The Pales Monthly Newsletter

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

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Pales Newsletter - August 2017

News from The Pales

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

Table of contents;
  • Recent Events
  • September Anniversary celebrations
  • The Pales Peace Choir
  • Gardening and Wildlife Tail-peace

This month has been quieter at the Pales but there have still been many things happening, including changing our name. We had called ourselves a Steering Group because the Threshing Meeting suggested that title but we feel we are more of a Management Group rather than a Steering Group.
The July issue of The Friend included an article by Peter Rivers covering all aspects of the Pales, which featured on the cover too.
We are continuing our discussions with our architects and will have a display, available during the Anniversary celebrations, of some of the many ideas we are considering for future development.
The Pales has been named as one of the Sacred Places in Wales in a competition to select the top one; the winner will receive prize money and a lot of publicity. You can find more details and vote on their website - please click here.
The Pales is well known as a haven of Peace and quiet for Ffriends but it is also a haven of Peace for local wildlife - we have added a regular Tail-peace to the Newsletter which will include nature notes on wildlife in and around the Pales.
On Saturday 12th August Elders and Overseers met at the Pales for a quiet day, sharing Meeting for Worship and lunch and spending time getting to know each other better as a community.

We have spent much time and effort planning the events that will help us celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Pales and we begin this Newsletter with a detailed description of the week's events.

300th Anniversary celebrations September 11-17

Over the last year the variety of activities which have taken place at the Pales has demonstrated its versatility, ranging from a quiet retreat for reflection, to a  welcoming centre for community gatherings. During  our celebratory week   we will be  exploring   different aspects of the  Pales  and its setting.  We hope  that our varied programme includes something that will appeal to you.  All events are free.

  • Monday  11th  The week  will start with a walk on Penybont Common led by the local historian Derek Turner. The Common has many historical associations and is very likely the ‘Radnorshire Common’ where George Fox preached to a large gathering in 1657, assisted by the Welsh Quaker John ap John.  In the afternoon we will step backwards in time and look at the underlying  geology. The quarry close to the Meeting House, where the strata from the Silurian period are clearly revealed, is  recognised as a site of special scientific interest;  our guide here will be the geologist Joe Botting. 
  • Tuesday  12th  will be an Art Day -  bring your own art materials and be inspired by the surrounding landscape.  This will also be an occasion to discuss whether there would be interest in some structured art days  in 2018, similar to the one we held in June.  Come with your ideas. 
  • Wednesday 13th  will  be an opportunity to respond to the special character of the place: a  quiet day of reflection on Quaker Testimonies led by Peter Rivers.  
  • Thursday 14 will be our History Day;   several distinguished historians, including the Pales former wardens, Martin and Lynda Williams, will be speaking on different aspects of Quaker history,  with some special references to Wales. 
  • Friday 15th  will be an Open Day, with the opportunity to talk to Quakers, explore the grounds and to discuss ideas for the future. 
  • Saturday 16th, the Pales Peace choir, which meets monthly at the Pales, will hold a concert in the afternoon;  afterwards there will be a campfire and refreshments – bring some food to share.  
  • And finally on Sunday 17th there will be  a Meeting for Worship at 3pm.  (as there is on every third Sunday of the month).

For a summary of the programme with times click here and for directions click here 

What is the anniversary about?  As Martin Williams has written, 1717 ‘marks the beginning of the Pales as we know it today’ It is likely, though not absolutely certain, that the existing stone-walled and thatched  building that contains the schoolroom and meeting house dates from around this time, three hundred years ago. By this time there had been Quakers in the area for over 50 years, meeting in each others’ houses. The early years were hard, with persecution, imprisonment and fines, and many  emigrated to America  as a result. (The first Meeting House in Pennsylvania is called Radnor). But others remained, and a burial ground was acquired, first mentioned in a lease of 1673, and referred to in a second deed of 1694 as ‘ paled or fenced in roundabout’. In 1716  ( or 1717 in today’s calendar) another deed refers to a dwelling house and outbuildings, garden and woods . The present buildings may date from this period.  The schoolroom door bears the date 1745, which may refer to  alterations  completed at this time. It is possible that originally this room, with  shutters opening to the Meeting Room, may have been designed for women’s meetings.  It was used as a schoolroom when a school was established at the Pales in the 19th century.  

