Humphrey and his wife Helga moved to Newchurch on the Offa’s Dyke path in the Welsh borders in 1986, after their four sons had left the family home near London. While continuing to work at London University, Humphrey became integrated into the local Welsh border communities, not least as a non-stipendiary minister in the Church in Wales.
Following his academic commitment to primary sources, including his own African journals, Humphrey started recording local events and stories for a proposed journal from the Welsh borders. These events and stories feature in the numerous letters that Humphrey continued to write to family and friends, extracts of which are now appearing as posts on this blog.
The idea of a journal from the Welsh borders is all the more appropriate because Newchurch is in Kilvert Country. It features in the famous diaries about rural life in the 1870s written by Francis Kilvert, an English clergyman. Buried at St. Mary’s, Newchurch is Emmeline Vaughan, a girl of whom Kilvert spoke affectionately in his diaries.
Humphrey in fact helped set up an annual Kilvert pilgrimage around the four local churches in Newchurch, Bryngwyn, Llanbedr and Llandewi Fach.
Humphrey and Helga also edited the memoirs of a local priest, who was also a diarist illustrating local social history whilst immersed in his local pastoral work:”the funniest clergyman I have ever known”.