From the Joad Archives 2013 – “Australian celebrates philosopher’s life” – West Sussex County Times – August 11 2013


Australian celebrates philosopher’s life

JPCT 060813 S13321192x  Richard Symonds by Amberley Station -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 060813 S13321192x Richard Symonds by Amberley Station -photo by Steve Cobb

An Australian has travelled more than 10,000 miles to celebrate the life and times of philosopher and previous South Downs resident CEM Joad on the 60th anniversary of his death.

The incredible journey was made a reality when Australian Greg Devine read an article published by Ifield resident, Richard Symonds, called ‘The Forgotten Christian Philosopher’ about the celebrated author, Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad.

Mr Devine read that the walk from Amberley Station to South Stoke was probably the most beautiful walk on the South Downs – a walk CEM Joad himself took many times – and so he decided to get in touch with Mr Symonds and experience the route firsthand.

On July 28-30, the Australian from Redcliffe (a bay-side town north of Brisbane) travelled to the UK with his wife and a close friend.

“Richard and I hit it off immediately, chatting all the way,” said the 56-year-old.

“He showed me the historic North Stoke church. We then proceeded to the South Stoke Farm, stopping off at St Leonard’s Church.

“Richard then pointed out the building and window at which CEM Joad sat writing many of his books.”

CEM Joad wrote and edited more than 100 books, pamphlets, articles and essays, including ‘An Old Countryside for New People’ and ‘Folly Farm’, until his death in 1953.

He most notably appeared on The Brains Trust, a BBC Radio wartime discussion programme.

“Joad’s writings speak to me of a man who searched earnestly for the truth. He’s inspired me to use language in lively and engaging ways,” said Mr Devine.

The Australian party also visited ‘Meadow Hills’ in Stedham – the former home of CEM Joad. The owners, Sarah and Martin Large, kindly welcomed the tourists.

Mr Devine said: “The garden had become overgrown but Sarah was valiantly working to restore it. She is convinced that Meadow Hills was the location of the farm and house described in Joad’s book ‘Folly Farm’.”

The 60th anniversary of CEM Joad’s death was marked at the Stedham Village Memorial Hall in April.


“Fond memories of Reg Haydon” – West Sussex Gazette – Letters Page -September 14 2016

Reg Haydon OBE

Dear Editor

May I share with readers a little story about Reg Haydon OBE, Honorary Life President and former National Chairman of the Tenant Farmers Association (“TFA mourns the loss of a ‘true giant'”, WSG, Sept 7).

I first met Mr Haydon in 2002 – 14 years ago – to confirm something I had stumbled across in my research on ‘Professor’ C.E.M. Joad – made famous in the wartime Brains Trust (a popular BBC radio programme which older readers might still remember).

I had discovered that the ‘Professor’ regularly stayed at South Stoke Farm to write many of his 100+ philosophy books. His last book – “Folly Farm” – was a posthumous work of fiction, and Joad had described in detail the landscape surrounding his fictitious dream farm – his folly. The description seemed to fit South Stoke Farm and the surrounding area, but I needed confirmation.

I had heard Reg Haydon didn’t suffer fools gladly, so it was with considerable trepidation I walked up to his front door. I was a ‘townie’. He was not. This was a working farm. He was a working farmer. I was not.

He listened graciously to what I had to say, saying little, but confirmed that Joad’s ‘Folly Farm’ was indeed South Stoke Farm. Armed with this confirmation, I said I was thinking of organising an event to mark Joad’s 50th Anniversary – in 2003.

Reg Haydon immediately offered the Chapel Barn as the venue, and there would be no charge.

Thus, the South Stoke Festival of Thought took place on April 9 2003, thanks to this wonderfully kind gesture. It proved to be a great day – and not just for me.

And thanks to Mr Haydon and his family – and the small community – there is now a Joad Archive at the Arundel Museum and The Joadian Way – probably the most beautiful short walk in the South Downs National Park.

Reg Haydon OBE will be remembered with affection and gratitude by this ‘townie’ – and I know I’m not alone.

Yours sincerely

Richard W. Symonds

The Joad Society

Ifield Street



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