Raymond Williams (1921-1988) was a social historian, critic and novelist. Born in Pandy, Williams wrote over twenty books and enjoyed a career in academia, holding a professorship in drama at Cambridge University between 1974 and 1983. His work, varying from novels to works of literary criticism such as Orwell (Modern Masters) (Flamingo, 1970) to political commentaries such as Culture and Society 1780-1950 (Columbia University Press, 1983), was often embedded in Wales and Welsh cultural themes. Five of his novels were set, or partly set in Wales, including Second Generation (Chatto & Windus, 1964) and Loyalties (Chatto & Windus, 1985).
This tour concentrates on his home village of Pandy, which lies between the Skirrid and the Black Mountains north of Abergavenny. Williams described Pandy memorably in his autobiographical novel, Border Country (Chatto & Windus, 1960).
The tour, originally led by Professor Dai Smith, begins at Williams' old school in Abergavenny and visits his birthplace in Pandy. A walk through the village leads to the site of the old railway station, where Williams’ father worked as signalman. The tour moves then over the fields to where the Honddu joins the Monnow. At that point stands Allt Yr Ynys Country House Hotel, a beautiful 16th century manor house which was once the home of the noble and renowned Cecil family. The tour continues with a visit to Williams’ grave in Clodock cemetery and a look around the fascinating church.
The photograph of Williams above was taken from the first series of Literary Postcards produced by Literature Wales and The Rhys Davies Trust. Photographer unknown.
1 - King Henry VIII Grammar School, Abergavenny where Williams studied as a teenager
2 - Williams' childhood home in Pandy
3 - The site of Pandy Railway Station, where Williams' father worked as a signalman
4 - Clodock Church, where Williams is buried
The OS map above is reproduced with permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland
Photographs from the original tour:
|Raymond Williams Literary Tour Guide||487.33KB|