Portrait of George Borrow

Past Events

The Society has an increasingly varied programme of events.  The events are usually held in places related to George Borrow, and there’s usually time set aside for sight-seeing, often with expert local guides.  All the meetings are friendly and everyone is welcome to come along and join in.  You don’t have to be a member to attend meetings, and at the moment there is no extra fee for attendance if you are not a member, though we hope you will join the Society!  Existing members often bring guests who are not members.

Fortunately George Borrow travelled widely so the Society not only gets about, but usually discovers a link between Borrow and excellent pubs and hotels in the area.  All events are written up in our George Borrow Bulletin, and so members who were unable to attend don’t miss out too much.  We also hope to show a few photographs from the events on our website.

Christmas Meal, 2 December 2018

Our annual Society Christmas lunch was held at the Victoria pub, Paddington, London.

Shrewsbury Weekend, 26–27 October 2018

The Society held a delightful weekend in Shrewsbury in October 2018, where George Borrow and his family stayed for almost five months in 1857.  More details on our Shrewsbury 2018 page.

Christmas Meal, 2 December 2017

Our annual Society Christmas lunch was held at the Golden Lion, King Street, London.  A short write-up is available.

King’s Lynn, Norfolk, Weekend, 2017
October 13–15

On a fine October weekend members gathered at Kings Lynn where we had talks, a guided walk through the town, and on the Sunday a coach trip along the north Norfolk coast, visiting places George Borrow noted on his walks in 1856 and 1857.  See our page for more details.

Colm’s Book Launch, August 2017

Members of the Society and friends gathered at the Golden Lion, London, to celebrate the launch of Colm’s book on George Borrow in Tipperary in an event organised by Lavengro Press.  We also enjoyed a pleasant meal together.  Some photographs and more information are available.

Christmas at the Hereford Arms, 3rd December 2016

In what has now become a Borrovian tradition, members gathered at the Hereford Arms, Brompton, London for a very good Christmas lunch, to meet friends, chat about Borrow and listen to John Hentges performing his piece “Borrow Resuscitated”.  For more information and a photograph or two see our Christmas 2016 page.

Epping, 8–9th October, 2016

The Borrovians had a very pleasant join meeting with the John Clare Society, at Epping.  For more information our see Epping 2016 page.

Anglesey, 13–15th May, 2016

A wonderful weekend at Beaumaris and Anglesey saw the George Borrow Society and the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club explore Borrow’s visit to the Island in 1854.  Of the many highlights, a visit to the house of Gorowny Owen and meeting some of his descendents stands out and was very much appreciated.  Lots more information and a few pictures on our Anglesey conference page.

George Borrow Essay Competition, 1 March 2016

Two excellent essays were submitted for the 2015/6 George Borrow Essay Competition (see the Trust’s Website).  The winner was Jessica von Kaenel-Flatt with an essay on ‘The Heath and the Drawing-room: Representation and Reality in George Borrow’s Lavengro and Romany Rye’.  We’re hoping Jessica will be able to receive her £500 prize at our Epping meeting.  The runner-up was, Dr. Anne-Marie Ford’s excellent ‘A Lying Tale: Fact and Fiction in the Stories of Borrow’s Gypsies’, which was awarded a Distinguished Mention.  Anne-Marie’s essay can be read at the Gypsy Genealogy Website.

George Borrow’s Moorish Vocabulary, 18 December 2015

Lavengro Press continue to publish important works on and by George Borrow, and in December published (with notes) Borrow’s vocabulary from his Tangiers visit in 1839 (partly covered in Bible in Spain).  As with all Lavengro Press works it can be ordered direct from the Lavengro Press website.

Christmas Meal in Brompton, 5 December 2015

In what has now become a tradition, members met at the Hereford Arms for a very pleasant Christmas lunch and a lot of talking.  More details including a few Borrovian puzzles.

Bi-Annual General Meeting: Brompton, 24 October 2015

Thirteen of our members managed to squeeze into South Lodge, Brompton Cemetery for our Bi-Annual General Meeting, although we failed to do justice to the buscuits provided Arthur Tait, our host (from the Friends of Brompton Cemetery).  More details are available, including a walk around Borrovian Brompton.

Norwich Heritage Weekend, September, 2015

Our friends in Norwich held another heritage weekend with plenty to see that relates to George Borrow.  General details at HistoryOfNorwich.  If you do visit Norwich you might like to follow the Society's tour of Norwich.

Llangollen, 27 June 2015

Members of the Society had a very pleasant get-together in Llangollen, Wales, with lunch in the town.  George Borrow stayed in Llangollen in 1854, with many of the events related in his book Wild Wales.

Summer 2015: Oulton and Beyond

A wonderful book on George Borrow and Oulton was published by our member Ivan A. W. Bunn.  A proper review appeared in the Autumn 2015 Bulletin, and a too brief notice is on our Website.

