The Pales Monthly Newsletter

- - A Monthly Newsletter from The Steering Group bringing you news of Events at The Pales. Visit our website

Thursday, 22 February 2018

The Pales Newsletter - February 2018

News from The Pales

The Pales Newsletter - February 2018
From the Pales Management Group

(This newsletter can be downloaded for printing - please click here)

Spring is in the air and snowdrops have bloomed in the Pales garden. There have been several falls of snow but not enough to prevent visitors getting to the site. This month we are talking about signs, snowdrop and starlings, and some updates of 2018 Events.
Table of contents;
  • New Welsh sign
  • Future Events
  • Midsummer poetry and song event
  • Starling murmuration
  • Architects progress
  • Tailpeace
The new Welsh Language sign for the Pales.  
Derek James, a member of the Management Group, has kindly produced a Welsh Language sign to accompany the English sign, displayed outside the Pales.

Events at the Pales in 2018.

Tues April 24   Poetry at the Pales – Barddoniaeth yn Y Pales
  • 11.30 - 13.00 Workshop on the theme ‘ Special Places’ for those who wish to try some creative writing
  • 13.00-14.00 Lunch – bring and share.
  • 14.00 - 15.30 Poetry reading on the theme ‘Special Places’.                                                            
  • This is a free event but registration requested  - please click here for full details and registration form. 
Thurs 7 June   Art day with Sandy Craig.  
  • More details will appear in the April newsletter.
Sat  23 June  Midsummer poetry and song - Canol Haf, Cerddi a Ch├ón.
  • An evening of English and Welsh poetry and music with Fiona and Gorwel Owen. 
  • Fiona Owen has had five collections of poetry published, the latest being The Green Gate (Cinnamon Press). She teaches creative writing, literature and other arts/humanities subjects for the Open University, and writes and records songs with Gorwel Owen, the latest CD being Releasing Birds.
  • Gorwel Owen is involved in many music-making activities, including as a performer and recording engineer; he also teaches humanities with the Open University. He writes and records songs with Fiona Owen, most recently their album Releasing Birds
  • Tickets for this event will be available in April.
Thurs 9 August     Green Art at the Pales   
  • A day for Ffriends of all ages, exploring the Pales grounds, collecting materials to make sculptures and images.
We are also exploring the possibility of an Annual Lecture, a Sufi day of meditation, a Wildlife day and a quilting day. 

Starling Murmuration at Llandegley Rhos Common.
We recently publicised an event organised by Lynden Rees-Roberts, a member of the RSPB & Radnor Wildlife Trust.  Lynden has been kind enough to send us a report and some photographs. We understand that Friends travelled up from Ross to witness this spectacular event.

Big Starling Winter Watch: January 28th 2018

More than 80 intrepid folk braved a distinctly grey and windy January afternoon to come and watch the inspiring sight of tens of thousands of starlings coming in to their winter roost in the conifer plantation adjacent to Llandegley Rhos Common. As well as people from the local area, many had travelled some distances, from Rhayader, Presteigne, Shrewbury, Church Stretton, Kington, Clyro and Ross-on-Wye to experience this starling display. Amidst an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation, groups of people of all ages, from families with young children to grandparents with friends and a helping hand, made their way along the public bye-way across the Common and waited patiently for the starlings to arrive. Some twenty or so intrepid bird watchers crossed the River Edw and made their way up onto Blaen Bank for a better bird’s eye view of the roost.
     And the starlings did not disappoint. They started to arrive at 4.25pm and continued to come in from all quarters north, south, east and west, for another 25 minutes. Depending on where you were standing, as the frequency of the flocks increased, you found yourself turning like a weather cock, to keep up, as thousands of birds streamed and swirled in across  the common and over the pine trees creating beautiful, mesmerising murmurations in the winter sky. By five o clock we had lost the light, although a few late arrivals were still flying in, but it was time for us to leave and seek our own roosts for the night, happy that we had shared one of nature’s winter wonders and probably experienced the largest gathering of starlings in Mid-Wales.

