Thomas Traherne (1637-1674) was an English cleric whose work remained unknown until the discovery of his poems and meditations on a second hand bookstall in London in 1894. There have been further discoveries of his work in more recent times. Traherne was concerned that we have lost the ability to enjoy the world aright. He was surprised, on arrival at Oxford, that the university taught everything except what he considered to be the most important subject -- 'felicitie'. He devoted his life thereafter to making good this omission and living in a way that reflected his understanding. The essence of his approach was the reintegration or absorption necessary to reawaken to Capacitie. Whilst his message is couched in the language of his times I have found nothing in the Eastern traditions, now popular in Western culture, that Thomas didn't see for himself.
The account of him in the anonymous preface to Thanksgivings (as quoted by Anne Ridler in her essay The Essential Traherne) says that on this subject of Felicity and the love of God towards mankind he dwelt continually when at home, and when he went out ‘was so full of them that those who would converse with him were forced to endure some discourse upon these subjects, whether they had any sense of Religion, or not. And therefore to such he might sometimes be thought troublesome, but his company was very acceptable to all such as had any inclinations to Virtue, and Religion. "As to his character in general, the same source tells us, he was ‘of a cheerful and sprightly temper, free from any thing of the sourness and formality, by which some great pretenders of Piety rather disparage and misrepresent true Religion, than recommend it; and therefore was very affable and pleasant in his conversation, ready to do all good offices to his friends, and charitable to the poor almost beyond his ability."
The Traherne Association publishes a newsletter and organizes an annual Traherne Festival which is held at Credenhill and Hereford. The Festivals are held on the weekend which includes the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. Details of the Festival Programme are added to the News page of this website when they become available.
Chairman:Mr Richard Willmott, 37 Hafod Road, HEREFORD, HR1 1SQ
Hon. Treasurer and Membership Secretary: The Traherne Association, "Buttermere", Moreton-on-Lugg, HEREFORD, HR4 8DQ
Officers of the Association can be contacted by email via the Association website at http://www.thomastraherneassociation.org/ The Thomas Traherne Association.
1 December 2019