The life and times of the gifted English mystic and nature poet Clare Cameron are evoked in a new book by Midhurst-based Philip Pegler.
For many years, Cameron was the editor of The Science of Thought Review, the magazine produced by the man dubbed the ‘Saint of Sussex’, Henry Thomas Hamblin, from his home at Bosham.
After Hamblin’s death, the magazine became The Review and is now New Vision, still produced from his former home, Bosham House, where Philip’s book will be launched Friday, March 22 from 2pm-4.30pm.
The book draws on Philip’s own personal connections, as he recalls.
“I did three years’ indentures on the Surrey Herald and when that came to an end, I dropped out and went off to India. I didn’t take my (journalism) proficiency certificate. I was a bit averse to exams!
“I was in India for eight months and I was staying in the south of India at a particular ashram.
“I was helping them with their magazine, and they put me on library duty. And I saw this magazine, The Science of Thought Review. I found that the magazine was published in Bosham.
“So I wrote from India to the editor of the magazine in Bosham and said that I was in India. This was in 1970.
“I got a very nice letter back and when I came back to England, I went to see her and she befriended me. I really took to her, and she encouraged me to contribute articles way back when I was a young man in the 1970s.”
The editor was Clare Cameron, and Philip’s new book, Hidden Beauty of the Commonplace: A nature mystic’s reflections upon the true meaning of freedom (published by Changemakers Books on March 29) is his tribute.
He knew her for 12 years from 1971 until her death in 1983. She edited the magazine from 1959 until the end of her days.
“She was in the Chichester area all that time. She was an extraordinary woman.
“She was a very fine poet from a really early age. She was brought up in London’s East End from a very ordinary background.
“She was very keen on literary things from a very young age, and she met her future husband who was quite a well-known author of his times, writing books about London.
“He was also a friend of Charlie Chaplin, and that marriage catapulted her into a really quite interesting literary world.
“In her own day, she became really quite well-known. She was quite sought-after because she really championed women’s rights.
“In her younger years, she was drawn to Buddhism and became the editor of the primary Buddhist journal in England, The Middle Way. She was in London during the Blitz trying to edit it!
“My book is a study of her life and also her teachings. I have woven her life and her teachings into a cohesive whole.”
The idea to write the book came as a direct result of the 2005 London bombings: “There was some kind of inner experience that I had with regard to the shock of those London bombings that prompted the idea for this book.”
At a time of austerity and profound concern for human rights, Philip offers it as a thoughtful book honouring the quiet radiance of love, the sanctity of existence and the silent background of being.
More details about the book launch are available by contacing the Hamblin Trust, Bosham House, Main Road, Bosham, PO18 8PJ.
Or you can call 01243 572109 to find out more.