                                                                                  Lynden Rees-Roberts  

Architects progress.
Our architects, Simmonds Mills, have now submitted revised plans as a Pre-Planning Application to Powys Planning Department. We are awaiting their response and will report back in April.
As mentioned above, the snowdrops are blooming in the Pales garden, pushing their heads through the light snowfall. Carole has observed a squirrel that appears to have taken an interest in the thatch, so she is keep a keen eye on it! No photo yet, but she is trying.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The Pales Newsletter - January 2018

News from The Pales

The Pales Newsletter - January 2018
From the Pales Management Group

(This newsletter can be downloaded for printing - please click here)

"Winter is coming..." 
Happy New Triennium from all on the Pales Management Group. This promises to be an extremely active year at the Pales with a full programme of events and plenty of activity on the renovation and refurbishment plans. Below we have listed the events that have firm dates but others are also in the pipeline. 

Table of Contents

  • 2018 Events
  • Pre-Planning Application
  • Local Geology Course
  • Snow at the Pales

Tuesday April 24th. Poetry at the Pales led by Stevie Krayer. This is a morning Workshop on the theme 'Special Places' for those who wish to try some creative writing (limited to 16 people). No experience necessary!  In the afternoon there will be poetry readings, open to all.  Those not attending the workshop are also welcome to come in the morning to explore the grounds and perhaps be inspired by the special character of the Pales, with its historic Meeting House looking out over the magnificent Radnorshire landscape. For information on booking a place please click here.

Thursday June 7th. Art at the Pales led by Sandy Craig. A day similar to last year's Art Day but with a different tutor with a different style. Booking information will be released nearer the day.

Thursday 9th August. Green Art at the Pales. This is an All-Age Art Day which we hope will appeal to both young and old. It will involve searching the grounds for suitable materials and then creating a unique Green Art object.

Pre-Planning Application. Our architects, Simmonds Mills, have been working hard on the proposals for the site using their expert knowledge of similar projects with a special emphasis on sustainability and drawing on the feedback from the previous application. They have now drawn up plans and schedules and will be discussing these with Powys Planning and CADW and the Highways authorities.

Local Geology Course.Those Ffriends who attended the Geology Day last year will remember our Leader, Joe Botting and the presentation and fieldwork he led us through. Joe is now back from China and is about to start his Introduction to Geology and Palaeontology course in Llandrindod. If you are interested in this field of work and would like to know more the full course outline can be downloaded here.

Snow at the Pales. Carole Chapman, Friend in Residence at the Pales, has enjoyed a fair amount of snow this winter. The Buddhists, who meet regularly at the Pales, had to cancel their event but many hardy souls made the journey for Christmas Meeting for Worship. The theme was 'Faith in the Future' and there was some very moving ministry as well as some poetry.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Pales Newsletter - November 2017

News from The Pales
The Pales Newsletter - November 2017
From the Pales Management Group  

(This newsletter can be downloaded for printing - please click here)

