BBC Radio Somerset has interviewed the director of the South West Heritage Trust which recently acquired one of Evelyn Waugh’s ear trumpets. This is Tom Mayberry who is interviewed by Radio Somerset’s Charlie Taylor. Mayberry explains that the ear trumpet is intended to be displayed at the Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury, in what he describes as its Creating Gallery. The interview is posted on the internet and extends for 11 1/2 minutes beginning with a detailed description of the ear trumpet which both Mayberry and Taylor assure listeners works as intended. The BBC’s internet page includes a good photograph of the device. Mayberry also points out that the trumpet is monstrously large and was obviously intended by Waugh to make a statement since there were in the 1950s hearing aids that were much less obtrusive. He mentions the Malcolm Muggeridge incident at the Foyle’s luncheon where Waugh ostentatiously removed the device and folded it up on the table to express his disinterest in what Muggeridge had to say. There is also a brief discussion of Waugh’s family roots in the West Country and his gravesite next to the Combe Florey churchyard (although the status of the dispute over the reparations of the gravesite is not mentioned). Mayberry concludes with remarks that Waugh is not revered or remembered in Somerset as he should be–there is no memorial or plaque erected. He hopes that the addition of the ear trumpet to the Glastonbury museum’s collection will to some extent rectify this neglect.
In additional local news, the Hereford Times and other papers in the area includes a Worcestershire walking tour with a stop at a country church in Kempley that has a Lygon family association. This is :
..the Church of St Edward the Confessor. Built on relatively high ground in 1903 as a chapel of ease, the church, unconsecrated until 1934, became the Parish church in 1975 when St Mary’s was declared redundant. The church was funded by the Earl Beauchamp, designed by Randall Wells and built by local craftsmen using locally sourced materials. The building is important in architectural history for both its design and the internal ornament. It has also been dubbed a Cathedral to the Arts and Crafts Movement by John Betjeman….Just before the end of the walk, in front of Kempley Court , an inscription declares that “this oak tree was planted on the 20th day of February, 1893 by the vicar and parishioners of Kempley in commemoration of the coming of age of William, the seventh Earl Beauchamp of Madresfield Court, Worcestershire”.
The article (which includes a detailed map of the walk) goes on to mention Waugh’s friendship with the Lygon family and their contribution to the Marchmain family in Brideshead Revisited. The interior of the country church seems to bear some resemblance to the arts and crafts chapel at Madresfield Court where the Lygon family lived and which was the basis for Waugh’s description of the chapel at Brideshead Castle.