Roundy Stevens

Roundy Stevens

One half of Roundy Stevens Crafts, Anne, has family from the 1800s and probably beyond in St Ives. Her Great Grandfather, Grandfather and Father were all fishermen, boatmen and lifeboat men. This is the true story of Old Jim (Roundy) Stevens by John T Barber. ‘Roundy’ was the nickname by which this Stevens family was and always have been known.

 

The boatman was Old Jim (Roundy) Stevens, a character with a rare sense of humour. The Man from Tregenna by John T Barber

 

SS47 the may, anchoring in St Ives. The boat underwent several modifications during its life but still livesWith steady stroke the boatman brought

His little craft to land

And gently guided her to rest

Upon the yielding sand

 

It was early yet for trippers

Though it never could be said

That Jim had ever missed a tide

Because he ‘lay the bed’.

 

old jim roundy stevens workingThe skiff had barely grounded when

A stranger stepped aboard

All togged off in his Sunday best

Expensive as a Lord

 

‘I’m in a hurry, boatman, ‘ in

A haughty voice, said he,

‘I’d like to view the castle of

Tregenna from the sea.’

 

‘But tell me first of all, my man,

What is your normal fare?

And will you make what speed you can,

I’ve little time to spare.’

 

‘Well, as a rule, Sir’, ses Old Jim,

”Tes 18pence an hour,

But I may charge a little more

For extra speed and power.’

 

So old Jim shipped the row-locks then

And rowed with might and main

Until the castle on the hill

Emerged quite clear and plain.

 

A skiff similar to the boat in the sory with Grandad in itThen back again without a break,

breath coming short and fast –

He made the trip from 8 o’clock

to 20 minutes past.

 

The gent produced a watch of gold

To calculate the fare,

And tended Jim a sixpence with

A patronising air.

 

Roundy Stevens as beach foremanThe old chap smiled, a weary smile,

Yet whimsical and wry,

Then looked the stranger up and down,

And slowly made reply,

 

‘You’ve seen Tregenna Castle, Sir,

As I agreed you should.

 I’ve took ‘ee out and back Sir,

With all the speed I could.’

 

‘You’re looking nice and cool, Sir,

But I’m all hot and wet;

You’ve reckoned up the time all right,

But what about the sweat?’

 

‘Though looks may deceivin’, Sir,

I’m glad I took ‘ee out

But you can keep your tanner, Sir,

My charge to you is nowt.’

 

‘I’ve little cause to brag, Sir, but

Of this you may be sure,

Although I need the money bad

I never fleece the poor!!’

 

Old Jim was through, he’d said his piece.

The toff was ill at ease,

The boatman’s charity, it seemed,

Did not exactly please.

 

‘Take this, old chap,’ he said at last,

‘And buy yourself a smoke,

I’m not so poor as you suppose,

‘Twas just my little joke.’

 

‘Well, thank ‘ee, kindly Sir,’

Ses Jim, ‘Call any time, you’re down;

‘I always do enjoy a joke

Along with half-a-crown.’

 

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