Portugal, 13–18 April 2015

Members of the Society visited Portugal for a full programme of events.  See the Bulletin for a write-up: many said how very much they’d enjoyed it.

George Borrow Essay Competition 2015

The George Borrow Trust ran its second Essay Competition, for which the submission deadline was 1 March 2015.  Information about the competition is available on the Trust’s website.

If you'd like to read the 2012–13 prize essay then it's available from Lavengro Press.

London, Christmas Lunch, 6 December 2014

Members and friends gathered at the Hereford Arms, Hereford Square, Brompton, for our Christmas lunch.  A quick write-up is available and a few bits are included on the history of the pub itself in Borrow’s time.

Honiton Antiques Festival, 10–15 November, 2014

As in previous years Graham York Rare Books took part in the Honiton Antiques Festival and there were various interesting Borrovian items on display.  This year Graham’s theme was folk music, including Gypsy music.  David visited Honiton and took some photographs so a proper write-up should follow.

Peterborough, April 2014

The Society had a very enjoyable weekend conference, including a visit to Norman Cross and Gordon Boswell’s Gypsy museum, at Peterborough.  A quick write-up is available.

Norwich & George Borrow: A Celebration, 1–2 November 2013.

A conference with plenty of local activities took place in the beautiful city of Norwich.  A quick write-up is available.

An Afternoon with George Borrow, July 2013.

Meeting (above ground!) we gathered at Brompton Cemetery for an afternoon of readings and the annual ceremony of laying a wreath on Borrow’s grave.  We’ve some pictures and a full-write-up should be in Bulletin 2.7.

London, Christmas Lunch, December, 2012

Members again gathered at Golden Lion in King Street, London, for our regular Christmas lunch.  Unfortunately, everyone enjoyed themselves so much that we forgot to do a write-up!  There was considerable detective work after lunch on the various portraits in the room though.

Gibraltar Visit, 27th September-1st October, 2012.

A very interesting and enjoyable visit was made by members of the Society to Gibraltar and Tangiers.  Full details, including the talks, are given in Bulletin 2.6.  The original provisional plan is still on the Website.

Graham York Gypsy Exhibition, November, 2012

Graham York of Honiton put on a very interesting exhibition of Borrovian and Gypsy items.  A short write-up including photographs is available on our Website

London, 18th August, 2012

The Eighth Fraser Memorial Lecture was held at 2 p.m., 18th August 2012, at the International Students' House, 229 Great Portland Street, London.  A buffet lunch was provided and Clive Wilkins-Jones gave a very interesting talk.  A short write-up is available, with more in the Bulletin.


On 13th April 2012 members gathered for a weekend in Salisbury and Amesbury, visiting the places Borrow mentioned in Lavengro.  Pictures and a brief write-up are available.

2011—Presteigne, Oulton and London

On 2nd December 2011 members of the Society met in London for a private viewing of two pictures of George Borrow not normally on public display and held by the National Portrait Gallery.  Then on the 3rd December 2011 members met up for Christmas lunch, at the Golden Lion, where a pleasant afternoon was had by all.

The Society’s weekend (16–18th September 2011) was held at the Radnorshire Arms hotel in Presteigne (where George Borrow stayed on his second tour of Wales).   Activities included an evening with various members talking part (including Mike’s photographs of Borrows’ Wild Wales tour) and a Sunday spent touring South Wales with lunch at Llandovery.

On 23rd July 2011 the Society gathered at Brompton to lay a wreath on George Borrow’s grave, followed by a walk to Hereford Square (where the Borrows lived) with a meal in the Hereford Arms and a talk by Clive Wilkins-Jones on Lucy Brightwell.

On 16th April 2011 the Society met for a day at Oulton, where events including seeing Ann Borrow’s restored grave (George Borrow’s mother), the church where the Borrows worshipped (and a talk by Oulton expert Ivan Bunn), a tour of Oulton and a nice lunch at the Wherry Hotel.

2010 — Hungary and London

The sixth Fraser memorial lecture was held at the International Students House, London, on 21 August 2010, with Dr. David Chandler giving a fascinating talk on Joseph Sell, followed by a lively discussion.

The Society also met in Hungary 3–9 October 2010.  A full write-up of the activities is in Bulletin 1, 2nd Series.

The year finished off with hardy members of the Society meeting in a snow-bound London on 18th December 2010, at the Golden Lion pub. for a Christmas lunch and an afternoon nattering about George Borrow.

2009 — London and Salamanca

The Society gathered for a weekend in London, 25–26th July 2009.  There were talks on the Greenwich fairs of Lavengro, visits to Greenwich, Hereford Square, Putney and Richmond Park.  The talks were held in Brompton Cemetery.  Fit members of the Society seemed to have walked at least 10 miles during a very enjoyable weekend.

The Society then regrouped in Salamanca (15–19 September 2009) where there were talks, a civic reception, and lots of sight-seeing.

The reports are in Bulletin 40.  The programme that was planned is available if you wish to read it.

