Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Programme for 2014


Sat 1 March*   Joint meeting with the Friends of Alfred Williams. It is the Friends turn to host the meeting. Select a short extract to read to others by or about Richard Jefferies or Alfred Williams or just come along to listen.

Sat 5 April*     Guided walk and talk around Coate Farm by Clive Carter as a result of his discoveries about the buildings as part of an architectural and historical survey and study.
Sat 10 May*    Illustrated talk about Geoffrey Winthrop Young and his Bevis archive by Jean Saunders.

Sat 26 July      A Study Day. Jefferies’ Museum: 10.30am-4.30pm. Theme: Humour in Richard Jefferies’ writing.
* Meetings are held at the Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon SN3 6AA starting at 2pm.
There is plenty of parking space at Coate Water (about 5 minutes walk away) and there is a footpath to the back garden of the Museum that runs close to the miniature railway.

From Swindon town centre (Fleming Way), there are several bus services that stop next to Coate Water roundabout. These include: Monday to Saturday - daytime: Numbers 13, 14, and 20.

The Museum is open to the public every Sunday from May-September (2-5pm) and the second Wednesday of the month, 10am-4pm, throughout the year.

Sat 25 Oct         AGM and Birthday Lecture, Liddington Village Hall.
                         AGM 10.30am-1pm
                         Birthday lecture 2.30-4.30pm
Patrick Dillon

Birthday Lecture, 25 October 2014
Subject: The Presence of the Past:  Richard Jefferies, the Middle Ridgeway and landscape change
Speaker: Prof. Patrick Dillon

 Richard Jefferies' lifetime spans a period of intensification in agriculture, culminating in ‘High Farming’, followed by one of depression. The ups and downs of farming and the associated impacts on wildlife and the countryside are recurring themes in his writing. Viewed from the perspective of environmental history, Jefferies works can be seen as a commentary on an ever changing relationship between economy and ecology, land-use and wildlife. In this lecture Patrick will offer an insight into the downland landscapes of Jefferies country and the changes that have taken place subsequently. The agriculturally-dominating influence of the London market, the relationship between ploughland and grassland, land holding, and countryside sports, emerge from the historical record as the chief forces that have created the landscape we see today and the wildlife that inhabits it.  In exploring these themes, he will draw on a book, ‘Middle Ridgeway’, written jointly with Eric Jones, and illustrated with landscape paintings by his daughter Anna Dillon. Publication of the book is anticipated in 2015.

Patrick Dillon is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Exeter. He joined the Richard Jefferies Society in 1982 and was formerly a member of its Council. He gave a presentation on ‘The Ecology of Jefferies Landscapes’ at the Literary Festival in 1998 celebrating the 150th anniversary of Richard Jefferies’ birth. 



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Walking the Icknield Way and the Ridgeway by Hugh Thomson

Hugh Thomson has spent many years travelling through and writing about Peru, Mexico and the Indian Himalaya but turned his attention, this time, closer to home. Travelling along the Icknield Way, he passed the great prehistoric monuments of Maiden Castle, Stonehenge and Avebury, before ending at the Wash near Seahenge. His journey took him through Jefferies Land and Liddington Castle. Hugh will take us on an exploration of our local ancient landscape along a 400 mile journey from coast to coast. In his book, Hugh casts unexpected light – and humour – on the way we live now. Copies of the book will be available to buy on the day that Mr Thomson will be pleased to sign.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Story-telling event at the Richard Jefferies Museum

A splendid event was organised for children at the Richard Jefferies Museum on 5 August.

The story-telling and activities were based on a short "love story" extract from Richard Jefferies Wood Magic.

You can read all about it and see pictures of the occasion here

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Harmony by Julian Anderson

The Richard Jefferies Society has written to a young British composer congratulating him on his opening composition for the first night of the BBC Proms (12th July).

 The new work entitled Harmony, for choir and orchestra, by Julian Anderson lasted 5 minutes, was commissioned by the BBC and performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. The piece was inspired by Richard Jefferies’ autobiography The Story of My Heart and words taken from it included:

 The clock may make time for itself; there is none for me...The shadow goes on upon the dial, the index moves round upon the clock, and what is the difference? None whatever. If the clock had never been set going, what would have been the difference?

In the introduction to the BBC broadcast Anderson was quoted as saying that you can launch a concert opening with two approaches: a ‘loud fanfare’ or ‘calm and meditative’. He preferred the latter and described Jefferies as a mystic author who had visions on the Wiltshire downs of time standing still and of eternity. Harmony was a celebration of Jefferies’ vivid nature writing. Tibetan bowls and rain-sticks were played as part of the instrumentation - they have a hypnotic sound that Jefferies would have enjoyed.

In a review in The Telegraph on 13th July, Ivan Hewitt wrote that ‘it was a nice conceit, to begin the world’s largest music festival with something called Harmony, and the piece caught with delicate precision the idea that music stopped the ordinary clock time.’

