What a fantastic 40th Summer School weekend at Clun Memorial Hall, continuing our 50th anniversary celebrations. A time to also celebrate the centenary of the publication of Seven for a Secret and the wedding anniversary of Mary and Henry on 12th June 1912.
It was a joy to see old friends and new with a focus on “Seven for a Secret” published in 1922. This lesser known and perhaps less popular novel is set in the Clun Forest area. It was Mary’s attempt to increase sales by writing in a more modern popular style.
Our president Dr Gladys Mary Coles set the scene with a fascinating in-depth study of the novel outlining its strengths and weaknesses. This was followed by readings from the novel. By the end of this outstanding lecture we were able to reappraise the novel for the real sense of its borderland setting, beautiful nature descriptions, superb characterisation and rich in Shropshire dialogue and humour.
Gladys Mary and chairman Gordon Dickins followed up with beautiful images of the landscape of the novel prior to the afternoon’s coach trip of the border country to see it all for ourselves. Our driver from Forest coaches is to be congratulated for successfully navigating Clun Bridge and the narrow lanes. Gladys Mary excelled herself with her commentary pointing out the route taken by Mary and Henry in a Shawbury tub cart, as apart of Mary’s meticulous research for the novel. After a brief stop in Knighton (Weeping Cross in the novel) we returned to the hall for a welcome cuppa and slice of Sue Hotchkiss’ legendary cakes.
The day was extra special to welcome back three great nieces of Mary Webb, daughters of Donald Meredith, honorary vice president and son of Mary’s brother Douglas Meredith. It was very fitting that the girls stayed at Leighton Lodge, Mary’s birthplace.
On Sunday, 23 intrepid souls assembled at the Discovery Centre, Craven Arms for a walk in the landscape of the novel, ably led by Gordon Dickens. The walk took us through beautiful woodlands, across fields and over streams, taking in the site of Norton Camp hillfort and the remains of lime kilns. We passed the superb 13th century fortified manor house, Stokesay Castle before heading back to the Discovery Centre for a very welcome cuppa and, did I mention, more cake!
It was such a successful event in every way, thanks to the committee for all the hard work, our excellent caterer Jane Wilde and to Andrew Cox for his wonderful book sale. Last but not least our wonderful members for the warmth, enthusiasm and friendship you bring to every event.
Took place on Saturday, June 11, 2022, at Clun Village Hall Please note change of venue as unfortunately the Flaxmill was unavailable