the powys society
Glen Cavaliero

Welcome to the official website of


the powys society
Timothy Hyman

The Newsletter The Journal Society Publications
The Collection

John Cowper Powys
T. F. Powys
Llewelyn Powys The Powys Family
john cowper powys t f powys
llewelyn powys
the powys family


The eleven children born to Charles Francis Powys, an Anglican clergyman, were a uniquely precocious family, one of the most significant in the cultural history of Britain, of whom the writers John Cowper Powys, T. F. Powys and Llewelyn Powys are the most famous. But they also included the architect and conservationist A. R. Powys, the artist Gertrude Powys, the lacemaker Marian Powys, the notable headmaster Littleton Powys and the poet and novelist Philippa Powys. Primarily, though not exclusively, the focus of the Society is on the three writing brothers; distinctively unique as both individuals and authors.

The Society, a registered charity, was founded to promote and encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of the writings of John Cowper, Theodore and Llewelyn Powys and to establish their true literary status.

The aims of The Powys Society are:
- To promote a wider general readership and stimulate scholarly study and discussion of the works of the Powys brothers
- To actively promote an expanded universe around the Powyses
- To provide a comprehensive and accurate resource on the life and works of the Powyses

If you are an admirer, an enthusiast, a reader, a scholar, or a student of anything Powysian, then this international society would like to hear from you, and welcomes your participation in its activities.


Membership benefits include:

- A membership pack on joining.

- An annual Journal devoted to the study of the life and works of John Cowper, Theodore and Llewelyn Powys plus three 50 page newsletters (March, July and November).

- The Society is active in promoting the life and works of the Powys family. Speakers are arranged for special events.

- Opportunities to meet fellow Powysians and those who share your interest.

- An annual weekend conference and Powys Days.  JOIN US


Visit The Powys Society Facebook page:

2018 NEWS

has just published the Autumn/Winter edition of their biannual Newsletter.
Read more on the NEWS page here.

Announcing the publication of



Edited with an Introduction by Chris Gostick

in paperback at 10.00

powys and lord jim, the powys societypowys and lord jim, james hanley, john cowper powys, the powys society

Launched at this year’s Powys Society Conference  (10th to 12th August)

A riveting must-read from beginning to end.
Anyone remotely interested in John Cowper Powys should not hesitate to acquire a copy!

Forthcoming publication (October 2018):

The Discovery of John Cowper Powys
by Tim Blanchard

powysland, john cowper powys, tim blanchard

“Very few writers create a world of their own. John Cowper Powys was one of this select company, and the world he fashioned is like nothing else in literature. Anyone who wants to explore this strange, magical and yet somehow earthily realistic alternative reality should begin by reading Powysland.

For further information on POWYSLAND visit the Publishing News page



Grevel Lindop Saving Mid-Century Britain: Arthurian Themes in the Work of John Cowper Powys and Charles Williams 
David Goodway Gerald Brennan (1894-1987): Bloomsbury, Gamel Woolsey and Spain 
Ray Crozier Patchin Place: an Alsatia for the hunted’
Elliot Murphy Anarchy and Identity: on Power and Loneliness in the Works of John Cowper Powys
Hilary Newman Clergymen in the Novels of T.F. Powys
Louise de Bruin Mary Cowper Powys: Letters to Her Sister Dora, Part Two (1891-1910)
Stephen Powys Marks The Wedding of Two Powyses — and a photographic miracle 
Charles Lock 
Ancestral Lines | Diary of a Stroke | Ditch Vision | Under the Quarry Woods
David Goodway
‘A New Type of History’ Fictional proposals for dealing with the past 
Charles Lock 
She Shall Have Music

Published August 2018

30 June 2018: It is with great sadness that we report the death of JEFF KWINTNER founder of the Village Press which reissued so many works by John Cowper Powys in the 1970s. A truly remarkable individual to whom all Powysians owe a debt of gratitude, directly or indirectly, a short notice will feature in the July Newsletter and fuller tributes and an obituary of Jeff will appear in the November Newsletter. In the meantime you may wish to read JEFF KWINTNER AND THE VILLAGE BOOKSHOP by Paul Roberts here:

The Powys Society NEWSLETTER

July 2018: The Powys Society Newsletter No. 94
(48 pages) is now available to all Society members.

