Abel Kidd, 1821 to 1877
Abel Kidd was born in Cottingham, near Kingston-upon-Hull, the son of a clergyman. He became a silk merchant and in 1848 married Mary Burley, the daughter of John Burley, a Water Stratford farmer who was churchwarden at the time of the rebuilding of the church in 1829. In 1851 and 1861 they were living in London but ill-health seems to have caused him to retire to Water Stratford for the last few years of his life. They were not here at the 1871 census but must have arrived very soon afterwards. They were buried here on 21 July 1877 (Mary) and 15 November 1877 (Abel) but there is no marked grave for them, which is surprising for middle-class burials of that time.
We have a book of thirty-nine of his verses, the introduction to which reads:
Water Stratford, Buckingham 1875
The following Sonnets, Songs and stray Poems, written during a long illness, and contributed to the Holloway Examiner, Buckingham Express; the Author hopes will be acceptable to his numerous and distinguished list of subscribers, to whom he most respectfully tenders his sincerest thanks.
The book is dedicated to: A kind and sincere friend and distinguished scholar, The Rev J Bosworth, DD, FRS.
His work is not very good but below are the two most relevant poems: one written for his friend Joseph Bosworth, about a year before the latter's death and two years before his own, and one about the village in general.
To the Rev J Bosworth, DD on his 87th birthday.
Another natal day is o'er,
And added to the odd four-score;
The longest given to a man,
To live and carry out his plan.
How many faces left behind,
Whose echoes breathe in every wind,
The one to solace, love forgive,
Their memory sweet to those who live.
Still lonely spirit onward wend,
Nor care nor years thy soul can bend,
Strong in His service may each day,
Be holier, as it flies away.
Bright with its tints the falling leaf,
Gives to the soil a bold relief,
So learning ripens with the age,
And makes the patriarch of the sage.
Like golden sunsets o'er the plain,
Thy daily course is not in vain,
But light and life still throws around,
Our ancient Anglo-Saxon sound.
So may thy sun go down in peace,
For harness is to thee release,
And when thy race is nobly run,
Then give Him thanks for duty done.
Snug you look with quiet face,
As up and down the street we pace,
Humble cots so trim and neat,
Near to Grenville's lordly seat. (Stowe)
Unique you are with little church,
Nor lofty tower nor splendid porch,
But lowly, simple Norman tower,
That once in England were a power.
No alehouse here with gilded arms,
Tho' good home-brewed is kept in farms,
The tea and coffee taste is strong,
The parson's sermons never long. (Bosworth)
With measured paces he ascends,
As up the pulpit stair he wends, (3 steps!)
With look profound his hearers views,
Ere he propounds the precious news.
No squire obtrudes his stately pomp,
The bairns at least can play and romp,
The village clerk keeps record too,
Of births and deaths both old and new.
A little school now rears its head,
Where prayers and lessons oft are said,
The tolling bell fortells the hour,
At sound of which the youngsters pour.
Salute their mistress with a bow, (Sarah Ann Curtis)
Then place themselves in little row,
Now tune their lips with sacred song,
Full well I would my stay prolong.
The postman with official look,
Brings parcels, letters, or a book,
Now starts the village with his horn
Was ever smarter postman born?
Here gentler brook thro' gentler mead,
Meandering each fair pasture feed,
The primrose and the cowslip to
Each year fresh beauties bring to view.
Then modest village let us sing,
Thy beauties with each coming spring,
And when at last our heads be low,
May Stratford violets round them grow.