Autumn has arrived at the Pales: the garden is asleep, the leaves have fallen and the colours are glorious. In this newsletter we will report on The Management Group’s meeting with the Architects and the plans that will be discussed with the various planning bodies, we will show you the display panels that are being created by Peter Hussey, and invite you to join Llandrindod LM at the Pales for their Christmas Meeting.
Table of contents;
  • Visit to the Architects
  • Schoolroom panels
  • Christmas Meeting at the Pales
  • 2018 Program of events
  • Tailpeace
Visit to the Architects.
The PMG recently met the architects, Simmonds Mills, in their office in Hereford (well, most of us did, but that is another story!). They showed us the latest plans which showed the updates we had requested, which gave more space for the warden’s accommodation and additional bedrooms to facilitate visitors. They had also created an exciting design for extending the toilet block to create facilities for our visitors and campers, including space for preparing food and eating. These will now go through the Pre-Planning application process before finalised plans are prepared for approval.
Schoolroom panels.
Peter Hussey, of Llandrindod LM, has been asked to produce some display panels for the schoolroom - we wanted a timeline that showed the history of the Pales as a supplement to the existing information boards. The panels are not finished yet but they are worth sharing. When they are finished the panels will be mounted on the back wall. 
Panel One.
George Fox, despondent after years of spiritual searching, has a revelation that energised him to travel, preach and find friends who understand his message: that we all have the potential to link directly to the divine, that delights in truth and love.
Fox preached at “a common in Radnor'" - probably Pen y bont common. Many are persuaded,
and Mid Wales became a strong area for Quakers.
Panel Two. 
The Quakers had no need for permanent places in which to worship, but, as they could not be buried in church grounds, there grew the need for burial grounds. A 3/4 acre plot “paled round about” was purchased for the purpose near Llandegley. In 1717 a Meeting House was built adjacent to the burial ground.
Panel Three.
1660 - 1720
Quakers suffered imprisonment, beatings and loss of possessions because of their beliefs.
William Penn was owed £16,000 by The Crown, Charles II, anxious to rid himself of “these
troublesome Quakers", cleared the debt by providing an area of land in the “New World”.
Penn offered it for sale in parcels to create a new state - Pennsylvania - with religious freedom. Many Radnorshire Quakers settled in the experimental 50,000 acres which  became known as “the Welsh tract“.
Panel Four.
“Many persons having expressed the conviction that there is a great want of further accommodation for the good education of Children in the neighbourhood of Llandegley and Penybont, we have thought it right to commence a day school at the Pales."
From a circular found in The Pales Minute Book.
The driving force behind this appears to have been Henry Stanley Newman of Leominster.
The first teacher was William Knowles, a Yorkshireman, 1867 -74, followed by an American, Yardley Warner “a friend to Presidents and Native American chiefs alike".
Yardley married Anne Home in 1877, they left the Pales in 1881, but after Yardley's death Anne returned briefly.
Christmas Meeting at the Pales.
On Sunday the 17th of December at 3.00 pm Llandrindod LM will be holding their Christmas Meeting for Worship. The theme is ‘Faith in our Future’ and Friends are asked to bring along a quote or a poem to reflect the theme and to share it.  Refreshments will be available after Meeting.
2018 Program of Events.
We are filling up the Pales diary for next year with exciting events to entice visitors. Dates for some events have yet to be finalised but we are planning the following - 
April - Poetry day. Facilitated by Stevie Krayer this will be an opportunity to share much loved poems and some guidance on creating your own epic.
May - Ecology day. A day exploring the grounds and surrounds, examining the local wildlife led by a local ecologist.
June - Art Day. Following the successful day this year this is another chance to share materials and techniques in a supportive atmosphere.
August - Green Art. A mid-week day of creating art and sculpture from the natural materials to be found in the Pales grounds. This day is particularly targeted at primary school age children, young Ffriends and families. We hope to encourage people from all around to join us.
September - The Pales Lecture. We are hoping to make this an annual event and will invite a speaker to address us on a relevant topic. Several candidates are being considered and more news will follow.
Following last month’s sighting of kites in the skies above the Pales, our Friend in Residence, Carole Chapman, reports seeing twenty-four kites in a group soaring over the hills. Unfortunately we have no photos of this spectacular sight but we have some photos of the Autumn colours in the grounds. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Pales Newsletter - October 2017

News from The Pales

The Pales Newsletter - October 2017
From the Pales Management Group
(This newsletter can be downloaded for printing - please click here)

This month we are explaining some of the possible alterations we have been considering. We have been working with our architects, Simmonds Mills, to try to find solutions that are both practical and acceptable that will help us to ensure a sustainable future for the Pales. For the week of events to celebrate the 300th Anniversary we produced a display board setting out some of our ideas, with possible layouts for the Warden's cottage and pictures of some of the structures we have considered for the grounds. Using a pictorial site plan, drawn by Bridget Cherry, we showed the six main areas of the site.
We have also continued working on the gardens and we report on the progress there.

