Held AtGloucestershire Archives
Alt Ref NoD10828
TitleJohn Wilton Haines of Hucclecote (1875-1960), poet, botanist and solicitor
DescriptionLetters to John Haines from various correspondents including: Edmund Blunden, John Masefield, R C Trevelyan, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Marie Stopes, Clifford Dyment, John Haywood, W H Hoult, W H Hudson, Bernard Leach, Edward Garnett, Robert Newdick, Thomas Seccombe, J C Squire, Siegfried Sassoon, Hope Costley-White, Clifford Bax, Perry Muir, Dilsham Radclyffe, Basil de Selincourt, Eleanor Farjeon, J Gould Fletcher, W Gale, Ray Nash, H J Maningham, Sir Edward Marsh, David Sharp, 1912-mid 20th century; Walter de la Mare, 1917-1942; Cecil Day Lewis, V Locke-Ellis, Brian Walters, Honor Balfour, 1920s-1930s; W H Davies, 1928-1940; Martin Armstrong, includes some typescripts and 2 MS poems , The Cage and another [untitled] ,1924-1957; R Watson, William Bliss, Robin Flower, 1920s-1950s; John Moore, including poems, 1930s-1950s; Lascelles Abercrombie, 1911-1936, including poems, plays, newscuttings and articles, 1919-1930s, and from Catherine and Patrick Abercrombie, 1935-1939; Gordon Bottomley, 1918-(1945), including notes and transcripts of some letters, some letters from Haines to John [Moore], 1937-1941 and one from Emily Bottomley to John Freeman, 1917; Wilfrid Gibson, 1926-1952, including notes and copy of article on Gibson by Haines; Gerald Finzi, 1926-1954; Herbert Howells, 1918-1923; James Elroy Flecker, 1910; Rev Andrew Young, 1929-1953; Edward Thomas, 1914-c.1916, copy letters, 1914-1917, and other papers and correspondence including articles, newscuttings and letters from members of the Thomas family including Thomas' wife Helen, Eleanor Farjeon and John Freeman, 1902-1967 ; W P R Kerr, 1910-1937; papers concerning Ivor Gurney including letter to Haines from Gurney, 1918, letters to Haines about Gurney, articles and poems, 1920s-1930s, letter to Gurney from Walter de la Mare, with poem and transcript, 1921; papers concerning W H Davies, 1905-nd c.1918; papers concerning Robert Frost, 1915-1951, including letters to Haines from Robert and Elinor Frost including printed illustrated poem 'To a Young Wretch' by Frost, sent as a Christmas card to Robin Haines, poems, correspondence concerning Frost's autobiography, newscuttings and magazines containing articles about Frost; letters from J W Haines to various correspondents include: F Green, The Jones Library, Amherst, Massachussets, USA, 1949; John Gawsworth pen name of Fytton Armstrong, c.1949; J W Haines manuscript poems and typescripts[undated], lecture articles c.1930s, 'selection book vol 2', manuscript poems and extracts by famous writers in Haines' own hand, file of poems (published privately); photographs and correspondence with family and publishers, late 19th century -1930s; copy letters from Edward Thomas to Gordon Bottomley [typescripts], 1902-c.1917; letters written to J W Haines by F W Harvey,poet, 1918-1946

*Accession 14772 and 14835 are uncatalogued
Notes[See also P125/MI accession 5317]
Admin HistoryJohn Wilton Haines was born in 1875, the first of four sons born to Caroline Charlotte Haines, [née Johnson, formerly of Bengal, India] and the Gloucester based solicitor, John Pleydell Wilton Haines. Several generations of the Haines family had pursued a law career and so after leaving school, Haines also chose to train as a solicitor. After qualification he joined the family law firm, Haines and Sumner based in King Street and later Bastion House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester. (For records of Haines and Sumner solicitors see D177) However, despite being happy in his choice of career, he was passionately interested in classical and modern literature and verse and an avid collector of books. Through this interest he acquired contacts in the publishing world, which led him to meet and become friendly with many contemporary poets, authors and composers.

