Waugh Biographer to Appear at Henley Festival

Philip Eade will appear at the Henley-on-Thames Literary Festival on Tuesday, 27 September at 1230p. He will speak about his biography of Waugh at Stonor Park, a country house about 4 miles north of Henley, and lunch will be served. The program notes (p. 13)  describe Stonor Park as a particularly appropriate place for Eade’s presentation because Waugh

…was a regular visitor [there and it] is thought to have inspired Broome, the country home of the Crouchback family.

This is perhaps a bit of an overstatement since, based on a quick review of published material, the only record of a Waugh visit to Stonor Park  was in April 1955. He described the place in a letter to Diana Cooper as

ghostly, impoverished, candle lit halls and galleries full of delicious 16 year old convent trained girls and gawky youths in plastic shoes. (MWMS, p. 205).

The visit must have been on some occasion involving his daughter Teresa’s school because she would have been 16 at the time and he says that he drove there with “my elder jewels.”

The link with Broome may have more credibility than the frequency of Waugh’s visits. Here is a description of the place from Wikipedia: 

…the Stonors remained Roman Catholic throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, and enabled many local villagers to remain Roman Catholic by allowing them to attend Mass at their private chapel…The Stonor family’s steadfast adherence to Roman Catholicism throughout the reformation led to their marginalization and relative impoverishment in subsequent centuries. This has inadvertently resulted in the preservation of the house in a relative unspoiled and unimproved state.

UPDATE (28 July 2016): According to the Twitter feed of the Stonor estate dated 26 July 2016, the Waugh event at the Henley Literary Festival sold out immediately.

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