What is the Pales peace choir?
The Pales Peace Choir are a group of people who love singing and meet on the 3rd Saturday of each month at The Pales, to sing about peace and social justice. They would welcome new members. To join, no previous experience is required and there is no need to read music . You do not need to be a Quaker. The songs are taught by ear and are sung together in harmony.

For more information contact Susie:  
07966 020312 or susie at


We now have a gardener who cuts the grass on a regular basis and an occasional gardener who comes in as required. But there is always more to do. On October the 1st we are holding one of our regular Gardening Days - we are meeting at Llandrindod Meeting House to join Llandrindod LM for Meeting for Worship at 11.00 then going up to the Pales for a shared lunch followed by and afternoon of gardening. All are welcome to join us.


Carole Chapman, our Friend in Residence, has had some very close encounters with the local wildlife. She is hoping that the mouse in the airing-cupboard does not decide to take up permanent residence and she is taking steps to discourage it. But the hedgehog, who will come and walk around while Carole sits enjoying the view, is welcome to return at any time. Hares have appeared in the adjoining fields and are regularly seen frolicking - Carole is hopeful that they have made a form in the farmers hedge. Bats have also been seen circling the building at dusk.
One wildlife puzzle that took us a while to solve was 'Who's been eating our posters?' The Poster board on the outside of the Pales has been repaired and repainted by Jan Shivel and it was put back up by Peter Hussey. Derek James hand painted the left hand side and we placed a poster on the right only for it to be nibbled by something. After some head-scratching we decided it was wood wasps harvesting the paper for their nests. We are hoping that pasting the poster onto the board will solve this problem - watch this space.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Pales Newsletter - July 2017

News from The Pales
The Pales Newsletter - July 2017
From the Pales Steering Group

Carole Chapman,  Friend-in-residence at the Pales, recalls an exceptionally busy June.
June - a month to remember.
As June approached, the month ahead was a little daunting, with so many activities due to take place.  
 June 1  Planned visit to the Pales from attenders of the Hay Festival. Peter Hussey delivered an Interesting talk, his wife Maggie took charge of the catering – thank you –  the  cream tea was enjoyed by the small number of people present and plans were made for  better publicity next year . 

June 6 Another very successful talk by Peter at the visit from the local Mothers Union

June 9 Jennifer and Claudia’s Wedding. The rain kept away allowing us to enjoy the outdoors. A marvellous spread was provided and enjoyed by all. A lovely occasion.

June 10 Fellowship Day for Southern Marches Area. A talk by Daryl Booth on animal welfare sparked off some interesting and diverse discussion. After a shared lunch, an afternoon of wool-related activities.  I am still knitting my teddy bear!

June 13 Pales Art Day. A very successful event. I came home to  find an industrious group spread all over the grounds, painting, cutting, sticking and drawing  with obvious enthusiasm.

June 18 Pales gardening day in the morning followed by the monthly Meeting for Worship in the afternoon

June 20 Peter once again gave a talk, this time to the Men’s Interdenominational Group and their  partners. Teas and coffees were provided, with Maggie’s assistance.

June 24 Llandegley Village Picnic, following a car treasure hunt. Lots of  positive feedback and discussions as to whether further village events could be  held here

June 29  Peter and Kevin’s  wedding. A high note on which to end the month.  Linda and Mary from Clun  Valley Meeting arrived early: Mary created the beautiful flower arrangements and Linda prepared the tea, with other contributions from Clun Valley Friends. Approximately 88 people attended, resulting in ‘ standing room only’ for a few. A truly beautiful and moving Meeting for Worship; I particularly appreciated the things said by Peter and Kevin afterwards

I cannot pretend I didn’t experience  a sense of relief that the month had come to an end, but as I look back, what a marvellous month  it was. Thank you to all those who helped to make it so successful. 
Carole Chapman, Friend in Residence.

