Encouraging interest in Wilson’s Tales

Andrew Ayre with the tombstone of Border poet John Wilson at Tweedmouth Church.

Andrew Ayre with the tombstone of Border poet John Wilson at Tweedmouth Church.

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The Wilson’s Tales project is making encouraging progress since its launch two weeks ago, writes Ian Smith.

Recent publicity has led to a number of responses from the public, including a resident of Tweedmouth who expressed excitement that “something was going to happen to revive interest in this part of our local culture”.

Other offers to get involved have come in from readers’ groups, artists and local drama groups.

A Spittal resident has lent a early edition of the Tales. This is volume 1 of a fairly rare 2 volume edition published by Adam & Co of Felling-Gate.

It is a large format edition not unlike a family bible. The pages shown include an illustration from ‘The Vacant Chair’, the first tale to be published. Many editions are in much smaller format, such as the latter Walter Scott 24 Volume edition.

In the meantime a not for profit company has been set up to take the project forward and discussions are ongoing for the presentation of some of the tales this year.

Project director Andrew Ayre revealed that discussions have been held with The Berwick Film and Media festival to look at a joint effort to have a short film, using local talent, made to tell ‘The Faithful Wife’, a tale linked with the battle of Flodden which is also commemorated this year.

Paxton House Trust is also keen to be involved with the project and the intention is to have an event highlighting Wilson and his legacy as well as some of the Tales incorporated into their literary festival in September.

The project is currently seeking help to get its website functional, particularly to give members of the public access to online editions of the tales.

There is an incomplete set at Berwick Library and The Woodhorn Trust has offered to send another set up from their archives, to give better access to those wanting to read some of the Tales for themselves.

Learn more about the project from aa@wilsonstales.co.uk.

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