Copsford by Walter Murray

The classic account of a young man’s life in rural Sussex, away from his city life – a year in which he rented a derelict cottage and scratched a living from selling dried herbs and wildflowers. Bearing comparison to Thoreau’s Walden, Murray’s intense feeling for his place is evident on every page. For all that it is no simple story of a rural idyll – life at Copsford was difficult and Murray does not shy away from the occasional terrors of a house that had its hauntings.

Published March 2019. 

Paperback with flaps, 160 pages, illustrated with photographs.

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“It sometimes happens, at rare moments in our lives, we are suddenly aware of an altogether new world, different completely from that in which we commonly live. We feela as thought we stand at the threshold of an undiscovered kingdom; for a brief moment we understand life.”

In the early 1920s, Walter Murray was a young man growing tired of living in the city. He decided to return to Sussex, where he was born, and persuaded a farmer to rent him a derelict cottage on a hillside. The rooms were dark, dirty and infested with rats. Most of the windows were broken. But here he lived alone, without water or electricity, scratching a living selling dried herbs and wildflowers.

Walter enjoyed the peace of the countryside at first, embracing the rhythm of the seasons, watching wildlife in the meadows and woods, and once he had cleaned the walls and floors, patched the roof and windows, dealt with infestations, the cottage became a home. It did not take long, however, for loneliness to settle around him like mist. He became haunted by the building and its emptiness. The companionship of Floss, his sheepdog, was not enough to dispel the shadows. It was human contact he needed, and found when Winifred, his childhood sweetheart, began visiting him to share the burdens of the cottage.

Copsford is a simple story deepened by a spirit of place and descriptions of a life shaped by the land. This new edition is illustrated throughout with Walter J. C. Murray’s original photographs, as featured in the first edition.

“Copsford has an innocence, a freedom in thought . . . Anyone who has dreamt of spending time alone in the natural environment will connect with Murray’s emotions.”  RAYNOR WINN, author of the Costa shortlisted book The Salt Path. 

Paperback with flaps, 160 pages, illustrated with photographs by Walter J. C. Murray and featuring a new introduction by Raynor Winn.

Published in March 2019.



Additional information

Weight350 g
Dimensions156 × 20 × 216 mm


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