25th Annual Colloquium Programme



The Twenty-fifth Vaughan Association Colloquium will be held at The Castle of Brecon Hotel from teatime on Friday, April 24th to lunchtime on Sunday, April 26th, 2020.  The first ‘modern’ hotel of its kind in Brecon and among the earliest in Wales, ‘The Castle’, standing on a prominent hill in the Georgian centre of the town, is a late Regency rebuilding (begun in 1809) of an existing house within the  ivy-clad Norman fortress site, and abutts directly on its Great Hall .  Nearby stands the ancient Priory (now Cathedral) and the Priory Grove dear to Henry Vaughan; and before it a view over Brecon and the river Usk towards the Brecon Beacons.  In a land of ruined castles, monasteries and mountains, the scene is still an epitome of the Romantic ‘Sublime and Picturesque’.

Brecon has for us the added attraction of the Vaughan connection.  Henry (and very likely Thomas) enjoyed its congenial inns; here in the Priory Grove , whose owner Sir Herbert Price was her relative by marriage, he courted his first wife, Catherine; and here in the Civil War the twins joined Colonel Price’s Royalist regiment.  Henry may even have met Charles I in the Priory when the King came rallying support in 1645; and he certainly looked on indignant as the townsmen demolished Brecon’s defences to forestall a damaging siege, effectively capitulating to Parliament.  Beyond the town, not far down the Usk Valley, lie the Vaughans’ birthplace and Henry’s main home at Newton Farm near Scethrog from which most of his publications are dated; a mile on in Llansantffraed churchyard is Henry’s grave with its famous tombstone; across the tiver at Talybont-on-Usk is the new Vaughan Walk; and downstream stands recently refurbished Tretower Court, home  of the twins’ paternal grandparents, and one of the finest medieval manor houses in Wales.


The privately owned Hotel has 43 well-equipped en-suite bedrooms, a bar, restaurant, private dining facilities for conferences, free wi-fi in downstairs areas, and ample free off-street parking.

Speakers for 2020  include:

Elizabeth Ford. ‘Time, Space and Providence in Hamlet and the Poetry of John Donne’.

Jonathan Nauman. ‘An Affectionate Preoccupation: Louise Guiney, Gwenllian Morgan and the Life of Henry Vaughan.

Philip West. ‘James Shirley and Early Vaughan-the pre-Civil War Literary Atmosphere in London and the Inns of Court’.


Colleen Wethered. ‘ “In the belly of a paradox”: paschal sensibility in the poetry of Herbert, R S Thomas and Rowan Williams’.

Bob Wilcher. ‘Henry Vaughan’s use of Biblical epigraphs in Silex Scintillans’.



Arrival Friday tea at 4pm, if possible. Dinner at 7.00pm followed by first talk. Saturday 2 talks before lunch; afternoon free. Dinner at 7.00pm  followed by poetry readings. Sunday morning 2 talks, followed (after coffee) by the Association AGM to which all are invited. Memorial Evensong at Llansantffraed Church at 3pm concludes the weekend.

Meal Times:

Breakfast from 7.30 am             Lunch 1.00pm               Tea  4.00pm                  Dinner 7.00pm



PLEASE NOTE: We have shortly to put down a Deposit of £25 pp (for Resident Participants) to confirm our Booking and Numbers, and would be grateful for cheques a.s.a.p.  Final Full Payment will be required in advance, by April 1st 2020.  Places may have to be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. 

I wish to book ____ place/s.      Charges (VAT incl), please tick all that are appropriate:

2 nights (incl. breakfast and dinner, coffee/tea and biscuits; excluding lunches): 


Double/Twin Room   £210 per person [      ]     Single Room   £235 per person  [      ]


1 night (incl. breakfast and dinner, coffee/tea and biscuits; excluding lunches):


Double/Twin Room    £105 per person [      ]     Single Room   £117.50 per person [      ]


Weekend Day Attendance  £40  (incl. coffee/tea but NOT lunch).  [     ]    Dinner £25 extra  [     ]


Non-resident attendance at the Saturday after-dinner Poetry Session, no charge.


Total included:  £_________ Dietary Requirements _____________________________________

 I enclose my cheque (payable to ‘The Vaughan Association’) for £_______ Deposit / Full Payment for the 25th Colloquium 24th-26th April 2020.BACS details below.

ADDRESS: ______________________________________________________________________________



E-MAIL: _________________________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                                                                  

CONTACT: Dr Simone Thomas, Byron House, Henton, Wells, Somerset. BA5 1PD.

Tel 07934 470668. Email thomassya@gmail.com

PAYMENT DETAILS  The Vaughan Association, Natwest Bank.

Sort Code 51 61 28. Account number 73729973.


IBAN GB13 NWBK 5161 2873 7299 73

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