Saturday, October 08, 2016

Birthday Lecture 5 Nov 2016

Saturday, July 09, 2016

new sponsor for writers' prize

White Horse Bookshop Sponsors Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize

Posted at 2:58PM Friday 08 Jul 2016


The White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough has become the first sponsor of the Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize for Outstanding Nature Writing, immediately doubling the amount the winning author will receive (bringing the total prize to £1,000). Named after the celebrated and ground-breaking Victorian writer and naturalist, the Prize was first awarded in March of this year to John Lister-Kaye for Gods of the Morning (Canongate). Submissions are now being accepted for the second Prize, which will be announced in Spring of 2017. The closing date is 31st December 2016.

Angus MacLennan, General Manager of the White Horse Bookshop, said: "It is obvious from the breadth and quality of publishing I see represented on our shelves every day that we are in a golden age of nature writing. This, coupled with our location at the foot of the Marlborough Downs, an area Richard Jefferies wrote about, made sponsoring the Prize a very easy decision." The winner of the second Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize will be announced at a ceremony in the 73-year-old bookshop's new events room in Spring next year.

John Price, Chairman of the Richard Jefferies Society, said: "We are thrilled to have found such a perfect sponsor so soon in the Prize's life – it seems, fittingly, to be a very natural evolution. Richard Jefferies was a Wiltshire man and would have known the area well – I am sure he would thoroughly approve of our new sponsor and of the shop's support of nature writing and writers."

The Prize is open to nature writing of any length or in any format that is broadly consistent with the work of Richard Jefferies. Submissions may include first English translations and all entries must have been published, for the first time, within the calendar year. MacLennan will join members of the Richard Jefferies Society council in selecting a shortlist which will be announced in March 2017, followed by the winner in early Summer.

For further details of submissions, please contact Angus MacLennan
at the White Horse Bookshop:
Email: Telephone: 01672 512071

Notes for Editors

About Richard Jefferies
(John) Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) is best known for his prolific and sensitive writing on natural history, rural life and agriculture in late Victorian England. Less well-known now than he deserves to be, Jefferies stands in tradition of writers concerned with man's relationship to the natural world – a forerunner of today's abundance of nature writing. Perhaps his best-known works today are Bevis (sometimes described as an English Huckleberry Finn), Round About a Great Estate, and After London, one of the earliest works of 'post-apocalyptic' fiction.
For further information about Jefferies life and work, please visit:

About the Prize
John Webb, one of the Richard Jefferies Society's most active members, died in 2014. He left the Society a legacy that will be used as a memorial to him: The Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize commenced in 2015. The inaugural winner was John Lister-Kaye for Gods of the Morning (Canongate).

About the White Horse Bookshop

The White Horse Bookshop first opened its doors in 1943 and has stood on its present site - a 16th century townhouse in Marlborough, Wiltshire - since 1949. It was bought in 2014 by local businessmen Robert Hiscox (founder of Hiscox insurance) and Brian Kingham (founder of Reliance Securities Group).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Event: Tewkesbury and John Moore

41 Church Street, Tewkesbury, Glos. GL20 5SN
Thursday 14 July 2016.
Meet at the John Moore Museum
at 10.45am for 11am start.

Peter Bainbridge is organising a guided walk around the John Moore Museum, the Merchant’s House, the Old Baptist Chapel and to places associated with Moore in Tewkesbury along with a talk about John Moore. The charge will be £8.00 per person. The Museum is closed between 1-2pm. 

Simon Lawton, the Curator, has suggested that he gives his talk about John Moore first and that would take place in the Chapel. There will be time to visit other places of interest in Tewkesbury and take lunch there. Allow for a 4pm finish.

For more information email Pete on

The John Moore Museum is nestled in a row of historic timber-framed buildings close to the Abbey in Tewkesbury. The museum was established in 1980 in memory of the writer and naturalist John Moore. Today it is also home to an extensive Natural History collection featuring specimens of mammals and birds native to the British countryside, woodlands, wetlands and farmland. A few doors away is The Merchant’s House, a two storey building which has been restored and furnished to show the construction of a 15th century shop and dwelling. The museum has also recently taken over the management of the Old Baptist Chapel, originally a late Medieval Hall house which was later converted for use as a non-conformist meeting house, that will be open to the public after May this year.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016



Richard Jefferies’ Networks

SATURDAY 14 May 2016

Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road,
Coate, Swindon SN3 6AA

10.30    Doors open and refreshments.

11.00    Welcome.

Patrick Dillon will be leading the Study Day. He writes:

The study day this year will be based around a workshop to map connections between Jefferies’ works and our own knowledge and understanding of the things he is writing about. In preparation please look again at one of your favourite works and bookmark some of the connections that you make with the content. For example, when I read Wild Life in a Southern County, I mark things that connect with what we now know about ecology, a branch of biology that was in its infancy in Jefferies’ day. I am also interested in the survival of some of the countryside occupations and traditions he writes about, or how land-use has changed, or how his descriptions of country life in the Vale of White Horse compare with those of Alfred Williams. During the study day we will work in small groups and write our connections on large sheets of paper and then ‘map’ connections to connections and build up a  ‘knowledge network’. This is a good way to share knowledge in a convivial social setting.

1.00-2.30 Lunch break. Bring a packed lunch.

