Saturday, 11 May
Palladian Church, Ayot St Lawrence
The Memoir of Ayot’s forgotten Postmistress
Now barely legible, a headstone in the graveyard of the Palladian Church is inscribed with the names of Ambrose Lyth (died 1930, aged 54) and his wife Jisbella Georgina Lyth (died 1964, aged 79). Ambrose lived in Ayot only briefly, dying just six weeks after being appointed village postmaster in 1930.
But Jisbella, who became village postmistress on Ambrose's death, lived in Ayot until her own death.
Long forgotten, Jisbella was once described by a London newspaper as “the most remarkable character in the village next to Bernard Shaw.”
In the mid 1950s, Jisbella told her life story to her friend Romie Lambkin, an Irish writer then living in Ayot. The story remained unpublished, however, until it came to the attention of Canadian Shaw scholar Leonard Conolly, who arranged for its publication in December 2018 by the Academy of the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, as Bernard Shaw's Postmistress: The Memoir of Jisbella Georgina Lyth
Full of fascinating stories not only about Shaw but also about the idiosyncrasies of Ayot life in the 1930s, during the war, and immediately following Shaw's death (a chaotic time for the village), Jisbella's memoir will be introduced by Professor Conolly and extracts read by Barbara Conolly.
A limited number of copies of Bernard Shaw's Postmistress will be available for purchase (all proceeds to the church).
GBS with Helen Keller and Lady Astor