powys society newsletter 94 (july 2018), the powys society

March 2018: The Powys Society Newsletter No. 93

(48 pages) is also available to all Society members.

powys society newsletter 93 (march 2018)

Llewelyn Powys Birthday Walk
Monday August 13th 2018

llewelyn powys birthday walk, the sailor's return, east chaldon
LLEWELYN Birthday Walk August 2018 at The Sailor's Return

llewelyn powys birthday walk, llewelyn's stone
LLEWELYN Birthday Walk August 2018 at Llewelyn's Stone

(Both photos courtesy of Janice Gregory -- more to follow)

Details of three Powys Society events for 2018 are listed below.
Two Powys Days for 2018

Saturday 28 April

The Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery,

at 25 St Mary’s Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire

john cowper powys, a glastonbury Romance, the powys society
Aspects of A Glastonbury Romance
A Discussion led by Kevin Taylor

Committee member Kevin Taylor will lead a discussion of A Glastonbury Romance, Chapter 15, Mark’s Court, as well as a discussion of the character of Cordelia as she appears, in selected passages, throughout the novel.
According to his diary JCP commenced writing Chapter 15 of A Glastonbury Romance in early January 1931: “Wrote my Mark’s Moor Court chapter about Mr Geard in Merlin’s chamber and Lady Rachel and all. This is because the T.T. required a certain element of Romance which so far had not appeared among the solid bourgeois characters of this book!” (diary, 7 January 1931). This is one of JCP’s “clue” chapters providing some deep insights into Mr Geard’s complex identity and his unorthodox Christian beliefs. The chapter, which is set on Easter Day, has been called, by one critic, “one of the great climaxes of the book”. Our President, Glen Cavaliero, has also described Mr Geard as “one of JCP’s supreme creations”. This is a judgement which is perfectly demonstrated in this chapter. It is also a chapter which also demonstrates JCP’s genius for comedy and irony. Our discussion will give us an opportunity to look in detail at JCP’s ability to evoke the shifting margins of human consciousness, through an analysis of the figure of Mr Geard, and how this effects his character’s perceptions of the world. We will examine the significance of Mr Geard’s apparent encounter with the supernatural, the meaning of his “Christ supported nature”, his powers of psychic projection, his double nature - he blesses the unquiet spirit in the haunted room of King Mark: “Christ have mercy on you”, yet JCP also refers to the “diabolic intensity of his dark eyes”; we will examine Mr Geard’s sudden sense of illumination and his recognition of the Grail which occurs at the conclusion of the chapter. We will also look at how JCP realises his intention for Mr Geard as outlined in his diary: “Mr Geard must think of the secret of real life beyond the spectacular world.” Other diary entries in early January 1931(see the complete diary published by Jeffrey Kwintner in 1990) provide some very useful references to the evolution of JCP’s ideas about Mr Geard. In our discussion of Cordelia as a character, we will examine some selected passages about Cordelia throughout the whole book, referring to JCP’s psychological insights into her personality, focusing, for instance, on Chapter 7, Carbonek, in the scene on Chalice Hill and at the great oaks; on Chapter 25, Conspiracy, in the scene of Cordelia’s marriage to Owen Evans where she overhears the murder plot discussed in the ruined chantry; and Chapter 29, The Iron Bar, in the scene in which she exorcises a worm. A comprehensive reading list, with page references, of selected passages about Cordelia has been prepared by Kevin Taylor and can be provided in advance of the meeting to help aid discussion. Please contact Hon. Secretary for a copy of the reading list if you wish to attend the meeting.
The meeting will take place at The Old Fire Engine House, restaurant and art gallery, at 25 St Mary’s Street, Ely, which is located near the Cathedral. We will meet in the upstairs sitting room at 10.30 for coffee and welcome. Discussion of Chapter 15 will begin at 11.00. Lunch, which is optional, will be available from 12.00 to 13.00. We will recommence our discussion after lunch with a study of Cordelia as a character.

Saturday 7 July

The Library, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

(i) The Powyses and Patchin Place, New York
An illustrated talk by Ray Crozier
JCP’s relationships with Phyllis, Llewelyn,
Alyse Gregory, and Gamel Woolsey during his
five year residence at Patchin Place.

llewelyn powys & alyse gregory at patchin place


(ii) First Impressions A Parallel Reading of two short stories:
Nor Iron Bars
by T. F. Powys and A Friend in Need by W. Somerset Maugham.

