Author Archives: Richard Skelton

Reliquiae Three ~ Ornithological Prints

morris-yaffle    morris-swift

morris-raven    morris-cuckoo

Reliquiae Volume Three features a selection of ornithological illustrations by the renowned 19th century vicar and naturalist, F.O. Morris.

As a gesture of thanks, the first 200 customers who purchase Reliquiae Volume Three will receive four beautiful art cards featuring colour reproductions of the yaffle, swift, raven and cuckoo.

Reliquiae Volume Three is published in November, but is available to pre-order now.


Reliquiae ~ Volume Three


The new volume of Reliquiae celebrates visionary seeing, inner life and the hidden, through a diverse series of songs, poems, essays, stories and observations. Some fragments include:

A brightness cakes the objects of the world    ·    When the blue of flax is over, the distant hills remember    ·    A constant refocusing of eyes, this dizzying confluence of paths    ·    Our hearts were drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see    ·    Glimpses of the perfumed and enchanted twilight    ·    Deer, wolf, boar, lynx, remembered in place-names    ·    Quicksilver copper bronze    ·    The Sidhe, a folk of silence, who move noiselessly, ‘like birds or hunted deer’    ·    A halo, as around the moon    ·    A yellow haze along field boundaries    ·    Memories of the ancestral dead – Pictish forebears    ·    The surge of a wave    ·    Teine sith, sith light    ·    Brock, the early comer, whose praeter-human brain held the map of endless now    ·    A protean landscape    ·    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows    ·    This haunted quality of the light    ·    Syllable seeds for the dense-flowered, the small flowered, the few-flowered, the green-flowered    ·    The deeper the snow lies the more the wolf thrives    ·    Aspen tree, aspen tree, shake and shiver instead of me    ·    That sacred stone of sweet oblivion    ·    Grey-back and grave-haunting worm    ·    A cobweb in sunlight    ·    A casket of dust    ·    Furthest away, the sea    ·    Dioramas of the moon    ·    By plucking her petals you do not gather the beauty of the flower    ·    Our totem name: silent mountain    ·    “We do not share animal space. We invade their territory”    ·    As the seed is in the plant, as the shade is in the tree, as the void is in the sky, as infinite forms are in the void    ·    On this tree is a bird: it dances in the joy of life    ·    The unnatural silence of nature whose murmuring streams were frozen dumb    ·    Be still, my heart, these great trees are prayers    ·    “Oh! you foxes; because you had assumed human shape”    ·    “If thou be my mother and thou a deer, arise ere the sun arises on thee.”    ·    Rice-Mother, Cotton-Mother, Corn-Mother, Maize-Mother. Earth-Mother    ·    To know a river’s character in the dark    ·    Learn the language of the sea and of the stones.


New work:

Excerpts from Angus Carlyle’s Silent Mountain, reflecting on perception and altitude in the Picentini mountains; Thomas A Clark’s poetic meditation on the colour yellow, from gorse, pollen and saffron to the ‘yellow palace’ at the centre of the world; Ken Cockburn’s nine evocative topographical poem-miniatures; Excerpts from Gathering by Alec Finlay, a wide-ranging poetic exploration of the place-names and topography of Braemar, Scotland; Ross Hair on the visionary work of Ronald Johnson, Geoffrey Grigson and Samuel Palmer; Rob St. John on nocturnal rivers, Salmo trutta and the well-weighted line; Richard Skelton’s elegy for the badger, from his forthcoming book, ‘Beyond the Fell Wall’; Gerry Loose’s five gnomic, poetic Cantations for Endangered Species; Mark Valentine’s enigmatic found-object poem Properties; Chris Watson’s fascinating account of making field recordings of ravens in Anglesey and Northumberland, interwoven with Norse folklore.

Archive work:

Four esoteric poems from Æ (George William Russell); a selection of Aino folktales and myths, translated by Basil Hall Chamberlain; Alexander Carmichael on Ossian, his mother and the occult power of the Fath Fith; Thomas A. Clark’s poetic reverie on perception and memory, The Blue of Flax; Edward Clodd on Earth-Mother cults; Don Domanski’s poignant nocturne, Field Notes; a fragment from the Poetic Edda on the suffering of Yggdrasil, the ‘world tree’, translated by Olive Bray; a hermetic fragment from Goethe, translated by Hans Brückner & Richard Skelton; a selection from the mystical poetry of Kabir; three poems from Tim Lilburn’s revelatory collection, Moosewood Sandhills, along with his contemplative essay How to be Here?; E.J. Moor on the sadness of thrushes; the spiritual aphorisms of Rabindranath Tagore; some wildwood fragments from E. Tickner Edwardes; Mark Valentine’s evocative short story on the lost words, Baltersan’s Third Edition; a selection from the journals of Gilbert White; some luminous excerpts from the writing of W.B. Yeats.