And thanks also to Carole who gives everyone such a warm welcome,  ensures that the Schoolroom and Meeting Room are ready for visitors, makes drinks available  – and sorts out lost property after the events. All these events show how well suited the Meeting House, the Schoolroom and the Garden are for events of this kind and that the facilities are able to cope with such numbers. 

July 15th. Refugee Day at the Pales. 

Planning for the refugee day began early in the year. We were keen to share the wonderful site of the Pales, but there was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety.   Were our facilities adequate? From where would the refugees come? How would they get there? If by bus, would child seats be needed? What would they want to eat?  How would we entertain the children?   And what would we do if it rained? Then it turned out that the chosen day – July 15 - clashed with the monthly  meeting of the Pales Peace choir. How would we resolve all these problems? 
But through much help, skilfully coordinated by Jeff Beatty, from the Community, Voluntary and Faith sector support for refugees and asylum seekers (Herefordshire), and the  experienced support of the  Hay Brecon and Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees (for their report of the day see,  all the difficulties were overcome.   It was agreed to invite the Syrian  families and three young Eritreans who were settled in  Hereford  – a decision which delighted the Hereford Quaker group involved with these refugees, which had been hoping to arrange an occasion for them to get together.   
And so, on Saturday morning cars began to arrive at the quarry carpark,  neatly parked to allow plenty of space for the buses  arriving from 10.30.  Together, our 55 visitors from 13 families, the helpers from many Quaker meetings, and the Peace choir totalled around 100 people, but there was plenty of room. Donations had allowed the visitors to choose and buy food to cook, and there  was soon busy activity as fires were kindled and a wide range  of enticing dishes set out, offered to all, while the children played and explored, or were occupied with quieter activities in the marquee. It was a day of friendship, laughter, sharing – and song, for in the afternoon the  peace choir (which had spent the morning practising) joined the groups in the camping field. Their songs were in several languages, including the Arabic As-Salaam alaykum  (Peace be with you), which was greatly appreciated, and many joined in. We were lucky to have an Arabic speaker among us, who could translate our visitors’ expressions of thanks. We learned how they especially valued this opportunity to come together and the feeling of community that such an event fostered.  It was a most memorable and moving day for everyone involved.   We are grateful to the very many people who made it possible.
 And the weather?  A fine morning for all to enjoy the views; the few drops of rain in the later afternoon failed to dampen the euphoria as our visitors packed up and were given gift bags to take home.  Once again, the versatility of the Pales for events of all kinds was demonstrated.

And finally, a reminder.
In September we are celebrating the tricentenary of the Pales  with  a week of varied activities. Below is a list of events and in the August Newsletter we will tell you more about each event.
All are welcome.  Bring some food if you are coming for the whole day. Drinks will be provided. All the events are free. Donations  will go toward the upkeep of the Pales. 
Monday 11th   11-1pm Explore the history of the landscape, a walk led by the local historian Derek  Turner.                                          
2-4pm Discover the  geology of the area, visible in the nearby  quarry, with the geologist  Joe Botting from Llandrindod  Wells Museum 
Tuesday   12th   10.30-4.0  Art at the Pales. Be inspired by the amazing views.  Bring drawing and painting materials and  create  your own impressions of the Pales and its setting.
Wednesday 13th  10.30-4   Quaker Testimonies reflected at The Pales A guided look at how the Testimonies are lived through the history, beauty and peace given to us by the Pales,  led by Peter Rivers
Thursday 14th   10.30-4.0   Pales History Day.  Quaker Women; ‘ Bloody Quakers!’  Life at the Pales…. Historians share their  research on three hundred years of Quaker activity at the Pales.   Speakers: Gethin Evans, Geraint Hughes, Christine Trevett, Martin Williams, Lynda Williams 
Friday  15th 10.30- 4.0  Pales Open Day. Come and meet Quakers, explore the grounds, and find out about plans for the future.
Saturday 16th      3pm  Pales Peace choir concert, followed by camp fire and bring, cook and share barbecue.
Sunday 17th     3pm Meeting for Worship
For more details see

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Pales Newsletter - June 2017

News from The Pales
The Pales Newsletter - June 2017
From the Pales Steering Group

Plans for the future .
The architects, Simmonds Mills, have completed their building survey and are beginning work drafting plans, as well discussing with Powys Planning and CADW what might be possible on the site.  We hope to have more details available at our September celebration week.

