Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bram Stoker and the Village of Easenhall

Before Bram Stoker turned his talent to writing, he worked as a tour manager for the great English actor, Henry Irvine. They travelled the country packing out the local theatres. One of Stoker's many tasks would be to book the accommodation. As you might expect, they would often stay in the best hotels and private houses. Sometimes however, if it were a small, provincial town, they would kip at local Inns.
The Golden Lion in the village of Easenhall, a tiny, almost hidden-from-view hamlet deep in the heart of Warwickshire, is one such location. The Golden Lion is one of the oldest Inns in Warwickshire. Over the centuries it has played host to several notable personalities. The Inn sits at the very edge of the village itself. Surrounded by fields and woodland, The Golden Lion Inn is the perfect retreat for busy city dwellers. As part of his job, Stoker would have been familiar with many of the Inns that resided in central England. Henry Irvine was due on stage in Birmingham the following week. They had a few days to spare and Stoker had booked the Golden Lion Inn for two nights.
I lived in Brinklow a few miles down the road. I would often walk to Easenhall through the back fields and woods which enveloped both small villages. There is a solitary bridle-path which takes you, snake-like, through these woods and the fields of corn which live on either side. There is a lake too and a series of old buildings which have all but collapsed into dust. I never knew their purpose. If local village legend was to be believed, these peculiar remains were once follies from the early eighteenth century. It's hard to verify fact from fiction. Never-the-less, I would often imagine Stoker wandering in between the same ruins and woodland that I had come to know so well during the long summer months.
Stoker would have been thinking about his future works at this point in his early life. Of course, Dracula was still some way off. It would be several years before he would start to pen that particular work of fiction. It's still interesting to picture Stoker wandering through the surrounding fields, perhaps thinking about his future novel. The Golden Lion itself would have been the ideal retreat too for a budding writer to scribble down his thoughts. Maybe Stoker had already begun to make notes on his infamous vampire whilst staying at the Inn. Of course, it's impossible to prove but interesting to think about over a quiet pint.

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