Reliquiae Volume Three is published is November, but is available to pre-order now. As a thank-you, all customers who order before October 1st will receive their name printed in the journal.

Memorious Earth









Memorious Earth
Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton
Book + DL + CD-R + Edition

Memorious Earth is a beautifully produced 128-page book documenting the artists’ Cumbrian work over the past half-decade. More than simply a retrospective catalogue, it incorporates all their previously published (and now out-of-print) text works alongside full colour photographs, notes and bibliographies. Crucially, it also adds two new poem sequences, Of the Elm Decline and The Medicine Earth, which situate their earlier, field-oriented studies into an oblique mythopoeic narrative of environmental succession, incorporating material from a wide-ranging sources, including herbal texts and Old English leechdoms.

Full print contents:

i. Wolf Notes (2010)
ii. A List of Probable Flora (2013)
iii. Relics (2013)
iv. Wolfhou (2013)
v. Of the Elm Decline (2015)
vi. The Medicine Earth (2015)

The book is accompanied by a download card for a multi-album ‘archive’ of all extant ‘*AR’ recordings made during the past half decade. To these is added a new recording – the soundtrack to a film, also entitled Memorious Earth, which will be screened at a number of events over the summer months.

Full audio contents:

i. Wolf Notes (2010)
ii. Succession (2013)
iii. Echoless (2013)
iv. Diagrams for the Summoning of Wolves (2015)
v. Memorious Earth (2015)

To commemorate its release, Corbel Stone Press has also produced a special ‘archive box’ in an edition of just twenty exemplars, containing a variety of media, prints and artefacts.

For more information please visit:

For Friends and Patrons







Quoin is the new annual publication for Friends and Patrons of Corbel Stone Press. The inaugural issue features The Not-Fire by Richard Skelton – a sequence of invocations, petitions or riddles dealing with universal themes: natural phenomena, hunger, fear of death, the taking of life and, crucially, conversations with non-human persons – the community of others that comprises the living landscape.

These poems are largely composed from the Swadesh List, a’ core vocabulary’ of 100 words that define a ‘proto-language’ common to two or more related languages. The list encompasses concepts common to all human languages (personal pronouns, parts of the body, heavenly bodies, verbs of basic actions, numerals, etc.), whilst eliminating concepts that are specific to a particular culture or time.

Quoin is beautifully presented to each Friend or Patron in a Corbel Stone Press folder, accompanied by a collection of new prints and postcards made between 2014-15.


This year, we have made a special series of two new works, The Tireless Permutations of a River and Fragments of Chthonic Dialects. Patrons of Corbel Stone Press will receive a unique, individually made and signed print from each series.











For more information on becoming a Friend or Patron, please visit:

The Accidental Archive


Julian Hyde is no stranger to this blog. His work is required reading for those seeking an authentic rendering of the edgelands of the ‘real Lake District’. The ‘Lane’ is at once a real place and a hermetic personal mythology. Hyde draws all kinds of objects, texts and images into his orbit, assimilating and reconstituting them.

His life’s work began during a moment of terror – an encounter in which his very life was threatened, but which resulted in “a new state of consciousness”. A strange kind of gift, for which, Hyde writes, “I must forgive him his moments of violence”. Over the ensuing decade the accidental archive began – hundreds of photographs and lines of typewritten text, overwritten in pencil. Three highly sought after (and now out-of-print) volumes resulted, all dedicated to an enmeshing of his own tortured private narrative into astonishingly beautiful documents of the overlooked.


Now, there is a large format magazine, entitled The Accidental Archive #1. The first in a series? Amongst its pages are pieces by Alasdair Maclean, Neil Jackson & Craig Turnbull, Nick Papadimitriou and our own Richard Skelton – but these are essentially satellites, circling the words and images of Hyde as he regurgitates and swallows the last eleven years of elation and misery. Look away if you can…

Published by Voices in a Lane.

