Wilson’s Tales project sets out stall for 2014

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.

After a successful first year, the man behind a project trying to revive interest in Wilson’s Tales is committed to new efforts in 2014.

Project director Andrew Ayre aims to make more people aware of the work of John Wilson, who first published his stories, ballads and poems in 1834 as a sideline to his job as editor of the ‘Berwick Advertiser’.

His work went on to become the minor publishing sensation of its day but Andrew feared it would be lost to history if he did not step in.

Andrew said: “I was delighted the concept of the project met with such support from a wide range of people.

“One of the first things we did was to set up a not for profit company through which to organise the project which was able to raise some funds to take the project forward. We have created a web site at www.wilsonstales.co.uk to provide more information on the Tales and our project.

“We have also been able to work with a number of organisations as well as creating our own events to promote and start retelling some of the tales.

“This has included attendance at the Byegone Borderlands event and a display at Berwick Library. We sponsored a prize at the Berwick Film festival for young film makers to retell the Flodden related tale of “The Faithful Wife “ which was won by a film recreating the drama with chickens!”

The highlight was a joint event with Paxton House in their inaugural Literary Festival. As well as talks on Wilson and his place in the context of Border Ballads and Victorian interest in “tales”, the event saw the retelling of three tales by professional story tellers.

Another highlight was a musical presentation of “The Ballad of the Worlds Vanity”, by local talent Anna Emmins and Robert Wilkinson’s radio play based on the solving of “Lord Kames’ Puzzle”.

“The concept of the Tales has appealed to locals and artists in all sorts of different ways,” said Andrew.

“Our plans for 2014 are at an early stage. We are however planning to work with the Berwick 900 group to create an event focusing on Tales associated with Berwick changing hands.

“We also plan to continue our successful work with Paxton House to lay on a further event focusing on some of the Nautical tales to tie in with their theme for the year.”




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