On 27 July 2010 10:33, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Just to add, Mike - AFAIK Burnt Norton isn't usually open to visitors - I recall once asking in Chipping Campden Tourist Office where it was and I might as well have been asking for directions to the far side of the Moon !
 
Recall tramping up and doen all the estate paths trying to find it, but doubtless I was looking for a big house, so missed what is - and looked like a smaller (albeit still imposing) private dwelling.
 
Might be better to try one of the future Summer Schools (cannot recommend the experience highly enough).
 
(Valerie Eliot herself pitched-up at the 2010 official opening, undertaken by Tom Stoppard, with whom she's clearly a good pal).

regards
 
David
 
 
On 27 July 2010 09:47, Mikemail <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Thanks for these observations David.  I would have been interested indeed in the T S Eliot room - I should have insisted on finding someone but I felt intrusive anyway reflecting the quiet, spiritual nature of the place.  I can understand that the Eliot connection might well be of less interest to the devotees, after all he was late on the scene! 
I am interested also in the George Herbert connection, again this was new to me.  My booklet is the guide to Little Gidding - there were several on display - I should have bought the other one which is a more developed work, perhaps you got that one.  I purchased some notelets and a couple of the Wyndham Lewis cards (mine now in poor condition)
 
Burnt Norton is on my list but probably not this trip. I think the Emily Hale lament was discussed in the group previously, I may be wrong, an interesting perspective. 
I have always felt that although Eliot worshipped at St Stephen's his spirituality was more monastic than High Church. I used to attend there myself, somewhat infrequently, but perhaps the monastic feel was more a reflection of myself, being attached for some years to Ampleforth.
 
 
 
I value your observations and intend to delve more into the Little Gidding history, incredible that Ted Hughes features.   One of these years I will get early release and attend the convention it seems to have been a wonderful experience.
 
Regards
Mike
 
 
 
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">David Boyd
To: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 10:17 AM
Subject: Re: Little Gidding

Sorry, Mike, just recalling snippets of the day as I write all this.
 
The inmates might indeed all have been at communal prayer - the lecturer on the day mentioned that this, and nightly / early morn. vigils have been observed since Ferrar's original time, especially by Nicholas himself, who was devout in the extreme.
But, unlike a monastery or the like, this was always optional, and a strict rota applied to sharing-out the vigils in order to ensure their health wasn't affected.
 
Ferrar himself though, is thought to have worn himself out as a result.
 
By coincidence, Ted Hughes was quite a direct descendant, on his mother's side, of Nicholas Ferrar.
On 27 July 2010 08:04, David Boyd <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Mike
 
You probably have the same booklet that I bought, if it contains forms of application to join the Friends as well as the TS Eliot Society, who were out in force on 17th. too.
 
I was struck by the redevelopment of many of the outbuildings since my last visit there which may have been 10 years+ ago, but the House looked essentially the same.
 
This is the house that was the former modest Home Farm, the original Little Gidding House having been a big mansion, now demolished.
 
At the time of the Hearth Tax in the 17th Century, apparently the House was assessed at 26 Hearths, so it was a substantial one !
 
There is a dedicated TS Eliot Room within the present house that contains a library of his works (many first editions) and other artefacts, but I very slightly get the impression that the Ferrar devotees slightly resent the TS Eliot notoriety, in that it tends to eclipse their spiritual aims and purpose.
 
But that's only a slight nuance - all seem to get along swimmingly, as they say,
 
I believe it's still possible to stay on a spiritual retreat in the House, which was converted for this purpose some time ago.
 
This is the website for the little Church
 
 
http://www.littlegiddingchurch.org.uk/index.html
 
 
Please let me know if you need any of the documentation.
 
regards
 
 
David
 
ps
 
Burnt Norton on the Sunday before was a delight too - again, the original mansion is long gone, but the descendants of the owners of the estate still live in a smaller property there, and were most welcoming indeed, on a beautiful summer day, in idyllic Cotswold surroundings.
 
Incidentally, there followed a spirited but I think a bit futile debate as to the extent to which Eliot's poem might have been something of a reflective personal lament re Emily Hale - maybe just one possible perspective, but, even if so, surely just one of very many ?
 
pps
 
At Little Gidding, the TSE Soc had on sale a new book by Barry Spurr of Sydney (Oz) Uni. about TSE's AngloCatholicism.
 
This was highly interesting to me, as it contains material derived from the author's interviews with George Every before he died and with Eliot's buddy co-worshipper at the South Kensington AngloCatholic church he frequented and where he was a ChurchWarden for many years. It also I think makes an important point that Eliot's AngloCatholicism is not to be confused with mere common or garden High Church Anglicanism.
 
If anyone else has any comments, would be most interested - Dr Spurr seems to

On 26 July 2010 22:38, Mikemail <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I thought you might have been there David, I saw the 17th July alas too late.
 I didn't know about George, I thought Eliot was just inspired when he visited there having been asked to criticise a play about Chas1st's visit. 
 
I'd be grateful to receive literature on this, to be studied when I get back to Saudi in September. I actually have an American colleague now who shares an interest.`
 
The place wasn't closed at all, the church was open, as was the house -there weren't any people!  I rang the bell inside etc and bought a few things, just left the money, took some photographs. I think now as it was about midday that they must have been at prayer, I believe there is hourly devotion.  Walked the grounds and spent time in the church.  Magical indeed, I bought the illustrated history guide, brief but comprehensive.
 
Regards
Mike
 
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">David Boyd
To: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 12:07 AM
Subject: Re: Little Gidding

Mike
 
It was a privilege a week or so ago to be here, as par of the 2010 TSE Int. Summer School at London Uni
 
 

Saturday, July 17

T.S. Eliot Festival, joint programme: reading of Little Gidding; lecture by Dr. Joyce Ransom, "Nicholas Ferrar and Little Gidding",the annual T.S. Eliot Society lecture: Jewel Spears Brooker, "Eliot, Wordsworth, and the Romantic Imagination"; panel discussion of the T.S.Eliot Editorial Project:John Haffenden, Ronald Schuchard, and volume editors; tea; return to London
 
 
You were unlucky to find the whole place closed on Sunday: I believe the church is only used for worship once a month, and there isn't a resident warden / caretaker for the house.
 
But there's an active Friends of Little Gidding organization, whose members 'performed' a reading of the poem, before Dr Ransom's lecture, in a marquee on the lawn.
 
I have some literature, picked-up that day, which I'd be happy to scan for you - please contact me directly if you'd like a copy.
 
It's a magical place, indeed.
 
ps
 
Although Eliot created the poem, it was from an 'original idea by' George Every, then an Anglican Monk at the SSM, Kelham, Notts., where TSE regularly visited for spiritual retreats and with whom he very regularly corresponded.
 
Poor old George, sadly, very rarely gets any credit whatsoever in all this !
 
regards
 
David
On 26 July 2010 19:54, Mikemail <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I visited Little Gidding on Sunday morning - quite a drive through the villages of Cambridgeshire (Huntingdon).  No one there, even in the retreat house...reacquainted with the history of the Ferrar family and Eliot's visit. 
I  had not realised there was a stained glass window in Clare College Chapel, Cambridge (visited Saturday) although I had been there before.
Little Gidding is indeed a place of quietness and spirituality, and well worth a visit.  I am reading through some of the history.  Perhaps David was there last month?
 
Mik



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