THE MUNDY MANUSCRIPT
MUNDY - A Young Australian Pioneer
- by Les. Hughes
published by Next Century Books
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and pictures of the book launch here.
A4 Hardback Original 4 Colour - Fully Illustrated 220 x 297 mm 280
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first page of Henry's memoirs in his fine artistic handwriting - click
here for a larger image
Henry's son George with his wife, Esther - click
here for a larger image
adventures of a Bow Brickhill lad - Henry Mundy - in his own
Mundy left our village of Bow Brickhill for Australia in 1844 at
the age of only 12
years. At 79 he wrote his memoirs.
These are now published for the first time.
Henry had an
incredibly accurate memory. He
tells us what it was like to be a labourer working on local farms.
He talks of the social structure, about local people and
Mentioned in the book are Simpson,
Walton, Wavendon, Fenny Stratford, Bletchley, Denbigh, Milton,
Dropshort Farm, Cold Harbour Farm - Shenley, Newton Longville,
Rogers Inn at Wavendon and The Woolpack.
Henry also mentions the following people: George Atterbury, Jenny
Baldwell, Dick Bodily, Thomas Brice, Mr Britten, John Brown from
Shenley, Bett, Bett, Jack, Joe and Will Clark, Betsy and
Sally Cook, Rev Davies, Sally, Tom and Will Day, Col.
De Laps, Dr Ghent of Little Brickhill, Mrs Hart, Mr
Harvey of Cold Harbour, Tom Holmes, Mr Kent, Judy and Will
Lane, Tom Lovel, Mr Middleton of Walton, Mary Norman, Squire
Pinfold of Walton, Moll Perry, Jack Timms, Sall West, Sam
West, Ephrain Wooten, Rev A B Wynter, Mr Charles Philip Wynter, as
well as many members of the Mundy (Munday) family.
After barely leaving
the close confines of Bow Brickhill Henry went with his family to
Australia from whence he would never return. He worked on sheep
stations and the gold fields of Victoria and he witnessed the
infamous Eureka Stockade rebellion that paved the way for nation
illegal alcohol to the goldfields with the collusion of the police
and surviving a raging bushfire were just two of Henry's
flirtations with danger.
The clarity of his recollections, his descriptive
powers and the emotion he evokes are remarkable. Apart from brief attendances up to the age of 9 years at
schools in Woburn and Simpson, Henry had no formal education. It was in
the remote outback, inspired by reclusive pioneer, Jimmy Quaid, that he
began to understand the importance of learning. Much of his meagre
earnings were spent acquiring books, the contents of which he devoured
with relish. He taught himself the classics, history, geography, Latin
and politics. The following account is just part of Henry's
recollections of his home village:
The open space in our village was bounded on
one side principally by the sacred domain of the Rev. Parson
Davis. I only remember once being within its precincts when
Queen Victoria was crowned. I was about 6 years old. All the
poor children of the parish were invited to a grand feast which
consisted of a piece of cake and a glass of wine. Next to the
parsonage was the pound where any delinquent straying donkey or
dog might be incarcerated. Close by were the stocks in which any
erring human animal could be exposed in open public to expiate
his small sins. The stocks consisted of an horizontal slab on
edge in two parts, one end joined to a vertical post; in the
centre were two round holes to admit the culprit's shins.
Cottages again till we come to the Baptist
chapel which I know little about only that my uncle and aunt
belonged to it. On the right was another farm of small
pretensions. Lastly we come to another Inn, I think called the
Wheat Sheaf, and opposite the only blacksmith's shop in
the village, half a dozen cottages - my grandfather lived in
one. We have now practically come to the end of the village
containing about 60 cottages, six farms, including two at
Caldecot, one bakery, one blacksmith, one wheelwright, one
shoemaker, one carpenter, one grocer, two inns and one
recognised church. Those of the poor class who professed any
religion were either Wesleyans or Baptists. All those who had
any pretention to a higher position went to the church of
England, the old church on the hill.
Australian author LES. HUGHES has painstakingly followed in Henry’s footsteps, from those humble
beginnings in Bow Brickhill, to the deserted streets of the old gold
towns. He has gathered
photographic evidence along the way that serves to corroborate every
detail recounted in Henry’s hand-written manuscript.
Aided by newspaper clippings and stories handed down
by the Mundy generations Les. has been able to fill in the missing
years, for Henry had only just attained the age of 27 in his memoirs
when he tragically died, mid-sentence. Now we can appreciate all he
lived through and put it into context in our modern world.
his own journey Les. came to know Henry intimately. After devouring the
closing paragraph of, ‘Henry Mundy – A Young Australian
Pioneer’, so, too, will the reader.
a virtual tour of Bow Brickhill following in the steps of Henry - and
the route he so clearly describes in his memoirs.
Details of those researching
the Munday family - and links to family photos of branches in Australia
To the Genealogy page