Future events
July 15-16. Refugee Weekend. On Saturday 15th  refugee families from Hereford will be visiting The Pales for a bring and share barbecue,  and there will be a concert by the Pales peace choirFor more details about refugee actions see the Pales website -

September 11-17 is our 300th celebration week, with different activities every day to appreciate the  Pales: its  landscape and geology, its inspiring views, the relation of the grounds to the Quaker testimonies, its Quaker history explored by a panel of historians  –  and  a concert  followed by a barbecue. All will be welcome.  More details on our website

 Some recent events

The peace and quiet of the Pales are some of its most valued  features, but it is also a place where people can come together and share their enjoyment. Here are two reports of recent events.

June 10th. Area Meeting at The Pales 

The June AM is not a Business Meeting but an opportunity for all Ffriends in the Area Meeting to gather and spend time in community, getting to know each other a little better.
Elders and Overseers take responsibility for the day and Peter Hussey, an Elder at Llandrindod Local Meeting agreed to co-ordinate it. He pointed out that The Pales was surrounded by animals; sheep and cattle in the fields and large chicken sheds in the middle of the view. Peter felt that it would be appropriate to spend the day considering and celebrating animals generally.
In the morning twenty eight Ffriends gathered in the Meeting Room to hear a talk on Animal Welfare given by Daryl Booth of SARX, a group whose Mission Statement says that they are ‘ striving towards a world where Christians lead the way in enabling animals to live with dignity, in freedom and in peace’. Daryl began his talk by reminding us of some examples of those who have spoken up and fought for the dignity of animals in the past. He included biblical references, stories of a number of Saints, the actions and philosophy of Jesus and the work of several 19th Century reformers. As he was speaking to a Quaker audience he made special mention of Friends’ thinking about animals and their views on animal welfare. He explained that ‘sarx' is the Greek word for ‘flesh' and quoted the words from Genesis  "and the Word was made flesh". He told us that his organisation considers all those with flesh worthy of our respect. He gave us figures on the consumption of various animal species and spoke of the degrading way that ‘food’ animals are treated. He then gave us the opportunity to share our own thoughts and experiences. The discussion broadened to include the significance of animals within global ecology, and their importance to the great variety of communities that exist in different parts of the world. Many Ffriends spoke of their disquiet and concerns about animal rights and the various ways in which they were dealing with this troubling matter. Further information on SARX can be found on their website -

We then enjoyed a bring and share lunch and some even managed to eat outside on the benches, despite a light falling of rain.

After lunch we all gathered in the School Room where activities involving wool had been arranged. We were able to try our hand at peg loom weaving, spinning raw wool using drop spinners and then weaving it on a home-made loom together with commercially spun wool, knitting teddy bears and other exciting items and creating collages using wool and fabric. 

As the photographs show, everyone was engaged with their activity, some of which required intense concentration and others that allowed for conversation and sharing. It was a delight to have three Young Friends with us from Hereford Meeting. We were pleased that the more reticent and less craft-orientated Ffriends were happy to have a go too.

Once again Ffriends in Southern Marches showed how much fun can be had at an Area Meeting.

June 13th. Art Day at The Pales
The weather was kind on June 13, and 19 people gathered to ‘abstract the landscape’ under the  friendly guidance of the artists Lois Hopwood and Bronte Woodruff. 

We scattered over the grounds to make sketches, and were challenged to simplify these into lines and shapes. 

We discovered the excitement of painting large washes of colour and then used our coloured sheets to create collages inspired by our drawings. There was much to enjoy - the inspirational nature of our surroundings, the fun of working with others, and our experiments  with ‘Vandyke crystals’ a wood dye made from walnut shells which can be used instead of ink.    

There was much enthusiasm for further Art days of this kind, which we hope to organise in the future. In the meantime all will be welcome at our untutored ‘do it yourself’ Art day, Tuesday September 12th in our celebration week .

