Jarge Balsh and Discovering Somerset HXP521/TITLE>
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Discovering Somerset
Jarge Balsh

by W. Marchant Jones



William Marchant Jones

1884 - 1967

W.M. Jones grew up in Coleford (Somerset), where his family kept the Crossway Stores. He was a man of many talents, running a photographic portrait studio, writing newspaper articles (including the Jarge Balsh stories) and eventually founding a local newspaper, the 'Independent'. He owned one of the first motor cars in the village and was a strong supporter of the local church, where he sang in the choir and later became choirmaster.

He was well known and well respected by the villagers as the benefactor who commissioned for the church a stained-glass window by Keith New, the artist whose works are to be found in in Coventry Cathedral. He also purchased the old Miners; Welfare Institute when it became redundant and gave it to the village as a church hall.

The concrete block works at Vobster was another of his enterprises, which gave much-needed employment to the area.

The first Jarge Balsh stories were originally published in book form in 1926 and W.M. Jones continued writing them until the 1940s.

More on the life of W.M. Jones

Barry Paine

Barry Paine is a Bristol actor, author, science writer and broadcaster, well known for his narrations of BBC wildlife programmes. He has lived on the Mendips for forty years and has developed a special interest in dialect.


The Dialect

The original Jarge Balsh stories were an accurate written record of the Coleford dialect as W.M. Jones heard it spoken in the village - and, as such, made very difficult reading for those unfamiliar with the area. With the assistance of Robin Thompson, retired landlord of the King's Head public house in Coleford and one of the last people to still speak the dialect, Barry Paine has brought it to life in a way which is readily understandable by everybody and which brings out the natural wit and humour of the native dialect of Somerset.

A few words and expressions crop up which are unique to Coleford. In the text, W,M,Jones felt it necessary to add explanatory footnotes and these have been reproduced on the CD inlay card.

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