Llansantffraed Church hosted a memorial event on Sunday to celebrate the 328th anniversary of the death of an internationally renowned Breconshire poet.

More than 60 people attended the Memorial Evensong service, in commemoration of Henry Vaughan, sung by the choir from St Mary’s Priory Church, Abergavenny.

Jonathan Post, Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles gave an engaging address on Henry Vaughan’s poem ‘They are all Gone into the World of Light’, which even managed to include an acknowledgement of Wrexham’s football success.

A highlight of the evensong service was the performance by the choir of a lyrical new setting composed by Tim Pratt, their director of music, for Vaughan’s anthem ‘King of mercy, King of love’.

The service was followed by the traditional commemoration at the grave of Henry Vaughan in the churchyard.

Nigel Clubb, President of the Brecknock Society & Museum Friends and Professor Helen Wilcox of The Vaughan Association laid memorial wreaths. Revd Liz Bramley, local ordained minister for the Beacons Benefice group of churches, led the graveside prayers.

The Brecknock Society, the Vaughan Association, St Mary’s Priory Choir and Llansantffraed Church Committee had worked together to organise the annual memorial event. The return of the Evensong service in Llansantffraed Church followed its reopening in September 2022 after closure during Covid lockdown. Attendees, who come from near and far, were unanimous in their thanks to the new church committee for bringing the church back to life with its warm welcome and traditional refreshments afterwards.

Commenting on the event, Helen Wilcox said: “It is always a privilege to come to this special event at Llansantffraed Church with its literary heritage.

“I hope the financial support that the Vaughan Association and its members can give through Friends of Llansantffraed Church will help local church members to operate and maintain this unique church building for future generations.”

The next special event at Llansantffraed Church will be a poetry and harp recital on Sunday, July 16 at 4pm as part of a programme of events linked to the exhibition of artist and poet David Jones in y Gaer, Brecon from July to October 2023. Details for this event will be advertised in due course.