The Traherne Association welcomes you to this site which celebrates and promotes the life and work of the poet and spiritual writer Thomas Traherne (c1637 - 1674).

Events

The Traherne Festival is held each summer in Credenhill (5 miles NW of Hereford), and in Hereford.

October 10

Thomas Traherne, Hereford’s poet priest, was buried on 10 October in 1674 and is celebrated both in the Church of England’s calendar and by the annual Jeremy Maule lecture.

Transatlantic Traherne, 10 October 2012

On 10 October 2012, a special jazz eucharist was held in Hereford Cathedral to mark Thomas Traherne’s Day. The music was performed by members of the King/Cave Collective and included six settings of Traherne, three of them premières, one of which had only been emailed from New York shortly before the service.

Thomas Traherne would surely have delighted in the rhythms of the New World, argued Ewan King, leader of the group, in a wide-ranging talk to members of the Traherne Association before the service. After all, when Traherne argued that the natives of the Americas were far less ‘barbarous than the Christian world’ and ‘like Adam, or Angels in comparison of us’, he was revealing an openness to the freshness and vigour of the New World that would surely have led to his approval of the spontaneous energy of jazz.

Ecumenical Traherne?

Ewan King, who is minister of Heath Street Baptist Church in Hampstead, also preached, and the service was attended by people from differing church traditions. Many would feel the ecumenical nature of the service was appropriate. Traherne was appointed to his post at Credenhill by the Puritan Commissioners for the Approbation of Public Preachers in 1657, but in 1660 chose to be ordained an Anglican priest by the Bishop of Oxford (there was no Bishop of Hereford at the time). This was two years before he would have been forced by the 1662 Act of Uniformity to choose between ordination and losing his Credenhill living. It is hard to know exactly what his motives were, but we do know from Select Meditations, which he wrote at about that time, that he valued ‘the Beautifull union of my Nationall church’. Consequently he may well have seen ordination as strengthening his ability to unite those with differing views of church government. Certainly the Puritan tone of some of the writing elsewhere in Select Meditations suggests that he did not see his ordination as a rejection of his upbringing. It is pleasing, therefore, to speculate that he would have approved of members of different churches gathering together to share the Lord’s Supper.

Click here for a hymn from the Transatlantic Eucharist

The Jazz Group

Ewan King and JamesCave are the moving spirits of the King/Cave project to bring together the best of old and new music and texts in order to reinvigorate Christian worship. They first turned their attention to Traherne in response to a commission from the Bishop of London. To find out more about their work see www.kingcaveproject.com.

Our thanks go to Derek Foxton for taking the photographs


Festival 2021

The 2021 festival will run from 5th to 7th June. Further details will be published as they are finalized.

Unfortunately we felt obliged to cancel the 2020 Jeremy Maule Lecture, but we hope that Dr Austen Saunders will be able to speak to us at some point next year. We look forward to publishing more positive information in 2021!