A talk by John Williams
. . . in which “We may also discover that Powys and Maugham have more in common than we might first have thought.”

t f powys            somerset maugham

At 10.30 for 11.00 start, Ray Crozier will present an illustrated talk on The Powyses and Patchin Place, New York. Refreshments will be provided.
Ray will look at JCP’s relationships with Phyllis, Llewelyn, Alyse Gregory, and Gamel Woolsey during his five year residence at Patchin Place as well as the wider historical background of this locality of New York, including the social and cultural context of Patchin Place, its place in the history of New York bohemian artistic and literary life in the 1920s, and its significance in JCP’s biography as a place of refuge and retreat for writing. Ray will also refer to other neighbours, writers, friends, colleagues and relatives who either made visits to the Powyses or were residents there. There are memorable descriptions of Patchin Place in JCP’s Autobiography, An Englishman Upstate, Farewell to America, JCP’s letters to Phyllis and Llewelyn and in his short story The Owl, the Duck, and Miss Rowe, Miss Rowe! Members may also wish to consult a useful booklet in the Powys Heritage series published by Cecil Woolf in 2002, called We Lived in Patchin Place by Boyne Grainger, edited by Tony Head. See also Patrick Quigley’s article on Patchin Place in la lettre powysienne, No.19, printemps 2010.

After lunch at 2.00pm, John Williams will lead a discussion entitled First Impressions A Parallel Reading of two short stories, Nor Iron Bars by T. F. Powys, and, A Friend in Need by W. Somerset Maugham. John asks “Have you ever been caught out (for better or for worse) by discovering that your first impression of someone was ill-informed?” He says that “Nor Iron Bars and A Friend in Need are very different stories by two very different kinds of writer. What these stories have in common is the way they set out to surprise us with unexpected and thought-provoking aspects of the characters of their major protagonists, Joseph Turvey (TFP) and Edward Hyde Burton (Somerset Maugham). By sharing our responses to these stories we will be able to appreciate ways in which both writers are masters of the genre. We may also discover that Powys and Maugham have more in common than we might first have thought. Although you may end up with a preference for one or other of these stories, the intention is not to decide which is best, they are too different for that to be helpful!” TFP’s story Nor Iron Bars was first published in the collection called The House with the Echo in 1928. Somerset Maugham’s story has a more complicated history. It was written under the title A Friend in Need in 1924 and published in Hearst’s International Magazine combined with Cosmopolitan in April 1925 (USA) and in Nash’s Magazine (UK) in August 1925 under the title The Man Who Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly. It subsequently appeared in book form in a collection of magazine stories called Cosmopolitans in 1936 under the original title of A Friend in Need. John has compiled a list of subjects for discussion at the meeting. If you would like a copy of this list please notify Hon Secretary who will also send you a pdf file of each story. A Friend in Need is widely available in the Collected Short Stories of Somerset Maugham, Vol. 2, published by Vintage.

John Williams
was Professor of literary studies at the University of Greenwich from 2006 until his recent retirement. He has published numerous articles on TFP which have appeared in past issues of the Newsletter, the Powys Review and the Powys Journal. John has also written a biography of Wordsworth as well as books on English poetry. He presented talks on TFP at our conferences in 1995 and 2004 and led a TFP study day in Dorchester in 2005. John was editor of the Powys Journal between 1997 and 1999 and was Chairman of the Powys Society in 2000/2001.

Both events are free and everyone is welcome. A charge will be made for optional lunch at Ely and Dorchester. A contribution towards the cost of refreshments at both events would be very much appreciated. If you plan to attend either or both of these events please notify Hon. Secretary Chris Thomas in advance.

, 2018

The Wessex Hotel, Street, Nr Glastonbury

Friday 10th to Sunday 12th August
‘a wild activity of thoughts’

In A Glastonbury Romance, Mr Geard declares, “Thought is a real thing. It is a live thing; it creates; it destroys; it begets...” Mr Geard seems to reflect JCP’s own conception in Autobiography that “Thoughts are of the utmost importance and have the power of projecting impalpable eidola.”

