Reprinted from Newsletter 98, dated 2001 January–February

Friend of the Glastonbury romancer, John Cowper Powys

A middle-aged person with wavy mid-length dark hair smiles at the camera while holding an open book.
Susan Rands with her book “Powys Heritage”. Photo by Ian Sumner

Susan Rands has recently had a book published about the friendship of John Cowper Powys, the Lyon family of Ilsington on Dartmoor, and W.E. Lutyens, younger brother of Sir Edwin Lutyens, the architect.

Powys is well known for his novels such as A Glastonbury Romance and Weymouth Sands. Susan’s book contains much new material about his life.

Powys Heritage by Susan Rands is published by Cecil Woolf and is available at Dicketts in the High Street and at West Side Bookshop in Sadler Street, Wells.

She has also completed a biography of Lady Susan O’Brien, who grew up at Redlynch Park, near Bruton. The eldest child of the first Earl of Ilchester, she shocked society by marrying the actor William O’Brien, a friend of Garrick. Outraged relatives arranged for the couple to live in America but after six years they returned and finally settled at Stinsford House near Dorchester.

Susan O’Brien left a fascinating, detailed journal and many of her letters survive. Of special interest are those to her niece Eliza, who was the mother of the photographer William Henry Fox Talbot, of Lacock Abbey.