Gray’s Monument, Stoke Poges
Welcome to the Stoke Poges Thomas Gray 2016 Tercentenary.
Thomas Gray (26 December 1716 – 30 July 1771) was an English poet, letter-writer, classical scholar and academic. His Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard is arguably the most famous poem written in the English language and is believed to have been written in Stoke Poges, a village with which Gray had a close association throughout his life and where he was buried.
2016 was the 300th anniversary of his birth.
2021 is the 250th anniversary of his death.
Events for 2021
Gray Art Exhibition
Date and time: Monday 21 June to Saturday 26 June 2021. Times to be confirmed.
Where: Inside St Giles’ Church, Church Lane, Stoke Poges SL2 4NZ
Description of Event:
Gray Art Exhibition (to mark the 250th anniversary year of Thomas Gray’s death). This art exhibition is focussed on Thomas Gray and St Giles’ church. Works of art from community groups and schools, together with either original or reproduced art from Colleges attended by Thomas Gray will be on display.
Do you have a relevant artwork that could be included? If so, please look at the Church’s website at:
That website also has an opportunity to be Artist in Residence, and details of a Sketching Afternoon at the Church.
This event is being organised by Stoke Poges Church in partnership with The Stoke Poges Society. Times of opening are to be confirmed nearer the time. www.stokepogeschurch.org
Remembering Thomas Gray
Date and time: Friday 30 July 2021 at 11am
Where: St Giles’ church, Church Lane, Stoke Poges SL2 4NZ.
Description of Event:
There will be a short liturgy in St Giles’ church to remember the life of Thomas Gray and give thanks for his poetry. Then a wreath will be laid on his tomb. He died 250 years ago on 30th July, 1771 and was buried a week later in St Giles’ churchyard. Stoke Poges Church will make arrangements with regard to Covid-19 restrictions such as booking and social distancing inside the church. www.stokepogeschurch.org
Heritage Open Day
Date and time: Sunday 12 September 2021 from 2pm to 5pm
Where: Memorial Gardens, Church Lane, Stoke Poges SL2 4NZ,
and St Giles’ church and at Gray’s monument, Gray’s Field.
Description of Event:
The annual Heritage Open Day will take place in the Memorial Gardens, St Giles’ church and at Gray’s monument. Members of The Stoke Poges Society will be staffing a welcome desk beside the Memorial Gardens office. Members of Stoke Poges Church will be able to assist with information at St Giles’ church. There will also be a rare opportunity to visit the bell tower and learn more about bell ringing. National Trust staff will provide help and information at Gray’s monument.
This event is being run by The Stoke Poges Society e-voice.org.uk/stoke-poges-society/
with the support of the Stoke Poges Memorial Gardens (part of Bucks Council) www.southbucks.gov.uk/stokepogesmemorialgardens
Stoke Poges Church & Bell Ringers and the National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/grays-monument-and-grays-field-stoke-poges-buckinghamshire
Eton College Exhibition
Eton College have put together an online exhibition and are planning a physical exhibition in the College Library for the autumn of 2021. For more details, see:
Peterhouse College Cambridge Exhibition
Until 13th December 2021, the Ward Library at Peterhouse is hosting an exhibition to mark the 250th anniversary of Thomas Gray’s death, the 305th anniversary of his birth, and the 270th anniversary of the publication of the ‘Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard’. The exhibit has been curated by the Perne and Ward Librarian, Scott Mandelbrote.
The exhibition considers Gray’s life and work from the perspective of the holdings of the two Cambridge Colleges with which he was associated from 1734, when he entered Peterhouse, until his death, which occurred shortly after he was taken ill at dinner in Pembroke. It focusses on three defining themes in Gray’s life and reputation: his relationship with Cambridge and the effect on him and on his work of the friends and enemies he made at the University; his activity as a reader, in particular as a user of the libraries of his two Colleges; and the publishing phenomenon of the ‘Elegy written in a country churchyard’, his most significant poem and one steeped in his appreciation and emulation of classical tradition, as well as his sense of place and of English history and the history of English poetry.
The exhibition includes a number of items from Pembroke College. We are very grateful for their generosity and support.
External visitors are welcome by appointment during office hours (email: library).
There are shelf-lists and catalogues at each of the main exhibit cases, including a large-print version on green paper in the front hall.
If you can’t make it, there is also a virtual exhibition at:
The Stoke Poges Society website
Thomas Gray Anniversary on Facebook