The George Herbert in Bemerton Group was founded in 2002 by local resident Canon Judy Rees, on her return to Lower Bemerton after a long absence. The members of the Group cover a wide spectrum of interests, both religious and secular.
The Group’s aims are to:
We strive to share our enthusiasm for George Herbert and his works with others, usually through events held in or around the village where he spent the last three years of his life. In this way we support the Friends of St Andrew's Bemerton in their work of promoting the memory and works of George Herbert.
Other than in 2014, when the Group was much involved in the George Herbert Festival, it has organised three to five events every year since 2002 - see our 2016 programme. We are still finalising our programme for this year - it is usually published before Easter. Past events include illustrated talks and lectures; poetry readings (often accompanied by live musicians playing music of Herbert's time) and workshops; readings of material about Herbert and his period; and walks in the area with which he would have been familiar (though now, of course, much changed). Further details of many of these events can be found in our archives.
Our Group has commissioned hymn music to Herbert's poems from composers with local association, published in 2007 by the Royal School of Church Music under the title 'Another Music'.. These hymns, together with the well known ones are available on our CD 'Hymns New and Old'. Copies of both items are available from our Gift Shop. For young people, we have produced an educational resource pack about George Herbert, and each year we promote an art competition in our local Primary School - see the 2016 winning entries.
In addition to the 2014 Festival, we have been associated with several international George Herbert conferences. In 2007 we played a big part in 'George Herbert’s Pastoral: Poetry and Priesthood, Past and Future' held at Sarum College, Salisbury, and in 2011 we participated in the George Herbert Society's international conference at the Gregynog Conference Centre, Powys, Wales, where we gave a presentation about the Group and its activities.
In August 2011, members of the group went to visit St. Mary's, Leighton Bromswold, the church where George Herbert was Prebend; he raised funds from his friends and family for its restoration. The visit also took in Little Gidding and various sites in Cambridge associated with Herbert, including Trinity College. More recently group members visited The Bodleian Library in Oxford to view the original manuscript of 'The Temple'
Over the years the Group has hosted many visitors from both the UK and overseas to St. Andrew’s Church, and we are always delighted to welcome George Herbert devotees to Bemerton.
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