Full details of all events at The Pales can be found on our website -

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Pales Newsletter - May 2017

News from The Pales
The Pales Newsletter - May 2017

The Pales : A Vision for the Future
How can one achieve the aim of the Pales Steering Group  ‘to preserve the special  and unique quality of the Pales and to enable it to be appreciated by others’? We need to ensure that the  buildings are fit for purpose while preserving their historic character and that there are amenities for visitors which do not diminish the sense of rural tranquillity and the impact of the surrounding landscape.  To further this we have appointed the architects Simmonds Mills; their brief includes the refurbishment of the Warden’s cottage in as sustainable a manner as possible, improved heating for  Meeting House and Schoolroom, and a small amount of tactfully sited accommodation in the grounds.  This will not happen instantly; planning permissions need to be negotiated; a fundraising campaign will be launched later in the year. But this is an important step forward.
Simmonds Mills are an eco-building and sustainable architecture company.
"We are U.K. based specialists in ecological building design. We design healthy, low-energy, high-comfort domestic & non-domestic projects to the AECB Silver, Passivhaus & EnerPHit energy standards. We use both traditional and innovative building techniques. We have detailed knowledge of locally available and renewable materials.
Simmonds Mills incorporate key principles of energy efficiency and the use of appropriate renewable energy resources.
We have particular experience of using UK woodland timber, and are practised in earthen building techniques.  We have completed a wide variety of built projects, including:Passivhaus and Enerphit certified projects; historic conversion and renovation; new housing; public buildings for housing associations, charities, educational centres."

Meanwhile there is plenty happening, both organised events and informal visits – the Meeting House is always open. Visit our website ( for more details about events :

June 1st Hay Festival visitors. Visitors to the Hay Festival will be invited to visit The Pales in the afternoon for a talk, given by Peter Hussey, followed by cream teas and activities.

June 10th  Southern Marches Area Meeting. In the morning there will be a talk given by Darrel Booth on Animal Welfare. This will be followed by a Bring-and-Share lunch. The afternoon will be spent in activities revolving around wool and it uses. If you have any spare balls of wool please bring them.

June 13th  Art at the Pales, the first of our Art Days, a drawing and painting workshop led by local artists Lois Hopwood and Bronte Woodruff. The first of our Art Days.  Be inspired by the landscape around The Pales at a painting and drawing workshop led by Lois Hopwood and costs £25. Lois studied Fine Art at The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne 1982 - 86 and won the South West Open painting prize in 1987. Lois lives and works with the Potter Tony Hall at their studios in Knucklas on Castle Hill Farm. 
We will begin the day of landscape painting with making a lot of small pen/pencil/charcoal sketches, walking and stopping and drawing for an hour. For more details of this event please click here.

June 18th  Gardening Day  ( see below for more)

July 15th  Refugee day. The Pales will be hosting a visit of refugees from Hereford

And make a special note of the  exciting activities in our tricentenary week, September 11-17 (

Gardening Days.  The  grounds at the Pales range from historic burial ground to modern meditation pool and peace pole,  vegetable and fruit garden, mixed woodland and wildflowers, as well as a camping field and picnic areaAll these need different kinds of care.  Grass is cut regularly, but other areas have needed attention.  Gardening Days at the Pales are an opportunity to join with other Ffriends in maintaining the grounds. Lunch is a bring-and-share occasion and we join with Friends in Meeting for Worship at 3.00.  The first gardening day focused on the Meditation pool, clearing it of overgrown rushes and reducing the exuberant greenery that had  overwhelmed the sitting area

On the March gardening day we started to shift the wood left after the coppicing of ' Williams' Wood', the mixed woodland planted by Martin and Lynda Williams.  The thinning and coppicing has given more space for the young trees to develop, encouraging an undergrowth  of wild flowers.   More work on the clearing is needed; help on the next gardening day, June 18, will be welcome.

April Events.

