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The Owls of Olynn Belfry - 
and a Randolph Caldecott Mystery

Title page.The Owls of Olynn Belfry, illustrated by Randolph Caldecott, was published in 1885 or 86.  Unlike his other books, the main publishers were Field & Tuer (The Leadenhall Press), London.  The publication was a limited edition, and copies are now rare and sought-after.  If you have a copy for sale, Email our webwallah (see bottom of this page). 

The Mystery

The author of the story is only identified as 
"A. Y. D.": who was this?  A possible candidate is Anne Yeomans, who married a Mr. Doxley (and hence might have been known as Anne Yeomans Doxley): she was a friend and contemporary of the grandmother of Marian Brind who became Randolph Caldecott's wife.  If you have evidence confirming this, or can provide evidence for a better answer, we would love to hear from you: Email our webwallah (see bottom of this page).  Perhaps you can also confirm the identity of "Mademoiselle Marie", who appears in the story and whose picture is at the bottom of this page?

The Story

For the text of the story, click here or visit
(our thanks to the R C Soc USA).

The Owls

The Owls of Olynn Belfry, illus. by Randolph Caldecott.

The story is about two owlets stolen after the owlets' parents mob two thieves breaking into the church. The four owls are: Father Owl, Mother Owl, Bunting and Snunting.

The People

    Mademoiselle Marie, by Randolph Caldecott.    

In this book, Randolph depicted real local people, including several members of his wife's family: for an example, see our Brind page.  Other Chelsfield characters, used as models for the book, included George Brooks, the elderly parish clerk, and his grandson George Luke Brooks, always known as Bodger Brooks.  Bodger, a railway porter at Chelsfield station, died in Stonehouse Road in 1950, aged 89.  "Mademoiselle Marie", shown here, is Randolph's wife Marian: to compare the house behind her with her family home in Chelsfield, click here.

(Many thanks to our sources: background info, Geoffrey Copus, Gwen Reichert and Susan Brind; illustrations, R C Soc USA.)

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