Table of contents;
  • Plans, Pictures and Possibilities
  • Gardening at the Pales
  • Tailpeace
Plans, Pictures and Possibilities
The Pales has been in continuous use as a place of worship for Quakers for over three hundred years. Although it is used regularly by Quakers, with a Meeting for Worship once a month, and is a popular destination for local organisations seeking a memorable day out, the lack of overnight accommodation ( other than camping) limits what it is possible to offer. Modest accommodation for up to twelve people would enable occasional events such as study courses, group retreats and other activities. Some of this accommodation might be housed in the Warden’s cottage, now badly in need of renovation. Other possibilities might be a few, discreetly sited timber buildings or ‘shepherd’s huts’, and improved facilities for campers.

The Pales Management Group, responsible to Southern Marches Area Quaker Meeting, is exploring possibilities with the help of the architects Simmonds Mills, in preparation for submitting a planning application. The Pales is a Grade II* listed buildings, and there is a keen awareness that its special character and setting must not be adversely affected.

1. The Meeting House. The Meeting House and Schoolroom need a new heating system and updated facilities. A new measured plan of the building has been made, which will be used as the basis for the heating proposals.

2. The Warden's Cottage requires complete renovation which also provides an opportunity to make the layout more suitable for visitors. We have been looking at a number of possibilities, including division into two separate flats, and provision of a downstairs  bedroom with improved access.

3. The toilet block >could be reconfigured to provide cooking and other facilities for visitors and campers, and space for other events on the site. We have let our imaginations roam far and wide ...

4. The woodshed. There are various nasty things in here and it is over-due for renovation or re-building. The space provided would provide much needed storage for garden utensils and other bulky items.

5. We have looked at the possibility of providing additional accommodation in the grounds of the Pales. This would make residential events at the Pales for groups of up to 12 people a real possibility. We have been seeking inspiration from the wide variety of simple structures that exist elsewhere for this kind of purpose. This is one example....

6. The Pales is already used for a great number of events throughout the year and on our display board we showed images from just a few of them.

But it is important to emphasise that group activities and events will only take place from time to time. The  special character of the Pales as a haven of peace and tranquillity will continue to be cherished . 

Gardening at the Pales.
The latest Gardening Day at the Pales continued the good work carried out during the past Day. The main effort was expended on the vegetable beds and we now have five beds prepared for planting out next Spring. The branches were laid over the weed membrane to prevent it blowing away. We hope to complete work on the final two beds before the end of Autumn. The next Gardening Day has been set for 24th of February 2018.

Carole Chapman, our Friend in Residence tells us that the local Red Kite population has been boosted by two young kite who have fledged successfully. This brings the resident population up to eight and they are often seen soaring in the valley below.
This is Willow, who looks after Carole, the Resident Friend. 

Willow also has a tailpeace, which is very active, especially when there are visitors.

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Pales Newsletter - September 2017

News from The Pales

The Pales Newsletter - September 2017
From the Pales Management Group
(This newsletter can be downloaded for printing - please click here)
This month’s newsletter  reports  on our very successful tricentenary celebration week.  We were delighted to see so many people and thank all who offered suggestions about what they would like to see happening in 2018. We  hope to have a progress report on our future plans in the October newsletter.

Table of contents;
  • Pales Celebration week
  • Walk on Penybont Common with Derek Turner
  • Geology at the Pales with Joe Botting
  • Art at the Pales
  • Quaker Testimonies Reflected at the Pales with Peter Rivers
  • Pales History Day
  • The Pales Peace Choir and evening barbecue

Pales Celebration week
After months of planning the Pales week of events to celebrate the Tricentenary took place on the 11th -16th September. Each event was well attended, drawing visitors  both from the local area and from the more distant local meetings in the Southern Marches and it seems that everyone found the talks interesting and stimulating. Below are reports on each event, written by various people who attended.
The schoolroom was set out to suit each event and featured new information panels, being  produced by Peter Hussey, and a display of some of the possible changes we have been discussing with the architects; we will give a full report on these in the October newsletter.

Once again the Pales showed how the rooms can be adapted to suit different events, as the photos below show.