2.30   Workshops continue.

3.45     Refreshments.

4.15      Depart


Friday, March 25, 2016

Ben Tubbs Adventures published for the first time

Ben Tubbs Adventures is Richard Jefferies’ earliest extant work of any length, probably written in his late teens.  It is a quest novel of voyage and adventure, and his first essay in a genre to which he was naturally drawn. It was probably influenced by the greatest quest story of them all, Homer’s Odyssey, one of Jefferies’ favourite books as a boy.

It is likely that Jefferies wrote it for his personal amusement and the entertainment of family and friends. For students of Jefferies, the novel is of interest.

The humour and Ben’s pranks in the early chapters of the book are juvenile and immature but fitting for a boy’s story. The descriptions of the slaves on the slave-ships are racist in the extreme and painful to read. However the later chapters, that treat Ben’s adventures in America, show some sparks of Jefferies’ real writing talent. He describes the prairies with great sensitivity.

The book is published for the first time (April 2016), in paperback (200pp)and is available through the Richard Jefferies Society at a cost of £8 plus postage (rrp £12). Go to:

There is an excellent introduction by Andrew Rossabi and this is worth reading in its own right.

Ben Tubbs Adventures (Petton Books: Norfolk, 2016). ISBN: 9780956375179.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

John Lister-Kaye awarded inaugural Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize

John Lister-Kaye awarded inaugural Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize

Sir John Lister-Kaye has been awarded the inaugural Writers’ Prize by the Richard Jefferies Society for Gods of the Morning, his critically acclaimed celebration of a natural year through the lives of British birds. His ninth book, it will be released in paperback this week.

The Richard Jefferies Society was founded to commemorate Richard Jefferies, a Victorian writer best known for his groundbreaking work on natural history, rural life and agriculture. The Society’s Writers’ Prize, founded in memory of John Webb – lifelong lover of Jefferies’ writing, commenced in 2015, with the prize of £500 awarded for any length or format of writing on themes or topics broadly consistent with Jefferies’ writing. Also shortlisted for the prize in 2015 were Common Ground by Rob Cowen and The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy.

Gods of the Morning follows a year through the turning of the seasons, exploring the habits of the Highland animals, and in particular the birds – Lister-Kaye’s gods of the morning, for whom he has nourished a lifelong passion. It is an affectionate and wise celebration of the British landscape and the birds that come and go through the year, a lyrical reminder of the relationship we have lost with the seasons and a call to look afresh at the natural world around us.

Published in hardback last year, it has received praise from critics and writers across the industry including Helen MacDonald, Mark Cocker, Patrick Barkham and Chris Packham, widespread glowing reviews, and was selected as the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month.

Lister-Kaye commented: ‘I am delighted to receive this award, particularly since I have been an enthusiast for Richard Jefferies’ nature writing for many years.  His contribution to the genre and to the general appreciation of our wildlife and countryside is immense, so I am very proud to be the inaugural winner of this important prize.’

John Price, the Society’s Chairman, added: ‘Gods of the Morning is a book by a man who is as familiar with his local Scottish wildlife and countryside as Richard Jefferies had been with his Wiltshire local environment; and both authors also had the ability to describe some of the local human population in deft terms. An outstanding first winner of the Richard Jefferies Society Writers' Prize, Lister-Kaye is able to convey the joy of nature in an uncomplicated and eloquent fashion.’

Sir John Lister-Kaye is one of Britain's best-known naturalists and conservationists. He is the author of nine books on wildlife and the environment, including At the Water's Edge, and has lectured all over the world. He has served prominently in the RSPB, the Nature Conservancy Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to nature conservation. He lives with his wife and family among the mountains of the Scottish Highlands, where he runs the world-famous Aigas Field Centre.

Sir John Lister-Kaye (left), John Price (right) - March 2016


Gods of the Morning, by John Lister-Kaye, is published by Canongate.

Hardback £14.99 / Paperback £9.99 / Ebook £12.99

Friday, February 12, 2016

Readings by and about Richard Jefferies and Alfred Williams

On Saturday 5th March, members of the Richard Jefferies Society and the Friends of Alfred Williams will be getting together to share readings by and about both writers. The gathering will be held at the Richard Jefferies Museum, Marlborough Road, Coate, Swindon SN3 6AA starting at 2.00pm. The meeting is open to the general public and free to attend. Do come along if you can.

Monday, February 08, 2016


The Farmer’s World (Petton Books, Feb. 2016) is now available. The book comprises all the articles (nearly 90) by Jefferies published in The Live Stock Journal and Fancier's Gazette in the late 1870s, along with a masterly introduction by Professor Eric Jones.

The articles are forthright, almost campaigning, often urging readers to reconsider their conservative ways, to be innovative, to seek commercial opportunities and to tackle waste. ‘Middlemen’ were regularly disparaged, traditional methods of distribution questioned and imaginative schemes suggested to bring producer and consumer closer together. Jefferies also displayed a surprising ability in figures and a good grasp of mechanical engineering, explaining with clarity the workings of newly invented farming machinery. The essays collected here demonstrate Jefferies’ expertise in trade-paper journalism and contrast sharply with his later, lyrical work. He was a modernist of his time, and declares: ‘agriculture has become far too wide for the brain of any one man’.

The soft-back book can be purchased from the Richard Jefferies Society at for £10 plus postage.