly all of the words to the ‘Jaberwocky Poem’ from the age of six or seven.
This was something I regularly scared them with on dark evenings usually before they went to bed. Nowadays this would probably involve a visit from Childrens Services.
Suffice it to say they remain relatively sane to this day and still get a kick out of reciting it to their own children whilst adopting their deepest voices and most fearsome facial expressions.
Just thought I might mention that useful little legacy I have left them before I sign off for today.
‘O frabjous day! Callooh Callay!’ ‘He chortled in his joy!’