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THE SCHOLARSHIP AND CREATIVITY OF FFRANSIS G PAYNE Marged Haycock' I am HONOURED to have been invited to talk about the work of the writer and historian, Ffransis G Payne, whom we remember with respect and affection, as a past president of the Radnorshire Society and as a scholar who did more than anyone to illuminate the social history of our county, and its rich medieval culture in particular. Many here this evening will have known him better than I did: my contact was largely through correspondence, though I conducted some interviews with him at his home in Llandegley in 1987, shortly before he deposited a very large collection of letters and research papers in the National Library of Wales.2 Since his death on 21 August 1992, his two sons, Dr Ifan Payne and Ceri Payne have collected large caches of biographical materials, which, together with Mrs Helly Payne's own archive, will throw far more light on his unusually rich and varied life, one which produced some of the finest works of scholarship and creative writing in twentieth-century Wales.3 Ffransis (ne Francis) George Payne was born in October 1901 in King- ton, a full two miles beyond Radnorshire, yet this side of Offa's Dyke. As he noted, the idea of a clear-cut boundary is hardly appropriate in this area. For one thing, recognizably Welsh place- and river-names are found way east of the present border; and by contrast, the diocese of Hereford had swallowed up some rich portions of Radnorshire. Here where the red sand- stone of the lowland meets the old Silurian rocks, the red mud, then the grey were a daily reminder of this duality on the boots of the children, the farmers, and the gravediggers.4 The town of Kington, too, reflected these intersections, as well as pointing to the possible worlds beyond:5 For in a town like ours, you are not living on the border, but on many borders. Not only on the border between a small town and the coun- try, but on the border between a small town and a town, or even on the one between a town and a city. Because in a country town, elements of all these others are present. Some of them are constants, such as the apple trees in the garden, or the west wind bringing the tang of hill bracken right into the narrow streets. Others are recent intrusions, like the branch of the railway from the eastern towns. And others again from far away are suggestive of the spiritual dissipation of city life. Many people leave a town like this as soon as they can. but it is in-