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News > Heritage > Bradfield Poetry on World Poetry Day

Bradfield Poetry on World Poetry Day

Inspired by the College
21 Mar 2022
Poem by J. Truman from The Bradfield Chronicle, July 1895
Poem by J. Truman from The Bradfield Chronicle, July 1895

Throughout the long life of The Bradfield College Chronicle, Bradfield inspired poetry has remained an important element, appearing regularly in each publication. The poets usually remained anonymous or used nick-names or one initial, so it is mostly impossible for us to identify them individually.

However, their poetry has much to teach us about College life for the boys and masters in the early days, and also perhaps most significantly, how the natural world and countryside around Bradfield has deeply inspired so many who came to spend a chapter of their lives here, as well as visitors. The setting of the school in a gentle valley surrounded by the river meadows of the Pang and pockets of native woodland is, according to John Blackie, ...'the total impression of a place, which is of, as well as in, the Berkshire countryside at its most beautiful.'

The poem At Bradfield was written in 1895 by Joseph Truman, although Truman does not appear to have been a pupil or master here. The other two poems were anonymous, but all were published in the College Chronicles in the mid - 1890s. 

While clearing out our office paper filing in recent weeks, we stumbled across some wonderful poems shared by Major Piers De Berniere-Smart (D 38-42). They were written and shared with former members of the Bradfield Society office during 2004-5 and one I think particularly captures the essence of traditional life and is called 'Hat Band' which you can read below. Piers published his works with the nom de plume 'Piers Alexander' as his son Louis also became a writer. We are thrilled to have a number of his poems now stored in our Archive Collection.

[The research for this article was initiated by Lucy Norman who worked in our College Archive until 2021.]


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