The title of this year’s conference, which has been adapted from one of Coleridge’s letters to his friend Tom Wedgwood, is intended to convey the intensity of the creative lives of JCP, TFP, and Llewelyn. There is indeed much passion, wisdom and humour, as well as thinking, in all the writings of the Powyses. The mysterious transition from inner thought and idea to concrete word and image is a repeated theme that will be explored in the talks at this year’s conference. Our speakers will focus on specific works by JCP, as well as TFP and Llewelyn, to elicit the primacy of thinking and imaginative forces in their writing.

Our speakers will also closely scrutinise the structure and meaning of individual passages and paragraphs in the fiction and non fiction of the Powyses. Charles Lock will analyse some key passages in the chapter Maundy Thursday in A Glastonbury Romance and will discuss differing responses to JCP’s style of writing; Anthony O’Hear will examine questions of illusion and reality, including the relation of the subjective mind to objective reality in Wolf Solent; Nicholas Birns will delve deeply into selected passages in works by JCP, TFP and Llewelyn; and Taliesin Gore will present the findings of his undergraduate dissertation on ideas about pan-psychism in Wolf Solent and A Glastonbury Romance.  

john cowper powys, wolf solent, the powys society

On Saturday afternoon, there will be an opportunity to explore places associated with A Glastonbury Romance that are located within easy walking distance from the centre of Glastonbury. Ray Cox has devised a guided tour of the town visiting places named in the john cowper powys, a glastonbury Romance, the powys societynovel, including the Tor, with readings in situ at each place. Alternatively members can either begin at Stonedown, following in the footsteps of the Dekkers, or take a tour by car to Pennard Lane, and Redlake Farm, and then join a guided walk to Whitelake river, “the marshlands of Queen’s Sedgmoor”, and the possible location of Whitelake Cottage, near a tow path and small river weir, which are all described in chapter 5 of A Glastonbury Romance. Members will be provided with local maps and a list of references to the readings.

On Saturday evening we have arranged a panel discussion of A Glastonbury Romance. The event, chaired by Timothy Hyman, will include short presentations by Paul Cheshire, John Hodgson and Anthony O’Hear. Members are invited to participate in the discussion and contribute their views of JCP’s novel.

Giles Dawson, the son of artist, sculptor, and poet, Patricia Vaughan Dawson (1925-2013), has organised a small display of his mother’s sculptures, prints and coloured etchings, inspired by JCP’s novels, which can be viewed during the course of Sunday. Giles will also present a short introduction to Patricia’s work after the AGM on Sunday morning. The works on display will include Patricia’s illustrations to The Brazen Head and Porius. Some of these works have been reproduced in the Powys Society Newsletter, No.33, and in articles in the Powys Review, Nos 4 and 21.

CONFERENCE 2018 Booking Form

Download here


We collect personal data which you submit to us when you join the Powys Society.
What kind of personal data do we hold?
We collect title, name, postal address, post code, telephone number, and e-mail address for each member of the Society. We also collect and retain records of any questions or enquiries you send to the Society by letter. We hold this data for the purpose of record keeping and to enable us to send you Newsletters and the Powys Journal which are sent as part of your annual membership subscription.
Data Storage
All personal data about our membership is stored on two data files: a simple list of names and addresses in a Word document file and an Excel spreadsheet detailing postal address, postcode, telephone number, e-mail address, information about when each member joined the Society, date when details may have been changed, confirmation of annual subscription payments and usual payment method. This file also indicates status of members – whether they are an Honorary member or whether they make annual subscription payments.
Membership data files are stored on a secure central database.  
How we manage personal data
We do not share, transfer, sell or exchange personal data we hold with a third party, other web sites or other external bodies for commercial, marketing or market research purposes. We may periodically share contact details between members and committee members but only for the purpose of internal official business. We occasionally publish a list of the names and addresses of members of the Society. This is sent on restricted circulation to paid-up members only. The list states that the contents may only be disclosed to members of the Society and may only be used in connection with the objectives of the Society as set out in the Constitution of the Powys Society. We also invite all new members to inform Hon. Secretary if they do not wish their personal data to appear in the published list of members.
How we use personal data
We use personal data to enable us to send members Newsletters, three times per year, and the annual Powys Journal. We use the Newsletter to invite members to comment on projects and initiatives of the Society and to get in touch with the Powys Society committee on any matters that are of concern to them. We do not separately use personal data to send unsolicited mail or appeal for contributions. We may occasionally use personal data to communicate direct with members, by post or e-mail, to provide information about our events and our activities.
Links to other websites
The Powys Society website includes links to other web sites of related interest. We are not responsible for information you may provide to other web sites.
Your rights
You may request details of personal information we hold about you.

