Saturday, 9 April 2011




"This (low water) is the hour when the cockle-rakers of Starcross sally forth armed with rakes and baskets, intent on the same purpose as that which animates their feathered companions. Strange looking figures these cockle-rakers are as they move slowly about the mud flats on the lookout for cockles, winkles, and other shellfish of a similar kind."

(like mussels perhaps?)


"The wide estuary of the river Exe, that forms a natural and well-defined boundary between the eastern and the western portions of South Devon, is, at high tide, a fine expanse of water; but when the tide is out little is visible but a stretch of mud whose slimy surface is enlivened here and there by patches of green and crimson seaweeds and by the numerous sea-fowl taking advantage of the absence of water to seek for whatever dainties may have been left stranded by the outflowing tide."

(Nothing new here! 'Dainties' exposed, yes, but for the most part not 'stranded')

Sidney Heath was an artist as well as an author. Perhaps he was better with the pencil than the pen. His water colour illustrations are very charming. His book is full of inaccuracies and evidence of slight ignorances and he didn't spend much time on research. He happily tells his readers that the Elizabethan/Jacobean adventurer Captain Richard Whidbourne, or Whitbourne, was born "either here (Exmouth) or in the adjoining parish of Withycombe." In fact Whidbourne was born and baptised in Bishopsteignton. Not that it matters. He married (?) and lived in Exmouth and styled himself ' Captain Sir Richard Whidbourne of Exmouth.'

More Shellfish gatherers.

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