Campton & Chicksands


The inscription on the tombstone reads: Here Lies the remains of Robert Bloomfield.  He was born at Honington Suffolk December III MDCCLXVI and died at Shefford August XIX MDCCCXXIII.   Let his wild native wood notes tell the rest.

Robert Bloomfield(1766-1823) English Poet.

Robert Bloomfield was born in Honington, Suffolk in 1766.  His father who was a poor tailor died of smallpox soon afterwards leaving a large family.

His mother, a teacher at the village school, taught him to read and write and at 11 he went to work on his uncle’s farm.  He proved to be too frail fo this, so at 15 he went to join his brothers in London to learn the trade of shoemaker.

A fellow lodger in the garret where he lived lent him works of poetry which inspired him to write about the Suffolk countryside.

In 1790 he married Mary Ann Church.

He composed The Farmer’s Boy  while making shoes, remembering the lines in his head until he could write them down.  Initially it was refused by several publishers but was eventually published by Vernor and Hood in 1800, it included woodcuts by Thomas Bewick.  The work was extraordinarily popular selling 26,000 copies within two years, ans was translated into a number of languages.

He followed up his success with Rural Tales (1802), Good Tidings (1804) Wild Flowers (1806) and The Banks of the Wye (1811).

In 1812 he left London and moved to
Shefford where he died in 1823.  He is buried in All Saints’ Chuchyard, Campton where his tombstone remains today. A plaque commemorating his life is in the process of being displayed in the Church.

The Robert Bloomfield Society

The Robert Bloomfield Society is a small organisation with a modest but generally committed membership of admirers of Bloomfield, including academics and people with family links. Our membership comes mainly from the UK but we have members in the USA and in Japan.


In the activities of the Society,  we are always drawn to Bloomfield’s local connections including of course Suffolk where he was raised and our local Mid Beds area where he spent his later years and, of course, Campton where he is buried.


New members are always welcome.  Please contact  Angela Underhill, Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Robert Bloomfield Society, 71 Spenser Road Bedford MK40 2BE.

The Society’s website

New Audio CD recording of The Farmer’s Boy now available

Stewart Orr Sound Services’ recently issued  2 CD set of a reading by David Woodward of the complete text of The Farmer’s Boy, in authentic Suffolk accent, is now available at a cost of £16.00 (post free if you live within hand delivery range of Campton, Meppershall and Shefford).  The readings are introduced by Ronald Blythe, the well known Suffolk writer and President of the Robert Bloomfield Society. This audio version of Bloomfield’s best known work represents Suffolk speech forms that were probably current in the late 18th century when the poem was written, and close to those the poet would have been using when he came to live in Shefford in 1812.  If you would like a copy of the set please forward a cheque for £16 (made payable to the Robert Bloomfield Society) to
Angela Underhill, Treasurer and Membership Secretary, Robert Bloomfield Society, 71 Spenser Road Bedford MK40 2BE.

You may  also be interested in this:
Stewart Orr is soon to be embarking on a recording session with David Woodward of<> short stories written in the fifties by Ray Appleton for the opening of the VHF service to the east of England, based in Norwich.   These 11 stories are written in dialect, and will fit David's gentle brogue wonderfully, I am sure.   For more information contact:-
Stewart Orr
Prior's Croft Barn,
IP20 0JG
01379 854458


Service of Dedication for Plaque Commemorating  Robert Bloomfield

A church service was held at All Saints' Church, Campton on Sunday 20th July 2003 at 3.30pm to celebrate the life and work of Robert Bloomfield (1766 - 1823), who is buried in the churchyard. At the service the Bishop of Bedford, the Rt Revd Richard Inwood,  dedicated the new plaque for Bloomfield which has been designed in Welsh slate by Ieuan Rees of  the Suffolk based Memorials by Artists.
There was an open invitation to go to the service which was also  attended by members of the Robert Bloomfield Society who held their summer event in Shefford and Campton on that day and made a tour on foot of places identified with Bloomfield. After the service, at which a peal was rung by young Campton bell ringers who are students of the Robert Bloomfield School, refreshments were served and there was a poetry reading of a selection of some of the poet's works.'

The text reads: Then bring me nature, bring me sense,
                     And Joy shall be your recompense 

A nationally-travelled locally-based musician who writes songs and music in the traditional idiom about Bedfordshire history, legend and customs, has written a dance tune which honours Robert Bloomfield in its title, 'Robert Bloomfield's Jig'.
For more details

Shefford, Bedfordshire, UK (map)

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