Stoke Damerel and Stonehouse Creek from Plymouth 1813 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

A river runs to Stonehouse,

though you would never know,

for all the parks and roads and cemeteries

the river flows below.


Born on volcanic tor,

crowned with an old folks’ home.

From Morrisons through Central Park,

the river flows below.


Pennycomequick’s blue student

house marks the river valley floor.

They lit the Armada beacon there,

so everybody saw.


In 1813, Turner painted

Stonehouse from North Road.

He stood where Patna Place is now,

as below the river flowed.


Where you find the train station,

four hundred years ago,

we fought off Royalist armies

as the river flowed below.


Prisoners on the river,

were transported to and fro,

to Borough Prison by Central Park,

where now allotments grow.


The Mill on Millbridge turns no more,

at the end of Molesworth Rd.

Its stone walls haunt Victoria Park,

as the river flows below.


A grisly murder on Mill bridge –

so the story goes,

The creepy gibbet on Stoke’s shore

hanged the guilty slow.


The boys’ school was a hospital.

Wounded soldiers they would row

across the marshy silted river

they called Dead Pool years ago.


On the other shore, the Navy

had a graveyard overflow.

Soon Dead Pool it was ‘humming’

and still the stinking river flowed.


We were up s**t creek without a paddle,

so that stink had to go.

The Victorians built a pleasure park,

buried the stench far below.


From Stonehouse Market, Mrs Graham

in her hot air balloon, she rose.

Before she crashed, she marvelled

how the river flowed below.


The Brickfields was the Barracks

where sailors planned to overthrow

the Royal Navy, but all conspirators

were shot upon the Hoe.


Below Stonehouse Bridge off Union Street,

were Roman graves of stone.

This creek was their River Styx,

where only the dead may go.


Into Stonehouse came New World timber,

great barges travelling slow.

Vast rafts of logs for tall ships’ masts,

slowed the river’s flow.


Pregnant women from Cremyl Ferry

waddled with a smuggled load,

birthing brandy, port and sherry.

Across the river, money flowed.


Before they built Royal William,

(and I hear River Cottage closed!) –

There Drake whittled for the devil,

and his magic fleet arose.


Stonehouse was a waterfall,

twelve thousand years ago.

Before the Sound, into a volcano

was where the river flowed.


So as you walk through Stonehouse,

towards Devonport or the park,

that old creek runs beneath your feet –

Nature always finds her path.

We may build and change and cities grow,

but, you know, always and forever,

the river flows below.