Walk on Penybont common. 
Twenty three hardy souls set out on a cold and wet morning to walk in the footsteps of George Fox, probably. Our morning had started in the Schoolroom with a talk by the walk
leader, Derek Turner, who owns and runs the Thomas Shop in Penybont. He gave us a brief history of Quakers in the vicinity and told us of the various tales of George Fox and his visits to the area. One of these visits brought him to this area to spread the Truth and to talk of the Inner Light and his message was well received; far better than it was in Brecon where he was shouted down. Although there is no evidence that he actually spoke on Penybont Common it is known that he preached in the area and that the common was the most likely place.  
Clutching umbrellas and walking poles we set out, up the road from the Pales and then out on to the common. Derek spoke of the poor soil that makes for poor grazing for the sheep but also pointed out that the locals still exercise their rights although the management of the common was a somewhat haphazard affair. 
We walked up and down hills, crossing small streams and marshy patches, and on the crest of a small hill we stopped to visualise George, surrounded by enquirers, and wondered if it had rained as much on him as it did on us. 
Our walk took us past the remains of platform houses, now just unidentifiable lumps and bumps in the grass, but that were homes to the local population at some point in earlier  centuries. 
Our final climb took us to a high point on the common from where we could look across to the village of Penybont and see the full extent of the common. Derek explained some of the history of the village which included the fact that Penybont had been the main centre for the area, pre-dating the growth of Llandrindod Wells.
It was then time to return to the Meeting House, wiser and wetter, to eat lunch before the next event. 
Chris Robertson - Brecon LM

Geology at the Pales.
The Pales never ceases to amaze but to be told that the car park was of ‘International significance’ marked a high point and helps to explain why it is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Joe Botting, a local geologist with close associations with the County, had agreed to give a talk on the geology of the surrounding area. The fact that forty one people turned out to hear his talk is a sign of the esteem in which he is held. 
He began his talk by giving us a brief geology lesson, describing the various epochs in geological history and where the Pales fitted in to that scheme - he pointed out that the bedrock where we were was of the Silurian era but that out of the window, across the valley, we could see the Llandegley Rocks that were of the Ordovician era. He explained that the Silurian beds were laid down 420 million years ago and that the Ordovician were 60 million years older. When Joe told us that our current period, the Holocene, covers only 10,000 years, it became apparent how insignificant we were, in Geological terms that is. 
Using computer generated graphics he explained tectonic plate movements and showed us where the Pales would have been when the local rocks were laid down, as mud in shallow seas, with sea creatures as the only form of life. It was these creatures that lived and died in these seas that formed the fossils that make the sedimentary rocks, exposed in the quarry where cars are parked for events at the Pales,  so important. Fossils found there are among the most significant in the world and assist in the dating of other rocks and fossils, while others found there are unique to this location. 
Joe explained the types of fossils we might find and also described the circumstances in which they had been formed. Having fired up our enthusiasm we were then released to go fossil hunting in the quarry and it was not long before we had samples which were proudly presented to Joe for identification. We were soon able to identify Graptolites, bivalves, and sections of the columns of Crinoidea. He asked to retain some for his own collection as they were better examples than those currently held. 
We returned to the Meeting House, clutching our fossils like excited schoolchildren, awed by the beauty and mystery of the world that surrounds us. 

The Radnorshire Museum in Llandrindod Wells contains a magnificent collection of locally found fossils together with a history of the surrounding area and is well worth a visit.
Chris Robertson - Brecon LM

Art Day 
Tuesday was the second art day to be held at the Pales and attracted both newcomers and those who had been before. Around a dozen artists quickly scattered over the grounds, keen to make the best of the uncertain weather, but there was also the chance to  gather indoors in the warmer setting of the schoolroom and to mix work and conversation. There was a fascinating variety of approaches, in materials used, in style of painting and in the range of colours explored to depict the surrounding landscape. Trying to capture the essence of a place requires a special kind of looking which can be quite strenuous, but is intensely rewarding.

The changing light with intermittent sunshine was particularly challenging, no sooner had one mixed the right tone for a particular area, than one looked up to discover that the moving shadow of a cloud had completely altered the scene. But the setting of the Pales is a deeply inspiring subject with endless possibilities, and there was much enthusiasm for further art days, possibly with some tuition included.

