Statues - Hither & Thither

Great Britain
Clun
Shropshire

West Midlands

Hospital Lane
(Trinity Hospital)

Almsmen - Joe Weale and Billy Cantie

Jemma Pearson
1999

Clun /  Almsmen - Joe Weale and Billy Cantie   Clun /  Almsmen - Joe Weale and Billy Cantie

Description

Statue of two almsmen, made from Jesmonite.

Information Sign

Joe Weale and Billy Cantie The statues placed in the grounds of Trinity Hospital are based on Almsmen residing here around the turn of the 20th century.

The characters themselves were selected from old photographs depicting many generations of residents. Joe Weale, known as 'Joe the Bear' and Billie Cantie were two such residents, and by all accounts were well known within Clun life.

Joe, in his distinctive rounded hat, was an irascible individual, known by the wiser children at the local school for his habit of attempting to trip them up with the hook of his stick. His nick name (so suitable for his demeanour) was in fact achieved having 'wrastled' with a bear at the Knighton Fair.

Billie Cantie seems to have had a cheerier nature. although stories of the wayward habits and antics of the Almsmen often left much to be desired.

The sculptures are cast in Jesmonite, an acrylic polymer which is a modern material and undtil recently locally produced. The original figures, from which moulds were taken, were built up in clay supported on a steel armature.

Two local residents (one presently living at Trinity) generously posed for more than 20 hours, wearing the original uniforms to act as a guide for the modelling.

Jemma Pearson continues to live and sculpt in Clun, often using local faces in her portrait work and is happy to live in such a peaceful part of the world and amongst many creative friends.

Annotation

From the sculptress' website:

The two almsmen portrayed were real people who lived in The Hospital of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in Clun at the turn of the 20th century.

Joe the Bear is the shorter more rounded man, so titled because he successfully wrestled a bear in Clun; and Billie Cantie the taller figure in top hat, reknown as a colourful rogue.

The tradition was that these men were taken, against their better nature, all too regularly to church by horse and cart rather than follow their preferred pursuit of the hunt.

Sculptor

Tags

Location N 52°25'22" W 3°1'33"

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Item Code: gbwm014; Photograph: 22 October 2009
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