Updating your information
If you consider any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the address below. We will immediately correct any information found to be in error.

Notifying the Powys Society you do not wish to be contacted or have your personal data published in the membership list circulated to other members
If you do not wish the Powys Society to communicate with you by post or e-mail or have your contact details published in the membership list sent to members please inform Hon. Secretary at the address below.
Chris Thomas
Hon. Secretary
The Powys Society
Mailing address:
87 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AG

2017 Events


Saturday 2 December 2017


the religion of a sceptic     john cowper powys, gertrude mary powys. powys society
                                        [First edition front Cover, 1925]

A London Meeting
Saturday, 2 December 2017
at The Friends Meeting House, 120 Heath Street, Hampstead
at 2pm for 2.30 start

The Society's Chairman

will give a talk on John Cowper Powys'

Followed by open discussion

bunhill fields friends meeting house, john cowper powys, the powys society

All are welcome.
The event is free with refreshments provided after the discussion.

"Here we are — confronted by this sublime and horrible universe —  with only one brief life at our disposal, and what must our bemused, bewildered minds do but rush blindfold over the crude surface of experience, taking everything for granted and finding nothing extraordinary in what we see. Extraordinary? We are surrounded by things that are staggering; by things that are so miraculously lovely that you feel they might dissolve at a touch; and by things so unbearably atrocious that you feel you would go mad if you thought of them for more than a flicker of a second." — John Cowper Powys

The realm of John Cowper Powys is dangerous. The reader may wander for years in this parallel universe, entrapped and bewitched, and never reach its end. There is always another book to discover, another work to reread. Like Tolkien, Powys has invented another country, densely peopled, thickly forested, mountainous, erudite, strangely self-sufficient. This country is less visited than Tolkien's, but it is as compelling, and it has more air.” Margaret Drabble

From AUTOBIOGRAPHY by John Cowper Powys:

“I have tried to write my life as if I were confessing to a priest, a philosopher, and a wise old woman. I have tried to write it as if I were going to be executed when it was finished. I have tried to write it as if I were both God and Devil.”


One is tempted to say only John Cowper Powys could have written that, and, beyond doubt, only John Cowper Powys could have written the idiosyncratic and spellbinding work we have here. Yes, he was influenced by Yeats and Rousseau, especially the latter’s Confessions, but there is no other work quite like this. It seems almost too pedestrian to say it covers the first sixty years of his life (he lived for another thirty years) and to say anything about them, as J. B. Priestley memorably put it, “would be like turning on a tap before introducing people to Niagara Falls.” J. B. Priestley also said “It is a book which can be read, with pleasure and profit, over and over again. It is in fact one of the greatest autobiographies in the English language. Even if Powys had never written any novels, this one book alone would have proved him to be a writer of genius.”

The Powys Society Conference, 2017
The Hand Hotel, Bridge Street, Llangollen
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August

the hand hotel, llangollen, powys society conference

In 1909, Mrs Rodolph Stawell, made a journey, by car, through Wales at a time when there must have been very few other motorists. She described Llangollen in her book, Motor Tours in Wales:a little town that owes its charm entirely to its is an entrancing place.’ In the eighteenth century the English naturalist, William Bingley, also toured Wales, and observed the view of Llangollen from a distance ‘with its church and elegant bridge romantically embosomed in mountains.’ When JCP arrived in Llangollen in May 1935, on the way to his new home in Corwen, he was at first unimpressed. He wrote in his diary that he thought Llangollen was: ‘a grievous disappointment...we shall not return.’ However on that first visit he was also very much impressed by the river Dee and instantly remembered, appropriately, a line from Milton’s Lycidas, 'where Deva spreads her wizard stream'. He stared, transfixed, at the ruins of Dinas Bran and prayed for the soul of Owen Glendower. JCP’s veneration for the subject of his new novel, which he was already thinking about, connects with a fragment of verse by Shelley: ‘Great Spirit whom the sea of boundless thought nurtures within its imagined caves...’ Of course JCP did return to Llangollen many times. He loved the town and its surroundings reversing his original impression. For this year’s conference we also return to Llangollen and the friendly hospitality of the Hand Hotel in its picturesque position overlooking the Dee. Famous guests who have stayed here, in the past, have included Darwin, Wordsworth, Browning, Scott and Shaw.

