The 2017 Gathering of The Friends of Tilling is to be held on Saturday 2nd September.  It will consist of a walk to Benson’s grave, a ploughman’s luncheon with a talk afterwards and a dinner in the evening.

Those who wish to walk en masse (about twenty minutes each way, some of it uphill) to Benson’s grave at Rye Cemetery should meet at 9.30am in front of Rye Station and we will congregate at the graveside at approximately 10.00 am.

At 11.00 am a guided walk round Rye with Allan Downend, secretary of the E F Benson Society, looking at the houses and places associated with the Mapp and Lucia novels, and locations used in both the C4 the BBC TV series. Meet at the Lookout at the eastern end of the High Street. **UPDATE** The guided walk has now sold out

Luncheon will be at the Mermaid Inn at 1.30pm. It will consist of a ploughman’s lunch with dessert and tea or coffee. Following lunch there is to be a talk by author Jonathan Fryer entitled “Three Men in a Boat: Up the Nile with Fred, Bosie and Reggie”.

Dinner will also be at the Mermaid Inn at 8 pm and will consist of a fixed three-course meal including wine, with coffee and petits fours. Dress is, of course, hitum. Please don’t feel shy about dressing up, whether ‘20s/30s flavour, or as a character from the novels. Nickolas Grace (Brideshead Revisited, Robin of Sherwood and narrator of BBC Radio 4’s adaptations of the Lucia novels) will host our annual “Mapp & Lucia” prize quiz.


9.30 am                        Meet at Rye Station, and walk to Benson’s Grave at Rye Cemetery
11.00am                       Mapp & Lucia’s Tilling: A Guided Walk SOLD OUT

1.30 pm                        Luncheon at The Mermaid Inn in Mermaid Street
7.15 pm                        Pre-prandial aperitifs at The Mermaid Inn (Drinks not included)
8.00 pm                        Dinner at The Mermaid Inn

To avoid a scramble, seats will be allocated. You are therefore asked to name any persons in addition to those in your party with whom you wish to be seated. We will do our best to accommodate all requests.

Costs are as follows: The Guided Walk is £8.00, lunch is £26.00 and dinner is £62.00. Payment is preferred by cheque (in £ sterling) made payable to The Friends of Tilling. Alternative methods of paying are available for those overseas (email for details). Numbers for the Guided Walk are strictly limited and places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. 

To book, download, print and complete the booking form and send with a cheque to the address below. Friends from overseas who wish to pay by alternative methods should email their requirements.

We have been contacted by one of our overseas members Marie-Anne Erki who is arranging for a party of sketchers and creators of daubs to meet the afternoon before our Gathering. If you are interested in joining them they will meet at 2 pm on Friday 1st September at  Lamb House. They will meet again at 4 pm for a debriefing consisting of effusive self-congratulations and a group photo. We will be happy to host an exhibition of the works at lunch the following day. 



The Friends of Tilling
56 Coles Lane
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands B72 1NH
We regret that we are unable to offer refunds for cancellations made less than one week before the event.