Through the eyes of a child

A couple of days ago l went to meet a woman l haven’t seen since 1977.

Life has moved on for both of us. She was Gwen Bevan and the third eldest member of a family of fourteen children living in Somerset.

Sorry about the quality of this image – recorded l think from a television showing of the documentary

The Bevan’s were the subject of a documentary we were making at HTV West called ‘Harmony at Parsonage Farm.’

Father, John Bevan had formed them into a choir which went on to record albums and tour Europe.

Now, as Gwen Williamson – a wife and mother of three – l was meeting her in her Bath home at Widcombe to hear about a memoir she has written which reflects her early days as part of a devout Catholic Family.

Gwen’s photo

Gwen recounts – with amazing detail – what life was like as a young girl living in a self-sufficient and somewhat closed household.

She had emailed me to say: “I wondered whether you might be interested in a book I have written about growing up in a large Catholic family, being home schooled and the beginnings of the family choir.

The book is written with the child’s eyes and in that way allowed me to explore the relationships and experiences without judgement. “

Gwen’s the tall girl amidst her younger siblings

I have to say the book – “Tracing Water” – is delightful and will stir your own memories of childhood as well.

The original documentary Harmony at Parsonage Farm is available on YouTube via

I am also pleased to say that some of the younger members of this large family have formed a choir of their own – The Beaven Family Consort. Check them out on YouTube via

Gwen’s book is available at The Oldfield Park Bookshop (01225-427722) in Moorland Road, Bath and is priced at £12.

Hear Gwen talking and reading excerpts from her book via Wyatt’s Place. That’s my podcast on the Spotify platform.