Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Vineyard - a beginning - Part 1

The Vineyard, No. 1, October 1910, A.C. Fifield, London

I have finally seen the first few volumes of The Vineyard in the library at the Haslemere Educational Museum.  First published in October 1910, the journal was published by Arthur Fifield.  Fifield also published works by Greville MacDonald and Godfrey Blount, and was mentioned in Blount's will.  The contents page requests that all correspondence is addressed to "The Editors of The Vineyard, Sandhouse, Witley, Surrey".

The first contributors included predictable contributions from Maude Egerton King, Rev. Gerald Davies and Peter Rosegger who were linked to the movement, but also included two contrubtions from Katharine Tynan and others from F. Hadland Davies, Philip H. Wicksteed and Grace Rhys.

Maude Egerton King explains the purpose of the journal in the opening editorial "For reasons which I hope our Magazine will ere long explain and justify, we want its name to have a country sound and significance.  Of all such names The Vineyard seems to us the fittingest symbol of the work we would begin to-day.  For here also clear-eyed watch should be kept and here wise pruning done, and faithful planting in barren places of the ancient vine that has gladened the heart of the ages, which can bear wholesome fruit, only when by help of human faith and skill, it grows out of clean earth towards clear skies.  And here too the little shrine must gleam, faithful reminder that the wine of life - this good, commonplace, miraculous, human life of work and play - is sacramental, in earthen mug and consecrated chalice alike, to him who will accept it whence it comes.
The Vineyard, No. 1, October 1910,
A.C. Fifield, London

"This our Vineyard - English name-child of the sunnier hills - faithful to their traditions, seeks to uphold the simpler things of life, believing that the worth of life is not deepened by those mechanical adjuncts of civilisation for which man lays waste his old native power.  Grapes ripened in the sun long before hot-houses were built.  The earth is still full of mystic wonder, even though the learned man declares that taking off of shoes on holy ground is a confession of ignorance, and the practical politician that the smokey factory chimney is more necessary to an enlightened age than the burning bush.

"Certain critics will twit us with adopting such mechanical means as the Printing Press for disseminating our message.  They will remind us that it is quite impossible to print even The Vineyard without the help of that Industrialism against which we inveigh; that we are wise in using it, even though our discretion is more obvious than our sincerity, because we could never make our bow to the public without holding our enemy's hand.  But we claim to understand this paradox better than our critics, and to be quite sincere too.  We know that our printing press cannot give the best work to those it employs, however high their wages may chance to be.   We have seen the devastation now being wrought in the Black Forest, where the young trees, sawn up into countless stacks of six-foot logs, lie ready for transport to the mills that turn them into paper pulp - in order that men all the world over may daily buy for a halfpenny the stuff that lays low their own upstanding vigour and turns that also into pulp!

And yet we believe ourselves justified in using this means: first, because we have no other, and second because we shall use it in protest and warfare against its own attendant evils: "biting, bridling, and spurring the devil himself," as old Samuel Rutherford has it, "for a charge in Hell!""


  1. Thanks very much for this. I was particularly interested in the 'paradox' of using industrial technology to repudiate industrial technology. I think Maude handled it well and I wonder how widespread was the idea that you could use industry to dismantle industry. However, a fascinating incite into 'The Vineyard' and I hope we see more of the contents soon.

  2. Thanks John. Yes it's very interesting to think of the controversy of using the Printing Press. Maude writes so passionately about "their cause", I will have to share some more installments.


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