let down your hair vicar


Robert S Hawker  (born 1804) loved a practical joke. Parson Hawker, as he was known to his parishioners, was something of an eccentric, both in his clothes and his habits. He loved bright colours and it seems the only black things he wore were his socks. He built a small hut (that became known as Hawker’s Hut) from driftwood on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, where he spent many hours writing poems and smoking opium. Other eccentricities included excommunicating his cat for mousing on Sundays. He dressed in claret-coloured coat, blue fisherman’s jersey, long sea-boots, a pink brimless hat and a poncho made from a yellow horse blanket, which he claimed was the ancient habit of St Padarn. He talked to birds, invited his nine cats into church and kept a huge pig as a pet.

macaroni-dandy ronnie-peterson-paper-doll


At full moon in the July of 1825 or 1826, he swam out to a rock at “some little distance from the shore, plaited seaweed into a wig, which he threw over his head, so that it hung in lank streamers halfway down his back, enveloped his legs in an oilskin wrap, and, otherwise naked, sat on the rock, flashing the moonbeams about from a hand-mirror, and sang and screamed till attention was arrested. Some people passing along the cliff heard and saw him, and ran into Bude, saying that a mermaid with a fish’s tail was sitting on a rock, combing her hair, and singing.


A number of people ran out on the rocks and along the beach, and listened awe-struck to the singing and disconsolate wailing of the mermaid. Presently she dived off the rock, and disappeared.

Next night crowds of people assembled to look out for the mermaid; and in due time she re-appeared, and sent the moon flashing in their faces from her glass. Telescopes were brought to bear on her; but she sang on unmoved, braiding her tresses, and uttering remarkable sounds, unlike the singing of mortal throats.


This went on for several nights; the crowd growing greater, people arriving from Stratton, Kilkhampton, and all the villages round, till Robert Hawker got very hoarse with his nightly singing, and rather tired of sitting so long in the cold. He wound up the performance one night with an unmistakable “God save the King,” then plunged into the waves, and the mermaid never again revisited the shores of Bude.”


Reverse Mermaid found here

Published in: on March 29, 2009 at 5:50 am  Comments (24)  

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. smoking opium makes people do strange things.
    either that, or it brings total clarity.
    i think mr. hawker observed the world with perfect clarity.
    and for some, that moment of clarity is the entire essence and purpose of being.

  2. Tough choice, Nurse. Which mermaid would _you_ rather have?

    “A” of course. don’t want to have to listen to fwap fwap all day. Besides, I’m a tit man girl

  3. ….. and so began the illustrious singing career of Cilla Black.

    It also answers many questions as to why we associate the female of the species with the smell of fish.

  4. Love the Cilla Black comment!

    Anyway, all sounds perfectly normal behaviour to me …. in fact, I might give it a go …..

  5. “…and so, since that time, all pimps have dressed like Parson Hawker…” (a docent at the Museum of Prostitution)

  6. As mad as the proverbial hatter – still he wouldn’t have proved much of a Mer-catch had any randy Chinaman hooked him in the water.

  7. Fabulous eccentric story .. I bet he was loads of fun as a vicar 🙂

  8. yep I’d go to his church (at least once – just to take pictures).

  9. Good thing he didn’t live in the States. He might have been stoned or burned at the stake for being a warlock.

  10. Omigod! A mermaid from Innsmouth!

  11. See what writing poetry will do to ya?

    Nice post!

  12. guy seems totally uptight. that’s what too much religion does for you…

    agree with you on the ‘half-fish’ companion, by the way. but the downside? i’d never get to paint her toenails…

  13. The mermaid question will be on my mind all day today.

    Thanks a lot!!! 😦

    Thomas 🙂

  14. One night posing as a mermaid–funny and good for laughs round the poker table.

    More than one night—not enough to do in your life.

  15. Idle bastard. If had an honest job instead of only working one day a week, he’d be too tired to play mermaid.

  16. I couldn’t have sex with the top-fish/bottom human mermaid model for various reasons, the funniest being that I’d just be hearing the song “Fish Heads” in my head during the entire thing.

    Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads…

    But the preferred mermaid model can give you underwater head without having to come up for air, and that’s very much worth the violation of the natural order.

  17. @renal failure – eat ’em up, eat ’em up, eat ’em up, YUM!

  18. Hey you two – stop flirting on my blog 😉

  19. Robert Hawker sounds like my kinda guy.

  20. Oh I do like to be beside the sea side…oh I do like to be beside the sea!

  21. Okay, I’ve decided, and after giving it enough thought (all day… thanks a lot by the way), my decision is the top-half human.

    Why? Because sometimes the lower part smells like… You know. Um. Yeah.

    Thomas 🙂

  22. Tried opium once, but no mermaids of either type
    appeared, probably didn’t do enough.

  23. I never understood why it has to be top or bottom… why can’t the whole thing be a mix… scaly boobs though, hmm thats a turn off… as usual I tink I’m putting far to much thought into this.

  24. Maybe he and the mermaid hooked up and lived happily ever after.

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