The Owls of Olynn Belfry -
and a Randolph Caldecott Mystery
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 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?
For the text of the story, click here
(our thanks to the R C Soc
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.
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.)