Rock village to unveil new statue

A sketch of the woman carrying water
A sketch of the woman carrying water

The village of Rock is to get a brand new attraction in the form of a full-size sandstone statue depicting a s a woman carrying two buckets of well water while making use of the ‘steadying’ hoop.

The figure is designed primarily as a tribute to the womenfolk, mostly, who carried water from the well to their family homes through the centuries.

Secondly the statue is to commemorate local author Ellen Beck (1858 - 1924) writer of stories about life in Rock and District one hundred year ago. She immortalized the fetching of ‘a Go of Water’ in her story ‘Day in the Life of an Ulster Village’.

W F Marshall may have written ‘the poem’ about the daily chore but Ellen Beck certainly wrote ‘the story’.

The following yarn is part of village folklore: “Sammy is coming with ‘a go’ (I wonder why two buckets of water have received such an appellation) of water from the stone-covered well. He is a small spare man, very obliging to his neighbours, and very meek at home where ‘the grey mare is the better horse’. Like all meek men he is capable of being roused, and it is a current legend that once upon a time he came home wet and tired after a long day’s driving. His better half met him at the door of the house with two tin buckets and the hoop. “Here, Sammy”, said she, “as you are wet already, you may as well bring me ‘a go’ of water”. Sammy took the buckets obediently as was his wont, and set off for the spring well. He returned with the burden speedily, and, scattering the contents of his pails round his wife and the kitchen, remarked: “Now you’re as wet as I am, you can fetch the next ‘go of water’ yourself. There the legend stops, but Sammy still occupies a subject’s place in his own Kingdom.”

Ellen Beck’s book ‘The Dear Green Country’, which gives a selection of her stories, has sold like hot cakes, and a second edition is on order. The statue is to be erected shortly, though the ‘unveiling’ ceremony will take place on the village green at a later date with entertainment from local children.

The funding for the project is being provided by Cookstown District Council to whom the society are grateful for this final gesture of goodwill, and organized jointly by members of Rock Historical society and Rock Community Association.