18 June 2022 Hopkins Day at St Bartholomew’s Church

Saturday June 18 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Haslemere, Surrey.

We are intending to meet in St Bartholomew’s Church in Haslemere, which has a memorial window to Gerard Manley Hopkins donated by his grieving parents less than a year after his death. It was in memory of a dear son – he was not a famous poet then. Rather surprisingly, the stained-glass window next to it is a memorial to the Poet Laureate Tennyson, who had also lived there. Gerard’s parents and family moved to Haslemere from Hampstead three years before he died.

He visited Haslemere only once, but his parents, sisters and brothers lived on in a house built for them, until the last one died in 1952. So there is a long Hopkins family association with Haslemere.

On the visit, we will hear about the history and iconography of the GMH memorial window.  We will also hear from a local historian about the involvement of the Hopkins family. We will visit the family house (at least seeing it from the outside), and see various family graves. 

The programme for the day:

  • 10.30am Coffee at the Link
  • 11.00am ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins and his family in Haslemere’ – Katherine Jessel
  • 12.15pm ’Suffering and Transformation: the history and iconography of the memorial window’ – Dr Jill Robson
  • 1.15pm Lunch
  • 2.30pm The churchyard and the Garth (viewing….)
  • 3.30pm ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins the composer ‘ – Michael Burgess
  • 4.30pm Tea and depart

Fee for the event; £25 + £25 for buffet lunch

14-16 October 2022 Hopkins Weekend at Stonyhurst

Friday 14 to Sunday 16 October at the Christian Heritage Centre, Stonyhurst 

The Christian Heritage Centre has been booked and the weekend will be from Friday evening meal until Sunday lunch. It will focus on Hopkins, science and poetry.

The programme will include the Hopkins Lecture on ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins and his letters to Nature’ by Dr Jill Robson and possibly:

  • Visits to the observatory and the museum with Jan Graffius.
  • Dr Anna Nickerson (Cambridge University) will talk on her research in progress for her forthcoming book, Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Epistemology: Poetry and the Manifoldness of Knowledge (Bloomsbury).
  • Visits to Whalley Abbey, Sawley Abbey and/or a walk by the River Hodder.

The Sunday morning will include mass at the school,

23-24 Sept 2022 International Hopkins Conference

The Theme: Hopkins, Voice, and Echo.
When trying to define the terms “underthought” and “overthought,” Gerard Manley Hopkins observed, “Perhaps what I ought to say is that the underthought is commonly an echo or shadow of the overthought, something like canons and repetitions in music, treated in a different manner, but that sometimes it may be independent of it.” Hopkins’s poem “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo” demonstrates the most obvious thematic and structural ways in which echo, voice, and dialogue function in his writings. The conference will feature presentations that will discuss voice and echo broadly defined, as well as the textual networks, intersections, or recontextualizations that inform Hopkins’s poetry, and the intertextual practices and voices (allusion, citation, translation, pastiche, parody) shaping his prose and verse. Papers that examine his epistolary voices, the homiletic voice of Fr Hopkins, or Hopkins as echo in other poets’ works, would also be welcome.

Keynote Speaker
We are pleased to announce that Martin Dubois has accepted our invitation to be the Keynote Speaker at this year’s conference. Martin Dubois is Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies at Durham University, UK. His first book, Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Poetry of Religious Experience, appeared in 2017. He is currently editing Gerard Manley Hopkins in Context, a collection of thirty-eight essays on Hopkins to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2023.
Organising Committee:
Paul Kelly (Chair), Lesley Higgins, Amanda Paxton, Stephen Tardif, Frank Fennell

Registration for the conference is free and opened on Feb 1st. It will close on 1st Sept 2022. For information and to register, please write to: gerardmanleyhopkins22@gmail.com
Please include your:
1) Full name and 2) Country of Residence.

2021 Highflyers Highgate Conference

2 October 2021. We had originally planned with the Betjeman Society to have The Highgate Highflyers conference in person during the first weekend of October. After consulting the ALS committee, it was held online. 

During that day there were online talks by Lance Pierson on ‘Poetry’s Odd Couple’ by Lance Pierson about the links between Hopkins and Betjeman;  Dr Jane Wright on ‘Making Sense of Hopkins’Poetry’; Dr Jill Robson on ‘Hopkins, Betjeman and Victorian Church Architecture’ and Julia Hudson on the ‘Highgate School Archives of the Two Poets’. At first sight they seem very different poets, but there are many points of intersection between the two in their lives, poetry and interests.

It was a very successful day with excellent sessions by the contributors. Robin Pierson, Lance’s son read Lance’s session as he was not well enough on the day (although he was present via zoom). At the UK Hopkins Society Steering Group meeting on October 28, the President, Michael Burgess paid tribute to Lance’s work with this day as he had spearheaded the whole enterprise from the first meetings in 2019 through to October on behalf of both the Hopkins and Betjeman Societies.

