Wessex news from the BBC - click on a headline to read more
find that the name Wessex is getting taken up everywhere and it would be a pity for us to lose the right to it for lack of asserting it. - Thomas Hardy
"To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections - Edmund Burke
"Satisfactory world order...cannot be brought about by the reduction of cultural diversity and the creation of a world-wide gray sameness" - Clyde Kluckhohn
We live in an increasingly globalised world. From Stockholm to Santiago, people are wearing the same clothes, eating the same food and watching the same movies and TV shows. It is time to celebrate the local and the traditional, before they are erased from the public memory altogether.
Wessex Society is a cultural society dedicated to promoting a distinctive regional identity for the Wessex region (click on the button marked "Where is Wessex?", below, for more information on Wessex). We take as our role model the Celtic Revival of the 18th and 19th centuries, which revived (and, where necessary, invented) traditions for the nations of the Celtic Fringe (Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany). Contemporary Celtic regional identities are almost entirely the product of romantic visionaries such as Sir Walter Scott in Scotland and the Gaelic League in Ireland.
Moves towards Celtic devolution have inevitably reawakened interest in English identity. It is our belief that England is too large and too diverse to form a single cultural unit. For example, the primarily rural and agricultural region of Wessex has a very different "vibe" to the industrial heartlands of the North. Movements in other parts of England feel the same, and Wessex Society has joined movements in Mercia, Kent and Northumbria to form the Confederation for a Regional England, a loose affiliation of English regional movements.
More recently, there have been moves towards a reorganisation of England along regional lines. But the government has chosen to adopt a set of artificial and unimaginative regions based on nothing more historical than the civil defence regions adopted during World War II in case Hitler invaded. We believe Wessex has a cultural unity that these regions lack. It has its own flag, its own dialect and more recently its own Earl. More importantly, it has some 1500 years of history behind it. Would Thomas Hardy's novels have had such resonance if they had been set in "the South West"?
The society's patrons are Lord Bath (owner of Longleat and founder of the Wessex Regionalist party in 1974); musicians Gordon Haskell and Acker Bilk; and Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia (a Wessex man who became the first Englishman to be made a bishop of the
A country which is ignorant of its past loses its identity. - Roy Strong
For further information, contact one of the addresses shown on our Activities page or
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