Bridget Cherry - Ludlow LM

Quaker Testimonies Reflected at the Pales
I knew, when I first heard Peter Rivers describing his idea, that I was drawn to attend this day of reflection on the Testimonies.  I was intrigued by the idea of how the testimonies we value and try to live out in our lives could also be expressed symbolically through location.  8 Friends gathered to reflect on Simplicity and Sustainability in the Williams Wood, Truth in the view from the campsite, Equality in the Burial Ground, and Peace around the mediation pool.  
A beautifully illustrated map of the Pales has been produced by the Pales Management group and copies are available for future Friends and visitors to carry out their own reflective journey on the testimonies around the grounds of this special and unique place.  The Pales Management group is working hard to preserve the Pales and enable it to be appreciated by others in the future.
A full report on this event can be read on the Pales website - please click here.
Helen Oldridge - Vibrancy Support 

History Day
Close to 40 Quakers filled the Pales for the History Day, to hear an excellent programme of speakers, introduced by Bridget Cherry, a member if the Management group.  The shutters were open between the Meeting Room and the School Room in order to accommodate everyone. The shutters, remade in modern times following the original design, may date from an earlier time when the schoolroom was a room for Women’s business meetings. As we heard from our first speaker Christine Trevett, it was extremely unusual for women to be allowed to participate in public life of any kind at this time. She led us through the works of satirical artists and writers who portrayed Quaker women in a less than favourable light.
Gethin Evans took us on an historic geographical tour of Quaker activity across Wales. Throughout his talk it was easy to recognise similarities between some of the challenges faced by Quakers in Wales in the past and those of today. It was a delight for local Friends to welcome back their much loved previous wardens of the Pales. 
Martin and Lynda described how they viewed their season of 22 years, between 1993 and 2015, as “stewardship” in a line of people who all cherished the

value and beauty of this place. Finally Geraint Hughes, retired vicar of the nearby village of Llandegley, talked about the Diary of Thomas Watkins, which he has published. Watkins was a man who was faithful to both the Pales and the Baptist chapel next to his house. Each day his diary is kept in two parts: firstly a record of farming activities and secondly a prayer.
A full report on this event can be read on the Pales website - please click here
Helen Oldridge - Vibrancy Support 

Pales Peace Choir concert.
The final event in our week long celebration was the concert given by the Pales Peace choir on Saturday afternoon. The Peace Choir, led by Susie Ennals, was established when Martin and Lynda Williams were  wardens, and so it was happily appropriate that they were there to participate.
The choir meets once a month (3rd Saturdays) and sings four-part songs without accompaniment, which are learned by heart without written music. The songs, originating from all over the world, and sung in a variety of languages, share themes of peace, love and friendship; some are quite short and simple, but the harmonies give them impressive depth. As a new member I was at first very uncertain whether I could cope, but Susie is an inspiring leader and the choir is wonderfully friendly and supportive, with a very special atmosphere ( new members are always welcome). The Saturday concert included 16 songs starting with a joyful Alleluia, and ranging from the Arabic Asalaam Aleykumpeace be with you, (which had been sung, very memorably, at the Pales Refugee respite day in July), to E Malama, a Hawaian earth blessing. High points were the haunting Home, combined with a moving poem written by Carey Glyn-Jones, one the choir members, and the vigorous South African anthem ‘Nkosi Sikaleli Africa’ . (You can hear the choir sing this anthem - please click here.Two delightful interludes were provided by Flute and Guitar recordings made by choir member Peter Coleridge. These were available to buy as CDs, the money, together with a collection at the end, going toward funds for refugees.

After the concert there were refreshments, and the opportunity to make use of the newly acquired barbecue set, sheltered by a new marquee, assets which we hope will have plenty of use at future events.

Bridget Cherry - Ludlow LM

As part of the process of renewal at the Pales we have had an environmental survey conducted of the buildings. This has found that long-eared brown bats are roosting in the attic of the cottage. Mouse droppings were also found!
The swallows were gathering on the wires around the Pales and it will not be long before we say goodbye to these travellers until next year.