Town remembers its famous poet Charles Causley

Charles Causley Charles Causley spent most of his life in Launceston, where he also taught
Charles Causley A young Charles Causley served in the Navy during World War II
River Kensey The tranquil spot where Charles Causley would stand to seek inspiration for his poems
Charles Causley's birthplace Charles Causley was born at Trekensey House in Launceston in 1917
Charles Causley is buried in Launceston The poet was born and died in Launceston

A stone's throw from the busy north Cornwall town centre of Launceston you can find ducks and children paddling together in the June sunshine.

The tranquil spot, by St Thomas' Church in the town, is where internationally renowned poet Charles Causley would often stand seeking inspiration to write.

Standing on the bridge over the River Kensey offers an insight to the poet's world and straight ahead is a blue plaque on Trekensey House, marking where he was born in 1917.

'Genuine gentleman'

Mr Causley's poetry brought him many awards including The Queen's Gold medal and the TS Eliot award.

On his 70th birthday Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin, Roger McGough and Seamus Heaney contributed to a collection of poetry and prose tributes published in his honour.

Mr Causley spent most of his life in Launceston, where he became a teacher, and those who knew him have paid tribute to his impact.

Start Quote

He was a gentle and understanding person”

End Quote Jane Nancarrow Former pupil

Arthur Wills, a neighbour of Mr Causley early on his life, said: "He was a very genuine gentleman. Gathering from the poems he wrote he refers to where he was born.

"He enjoyed this area. It's such a beautiful spot. Everything was so perfect.

"I lived three doors away from him. When Charles was around, I used to creep up by the side of his house and listen to him play the piano.

"He could influence people just by what he did. That revealed itself in his teaching days."

Jane Nancarrow, leads walks through Launceston stopping off at places that influenced Mr Causley. As a youngster she was taught by him.

Mrs Nancarrow said: "I was very lucky. He was very inspirational as a teacher. He started to do things that other teachers weren't doing at the time.

"He would come back from a holiday and bring back something special. He brought back olives for us to try, which was memorable in the 1950s.

"He was very firm, we knew where we were with him. But he was a gentle and understanding person."

Writers' retreat

Mr Causley's earliest work, a play entitled Runaway, was published when he was just 19-years-old.

His poetry included many references to Cornwall and its legends but his earlier work contained strong spiritual and Christian references.

Mr Wills said: "When he came to St Thomas' Church, he would sit quietly, right at the back.

"Charles had a great affection for this church. He said to me he found a lot more by sitting quietly in the church than listening to any sermon."

Many visit the town to re-trace the footsteps of Charles Causley in Launceston.

The house where he was born and the property where he spent his final years are still in the town and his last home is being transformed into a writers' retreat.

Funding from the Arts Council England, Cornwall Council and Launceston Town Council will pay for renovation and structural repairs.

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