Langton Herring, Dorset – Thankful Village #15

Langton Herring, Dorset

Langton Herring is the only Thankful Village in Dorset and sits up high on a perch over looking Chesil Beach and the English Channel.

Chesil Beach is a natural, swooping arc of shingle that looks like it must be man made. It provides shelter from prevailing winds and rain and often pulls away completely from the coast to form a neat line through the sea.

Langton Herring stays hidden above it amongst small lanes and signs that beg you to go elsewhere; ‘No parking’, ‘Private Land’ and ‘No Access to the Beach.’ The pub was closed and so was the church so I took the signs’ advice and walked out of the village along a high windy lane towards the sea.
The sky was grey and the wind was fierce, almost blowing me from my feet. The trees and hedgerows were contorted from years of this onslaught.
I tried to shelter amongst some bushes and paint the weather with my shaking fingers.

The only instrument I had with me was my little concertina. Recording in the wind is notoriously difficult. The wind makes hardly any desirable sounds as it hits the microphone. I pumped on the bellows and added more noise and wind to the scene.

After I left Langton Herring I contacted my friend Mark Brend who lived not too far away. I said, go to Langton Herring and see what you can find.
Mark went down a few weeks later and found a story on a gravestone about four children who died whilst playing near a lime-kiln in 1830. The fumes overcame the four young boys and they quickly perished.

Mark found out about the funeral where 18 children dressed in white led the procession.

Mark took the wheezing bellows of my concertina and made them represent poisonous gasses. The first half of the music symbolises the fumes smothering the children. The second half is a funeral march. I wrote a nursery rhyme and Mark’s children read it for us.