Saturday, April 20, 2013

Eta Mawr - Old Woman of Elton and Story of Count Ulaski

George Markham Tweddell was intending to include Eta Mawr (Elizabeth Colling) in the 2nd volume of the Bards and Authors of Cleveland. The first volume came out in 1872 but the 2nd and even third volume proposed never came out. It seems certain Tweddell had extensive notes towards at least a second volume but the extent to which he may have began work on a second volume is unknown. Although there is a huge family archive now lodged in Teesside archives in Middlesbrough, a good volume of his works in progress and notes were lost in the Stokesley floods c1930, when the family only managed to rescue Tweddell's (of which there were copies) rather than his extensive notes.

A great shame as we may have learnt a lot more about Eta Mawr but Tweddell at least managed to publish her in his North of England Tractates  and Illustrated Annual.

The first one is an extended poem called The Old Old Woman of Elton (A true Ballad of Modern Times), published in Tractates No6 1869 - a few years before the first Bards and Authors volume came out.
It tells the tale of Mary Benton (whose maiden name was Lodge) who, if she had lived one month longer, would have completed her hundred and twenty second year.

She was born at a little village near Staindrop, in the county of Durham 1731 and resided at Elton, NR Stockton on Tees, where the writer saw her at the age of 121, in perfect possession of her faculties, both mind and body with recollection of recent as well as past events.

Here is the poem in pdf file form on Google Docs. Use the navigation on the pdf window to enlarge or find your way to Google docs to download free.

Eta Mawr  (real name - Miss Elizabeth Colling of  Hurworth on Tees) was mentioned in Mid Victorian Poetry 1860 - 1879 by Cathrine Reilly published 1999 -
"Colling, Elizabeth, (Eta Mawr pseud.) English hymn writer, The Story of count Ulaski, Aurelia or the Gifted (Story of Count Vedoni) & other poems; by Eta Mawr London Provost & co 1870, A Tour of Times Gone by Eta Mawr, Darlington, Peter Rhodes, 1871. Rival Sisters and other poems; Far and Near.

Eta Mawr - Elizabeth Colling died May 13th 1879 aged 80
Tweddell published a dedication to her in his Illustrated Annual.

You can read this book on line HERE

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