#100daysofbfotc Day 14: Merelda Badcock

Merelda Badcock nee Dunn widow of Frank (died 1919) with William (left) Arthur and Charlie c 1916Merelda Badcock née Dunn is a mariner’s wife, whose life has been shaped by the rugged North Devon coast. She was born in Clovelly, into a seafaring family, on 3 March 1882 and married Frank Badcock in 1905. Over the years, she watched her menfolk risk their lives on the ocean. Her three sons were all born in a small Clovelly cottage. We meet her at the end of the book, when, desperate for food, her husband, having just returned from the war, puts out to sea on New Year’s Day. Merelda is left waiting anxiously on the shore, as her husband’s fishing boat, the Annie Salome, sets off into a storm.

‘There was silence as Merelda Badcock and Rose Harding arrived at the lifeboat house, hands clasped, faces white and strained. The women had grown up together on the quay and were well used to the tragedies of the sea. Now they were united in fearfulness, husbands in danger and brothers attempting the rescue.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.

One comment on “#100daysofbfotc Day 14: Merelda Badcock

  1. maryibb says:

    These introductory snippets are fascinating – I’ve certainly decided this is a book I must have! “Kate” from a few days ago made me think so much of my grandmother, whose dates were very similar. Grandma had no birth certificate we could ever find, she said she was born in Scotland; it was thought that her parents died in the Spanish flu epidemic. Her date of birth (she believed) a few days AFTER the 1881 census; she first appears in the 1891 census as a scholar in the household of a wealthy philanthropic Quaker lady, former missionary in Madagascar, now in Liverpool. She took in orphan girls and gave them a trade – Grandma learned cooking. Grandpa, a bright lad, married Grandma (writing fairy stories about her father on the marriage certificate, I believe); he was a clerk for a big meat importer in Liverpool, and was soon promoted down to their London office. They bought a semi in Finchley, where my mother was born, and yes, (like Kate) they had a servant! – The silly thing is, Grandpa wouldn’t allow his children to ask about Grandma’s origins at all – “Mind your own business!” – and after their deaths, we the family couldn’t trace a Janet Lindsay, without a birth certificate, before her appearance in Liverpool on the 1891 census. She obviously had connections with Scotland, but the 1891 census had her down as born in Leeds! It was a fascinating period when lives and fortunes were unpredictable and often changeable. Mary Ibbotson Bridport Dorset

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