The F.W. Harvey Society was invited to the Railway Inn, Newnham-on-Severn for an informal evening of ‘Cider with Harvey’. This delightful pub has been described as the ‘best cider pub in the world’ and the landlord, David Price, is renowned for his hospitality and enthusiasm for Forest books and literature. David, a lifelong Harvey fan, offered his premises to the Society for the evening and provided an intoxicating range of local cider and perry with bread and cheese. The star performers for the evening were Maggie Clutterbuck, Forest comedienne and poet, and Keith Morgan of Coleford.
F.W. Harvey said of Minsterworth: I love the men: the fishers and the cider-makers. He immortalised the perry maker John Helps in his widely loved poem of the same name. Cider and perry were a form of currency at the turn of the century; agricultural labourers at the Redlands and on local farms were frequently remunerated in cider made from apples grown in the ancient orchards that line the banks of the Severn. It was with these folk that Will Harvey felt most at home. In later life he would sing and recite his verses in local hostelries and enjoy the drink and company. In that tradition you are invited to a special evening at Newnham, touched by his blessing for all such places in Gloucestershire:
God bless this place of homely inns
And honest workmen supping ale;
Let even farmers’ grumblings fail,
And pardon its few sins!
Send, when the great soft curfew bell
Shall dout the light of eyes and houses,
A dream of innocent carouses
And laughter beautiful.
F.W. Harvey, Blessing Upon a Gloucestershire Village, from September