2008 — Clonmel

The Society visited Clonmel 30 September to 3 October 2008, with the report in Bulletin 37, and we have some pictures

2007 — Southwold

The Society had a weekend in Southwold, Suffolk, 21–23 September 2007, which included a trip to “Lavengro” (George Borrow’s house at Oulton, rebuilt but with the summer-house still standing).

2006 — Norwich, St. Petersburg and St. Deniol’s

On 28th March 2006 the Society joined the Norwich Society at the Assembly House, Norwich, with an evening devoted to George Borrow.   A write-up is in Bulletin 34.

The Society a had week’s trip to St. Petersburg (where George Borrow worked on printing the Manchu), 1–8th July 2006.  Reports on the week are in Bulletin 33.

The Society also had a weekend at St. Deniol’s, Howarden, 29th September to 2nd October 2006, which included the fourth Fraser Memorial lecture, given by Martin Murphy, who caused a sensation by reading the continuation of the story of George and Murtagh.  There was a dinner at Ruthin and trips round Chester.  Details are available in Bulletin 34.

2005 — Alcalá and Llangollen

A George Borrow day was held on 17th February 2005 at the University of Alcalá, Spain, with Ken Barrett providing a note on the activities in Bulletin 30.

Later in the year (16–18th September 2005) the Society had a weekend in Llangollen, which is written up in Bulletin 31.  A highlight was the reception provided by the Pattinson family at Dee Cottage (where the Borrows lived for much of the Wild Wales period).

2004 — Isle of Man

The Society went on a week’s trip to the Isle of Man (1–8 July 2004), visiting various places mentioned in George Borrow’s “unpublished” Manx notebook.

2003 — Dereham, Norwich and Oulton

Marking 200 years since the birth of George Borrow, this year the Society produced an extra number of the Bulletin (number 26), which corresponded with the weekend the Society held at Dereham, Norwich and Oulton, on 4–6th July 2003.

2002 — London and Seville

Following the death of our founder, Sir Angus Fraser on 27th May 2001, the Society started to commemorate Angus with the Fraser Memorial Lecture, and the first such lecture was given on 27th July 2002 at the International Students House, London, by Dr. David Chandler.  After the lecture members enjoyed a buffet lunch and then went to Brompton Cemetery to lay a wreath on Borrow’s grave.

On 8–12th October 2002 the Society met at Seville.  Comprehensive reports are given in Bulletin No. 24.

2001 — Ponterwyd

The weekend was held at Ponterwyd, 7–8th July 2001, which was held at the George Borrow hotel!  Reported in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 22.

2000 — Great Yarmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed

The first weekend was held in Great Yarmouth, 12–14 May 2000.  A report on this meeting is available in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 20.

A second weekend was held at Berwick-upon-Tweed on 7–9th July 2000.  A report on this meeting is in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 21.

1999 — Bury St. Edmunds

The weekend was held at Bury St. Edmunds, on the 3–4th July 1999.

1998 - Cieriog Valley, Pembroke

The Society weekend was held on 4–5th July 1998, at the West Arms Hotel, Llanarmon Dyffyn Ceiriog (i.e. the Cieriog valley area).  There’s a report in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 16.

On 2–4 October 1998 the George Borrow Society joined the Cambrian Archæological Association at the Cleddau Bridge Hotel, Pembroke, where the theme was ‘George Borrow’s other visits to Wild Wales.’

1997 — Liskeard

The meeting was held at Liskeard, 12th July 1997.  A report is available in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 14.

1996 — Santiago de Compostela

The meeting was held at Santiago de Compostela, 10–13th September 1996.  There’s a report by Ann Ridler in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 12.

1995 — Bala

The meeting was held at Bala, 7–9th July 1995.  There’s a report by Paul Watkins in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 10.

1994 — Norwich and Oulton

The meeting was held at Norwich and Oulton, 1–3 July 1994.  There’s a report by Margaret Sharman in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 8

1993 — Madrid

Professor Michael Collie organised the main conference at Madrid, 3–4 June 1993, at the Instituto Internacional.  There’s a report by Clive Wilkins-Jones in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 6

1992 — Llangollen

The meeting was at Llangollen, on 18–19 July 1992.  There’s a report by Patricia H. Alderidge in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 4.

1991 — Norwich

The Third George Borrow conference, organised by Professor Michael Collie with Sir Angus Fraser, was held at Wensum Lodge, King Street, Norwich, on the 6th and 7th of July 1991.  The George Borrow Society was founded at this conference.  There’s a report by Richard Burleigh in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 2.

1989 — Ponterwyd

The George Borrow Conference, organized by Professor Michael Collie, was held at the George Borrow hotel in Ponterwyd, Wales.  Professor Collie later wrote up his trials and tribulations in organising this conference in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 1.


The “pre-George Borrow Society” met at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, and over dinner Professor Michael Collie was asked to organize a George Borrow Conference in Wales.  Professor Collie mentions this in the George Borrow Bulletin, No. 1.

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