Landings (5th Edition)


In 2009, Richard Skelton published his first book, Landings, a deeply personal and unique response to the moorland landscape of Anglezarke, near his birthplace in south-west Lancashire, UK. Written over the course of half a decade, the book is assembled from a diverse array of materials: texts excised from his own notebooks and diaries are combined with excerpts from census and parish records, maps and historical treatises. The result is what Skelton terms ‘mosaic sequences [of] reclaimed fragments’ – discrete but connected strands forming an oblique and poignant testimony to personal grief, a meditation on memory and forgetting, a conjuring of the ghosts and voices of a landscape, and an exposition of the effects of the Industrial Revolution on rural lives.

Between 2009 and 2011, Skelton significantly expanded Landings from 96 to 292 pages, writing about the landscape in absentia, whilst living in rural Ireland. Tellingly, the book included over 70 pages of appendices, gathering together the bulk of his research about Anglezarke itself: dialect glossaries, cartographic records and lists of names, dates and places drawn from various sources are carefully catalogued and indexed. In retrospect, it seems as if he was attempting to assemble his own private archive, rather than write a conventional book. As Robert MacFarlane describes, it is ‘a pained record-keeping of the Anglezarke moor – a textual summoning-back of its lost and forgotten … litanies spoken against loss’.

This new edition of Landings contains the first formal addition to the work in nearly half a decade, comprising an afterword which reflects on the nature of its own archival impetus, from which the following is an excerpt:

The archive that is Anglezarke has an unspeakably complex order of inter-relations – its index is constantly being extended and recompiled. Each object is a nexus for multiple experiences, lives, energies – both consecutively and simultaneously. The land is in continual flux, from hay meadow to moor, valley to reservoir, hill-side to plantation. Buildings reconfigure themselves as walls, bridges and feeder conduits, or else they are assimilated into the bloated body of the moor itself, whose very name shifts over the centuries – Andelevesarewe, Anlauesargh, Anlewesearche. There is no rest.

Throughout Landings I returned again and again to the empty space at the edges of maps, to the blank pages in the public record – “What name did this place have before records began?” I asked, “What happened to the polyonymy of place?” There is a sense, in this obsession with archives, lists and records, that I was searching for something that can never be found, because it was never recorded. Words spoken and lost to the morning air, muttered to the fire as it sparked into life, whispered to the animal in the fold. Or perhaps those words were never spoken, but were kept unsaid, held in the mouth, conserved, protected? Or, indeed, there might have been an intuitive understanding that such moments are beyond language – that thought and intellect take us out of that very presence – that connective tissue – which is the innate gift of all things.

Unindex Volume One : Ferae Naturae


Whilst examining the Collingwood Archive at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Richard Skelton discovered two sewn signatures excised from the 1898 edition of the Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society. The manuscripts contained a number of annotations written in pen and ink which, among other things, referenced ‘ritual overkill’ in bog bodies, the fox as a psychopomp, the horned deities Cernunnos and Belatucadrus, animal worship among late-Medieval ‘plague cults’, and an esoteric St. Bega tradition in which her armilla is reimagined as an animal collar, and her cult aligned with that of the Irish saint, Ciarán mac Luaigne. These historic, mythic and folkloric vignettes are presented alongside examples of the customary persecution of animal life in old Cumberland and Westmorland, with particular reference to fox-hunting and bull-baiting.


During 2014 the NRGCA undertook an examination of the manuscripts, conducting extensive research with a view to identifying the many references contained therein. Their findings are presented in Unindex Volume One, published by Lakeland Arts – the charity which manages Abbot Hall Art Gallery.


In collaboration with the NRGCA, Richard Skelton created a temporary ‘Museum of Feræ Naturæ’ that was displayed at Abbot Hall Art Gallery from January 16th to March 14th, 2015. The exhibit took as its starting point a line from one of the manuscripts, ‘the double life of banal objects’, which alludes to temporary ritual assemblages contrived from everyday objects: a plumb-bob becomes the face of a hare; a wool-comb, the horns of a bull-deity; a pair of wool-shears becomes the ears of a wolf-fox, and another, intersecting it, becomes its open jaws. Artefacts for the museum were sourced from Lakeland Arts’ own Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, as well as Kendal Museum.