Speakers: David Goodway, David Stimpson, Patrick Quigley and Grevel Lindop.
  Full details, including the Conference Booking Form, can be viewed on the Conference 2017 webpage

Visit The Powys Society Facebook page:


The Discovery of John Cowper Powys
by Tim Blanchard
Few writers have tickets for the express train. Those that do ride smoothly on the rails of great literatureever after, sitting back in the carriages of the canon club: Hardy, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf, Tolkien - the names which a hundred years on have the redolence of luxury brands and some of the same hard coating of gloss. One of their contemporaries, John Cowper Powys, is an example of what can go wrong, what happens when a potential giant ends up trundling into the backwoods on a branch line.
There's standing room only on Powys's train, carriage after carriage of ...

powysland the discovery of john cowper powys, tim blanchard, the sundial press


john cowper powys, porius

Saturday 29 April

Old Fire Engine House (restaurant and art gallery), 25 St. Mary’s Street, Ely
A report in Newsletter No 91

Thursday 15 June

Exeter University, Old Library, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, Devon

A report in Newsletter No 91

Further information of both the above events on the News and Events webpage

The Powys Society Newsletter

powys society newsletter 91, the powys society (2017)

July 2017: The Powys Society Newsletter No. 91
is now available to all Society members.

From THE TWELVE MONTHS by Llewelyn Powys


The Ploughboy is whoopinganonanon; There’s joy in the mountains;
There’s life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing.
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

IT WAS THE ROMANS WHO GAVE MARCH its name, calling it Martius after their favourite god Mars. For centuries March had the honour of being the first month of the Roman calendar, the month which, owing to the breaking up of the winter, appeared to these men of war to offer a fresh opportunity of prosecuting their military campaigns. The Saxons, a people less occupied with thoughts of bloodshed, called the month Lencten-Monath, a Length-month, because they observed that it was during its four weeks that the day became longer than the night. The word Lent is an abbreviation of this word Lencten. Our fathers were fond of alluding to the month as ‘March, many weathers’, and there is no doubt that it was the variable character of this transitional period of the year that gave rise to the old saying ‘March comes in like a lion but goes out like a lamb’. As a matter of fact, the bitter winds of which the ailing and the aged complain have a very important part to play in the husbandry of the seasons. The arable lands have grown sodden after the cold winter sleets, and these brisk, drying winds rouse the dull clods out of their hibernating inertia preparing them for the spring sowing.

From John o’Groats to Land’s End you will not persuade a single farmer to abuse the winds of March. They appreciate their value too well, and their opinion is confirmed by a score of proverbs they have had pat from the Ups of their fathers: ‘A peck of March dust is worth a King’s ransom.’ ‘A dry March never begs his bread.’

Upon St. David’s Day

Put oats and barley in the clay.

Men of peace delight to associate the month of March with St. David rather than with the Roman God of war. St. David was uncle to Arthur, the fairy king. His birth was prophesied for thirty years before the event took place, though strange to say even this long foreknowledge in no way prevented the saint from entering the world a little crookedly, for, though eighteenth in honourable descent from the Blessed Virgin, St. David made his appearance upon earth as the bastard child of a Welsh princess. Before the Reformation the following collect referring to this miraculous prediction was regularly read on St. David’s Day in the old church of Sarum: ‘O God, who by thy angel did foretell thy blessed Confessor St. David, thirty years before he was bom, grant unto us we beseech thee, that celebrating his memory we may, by his intercession, attain to joys everlasting.’

St. David had for his diet bread, vegetables, milk, and water, and it was perhaps on this account that he lived to a great age. He built Glastonbury Abbey and caused the waters of Bath to become hot. Often when he preached the very ground upon which he stood would heap itself into a kind of natural pulpit, and always a white dove would settle itself upon his shoulder. St. Kentigem is said to have seen his soul being borne to heaven on the wings of angels. We are told that St. David, while on earth, loved to listen to the birds’ sweet voices ‘among the untrodden grass’. Long after his death a boy had his hand miraculously riveted to the branch of a tree for having dared to trouble a wood-pigeon that was building her careless nest of sticks near where the bones of the Saint lay buried.

