The 2019 Tilling gathering

The 2019 Gathering of The Friends of Tilling is to be held on Saturday 7th September. It will consist of a walk to Benson’s grave, a ploughman’s luncheon with a reading 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 10.00 am in front of Rye Station and we will congregate at the graveside at approximately 10.30 am.

Luncheon will be at the Mermaid Inn at 12.30 pm. It will consist of a ploughman’s lunch with dessert and tea or coffee. Following lunch Nickolas Grace (Brideshead Revisited, Robin of Sherwood and narrator of BBC Radio 4’s adaptations of the Lucia novels) will read The Spiritual Pastor from Benson's The Freaks of Mayfair.

Lamb House has undergone some changes, with some first-floor rooms now open to the public and a new tea room. For those who have not been since it re-opened last June we recommend a visit after lunch. The price for non-National Trust members is £7.50.

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 will host our annual “Mapp & Lucia” prize quiz.

Following the success of last year we are to have another Un Po di Musica. Pianist and singer Kate Garner has penned a musical based on the Lucia novels, and we are very pleased that after dinner we are to gather around The Mermaid’s Blumenfeldt once again to hear Kate perform a tune or two from her musical. It promises to be a real treat for all Tillingites.


10.00 am - Meet at Rye Station, and walk to Benson’s Grave at Rye Cemetery
12.30 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: Lunch is £32.00 and dinner is £67.00. 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).

Please download, print, complete and return the booking form with payment to the address below by Saturday 31st August.

We regret that we are unable to offer refunds for cancellations made less than one week before the event.