Celebrating William Barnes with Tim Laycock and Friends

Music and Poetry reading in the garden of Thomas Hardy's Max Gate

Saturday 16th September 2017

Welcome to the William Barnes Society

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.



Information about William Barnes and the William Barnes Society based in Dorset England.



About William Barnes, the Dorset Dialect Poet and Scholar



William Barnes related merchandise

To screw scramly about (of a man), to screw the limbs scramly as from rheumatism

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Forthcoming events

Celebrating William Barnes with Tim Laycock and Friends Music and Poetry reading in the garden of Thomas Hardy's Max Gate Saturday 16th September 2017
Morning Service of Remembrance Morning church service to commemorate William Barnes death. Sunday 8th October 2017
Willam Barnes Society Annual General Meeting Followed by performances by John Blackmore entitled West Country Sound and Song Tuesday 10th October 2017

Latest news

Tea, Scones and Poetry William Barnes Society Poetry Readings and Cream Tea at Pine Lodge Farm Tea Rooms, Bockhampton, Dorchester. Sunday 16th July 2017
William Barnes Society 2017 Annual Summer Lunch The society annual Summer lunch took place on Saturday 24th June at Cerne Abbas Village Hall, Dorset. Tuesday 27th June 2017
An evening to celebrate the Life and Works of William Barnes As part of Sherborne Literary Festival, a celebration of William Barnes by members of the William Barnes Society at Raleigh Hall, Sherborne, Dorset. Friday 9th June 2017
Annual Service of Remembrance of Dorset Poet A service in honour of the Dorset dialect poet William Barnes was held at St Peter’s Church at Winterborne Came near Dorchester. Sunday 23rd April 2017


WESSEX WORTHIES: William BarnesWESSEX WORTHIES: William Barnes WESSEX WORTHIES: William Barnes by J. J. Foster

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Become a MemberBecome a Member Information including prices of membership to the William Barnes Society Dorset.
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