There is an old saying which declares ‘Davyd of Wales loveth well Lekes’, and although the Saxons have never been tired of making sport of this national badge—‘Tell him, I’ll knock his leek about his pate upon St. Davie’s Day’—there is good evidence to show that the historic emblem had its origin in no insignificant back kitchen brawl, but was rather a Druidic symbol derived from the Phoenician priesthood who at Byblos were accustomed to exhibit leeks in pots as sure tokens of the approach of the spring, calling these pots in their ritual ‘gardens of Adonis’. It is clear the Welshman must never expect understanding from ‘creeping Saxons’. There remains always the ‘pathos of difference’ between the two races. In the seventeenth century the hostility of the English was still so strong that Pepys in his Diary records seeing on St. David’s Day a Welshman in effigy hung by the neck and left to dangle outside a London shop window. How beautiful, how tragic, and how true sound the words of Merlin’s prophecy: ‘Their Lord they will praise, their speech they shall keep, their land they shall lose—except wild Wales.’

It would be well, indeed, if the example of St. David with regard to the care of birds was remembered by every little boy in the spring, so that throughout England and Wales never more than one egg would be taken from a nest. For it is in March that the birds first begin to lay their eggs. In every shire of England the hedgerows give shelter to nurseries, firm and round as porridge bowls, of nesting thrushes. I can never look at the purple buds of the elder-trees breaking into leaf without their rank smell recalling to me the happy days of my childhood, as if the very breath of those far-off celandine mornings was again upon the air. For there are sights to be seen in our wayside ditches at that time that might well bring tears to the eyes of a dying man. How fresh everywhere is the green of the lords and ladies, and how feathery fair the hedge parsley—the dog violets and the white violets, and the wild blue violets—‘sweeter than the lids of Juno’s eyes!’ This is the month when the meadows first begin to be powdered with daisies, as yet not growing thick enough for a hobnailed boot to cover nine of them together; indeed scarce thick enough for the indoor slipper of a little girl, running out on the lawn before breakfast, to press a quincunx. Chaucer tells us that he often lay upon the grass so that he might watch the white corona of the daisies’ dainty petals fold up in the vernal twilight. It was a pastime worthy of so great a poet, for to an imaginative and understanding mind the mystery of life finds a revelation in such a sensitive response from the common grass we tread upon:

To see this flower, how it will go to rest.

For fear of night, so hateth it the darkness.

All last year I fed a pair of blue tits, and then suddenly they disappeared from the garden. Evidendy the notion had already got into their little heads that a treeless down was no good place for bringing up a family. Many a fortunate fife’s partnership has had its beginning during the weeks of this month. There is romance in the air. The petals of the early fruit-trees carry it with their delicate white hands.

She is walking in the meadow.
And the woodland echo rings;

In a moment we shall meet.

THE TWELVE MONTHS by Llewelyn Powys


The full contents of the inventory of the Powys Society Collection, now located at Exeter University, are available to view below.
All files (which open in a new tab or window) are available to read in PDF format. 


Articles and Books About

Books by

Contributions to
Periodicals & Books

Ex Libris

to other books







Articles and Books About

Books by

Contributions to
other books

Ex Libris


Manuscripts (Bissell Gift)
Manuscripts (Feather Gift)


Periodical Publications



Articles and Books About

Book Reviews

Books by

Contributions to
Periodicals & Books

Ex Libris






Books by

Elizabeth MYERS


A.R. (Bertie) POWYS


Francis POWYS

Books, Articles, etc
Ex Libris


The Powys Circle

From The Powys Press (2016)
  Llewelyn Powys: A Consumptive’s Diary, 1911
   Edited by Peter Foss
   The Powys Press