The interview and composition was broadcast on BBC radio 3 and can be played at:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Food and drink in Jefferies' world

Saturday 27th July - Richard Jefferies Society Study Day.

Venue: The Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon SN3 6AA

From 10.30am to 4pm. Lunch from 1-2.30pm - opportunity to look around the Museum and grounds.

John Price, Eric Jones and Peter Bainbridge will be introducing the subject of the study day with short talks followed by readings from the audience of relevant passages to illustrate food and drink in Jefferies' world.

Bring a packed lunch. Refreshments provided.

Admission free.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Denys James Watkins-Pitchford (BB)

On Saturday 11th May 2013 at 2pm, Ray (Badger) Walker will talk about his personal friendship with Denys James Watkins-Pitchford.
Badger is a Derbyshire man and he met BB in the early 1980s. Their shared passion and interest for the countryside, and of Jefferies’ writing, led to a solid friendship. By coincidence, Badger’s father was born in Chiseldon opposite the church where Richard Jefferies married Jessie Baden.
DOORS OPEN 1PM (Opportunity to explore the Museum) 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Society Events for 2013 at the Richard Jefferies Museum

held at the Richard Jefferies Museum
Sat 2 March*   Joint meeting with the Friends of Alfred Williams. This year it is the Society’s turn to host the gathering. Select a short extract to read to others by or about Richard Jefferies or Alfred Williams or just come along to listen.
Sat 6 April*     Simon Coleman talk – ‘The London experience and how it affected Richard Jefferies.’       
Sat 11 May*    Ray (Badger) Walker will talk about his personal friendship with “BB”.
Sat 27 July      A Study Day. Jefferies’ Museum: 10.30am-4.30pm. Theme: Food and drink in Jefferies’ world.
Sat 2 Nov         AGM and Birthday Lecture. 10.30-4.30pm
* Meetings begin at 2.00pm in the Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon, SN3 6AA. Doors open at 1.00pm – an opportunity to look around the Museum. Park free at Coate Water, only 5 minutes walk away. Those with a disability can park at the Museum; space is limited – when the ground is firm there is plenty of room. Parking is also available in Dayhouse Lane and at the Sun Inn. Meetings are open to the public and free to attend.
From Swindon town centre (Fleming Way), there are several bus services that stop next to Coate Water roundabout. These include: Monday to Saturday - daytime: Numbers 13, 14, and 20.
The Museum is also open to the general public on the second Wednesday of the month from 10am to 4pm. From May to end of September, it is also open Sundays 2-5pm.
More information:
phone Hon Secretary on 01793 783040

Friday, October 05, 2012

Richard Jefferies Society Birthday Lecture 3rd November

Richard Jefferies was born on 6th November 1848. Each year the Richard Jefferies Society celebrate his birth with a Lecture as part of the Annual General Meeting.  This year Rebecca Welshman from the University of Exeter will speak on the subject of "Imagining Archaeology: nature and landscape in the work of Richard Jefferies."

The details are as follows:

Monday, July 16, 2012



SATURDAY 28th July 2012, 

Whether it was the agricultural labourer, shepherd, gamekeeper, tenant farmer or other worker, Richard Jefferies had much to say about their life and toil. The study day will explore Jefferies’ descriptions of the working man and woman and what conclusions we might draw about Jefferies’ views as he matured.

10.30 Doors open and refreshments.
11.00 Welcome and introductions by the Chairman.
11.15 Select a relevant piece of Jefferies’ writing or about Jefferies on the subject of the working man or woman to read to others. See notes.*
1.00-2.30 Lunch break. Bring a packed lunch or eat at the Sun Inn next door. RJS publications and second-hand books on sale. Opportunity to look around the Museum.
2.30 Prof. Roger Ebbatson will talk briefly about ‘Women in the Fields’.
Andrew Rossabi will address: The Labour Question. Did Jefferies’ views change about the agricultural labourer or did he write to suit his audience?
3.45 Refreshments.
4.15 Depart.

* Notes
Extracts selected for reading should be no more than about 5 minutes long. The choice of material is endless. The obvious sources for study include:
The Gamekeeper at Home
The Life of the Fields
Toilers of the Field
Landscape and Labour
Hodge and his Masters
Richard Jefferies: An Anthology by Matthews and Welshman.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gilbert White's Selborne


Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate
2pm • 12 May • Free! But please book via or 01793 783040

PETER BAINBRIDGE on Selborne: Gilbert White, Richard Jefferies, and others

Pioneering English naturalist Gilbert White (1720 – 1793) believed in identifying birds by observation rather than by collecting specimens. Following in this tradition of respect for nature, ‘local man’ Richard Jefferies (1848 – 1887) was invited to write the preface to the 1887 edition of White’s Selborne.

Owner of more than fifty editions of Selborne, Peter Bainbridge is a member of the Richard Jefferies Society.
The Museum will be open from 1pm, affording an opportunity for Festival-goers to learn more about Swindon’s best-known writer.