The Mary Webb Society

The Birthday Lunch will be held at Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s Visitor Centre,

The Cut, 193 Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury SY2 6AH

This tranquil haven right in the heart of Shrewsbury will be an ideal location for our first event of the year.We are looking forward to a good turnout but numbers are limited to 40

Programme for the day

10.00 Tea/coffee. Welcome by Chairman Gordon Dickins

10.45 Talk by President Dr Gladys Mary Coles “Mary Webb The Naturalist”

Dr Coles, biographer of Mary Webb, poet and tutor of creative writing at Liverpool, John Moores University, is the acknowledged expert on the life and works of Mary Webb. We are privileged to have her as our president.

12.15 Buffet lunch provided by by our caterer Wendy Oakley

2.15 Talk by Tom Hughes   “Pilgrimage in Medieval Shropshire”

Taking inspiration from the setting and characters of ‘Armour Wherein He Trusted’, this talk will explore the importance of religion in medieval life and how pilgrimages were commonplace in those times.  The illustrated presentation uncovers what motivated people to undertake a pilgrimage, where they went, what they took with them, and what they brought back.  Tom Hughes has been studying pilgrimage history for many years and will explore some Shropshire examples as well as bringing a wide range of artefacts for society members to handle”.

Tom will also accompany the talk with a short performance on English bagpipes, a popular instrument of these pilgrims.

3.15 Coffee/Tea

4.00 Close of meeting

“Nature conservation begins at home. Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s headquarters in Shrewsbury includes a garden incorporating vegetable beds, climbing roses, a solar fountain, many interesting fruit trees and shrubs and a wooded area with spring bulbs. Wildflowers and other plants are on sale during spring and summer and the shop stocks a wide range of bird food and feeders along with numerous gift items and greeting cards”.

Our Birthday Lunch Event was a great success!
Our first event of the year was held at on Saturday 24th March 2018 at The Cut, Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s centre at Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury. This historic building surrounded by a delightful walled garden was a perfect venue and fitted so well with the themes of our speakers.
Dr Gladys Mary Coles set the scene with her talk entitled “Mary Webb The Naturalist.” The young Mary Meredith grew up in the Shropshire countryside and from an early age was fascinated by nature and the folklore of the county. Her beloved father was a considerable influence and helped to shape her knowledge and natural gifts. Her immersion in nature permeated and inspired her literary output and greatly impressed those in literary circles particularly during her time in London, eg Rebecca West, Walter De La Mare and Martin Armsrong.
It was through Armstrong that she was offered review work for The Spectator. This was mainly to review nature books which were popular after WW1. Gladys Mary described the reviews as being like “sitting with Mary” This little known aspect of her work provides a unique insight into the character of Mary Webb, showing the depth of her knowledge,her quest for accuracy but also her empathy for the writer. Reviews can be found in “Collected Poems and Prose” by Gladys Mary Coles.
After an excellent lunch by Wendy Oakley 33 members settled back to listen to an illustrated talk by member Tom Hughes.
In his talk called “Pilgrimage in Medieval Shropshire” Tom made reference to Mary’s final and unfinished novel set in the Medieval period: “Armour Wherein he Trusted”
Tom is an entertaining knowledgable speaker with the style of a true storyteller. We were taken on the pilgrim’s hazardous journey, complete with hat and props in their quest to reduce the long period in Purgatory.
The talk concluded with a performance on the bagpipes of a typical tune. Another of Tom’s many talents.
Thanks to all involved in making this event such a joyful and enlightening one.

Took place on Saturday, March 24, 2018, at The Cut Visitor Centre Shrewsbury

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