Abergavenny Foolish Day. Abergavenny Local Meeting held a Foolish Day at The Pales on 1st April.  Here is Kate Evan's report.
A foolish day at the Pales on April 1st
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
It was the children who could say about the emperor’s new clothes.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 18:3
“I … ask the Lord to give you every blessing and joy and to keep ever fresh and young your ‘child’s mind’ which is the only one worth having” Thomas Merton
The date we selected for our 300th anniversary visit to the Pales happened to be 1st April and, though the hoaxes, tricks and “false news” traditional to that morning did not figure, we did think we might be foolish in the spirit of the child in all of us.  But then we became foolish in our lack of preparation and though our planning really did not happen the day somehow evolved through conversations and holding it in mind.  In the end eleven met for bring and share foolishness and lunch – beginning with meeting for worship.
I found myself slightly shocked by misreading the framed quote on the wall as “Be silly and cool in thine own mind and spirit”.  As I was caught and held by the sunlight, the “glamourie” of the slug trail on the Pales door step and the sequins in the 5 year old’s dress, I felt silly in gratitude and joy in the company and the warm embrace of the Pales and Carole’s and Johns’ quiet welcome.  
We sang the chicken song.  I will only say it involved knitted chickens and we even sang it in rounds. We shared ideas and reflections on foolishness acknowledging its dark side as well as an account of the fool archetype which came from The Inner Child Cards by Isha and Mark Lerner.  The foolish lunch included “fool” and tasty gluten and sugar free cooking.  We enjoyed the garden and at the end two of us set off to walk a foolish half the way home taking a luxurious 3 days.  
But what has this got to do with anything? – how will it solve the troubles of the world? – where we meet the dark side of foolishness in the trickster of Trump, the denial of climate change and the injustices of our economics of manipulated greed.  I don’t know but perhaps there is a link with knitting slugs.

For many of us slugs are bad for their devastation of our gardens and hopes of growing productive plants and just generally yucky.  They are also an essential part of our ecology and its need for recycling. Even earth worms who are a much more clear good as they don’t eat the flower and vegetable seedlings are not sufficiently treasured.  Can we love slugs and find what they may have to teach us?
I came across the idea of “glamourie” in John Burnside’s “I put a spell on you”.  It is apparently Old Scots, meaning a “charmed condition where everything, even the most commonplace of objects or events, is invested with magical possibilities, Glamourie is a different way of being in the world, a sudden and sometimes frightening openness, the soul like a door ajar, to paraphrase Emily Dickinson, the physical world immediate and intimate and erotic, invested with new energy and light and, at the same time, beautifully perilous.”
If inclined that way it is worth re-reading Jung for the seriousness of it all. 
We finished with the Appalachian Shaker Song:

Tis the gift to be simple, tis the gift to be free - Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.  When true simplicity is gained. To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.  To turn, turn will be our delight, Till by turning, turning we come round right.

Arwystli Artists Day - April 2017
The Arwystli Artists are a group who had the crazy idea of meeting, once a month, in an attractive place and drawing or painting there. Aberystwyth beach, in the pouring rain, Aberdovey on the day that storm Doris arrived, Montgomery Castle on one of the coldest days of the winter, are just some of their venues. Surprisingly the group attracts new artists to join this stalwart band. As a continuation of this programme the Pales in April was a delightful change.

Eight artists met at the Pales on a Thursday at the end of April, a group of mixed ability, enjoying painting or drawing in the proximity of others. The Pales offers a variety of subjects, there is the Meeting House itself, the burial group, the famous views, the woodland, the reflection pool, peace pole. Pictured here are a selection of the people and their pictures.

Noted by John Davies, in his book: “100 places to see before you die”, as the most spiritual place in Wales. What a place to stand aside from the craziness of the world for a moment or two. What a place to be creative in. Of course the peace and beauty of this gem of a place does not only attract painters, what a place for creative writing, or for just sitting and enjoying.

There will be a tutored day of "Abstracting the landscape" led by well known local artists Lois Hopwood and Bronte Woodruff on the 13th June. Cost £25, and there will be a further unstructured at day during the Pales three hundredth anniversary week in September. Details of both these events can be seen on The Pales website -

For a full Calendar of Events please click here.
You can download this newsletter as a PDF for printing - please click here