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Brown Knowl

March 28, 2016

Along with other poets and musicians, Maureen and I recently took part in a fundraising event at Brown Knowl Methodist Church in Broxton, Cheshire. The compere was our friend and fellow Chester poet Pam Moyle, and what a wonderful evening of poetry, music and song it was.  Reading my poem ‘Larkton Hill’, here below the hill itself, was a rare pleasure.  Maureen not only read poetry but played her harmonica too.

Set in the tiny village of Brown Knowl in the hills of south-west Cheshire, the church was built in 1913 to replace an earlier chapel nearby, and it really is quite beautiful in red brick with grey slate roof and crenelated tower. Wilfrid Owen, one of our greatest World War 1 poets, killed in action on 4th November 1918, just a week before hostilities ceased, discovered his poetic vocation as a ten year old boy on holiday at a cottage near this very church in about 1904.  Owen, who wrote ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, is one of the sixteen Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.

I’m sure everyone, performers and audience alike, enjoyed the evening hugely. We raised a tidy sum towards the cost of renovation works at this lovely old church.  Afterwards many of us repaired to a local pub and here the fun continued with a friendly dog belonging to one of the musicians ambling round for pats on the head!

One thing I’ll never forget was the beautiful sunset as rabbits scampered on the grassy rise behind the church.

Happy Easter, everyone.


Copyright © Paul Beech 2016

  1. I am always amazed by the real place that poets seem to occupy in your society, Paul, almost like the very stones in the local earth. That little church….sunset with scampering rabbits…a fabulous way to spend Easter! Happy Spring!

    • Thanks, Cynthia. Yes, “stones in the local earth” we are, I guess, we poets in the UK. What a lovely way of putting it! We’re certainly fortunate in having a thriving, vibrant poetry scene here with a place for poets of all types and styles. Maureen and I are members of Chester Poets (one of the longest-established, most successful groups in the country) and Cross-Border Poets (a Poetry Society “stanza” based at Theatre Clwyd, Mold). And we read at many public events, none more delightful, though, than our evening of poetry and song at Brown Knowl Church.

      A very Happy Spring to you too.


  2. Sounds like a lovely evening, and so close to where Owen was too! Owen also spent time at Craiglockhart, Edinburgh, and endeared himself to all the people who came across him there. He used to visit the poor people and did what he could to help them.

    • Hi Morelle,

      Maureen and I are just back from Ireland. Her old friends in Cork were simply wonderful and gave us a marvellous time. My head is buzzing with all the fabulous images from Cork and Kerry and the happy memories made.

      Anyway, thank you for your comment. Yes, what a very brave and lovely guy Wilfrid Owen was. I know it was whilst recovering from shell-shock at Craiglockhart in 1917 that he met and became friends with Siegfried Sassoon, who encouraged him greatly as a poet. He met Robert Graves there too, I believe.

      I love your blog Rivertrain and will follow.

      Take care,


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