llewelyn powys recalled to life, the powys society By the spring of 1911, the writer Llewelyn Powys (1884-1939) – then only 26 – had spent eighteen months at a Swiss sanatorium, being treated for the tuberculosis which the previous year had nearly killed him. Still frail, he returned to England, and to Montacute, the Somerset home of his family, where his father had been vicar for 26 years. This homecoming, which Powys first described in his remarkable book Skin for Skin (1925), was fraught with ambiguities, partly occasioned by his confirmed espousal of a neo-pagan philosophy which turned him against the religion of his forebears. Here, in Somerset, he ‘came into his own’, regaining his strength and rediscovering anew the beautiful landscape of his boyhood. This was characterised by a determination to extract joy from every passing moment. He cultivated a visionary response to Nature, relished erotic sensations, and enthusiastically indulged his friendships – especially with his brother John Cowper Powys. This ‘eternal flow of life’, as he called it, was a panacea and, through the writing of this diary, provided ‘food for future years’. Continuing and expanding the narrative account, Powys’s 1911 diary charts in candid detail his longings, his friendships, his reading, the poetry he loved and the letters he received. He writes of his walks in the countryside of south Somerset, imbibing at inns, encountering wayfarers, luxuriating in the natural world – and all this in one of the glorious summers of the twentieth century, when temperatures famously reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. In the words of Siegfried Sassoon, it seemed to all ‘a summer of commingled happiness’. But 1911 was also a year of dramatic social and political upheavals that were changing the age-old ways of life, rendering the experience of this year a kind of ‘timeless moment’ – and that is how Powys later re-imagined it in writings such as Love and Death (1939). With the insidious disease always in the background, the 1911 diary conveys vividly what it was like still to live life to the full in the last throes of Edwardian England before The Great War swept so much away.

RECALLED TO LIFE was launched at the 2016 conference
Within the UK: 10.00
Outside UK price: 15.00
Please send your cheque, made payable to the Powys Society, to:
Hon Secretary, Chris Thomas, at 87 Ledbury Road, London, W11 2AG

llewelyn powys, sherborne School
Llewelyn Powys at Sherborne School

Selected articles

Digital editions of THE POWYS JOURNAL
A Visit to The National Library of Wales
Reminiscences  of John Cowper Powys in the late 1920s by Albert S. Krick (PDF file)
A minor, difficult masterpiece by T. F. Powys

john cowper powys, henry miller, proteus and the magician
The Letters of Henry Miller and John Cowper Powys
(click on image above)

the powys journal volume xx, the powys society
Digital version available to read online
(click on image above)

john cowper powys, dorchester wall plaque
john cowper powys, the dorset year

the life of john cowper powys

John Cowper Powys
wall plaque in High West Street,
Dorchester, Dorset
The Diary of John Cowper Powys
(June 1934 to June 1935)

the powys brothers books, the powys society

"A genius - a fearless writer, who writes with reckless passion." - Margaret Drabble on John Cowper Powys

The one author I could not live without is John Cowper Powys.” – Bernard Cornwell

"Llewelyn Powys is one of those rare writers who teach endurance of life as well as its enjoyment." - Philip Larkin

"Theodore Powys wrote extraordinary fables of English country life. Bloomsbury admirers hailed them as the singular works of a dark and brooding genius." - P. Wright

"Theodore Powys, the brother of Llewelyn, is a rare person." - T. E. Lawrence

“I touch here upon what is to me one of the profoundest philosophical mysteries: I mean the power of the individual mind to create its own world, not in complete independence of what is called "the objective world," but in a steadily growing independence of the attitudes of the minds toward this world. For what people call the objective world is really a most fluid, flexible, malleable thing. It is like the wine of the Priestess Bacbuc in Rabelais. It tastes differently; it is a different cosmos, to every man, woman, and child. To analyse this "objective world is all very well, as long as you don't forget that the power to rebuild it by emphasis and rejection is synonymous with your being alive.” — John Cowper Powys

“Even though we waves lie for centuries in the deeps of the waters, so deeply buried that no man could think that we should ever rise, yet as all life must come to the surface again and again, awakening each time from a deep sleep as long as eternity, so we are raised up out of the deeps high above our fellows, to obey the winds, to behold the sky, to fly onwards, moving swiftly, to complete our course, break and sink once more.

  We, who are waves, know you, who are men, only as another sea, within which every living creature is a little wave that rises for a moment and then breaks and dies. Our great joy comes when we break, yours when you are born, for you have not yet reached that sublime relationship with God which gives the greatest happiness to destruction.” T.F. Powys 

 "No sight that the human eyes can look upon is more provocative of awe than is the night sky scattered thick with stars.” — Llewelyn Powys

glastonbury tor

Montacute Vicarage

durdle door
Glastonbury Tor
Montacute Vicarage Durdle Door

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