It was coincidental and fortuitous for Haines, that many of the leading cultural figures of the early 20th century were Gloucestershire residents. From the 1890s people were abandoning the countryside for employment in the towns and cities. In the surrounding area of the Gloucestershire village of Dymock there was a surplus of empty, low rentable cottages available and this accommodation proved to be ideal for a gathering of lowly paid, often impoverished poets and their families including Robert Frost, Wilfrid Gibson, Lascelles Abercrombie` and Rupert Brooke. Their presence attracted other leading literary figures, for example, Edward Thomas, Eleanor Farjeon, Ivor Gurney, W H Davies and John Drinkwater. Haines was able to mix with these characters on a local, social basis and they, in turn, recognised his interest in poetry and writing and would routinely ask him for his opinion on any new work produced. He had contact with the majority of the so-called 'Georgian Poets', a group of poets who published five anthologies of 'new' poetry prior to the First World War.

As a wealthy professional, Haines also had the ability to help his literary friends financially and there is evidence through this archive that he also offered legal assistance and provided advice of a business and personal nature. Haines also wrote his own poetry, a volume of which was privately published in 1921. However, he remains significant today due to his willingness to support and befriend those who had a greater literary and musical talent, causing him to be known as 'Friend to the Poets'.

In 1911, at the age of 36, he married Alice Dorothy Mary Woodroffe [Dolly] by licence at St Mary de Lode Church, Gloucester. The couple had one child, John [Robin] Haines, born in 1913. After service in the Second World War, Robin Haines had a volume of his poetry, entitled 'Somewhere, Somehow', privately published in 1942.

Catalogue arrangement: The bulk of this collection consists of letters written to John Wilton Haines from an array of well-known poets, writers and composers. (See D10828/1/1-104). These records form the first section of the catalogue and have been arranged alphabetically. However, the archive also contains poetry, notebooks, writings and lectures by or belonging to John Wilton Haines, news cuttings, family papers and photographs of literary friends and family members. There are also papers relating specifically to other authors, particularly Edward Thomas and Ivor Gurney but also Lascelles Abercrombie`, Gerald Bullett, Edward Carpenter, G K Chesterton, W H Davies, Walter de la Mare, John Freeman, Robert Frost, E H W Meyerstein and John Moore. The collection also includes items belonging to John Wilton Haines' son, Robin Haines.

Note about provenance: This collection was presented, as a gift, to Gloucestershire Archives by Penny Ely, a former Gloucestershire Archives member of staff and an acquaintance of Robin Haines. Robin Haines, the only child of John Wilton Haines, had expressed a desire that Penny Ely was to care for and preserve this collection after his death. His widow Pam Haines died at Cheltenham in 2007.

Sources and acknowledgements: It is necessary to acknowledge the help received, principally from Penny Ely but also from relatives of the Haines family, Alan Pool and Robert Moreland. They all provided additional information on John Wilton Haines, Robin Haines and wider Haines family history. Philip Lancaster, the Ivor Gurney Project Archivist has also provided information on Ivor Gurney, the poetry of Edward Thomas and composers mentioned in this collection. Additional information on other poets, authors and composers has been taken via web links including www.oxforddnb.com, www.wikipedia.org, www.englishverse.com, www.poetry.com, www.poetrysoc.com, www.britannica.com, www.warpoets.org. [Attempts have been made to verify all information taken from online sources]

Funding: This catalogue was produced with support from the Pilgrim Trust and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Cataloguing Grants Programme (later known as the National Cataloguing Grants programme).

Accession 14772 was purchased by Gloucestershire Archives at an auction held at Bonhams on 20 June 2018, sale 24634 lot 287 with grant from the Friends of the National Libraries and an additional donation from the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives. Box of letters collectively purchased for £6,500 [£5000 hammer price plus a buyers premium and VAT.] Items to be added to the existing material already held here.
Custodial HistoryAccessions 10828, 10896 and 14835 given by Ms P Ely, 25 January and 28 March 2007, and 6 October 2018; Accession 14772 purchased by Gloucestershire Archives, 20 June 2018
Related Material[For papers relating to John Poole Haines and John Pleydell Wilton Haines, grandfather and father respectively of John Wilton Haines, see D3495]
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