2019 Hopkins and Betjeman Societies at Highgate School

UK Hopkins Society: Sat 31 August 2019  – HAPPIEST DAYS

A joint meeting with the Betjeman Society at Highgate School, London; site of attendance as schoolboys by both poets; Betjeman attending the junior school and Hopkins the senior – both boys fell foul of their Highgate headmasters and a re-enactment was staged of their most fearsome encounters. But was there little positive in their schooldays? We were able to make our own assessment. The school archivist showed us where they did their learning and how the school remembers them today. The Highgate school museum has several artefacts relating to Hopkins on display. We heard what they wrote while at school and what they said about it. We also heard the results of a competition to suggest JB’s most Hopkinesque poem and Hopkins most Betjamanesque!  The day included a tour of the school and the impact of the schools on their poetry. Both were summer babies, and the day finished with a shared celebratory cake.

2019 Hopkins Society Weekend at Belmont Abbey

UK Hopkins Society Weekend at Belmont Abbey 7 – 9 June 2019: “New Worlds”
(from the opening line of Thomas Traherne’s poem “On leaping over the moon” – “I saw new worlds beneath the water lie”).

Hopkins visited the Abbey in June 1866 with William Addis. It was possibly the first time he had met a Catholic priest, Dom Paul Raynal, who ‘was very kind and showed me over everything.’ Hopkins returned to spend Holy Week there in 1867, so it was an important place in Hopkins’ spiritual growth.

The weekend commenced on the evening of Friday 9th with “The cost of conversion”, a presentation by Jill Robson, Lance Pierson amongst others to explore this critical time when Hopkins converted to Catholicism. His visit to Belmont Abbey was an important part of that process.

Saturday 10th June commenced with the AGM: membership numbers have fallen with the recent rise in annual membership fees and some society members getting older and felling less able to attend events. Members of the Steering Committee were at pains to point out that membership doesn’t just include the opportunity to attend events to celebrate Hopkins life and poetry, but includes the annual Hopkins Society Journal and the opportunity to feel part of a movement of people with a like minded appreciation of Hopkins. Some discussion took place about the need to widen membership and hence ensure greater viability of the Society. The Steering Group has already commenced efforts to widen membership.

The AGM was followed by a most illuminating lecture by Jude Nixon who is co-editor of Volume 5 of the OUP’s Collected Works. Jude’s lecture was titled “Hopkins in the North: Priestly and Parish Activities in Leigh and Liverpool”. Jude provide the social and economic context to Hopkins position as priest. The congregation at Leigh, although friendly was experienced by Hopkins as largely drunken and dissolute with large families struggling with working long hours on low wages, and coping with ill health, particularly typhoid which has since been associated with unhealthy drinking water. The drinking water then was often replaced with copious amounts of beer. Few poems were written while Hopkins served in both parishes. Jude pointed out that this was probably as a result of the sheer amount of work involved amidst the misery of town life amongst the poor: he listed the number of weddings, baptisms and other parish duties that Hopkins undertook. This all took a toll on his health.

During Saturday afternoon, following a brief presentation of material relating to Hopkins and Belmont Abbey: the Benedictine’s place in the development of Hopkins religious vocation, the group had a tour of the abbey and a talk about it’s history in the Benedictine order. The founder was Francis Wegg-Prosser of nearby Belmont House, who had converted to Catholicism and decided to build a church on his Hereford estate in 1854. He later invited the Benedictines to found a priory there. The Abbey Church is a grade II listed building, designed by Edward Pugin, son of Augustus Pugin. Its construction began in 1857 and it was consecrated on 4 September 1860. Built in the early English style, it demonstrated the resurgent optimism of the restored Catholic Hierarchy and the growth in numbers of Roman Catholics in England in the second half of the 19th Century. .

During late Saturday afternoon, Richard Willmott, Chair of the Traherne Society was welcomed to provide a talk entitled “Seeing the world aright – charged with the grandeur of God”. Thomas Traherne, (1637 – 1674) was born in Hereford, spending most of his life in the vicinity. Like Hopkins he was on fire with the love of God, believing that God had created the world as a gift to humankind and that like Hopkins was a priest poet on fire with the love of God, especially as seen and experienced in the world created by God as a gift to each member of the human race. Richard opened up to his audience the poetry and the range of the writings of Thomas Traherne plus a little of his very positive theology. Throughout, his talk drew parallels with the work of Hopkins. The evening was completed with readings of Hopkins and Traherne on the subject of “God in creation” – showing that despite living some 200 years apart and in different religious worlds they held many of their theories and ideas in common. Hopkins would have been unaware of Traherne’s works’s; the latter’s works remained hidden in unread manuscripts until the 20th century.

During the entirety of our visit, members were given the opportunity to join in abbey services. As the Sunday was Whit Sunday, the church was beautifully decorated for the services, which frequently incuded Pentecostal elements. The Abbey church incidentally has always operated as the local parish church.

Sunday morning allowed participants either to attend mass or to take part in one of two walks, which Hopkins recorded his delight in. He is known to have walked to Belmont from Hereford along the river and also around the Cathedral Close. Members too enjoyed walking over the same ground, besides the River Wye, and the splendid views of Hereford Cathedral and its medieval architecture.