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Companions' Days

The next Companions' Day will take place in the village of Westmill, near Buntingford, Hertfordshire, on Saturday, 24th June 2017.

Saturday, 24th June, 1130-1500
Westmill Village Hall, nr Buntingford, SG9 9LJ

Please book your place by emailing Martin Green
Space is very limited so please book early.

1100 Arrival. Parking has been made available on the field adjacent to the Church.
1130 Introductions by Guild of St George and T & M Greg Trust.
1200 A talk by Liz Mitchell (see below).
1300 Lunch (for a discretionary donation) served at the Children's Playground marquee.
1400 A short talk on architect and Companion Charles Spooner (1862-1938) by his biographer Alec Hamilton, followed by a village tour, including a visit to the Greg memorials at Westmill Church.

We hope to be able to offer for purchase a small number of copies of Mr Hamilton’s lavishly illustrated study, Charles Spooner: Arts and Crafts Architect (2012).

Mary Hope Greg was one of the Guild’s most generous Conpanions. Thanks to her bequest, the Guild still owns seven residential properties and the Tea Rooms in the village today, as well as Mrs Greg’s own beautiful, amateur nature diaries which form part of the Ruskin Collection housed at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield.  The Greg family’s de facto estate architect, Charles Spooner, was also a Companion who lived in Westmill and executed his work along lines influenced by Ruskin.

The Companions’ Day is an opportunity to see the beautiful Hertfordshire village of Westmill, where the Guild remains a palpable presence today. You can learn about the lives and endeavours of two compellingly interesting Companions from experts in their subjects. It is also a chance to meet local residents and representatives of Westmill’s key groups such as the T & M Greg Trust, Westmill Parish Council and the Friends of Westmill Church.

We hope to see many of you there, but places are limited, so please book early to avoid disappointment. First come, first served.

GETTING THERE: Westmill is near Buntingford and is most easily reached by car from the A10. The nearest mainline railways stations are Hertford North, Hertford East and Stevenage. Taxis are available outside all three stations.

Treasuring things of the least’: Mary Hope Greg of Westmill
A talk by Liz Mitchell

Mary Hope Greg (1850-1949) was a lifelong follower of John Ruskin, and a Companion of Ruskin's Guild of St George.

She was a passionate supporter of museums during the early 20th century, giving collections of domestic crafts and children’s toys to Manchester City Art Galleries and London’s Bethnal Green Museum. She established her own museum in the Hertfordshire village of Westmill as a memorial to her late husband, fellow collector and local landowner Thomas Tylston Greg. She later set up the T&M Greg Trust to preserve land and property in the village for future generations. She was also a keen amateur naturalist and watercolour painter, recording the changing seasons of the Hertfordshire countryside in her nature diaries, now in the collections of the Guild. She did most of this between the ages of 70 and 99.

Until recently, however, little was really known about her life. In this talk, Liz Mitchell shares the latest findings of her PhD research into Mrs Greg. She provides fascinating insights into the development of Mrs Greg's dedication to Ruskin from her early life in Liverpool as a member of a family of wealthy philanthropists, through to the diverse achievements of her old age.

Click on the image (left) for full-size poster.

You can read an article about Mary Greg which Liz wrote for a past issue of The Companion.

*   *   *

Friday June 10th — Saturday June 11th.

2016 marked the 80th anniversary of the gift by Margaret Knight of St George’s Field, a wildflower meadow in the Gloucestershire village of Sheepscombe.

The visit will start on Friday, June 10th. It will include a short talk about the history of the field, a guided walk with Companion Professor David Ingram and Natural England’s Kate Gamez. This will culminate in the unveiling of a new sign to commemorate 80 years of the field being in the Guild’s care. Commissioned by the Guild, it has been made of Wyre oak by carpenter Mac Wassell, with lettering by Robert Cox.  Companions are invited to a buffet dinner that evening at the Ruskin Studio at Uncllys Farm on Ruskin Land near Bewdley in the Wyre Forest.

On Saturday, June 11th we will take a tour of Beaucastle, the Gothic mansion built by the Guild’s patron and second Master, George Baker. The day will also include a visit to St George’s Farm, where Companions can see the newly-planted orchard of 150 trees, and hear an update on research and plans for forthcoming events on Ruskin Land from Companions Neil Sinden and Lynne Roberts.

As always we thank Director John Iles and his team for their hospitality.
(Car-parking is available at each location.)


Visit to Sheepscombe
Friday June 10th

12.15 Arrival. Park at the Ebworth Centre (National Trust) The Ebworth Centre is located on the B4070 road between Birdlip and Stroud, and is signposted from this road near the Foston's Ash pub. The postcode is GL6 7ES.

12.30 Lunch at the Ebworth Centre (£7.50 pp).
This will be followed by a short presentation about the history of the Field.

13.30 ½ mile walk to St George’s Field for a tour guided by Companion, plant scientist Professor David Ingram, author of Gardens of Brantwood, and Kate Gamez of Natural England.

15.00 Unveiling of the new sign to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the gift of the wildflower meadow to the Guild. Made of Wyre oak by Mac Wassell with lettering by Robert Cox.

15.15 Return to the Ebworth Centre for tea & cake and closing remarks.

16.00 Departure.

19.00 Buffet dinner in the Ruskin Studio, Uncllys Farm (£20pp)
(Uncllys Farm, Tanners Hill, Ruskin Land, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2LR.)

NB. Can anyone with mobility difficulties please let us know when booking so that we can arrange transport from the Ebworth Centre to St George’s Field..

Visit to Bewdley
Saturday June 11th

10.45 Arrival at Beaucastle for coffee and welcome.
(Beaucastle, Longbank, Bewdley, Worcestershire, DY12 2QS.)

11.00 Beaucastle’s owners, Dale and Alex Parmeter, will lead a guided tour of the property.There will be an opportunity to see the carvings by sculptor and early Companion,  Benjamin Creswick, and to learn more about George Baker who commissioned Beaucastle and donated land to the Guild in the Wyre Forest.

13.00 Lunch at the Ruskin Studio, Uncllys Farm (£7.50pp).
(Uncllys Farm, Tanners Hill, Ruskin Land, Bewdley, Worcs, DY12 2LR.)

14.00 Short walk to St George's Farm to see the property and progress on the planting of the new orchard of 150 trees. The visit will include updates from Companions Neil Sinden (on research into the early Wyre Companions) and Lynne Roberts (on the development of a Ruskin Land cultural programme)

15.30 Return to the Ruskin Studio for tea and cake, closing remarks and departure.

Download the PDF here.
Download the BOOKING FORM here.