For the many years of the dominance of Received Pronunciation (RP) it was easy to see William Barnes as an irrelevant eccentric. With more recent developments in linguistics, and a growing interest in national and regional diversity, it may be time for Barnes to reclaim his place as a significant figure in the world!! Dr Richard Bradbury will also discuss his more socially engaged prose works.
William Barnes is perhaps best known as the writer of Dorset dialect poetry through he published many poems in 'National English' as well. His Poetry was admired by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and is thought to have been influential in the writings of Gerard Manely Hopkins and Thomas Hardy. Barnes' interest in dialect prompted him to become a profoundly learned philologist who had taught himself to read some sixty languages and published many papers defending his strength of native (i.e. Saxon) English against the incursions of French and Latin.
Barnes' interests were by no means confined to poetry and philology, however, He was a schoolmaster and subsequently, a clergyman by profession, deeply loved by his pupils and parishioners who took added delight in his humour and eccentricity.
Barnes loved such practical arts as engraving and wood turning; played a variety of instruments; helped to found the Dorset County Museum and the Dorset Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club; published school text books and addressed innumerable meetings. The humour and pathos of his readings of his own dialect poetry delighted audiences in Dorset and beyond. Thomas Hardy remarked of him "a more notable example of self-help has seldom been recorded", and on Barnes' death in 1886, declared that he was "the most interesting link between present and past forms of rural life that England possessed".
Celebrate his life and work with the William Barnes Society. Dorset Meetings are held throughout the year, with talks, poetry readings, recitals and other entertainments including excursions to places with special Barnes connections.
What’s the point of William Barnes in 21st Century?For the many years of the dominance of Received Pronunciation (RP) it was easy to see William Barnes as an irrelevant eccentric. With more recent developments in linguistics, and a growing interest in national and regional diversity, it may be time for Barnes to reclaim his place as a significant figure in the world!! Dr Richard Bradbury will also discuss his more socially engaged prose works.Tuesday 27th March 2018Annual Service of Remembrance of William BarnesMorning service, with dialect reading and wreath laying at William Barnes and and his daughter Laura graveSunday 22nd April 2018The Serpent and it’s Local ConnectionsCome an listen to musician, Philip Humphries talk on the history and development of the strange bass wind instrument known as the 'Serpent' due to its curious shape. This talk will be interspersed with music and poetry.Tuesday 15th May 2018Willam Barnes Society Members Annual Summer LunchWillam Barnes Society Members Annual Summer LunchSaturday 23rd June 2018
John Blackmore captivates Society membersFollowing the recent William Barnes Society Annual General Meeting, John Blackmore presented 'Music and Song' to the audience.Sunday 15th October 2017Service of Remembrance to William BarnesOn Sunday 8h October 2017 10:30am, at St Peter’s Church, Dorchester, the Morning Service to commemorate the anniversary of the death of William Barnes took place. It was followed by a wreath laying at the statute.Monday 9th October 2017Crossways Library opens its doors to welcome William Barnes PoetryOn 19th September 2017, a group of William Barnes Society members gave an evening of poetry, music and song at Crossways Library for the Local History Group and guests.Wednesday 20th September 2017Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 2017Once again Members of the William Barnes Society were invited on August 27th to The Stock Gaylard Oak Fair. for the special event celebrating woodcraft, timber, conservation and the countryside.Monday 28th August 2017